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Porta Jib/Spider Dolly


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#1 Ted Chu

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 09:37 AM

Need a fast run and gun (multiple locations) jib setup with my Varicam (20 lbs). Any comments on the Porta Jib/ Spider Dolly system? Thanks in advance.
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#2 dan brockett

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 03:30 PM

Hi Ted:

I own the PortJib Traveler, their smaller jib. I only have good things to say about it, it's built well, small, light, quick to setup and can hold up to 40lbs. I have rented and used the regular PortaJib too and it works just as well. I bought the Traveler because I mainly use it for tabletop so it's limited reach was fine for my needs and I like it's size in the case, it's tiny and light.

The guys at PortaJib in Hollywood have been amazingly nice and accomodating as far as service and fixing a few things that somebody who I let borrow the jib screwed up. I was totally expecting to pay for the repairs since they were abuse, not a warranty item and the guys fixed it all, free of charge. A really old fashioned type of customer service that is exceedingly rare these days. Never let anyone borrow your jib, people are generally clueless about how things should fit together and most people refuse to read an owners manual. I learned the hard way, never again will anybody but myself assemble or use my jib.

I have rented the Spider dolly several times, have not bought one yet. Overall, I really like it and it does work well. I highly recommend not getting the four wheel version with the seat, it is a lot more parts, takes a lot longer to setup, etc. Just putting your camera on the jib and mounting the jib to the three wheeled dolly works fine, although the four wheel version is more stable. The rubber track/tubing works well, although it's not as effortless as you might think. The main thing is, if you are working out of a car trunk or by yourself, the Spider rocks. If you have a crew and a grip truck, I would still highly prefer a real dolly in most cases, just depends on your situation.

Best,

Dan



Need a fast run and gun (multiple locations) jib setup with my Varicam (20 lbs). Any comments on the Porta Jib/ Spider Dolly system? Thanks in advance.


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#3 Ed Blythe

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:29 AM

I've used that set up before, going back to it in a couple of weeks (in fact, using the Traveller because we're shooting in an apartment the size of the heel of my boot). I like it, it's cheap to rent, easy to transport, pretty solid.

We used the four wheel version with the Flex-Trak. The Flex-Trak was a pain because it shifts every time you go over it. I was ACing that gig so focus marks became a little useless (shooting wide open on a 35mm prime lens adapter - very narrow, but we swung it). Flex-Trak might have been more workable on a flat floor (we were shooting in a condemned police precinct in Brooklyn) but you gotta be working in a hospital or studio. Throw some track or PVC piping in the truck....

The CRITICAL THING TO REMEMBER when using the Flex-Trak/Spider combo is to keep the adjustable wheels OUTSIDE the edge of the dolly platform, and on the OPPOSITE side to the weight of the operator (assuming they'll be riding). When we were trying to figure out how to use the thing the wheels tucked under the platform underneath the DP and I nearly killed him. He didn't trust me for a few days after that, which is understandable - but I redeemed myself by figuring out how to make the thing work safely for the remainder of the shoot.
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#4 Bob Hayes

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 10:27 PM

I am a Porta Jib owner and I?m very happy with it. It is easy to set up and very flexible. I own several pairs of VR glasses and they really expand the moves I can do with the system. I try to use it on a Chapman or Fisher dolly. It is more stable, faster to move, goes on track easily, and I can boom adding another 5? to the move. One thing about using the dolly for the jib is that I can?t use it for my ?a? camera while the jib is on it. So I built a three wheeled rolling platform for the jib out of ¾? plywood. The sides are 3?long and it has 8? wheels with one steer able. I have pneumatic tires for location work and hard wheels for stage work. I think the Elmac lacks the wheel base to be stable especially when rolling from location to location.

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