Saturday, November 16, 2013

70' Hydrascope

  In addition to the various sizes of Techno crane that we carry ( 50', 30' 15') we have had a 70' Hydrascope for the last week. It's my first time using this behemoth of a crane. First, let me say that it is a beautiful piece of equipment. It comes in on a Titan base, and is a gleaming, gorgeous crane. On the other hand. It's big. I mean BIG. It's too big. After one shot on it, I couldn't wait to get back to my 50' Technocrane. The problem is that it's too big. Everything about it is just a little too hard, It's too high, too big, and too hard to swing. It's just too much mass. While I see it's applications for some novelty shots, it's just an impractical piece of equipment. Now I will say now that this has nothing to do with Hydrascope vs Technocrane. As far as I can tell, there is little to no difference in the applications between the shorter cranes. The movement of the Hydrascope thirties is fluid and fast when you need it, and the pickle operators are top notch (thanks, Chris). But after one shot on the 70', I said, " Put "b" camera on it and let me have my 50' back."  After a day of dolly pushing and Techno swinging, I just didn't want to deal with it. My compliments to Chapman for building such a beautiful crane, but at some point, it becomes just too cumbersome to deal with. And that's the operative word when dealing with this crane: cumbersome. Nothing about it is easy. So, for specialty shots, it's fine. But if I had to wrangle it every day, I would up my rate by at least ten dollars an hour.

Saturday, November 09, 2013


  This morning as I was taking a shower, I suddenly flashed back to my first day on a movie set. I was about nineteen and had somehow fumbled my way into being hired as a grip on a low budget movie being shot in Mobile, Alabama. I still remember the conversation on the phone with the Second AD (Anthony) where I asked him what I needed to bring. "Just the normal grip tools. You know, a knife and screwdriver," was his answer. That first day still sticks out as one of the highlights of my life. I was on a real movie set! There was a dolly!(Fisher 10). And track! (square). And real actors! (Martin Sheen's brother, Joe). I was making a flat rate of $300.00 a week. "Wow," I remember thinking,"I can actually make a living at this!" The fact that I also paid my own hotel room out of this princely sum didn't even phase me. I still remember wearily heading back to my hotel room to soak in a tub of hot water and the smile on my face and the feeling of satisfaction that I had made it as I lay in that water. Sometimes, not as often as back then, of course, but sometimes, just sometimes, when I look around and see the dollies and cranes and lights and real actors, I still get that feeling. It's not as pure, because it's been jaded a little by almost twenty-five years in this business. But it's still there. I wish it would come around more often.

  We're almost eight weeks into Huge Franchise With Cars and Pretty People, and it's going well. We have a great crew and laugh a lot. I have a lot of toys. We carry a 30', a 50', and a 35'-45' Moviebird as well as a 15' Techno. I'm staying pretty busy so I don't have much time to post but I'm still here.
Stay in touch, D