Saturday, April 20, 2013

Help Out!

   A student at UC Santa Barbara recently contacted me about a three part workshop they are having on Sunday April 28th. They have a Fisher rep, and an SOC operator lined up, but are looking for a dolly grip to come in and take part in discussions with the camera operator about their working relationship. They also would like the dolly grip to give a short how-to on basic things like marking and track laying. I don't know if there is any financial remuneration, but if I was available, I'd do it just to help out. Shoot me an email if you are interested and I'll put you in touch with the interested parties. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello From Northern California!

   I'm two weeks in on a fourteen week show and I've day of dolly work. Since it's a movie about a cross-country race, most of the work is, as you may have guessed, Interior Car. Since we have, not only the regular grip crew, but a crew of three car rigging grips, I don't have a lot to do. I've never felt more like a Steadicam operator in my life, (or a Standby Painter). Although they have been sending me to splinter unit a little more lately, I spend a lot of my time just trying to be useful among the nine or so grips we have rigging cars already. Today was a little bit more excitement since I got sent off with the second unit to do some introductory dolly shots of actors and beauty shots of cars. After that, I spent a lot of time waiting. Mostly on this show I wait. So, here I am....waiting. Who needs a wrench?

Monday, April 01, 2013

Wheels. Wheeeeeels.

  I recently was asked a question on Twitter about wheel setup. As a Chapman user, you have a few options and the questioner wanted to know what works best where. Well, things are always changing and what is in favor at one time is out of favor a few years later. Back when the Hybrid was Chapman's signature large dolly, I would always put on the pneumatics and leave them on for the run of the show. By design, they work on both track and floor. Later, when I became a Hustler 4 user, we would combine both the track wheels and the pneumatics (I always put the air tires on the outside and the track tires on the inside) which seemed to give the best of both worlds. Although I doubt there is much difference in where you put them, the pneumatics on the outside seemed to make more sense to me. My good friend GHB does the opposite and sets up the track tires on the outside. I can't argue with success 'cause he's done well for himself. As far as the Hybrid goes, a lot of Camera Operators I work with began to complain about the bouncy nature of the pneumatic tire on floor, while some thought it was fine. After using the medium softs, which I found to be very good on dance floor, I began to agree. As far as the Pewee goes, I always switched out the hards for pneumatics for floor, but switched back to the hards after the shot because the air tires make the dolly so much wider and hamper maneuverability. I think it boils down to communicating with your Camera Operator. He/ she is your best source of feedback for what is happening in the lens. If the pneumatics are causing problems, try the medium softs. I do what I know until I'm told it isn't working. Unfortunately, now that we are doing more and more HD work, the little bumps that we used to get away with seem to show up much more vividly than they did in film. It's a more unforgiving medium in every sense.
   As far as Fisher dollies go, you have two choices: the standard air filled or the round track wheels. I also have no idea why Fisher refuses to let go of the old square track/ bogie wheel setup. I haven't seen, much less used square track in at least fifteen years. Who are you catering to? The music video market? If I'm wrong, please fill me in Fisher users/ insiders/ Wick?