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Gear/Equipment for Dolly Grip...


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#1 Joshua bluth

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:27 AM

The title pretty much tells all... I have my yard level, my blue-red-black gaffer tape (and sharpies), my Lemon-Scented Pledge, my utility knife, gloves...

??? anything else?

I know there's a ton of stuff i'm forgetting.

Personally, I've only worked on low-budget films and TV projects, never really had the opportunity to dolly on professional shoots (only as a PA or Camera Intern). Basically, I've taught myself EVERYTHING about the Dolly. If anyone here can point me in the right direction as to what sort of equipment is necessary for dolly grips, that'd be fantastic. Know any tips, tricks? ...be my guest. I'm all ears.

I just moved to England (from AZ) about four months ago, and I've found some work here and there... but nothing regular. I'm still struggling.

I figured if I specialize in something I'd might be better off than trying to be a runner all the time...

Thanks in advance,

-Joshua Bluth
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#2 robert duke

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 01:55 PM

I think Barring Chalk, you have the basic kit for a dolly grip. What you need is more experience it sounds like. I dont know the work system in the UK so I cannot speak for that. Try to be a B camera dolly or just a grip and help the dolly grip out as much as possible. You have to wait to move up sometimes. Maybe if you got some buisness cards with name number and DOLLY grip on it it might help you get more work.

There has been talk here of local 600 trying to take over dolly grips. I understand this because the dolly grip has a major impact on the comprehensive product of the visual storytelling. Dolly moves impact a story. Slow or fast add to the flavor of a piece.

If you want to spend money here are somethings to buy:
small monitor to assist in moves.
laser pointer and holder.
baby powder
silicon spray
cup holder
Camera Slider

all these things arent needed to be a dolly grip, the people who taught me would have thrown them away and cursed me for using them.

Dolly grips needs are to be able to work fast, exact, understand spacial relations ( see measurments and guesstimate them) , have rhythm, and visualization of the needs of the DP. The dolly grip works hand in hand with the camera operator, he has to listen for and hear the operator's voice when he whispers directions during a take.

Gadgets are extras for dolly's but they frequently just get in the way of a dolly grip's need for speed to move on to the next set up.

Good luck, Be patient about moving up.
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#3 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 02:13 PM

I think Barring Chalk, you have the basic kit for a dolly grip. What you need is more experience it sounds like. I dont know the work system in the UK so I cannot speak for that. Try to be a B camera dolly or just a grip and help the dolly grip out as much as possible. You have to wait to move up sometimes. Maybe if you got some buisness cards with name number and DOLLY grip on it it might help you get more work.

There has been talk here of local 600 trying to take over dolly grips. I understand this because the dolly grip has a major impact on the comprehensive product of the visual storytelling. Dolly moves impact a story. Slow or fast add to the flavor of a piece.

If you want to spend money here are somethings to buy:
small monitor to assist in moves.
laser pointer and holder.
baby powder
silicon spray
cup holder
Camera Slider

all these things arent needed to be a dolly grip, the people who taught me would have thrown them away and cursed me for using them.

Dolly grips needs are to be able to work fast, exact, understand spacial relations ( see measurments and guesstimate them) , have rhythm, and visualization of the needs of the DP. The dolly grip works hand in hand with the camera operator, he has to listen for and hear the operator's voice when he whispers directions during a take.

Gadgets are extras for dolly's but they frequently just get in the way of a dolly grip's need for speed to move on to the next set up.

Good luck, Be patient about moving up.

Great answer Robert. I laughed out loud at the"cursed me for using them line.
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#4 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:06 AM

Skateboard wheels.
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#5 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 02:42 PM

As usual, great answer Robert. The only thing I'd disagree with (and Joshua mentioned it too) are the expendables like powders and sprays. IMO, you shouldn't spend ANY money on things like this -- sure, if you are on a super low budget, and want to help them out, you can give them some of your own Pledge or whatever, and cut that $2.50 from their budget. But generally, on larger shoots, multiple cans and bottles of all these expendables are pretty much standard and waiting in the truck.

And Joshua, you didn't mention which dolly you taught yourself EVERYTHING about. Remember, there are many MANY types of dollies out there. Even good professional dolly grips don't know the ins and outs and specs of every dolly that exists. There is no substitute for hands on experience, but it may be a good idea to get your hands on some reading material about various dollies, that way you'll be able to know the basic differences between not only a Fisher 10, 11, a Pewee, and a Hustler, but also the Sidewinder, Eagle, Hawk, Falcon (Shotmaker) and others. You don't have to be an expert on everything out there (pushing a dolly is basically pushing a dolly), and you probably won't have that kind of choice once on set, but it looks good if you know whats available, and to add your input should the opportunity present itself.

And I don't know anyone who owns their own skateboard wheels, unless they somehow own their own dolly package.
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#6 robert duke

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:07 PM

As usual, great answer Robert. The only thing I'd disagree with (and Joshua mentioned it too) are the expendables like powders and sprays. IMO, you shouldn't spend ANY money on things like this -- sure, if you are on a super low budget, and want to help them out, you can give them some of your own Pledge or whatever, and cut that $2.50 from their budget. But generally, on larger shoots, multiple cans and bottles of all these expendables are pretty much standard and waiting in the truck.

And Joshua, you didn't mention which dolly you taught yourself EVERYTHING about. Remember, there are many MANY types of dollies out there. Even good professional dolly grips don't know the ins and outs and specs of every dolly that exists. There is no substitute for hands on experience, but it may be a good idea to get your hands on some reading material about various dollies, that way you'll be able to know the basic differences between not only a Fisher 10, 11, a Pewee, and a Hustler, but also the Sidewinder, Eagle, Hawk, Falcon (Shotmaker) and others. You don't have to be an expert on everything out there (pushing a dolly is basically pushing a dolly), and you probably won't have that kind of choice once on set, but it looks good if you know whats available, and to add your input should the opportunity present itself.

And I don't know anyone who owns their own skateboard wheels, unless they somehow own their own dolly package.

I own my own skate wheels as do may dolly grips do, Some dolly grips i work with even own their own track, dance floor, and plywood.
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#7 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:15 PM

wow, i've never encountered that before. Interesting, and thank you for the info. But do you charge a kit rental for that? It would seem like these items (along with your speedrail kit, car mounts, slider, etc) would count towards more of a rental, rather than just the gear that one would bring along on any shoot. Or do the wheels come standard with you and your knife :) ?

cheers,
Dan
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#8 robert duke

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:31 PM

wow, i've never encountered that before. Interesting, and thank you for the info. But do you charge a kit rental for that? It would seem like these items (along with your speedrail kit, car mounts, slider, etc) would count towards more of a rental, rather than just the gear that one would bring along on any shoot. Or do the wheels come standard with you and your knife :) ?

cheers,
Dan


It depends on the production and my relationship to the producer. I cut a lot of discounts on some shows and hold to my guns on others. Having them allows you to make your life easier when production cant afford them or forgets to include them. It also allows you to control what has occured to the wheels. On low budgets they frequently go for the low bid on gear. Rental skates ( save for the fisher skates) can and usually see little upkeep. By owning your own they allow you to never have to apologize for a bad set of wheels. I have also take to throwing doorway dollies up on my skate wheels on low budgets because it is faster than switching to hot buttons. On the last feature I was working with a Key who insisted I use his instead of mine.
there are several models of skate trays out there and love my modern skate wheels but am curious about the Losmandy porta glides.

Owning your own set of wheels makes it so you have some more control about how much you make. Kit rentals make you more. Some productions dont offer kit rentals for things like that. It is up to you to decide if is worth the investment. having skatewheels also brands you as a DOLLY grip rather than just a grip.

you are right about spending personal money on expendible items. It has been the case several times that I have sold a can of pledge to production when theirs ran out. Have those items on hand makes you faster than waiting for the PA to go get more.
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#9 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 03:39 PM

speaking of Losmandy, have you ever used their flextrack? seems cool....
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#10 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 04:52 PM

While on the subject of speed wheels, I bought a set of the Portaglides from Portajib last year after getting sick of flat spots over the years (Moderns, Willy's, blah blah blah)and researching them. I've used them on several jobs since and they give the best ride I've ever seen. They have different size wheels distributed on their swing arms and this eliminates the flat spots. I've had operators and dolly sit for as long as half an hour in one spot and no flat spots. Robert is right, things like speed wheels and track are better to own yourself and rent to production if you can because you know what you're getting. To get back to the original question- over time you'll realize the same things you use over and over and add and subtract things over time. Things like 2" c-clamps for extra security on some rigging, 3/8 camera bolts etc. Generally, at the beginning of a job, tell the best boy what you need in the way of expendables or special orders and he'll pick them up while he's shopping, although I don't know if you would do that in England.
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#11 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 05:05 PM

[
-Joshua Bluth
[/quote]
Joshua,
I also have a blog at dollygrip.blogspot.com run by myself and a dolly grip from Toronto that is all about dollygripping. It has tips, tricks, dolly reviews etc.
D
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#12 David Rakoczy

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:13 PM

(pushing a dolly is basically pushing a dolly)...


mmmm not really. Pushing/ Pulling is one thing... and there are crew who can't get that right. Add a Boom rise to a shot then Track left and Boom down... and hit another 4 - 6 additional Move and Booms in the same take and that separates the boys from the Dolly Operators.

A previous Poster was right on. As Dolly Grip you are a Camera Operator. No doubt.

Good Luck! I did it for years in Hollywood and loved being close to the Action/ Camera. You learn a tremendous amount keeping aware and listening to the DP, 1st AC, 1st AD , Gaffer and Key and sometimes the Director. Almost all technical Lighting and Blocking discussions take place on or around the Dolly and you are right there to soak it up... Lighting Ratios, Stops, Filters... Coverage of the Scene, on and on... even stuff you don't want to hear or even know about! How awesome is that?. If this is something you love it is fantastic. You will work for it though...

Placing Dolly Grip on a business card is a great start. Identify yourself. Then you will have to prove to the Key Grip and DP you can do it and do it. Pretty much you will get all your gigs thru the DP, Key and Best Boy so as a previous Poster wrote get out there and Grip.. just plain Grip and migrate into that world located at the center of the vortex called CAMERA! I used to go out for free all the time and shlep Sand Bags for Keys, BBs and other Grips that knew I would go and I'll tell you I did not get paid but I sure did get to work a LOT! I did the same with Electric crews. It wasn't long before these guys were confident in my abilities and had me on payroll. I did the same thing (later)
moving from Gaffer to DP... I shot a ton Free! Lots of Shorts, Music Videos, Spec Spots and even full blown 4 week features. Every move up involved my getting out there and proving myself first before folks would pay me to do the job. That's ok. If it were easy everyone would be doing it....ooops wait... they are!... all the more of a reason.

Enjoy each day!

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA

Edited by David Rakoczy, 05 January 2008 - 06:17 PM.

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#13 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:28 PM

[quote name='David Rakoczy' date='Jan 5 2008, 03:13 PM' post='211874']
(pushing a dolly is basically pushing a dolly)...


mmmm not really. Pushing/ Pulling is one thing... and there are crew who can't get that right. Add a Boom rise to a shot then Track left and Boom down... and hit another 4 - 6 additional Move and Booms in the same take and that separates the boys from the Dolly Operators.

It's also important to learn what each dolly can and can't do and which will work best in what situation. In feature and series world you will work mostly with Chapman and Fisher (in England you might see the Panther more often too) Arm capacities, weight, maneuverability etc are all important to know, as well as getting to know an arm well enough to know if you're happy with it or not. Great post David, I enjoy the way you write.
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#14 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:56 PM

I should clarify my last post following up Davids. David's post was:
"mmmm not really. Pushing/ Pulling is one thing... and there are crew who can't get that right. Add a Boom rise to a shot then Track left and Boom down... and hit another 4 - 6 additional Move and Booms in the same take and that separates the boys from the Dolly Operators. "

It was unclear who said what....my fault.
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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 05:26 PM

Hi Darryl,

Thanks for commenting on the post. Thank you even more for sharing your Dolly Blog. That is too cool. Your partner posted my write up on my Colortran Dolly. I have shared your Blog with my Grip Crew and they think it IS the Definitive Site for Camera Movement! btw... those Track Jacks ROCK!!!!!

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA

Edited by David Rakoczy, 06 January 2008 - 05:27 PM.

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#16 David Rakoczy

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 05:49 PM

Josh,

Besides the additional things Darryl aptly explained, the one thing that has not be emphasized is the Setting of Flags. When you become proficient at Operating a Dolly [and] Setting Flags, you will then be an asset to any Lighting/ Grip Team. As Dolly Grip it will be expected of you to Set any Flags near Camera.. esp. any Lensers.... and if you are Setting them lefty-Loosey or just plain wacky you will not be in demand no matter how good a Dolly Grip you are. That is why it is important to just get out there and Grip, Grip, Grip... in any capacity.

All the Best!

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP (ex Dolly Grip)
USA.
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#17 Joshua bluth

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 07:37 PM

Goodness... I haven't been here in a few weeks. Thank you all for the replies. Much appreciated.

As usual, great answer Robert. The only thing I'd disagree with (and Joshua mentioned it too) are the expendables like powders and sprays. IMO, you shouldn't spend ANY money on things like this -- sure, if you are on a super low budget, and want to help them out, you can give them some of your own Pledge or whatever, and cut that $2.50 from their budget. But generally, on larger shoots, multiple cans and bottles of all these expendables are pretty much standard and waiting in the truck.

And Joshua, you didn't mention which dolly you taught yourself EVERYTHING about. Remember, there are many MANY types of dollies out there. Even good professional dolly grips don't know the ins and outs and specs of every dolly that exists. There is no substitute for hands on experience, but it may be a good idea to get your hands on some reading material about various dollies, that way you'll be able to know the basic differences between not only a Fisher 10, 11, a Pewee, and a Hustler, but also the Sidewinder, Eagle, Hawk, Falcon (Shotmaker) and others. You don't have to be an expert on everything out there (pushing a dolly is basically pushing a dolly), and you probably won't have that kind of choice once on set, but it looks good if you know whats available, and to add your input should the opportunity present itself.

And I don't know anyone who owns their own skateboard wheels, unless they somehow own their own dolly package.


When I said, "I taught myself everything" i meant "everything I know". Which isn't much, I'll be the first to admit. The point I was trying to make was that I never had the opportunity of being a learner of a proper Key Grip. It was me, basically, sending my CV/Resume's to local productions claiming I new what I was doing, then figured everything out when I got there. *shrugs shoulders* Pretty bold I know, but it was the only way I could learn.

And like Robert Duke suggests, what I really need is more experience. The problem is finding it. Both Mandy and Talent Circle UK aren't reliable enough, I send out CV's all the time through them and I never ever hear back from anyone.

(God, I feel like such a whiner... :P)

In any bag, if anyone here knows of where I could find some good work (websites/people/etc.), I'd appreciate the help.

[
-Joshua Bluth

Joshua,
I also have a blog at dollygrip.blogspot.com run by myself and a dolly grip from Toronto that is all about dollygripping. It has tips, tricks, dolly reviews etc.
D


Oh hey! what a coincidence... I just discovered your blog like a month ago. that's pretty funny you say this... You've got some good information on there man, I visit the site everyday to see what you've posted.

And again, thanks to all of you who replied. You've helped a lot and I appreciate the time you've given.

-josh bluth
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#18 Jess Haas

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 08:27 PM

speaking of Losmandy, have you ever used their flextrack? seems cool....

Based on my admittedly limited experience with it I would have to say that it is rather useless stuff. I just don't find flexible to be a quality I normally want in track. Anywhere you could use it dancefloor would probably be easier and perform better.

~Jess
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#19 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 08:43 PM

I would agree with Jess, depending on what you're doing. If you're doing video/ run and gun stuff with Losmandy's Spider dolly or whatever they call it, it's probably fine. They will tell you that other dollies don't work well on it. For features etc. I would say no.
For what it's designed for, based on my experience with their Portaglide speed wheels which has been fantastic, it probably works fine.
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#20 michael maley

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:30 PM

I have a verry nice 30" slider I want to sell

Let me know
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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