Saturday, May 23, 2015

Which Wheels?

  A long time reader sent in a request for a primer on wheels. When do you use pneumatics? When do you use hard wheels? The answers are fairly simple and I won't belabor the point here. P.neumatics or air filled tires are used pretty much for dance floor. The softer, more forgiving surface of the wheel tends to soften out the seams in dance floor. Pneumatics also tend to help out on soft grassy surfaces as the hard tires dig in more and make for harder pushing. Years ago, when I was pushing a Hybrid, we put on the pneumatics at the beginning of a show and just left them on. For the Hustler 4 we mix and match and leave them for the run of the show. I once had a DP who shall remain nameless who insisted that I install soft compound tires (the solid, very soft tires from Chapman). I told him that either he would have to wait for me to change them out for exteriors or they would get chewed up and he didn't care. The show bought a new set of soft compound tires at the end because ours were a mess. This DP was a half wit. If you ask me by email I will tell you his name. Soft compound tires are virtually never necessary. A good set of medium hard and a set of Pneumatics will get you through pretty much any show. The bottom line- On a Hybrid, put on the pneumatics and leave them on. On a Hustler, mix and match. On a Fisher, use what came with them and use skate wheels on track. The Fisher round track wheels are a pain in the ass to keep changing out. I've used these wheel combinations on literally over fifty movies, including some very high profile ones and they've worked fine.
The Captain has spoken.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shooting Film

   Yes, we're actually going back to a 19th century technology to shoot our latest epic. I had looked forward to it. After a couple of years or digital movies and series, I had longed for the simple, mechanical whirr of the film camera. It's kind of like missing an old girlfriend after a few years. All you remember are the good times. Remember chart lights? Yeah, we do 'em. Remember gelling windows? It's back. 85 filters in the camera? Every day. But then you start to see the bad side. Camera jams. Hairs in the gate. Horrible video taps. All in all, I think it's about an even tradeoff. Now that I've gone back to it I can see that there are advantages to both.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

What's Going On

  Not much to report this week. I've been working some long hours so I haven't had a chance to think up a topic and nothing has really pissed me off lately so, no rant this time. I'm in the second week of a medium to high budget studio picture. It's a comedy about suburban life, spies, and marriage. I'm with a DP I love working with, one of my favorite camera operators, my regular grip crew, a good director and some funny and nice actors. So life is good right now except for the Fraturdays. If you have a particular subject you would like to see covered/debated in this forum, just email it in. If you are in the LA area, don't forget the JL Fisher Barbecue on May 16th. It's a really good event to attend to see old friends and catch up on what's new in the dolly world. Also there's beer (or at least there used to be.) I assume no one has made a jackass of themselves and ruined it for everyone yet (remember the coolers of beer on the tailgate that production used to provide every day?) Anyway, the kid's asleep upstairs, the wife is still at work, and I'm on the deck having a cocktail, having a drink, and listening to some blasts from the past. Be safe out there and don't be a stranger.

I'm thinking of having a Dolly Grip dinner here in Atlanta for all the Dolly Grips in town, either on location or local. Those of you who may be interested leave it in the comments or email me. Otherwise I'll just go by myself and drink myself into a tizzy.