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My Colortran Dolly


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#1 David Rakoczy

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 05:07 PM

Five years ago I left Los Angeles and settled in a small town on the east coast. When I arrived I began networking with the local production guys and ran into a videographer who said he had a Dolly in his shed. He asked me if I wanted to buy it. Sure- I said as that was one piece of equipment I never imagined owning but could put to good use. So I went to look at this thing. I was an old Colortran Dolly. Rusted and neglected there it sat. Upon further examination I found it uses CO2 tanks to operate the Boom. He said $250 and it is yours, the Dolly and three Tanks. I grabbed one of the spare tanks and had it filled with fresh CO2 and went back to his place to see if the Boom still worked. We connected the tank, hit the Boom Up Lever and sure as heck the Boom rose smooth as silk. I turned to him and offered $300 if he would deliver it to my garage. Three hours later it was mine!

I spent the next week sanding, sprayed the chassis Pee Wee Gray and gave it a full detail. It was now in great shape but was lacking a Leveling Head and needed a new Seat as the old HUGE leather one was hideous. Chapman of Hollywood was kind enough to sell me a Pee Wee Leveling Head as well as a new Pee Wee Seat. Now it was KILLER! Fully detailed and operational... but, It has Front, Rear and Crab Steering and the Steering mechanism would not stay in any gear and needed to be firmly held in place when steering which made it not so fun for a Dolly Grip... but what the heck... it is a cool Dolly and it is all I have so we used it until about a month ago on our last shoot when the Dolly was unloaded from the truck there was a conspicuous oil puddle under the Dolly. They brought it to the Set and sure enough the Boom would not operate. Frickn great I thought. Now I own an expensive Prop! Sure the Dolly itself was cheap but that Leveling Head was not and I had tons of hours invested in sanding, painting and detailing... now what?.

My Dolly Grip who also does Special Effects offered to have a go at its repair so I let him take it. I got the Dolly back yesterday FULLY OPERATIONAL.. yes the Steering Mechanism was adjusted, all Co2 & Hydraulic lines replaced, new CO2 Tank connector and unbelievebly the Boom and all Pistons etc.. received new O Rings!

Now for the first time this Dolly is in its Original Working Order! Ya baby! I can not tell you how happy I am to have this Dolly back and in the condition it is in. It works fantastic! It is perfect as a Set Dolly and I use my American Door Way Dolly with Skateboard Wheels and Cadillac Track for any regular Dolly/ Track type moves... but the Colortran is perfect for the Set/ Studio!

I am writing this as there has got to be other folks who have one of these Dollies sitting collecting dust because the Boom or Steering is out of order..but alas! There is hope. If you or someone you know owns one and wants it serviced please do not hesitate to contact me off list and I will get you in contact with my Dolly Grip/ Mechanic.

Listmums, I know that posting for business is not allowed and if you see this post as against any rules please let me know. I just know there has got to be a bunch of these sitting idle and neglected and thought if its owner(s) had someone they could turn to to have their Dolly revived they would really appreciate it.

There is a pic of the Dolly at my website/ Demo Reel/ Behind the Scenes video.

David (Blessed to own my own Dolly) Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA
www.EmeraldCoastFilmworks.com
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#2 Craig Meadows

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 10:28 PM

Dave, that dolly was and is beastly heavy! :)
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 04:46 PM

275lbs is not THAT heavy. Two guys can easily lift it in and out of a pick up Truck. When you are used to dealing with Pee Wees and Fisher 11s the Colortran is a piece of cake!

Glad to see you are a member Craig :-)

Ladies & Gentlemen.. allow me to introduce Craig Meadows... the gentleman who was so kind as to allow me to purchase his Colortran Dolly.

Thanks Craig!

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 05:31 PM

275lbs is not THAT heavy. Two guys can easily lift it in and out of a pick up Truck.

This is getting to the ragged edge of safety. In the old days there was a little dolly called an Elemack, and we'd always get four guys to lift it -- one on each handle.



-- J.S.
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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:38 PM

This is getting to the ragged edge of safety. In the old days there was a little dolly called an Elemack, and we'd always get four guys to lift it -- one on each handle.



-- J.S.


Hi John,

I had a pair of Lifting Bars made for it and it really is a cinch. I am 44 years old... not some eager beaver.. well I used to be, but not any more, and me + one can easily Load & Unload from a pick up truck... tho I usually rent a Penske Truck with a Lift Gate.

btw.. an Elemack can not compete with this Dolly on any level.

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA
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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:51 PM

On second thought I may have quoted the weight incorrectly. I got the 275lb. from this article:

http://books.google....Zhd13qBElgWApFk

But honestly, it felt more like 200 or 225lbs... they (in the article) may be quoting the total weight with everything on it, but once you remove the Seat Assembly, Sideboards as well as the BOOM WEIGHT (50lbs) it is very very manageable.

That makes much more sense. You are right John.. I am not THAT strong!

I have (properly) attached a photo.

David Rakoczy
Dir/ DP
USA
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 04:41 PM

That's a pretty slick little dolly, and you certainly can't beat the price!
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#8 Matt Kelly

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 08:36 PM

Oh man!  Finally someone else with that dolly!  The "film" school I went to, VCU, has one of these sitting around in a classroom.  The transmission got amazingly stuck, it wouldn't boom up/down, and the fluid head they had on it was a joke.. so no one ever used it.   I decided one day to take it upon myself to just take the whole thing apart and see what could or couldn't be easily fixed.  I searched everywhere for a manual but could only find a full page ad for it in a '79 or so issue of AC.

It has a lot of design flaws in the whole steering mode shifting mechanism, and the way gear tension is adjusted is the strangest half-ass thing i've ever seen.  BUT it's really really lightweight (for a hydraulic dolly), it collapses down to about 6 inches tall, and is perfectly capable of some good smooth movements.  I ended up fixing it, but never found anything to replace the sheath around the boom shaft.  The original one was completely deteriorated.  Kinda want to go back and make them offer... it's probably still taking up space.

Your's has a much different looking shaft though.. is that a low-mode version?
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#9 David Rakoczy

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:11 AM

Your's has a much different looking shaft though.. is that a low-mode version?
[/quote]


It isn't a Low Mode version... it has much more of a Boom Range than what is stated in that article. It goes from 25 inches to at least 6 ft. It really Booms high now that the Hydraulic Arm has been rebuilt and the proper amount of Fluid has been added. The Steering Mechanism was pretty easy to adjust and operates great now. All in All I have $5,000 USD and a lot of elbow grease invested in it. Well worth it. You should make an offer... get one while you can :-)

The Hydraulic Post easily removes along with the Push Bar/ Steering Assembly so you can have a low profile Platform say for a Hi Hat.

it is basically a Pee Wee without the Round-d-round / Track ability. It is extremely SOLID... I just need to make a pair of Skateboard Troughs for it.

In the meantime I use an American Doorway/ Skateboard Wheel & Cadillac Track combo.
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Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets