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Jib + Dolly straight down move.


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#1 Josh Henderson

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 06:29 PM

Hi everyone, I've been asked to find out the right way (cheap not necessary) to do this shot.

The shot is in a restaurant, and it dollies straight down the entire length while looking straight down over the patrons' tables. There can be absolutely no play/wiggle on the arm. The camera is a 35mm Arriflex (don't know the specific model).

The best setup I've been able to talk out with the DP is a jib attached to the boom arm of the dolly and a L bracket to mount the camera facing straight down while the dolly travels on track off camera. We have access to a Fischer 11 and a FilmAir jib, but we've found the boom arm on the Fischer to be wobbly.

Would using a wider lens be enough to make it work even if wobbly?
Should we go get a different, more stable dolly/jib combination?
Would a dance floor work in this situation?
Would adding a gyro head of some sort work in this situation?

And just to reiterate: absolutely no wiggle should be seen in the shot.

I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance.

-Josh
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#2 robert duke

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:00 PM

Wider lenses and faster frame rate can help if you cannot get it any other way. Look at the solid grip system, you could mount a single over head trolly and shoot using a weaver- steadman. That would eliminate the jib movement.

The fisher 11 is not designed to take the weight of the filmair jib. That is part of the problem. There is the fisher center mount which is designed to put a jib on the 11. to raise the jib over the table use risers on the center mount. The dolly would need to ride on track using wheel trays in stead of the fisher 11 wheels. the rubber wheels are too soft to add a jib to the dolly and be safe.

I think you could do it with the fisher 11 and the filmair.

I think for rock solid something like the Doggicam slider or the solid grip system trolly would be more in line with what you want.
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#3 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:57 PM

Nice stuff, SGS. Thanks for the info, Mr. Duke. But they are Amsterdam-based; do you know of any places in NYC that rent their stuff?
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:34 AM

How high does the camera need to be? If it doesn't need to be too high then you could try a Ubangi. If you don't need the arm for height or any on the fly adjustments then you're better off without it if you want the shot to be rock solid. But first you need to get a bigger dolly. A Fisher 10 should do the trick.
The other option would be to get a SuperTechno50 Crane. I think it would work nicely for this shot unless the shot travels too far.
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#5 robert duke

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:56 AM

Contact Onno, he posts here quite often and might be able to tell you who in NYC has one. Also Modern studio used to make a similar system. Since you are in NYC contact Jimmy McMillan, JMAC. He has all kinds of specialty rigging gear. He probably has something that would work.
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#6 David Erlichman

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 10:37 AM

Josh;

You have a couple options here in Toronto. If you have the budget (and the space in the restaurant), the Techno 50 is the more versatile (be sure to use a stabilized head - Stab C, or Stab Scorpio as we don't have a Libra here and I highly doubt you'd want to spring for it on a daily. The head will eat up any "arm chatter" on longer lenses).

Another option if there's time to play is to hit up Studio City Scaffolding. Talk to Andre. Find out if there's a "Mitchell plate" traveller that can be run on the underside of an Alumabeam. The longest Alumabeam they have is 30' (custom job as the standard longest length is 24') that way you have the longest travel without joints. Another source for the traveller is either David Harcourt, or LairdFX; either could whip one up in no time. Rig the Alumabeam in the roof or off scaffold at either end. Then it's a couple of ropes to pull it along. Once again, a remote head would be advantageous.

Laying track and using a Ubangi or jib arm is doable, however you'll find that any rigging you do will make any imperfections in the track worse as it has a whipping / fishpole effect
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#7 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 04:23 PM

Are you in a location or on a stage? Remember that any flown or ground based truss system will use up a lot of space from the actual ceiling height before you even start accounting for the camera lens' distance from the table. Truss will typically take 50 cm, and the track and dolly / sled could be that nuch again. A remote head will make a lot of things easier. Be sure to have one that you can build very compact, and make sure the ACs also strip down the camera (smaller mag if possible, small or no matte box, no barn doors). For example, with Egripment's hot Head, you can remove riser sections. The Aluma Beam is a good system - we used that once for a curling broadcast. Of course, once you put up truss you're really locked in to one axis. The electricians may want to take advantage of all the hanging points a ground truss system will provide. The set will have to be dressed to the track.

A jib arm setup will let you stay flexible, and as several guys pointed out, depending on the lens and frame rate, can look very good. Bracing the arm will of course add more stability. You may want to consider putting the dolly and track on platforms, so that the actors on the dolly side of the table don't have to squeeze under the arm as it goes by.
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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:44 PM

The problem with the original question is that he doesn't say how high the camera needs to be or what will actually be in frame. Does the frame hold all the people sitting at the tables? Is it mostly about what's on the plates and the people are just dressing?
There is some good advice here, but a lot of it depends on the specifics of the shot.
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#9 Onno Perdijk

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 04:36 PM

Hello all,

My TrussDollySystem is designed for shots like this! Altough the original posting does not mention heights and other dimensions my system could deal with most of them. With regards of losing height by using truss or other riggings as Warwick mentioned; my system can take an offside payload of 35 kg on a off-side-arm of a foot which gives you the ability to slide te camera with its mag up to the ceiling. (see the quicktime on my website

enough self-promoting.

Unfortunally there has been no sales with the US yet, still awaiting and some leads coming up!

I agree with Brad that all mentioned option are ok and it all depends on the specs of the shot.

Good luck,

Onno Perdijk,
Key Grip and parttime manufacturer.
Amsterdam, Holland
www.solidgripsystems.eu
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#10 Josh Henderson

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:32 PM

Thank you to everyone who has responded.

To answer questions from members:

Location or Stage? We're on location, in a restaurant.
Frame? Enough to get the width of the table, so I suppose the people are a sort of dressing. I believe that it is a row of 2-4 person rectangular tables.
We're in Toronto, not New York.

First off, the truss dolly looks like it is the best option. I spoke with the DP and he agrees with me on that. However, I don't know if we'll be able to get truss up in the space. I also like the option of flexibility with the dolly + jib + head, and I'm confident that both would work for what has been asked. Consequently, I'm going to still consider both the truss dolly and dolly + jib + head for the meantime. Hopefully I'll be able to scout the location before the end of the month (everything so far has been described to me).

I might even be able to post pics.

Thanks again,

-Josh
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#11 Josh Henderson

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 12:47 AM

Well we completed the shot and everything went off without a hitch.

Whites gave some questionable advice and both the DP and myself looked at the weight ratings and asked a second time if everything would be alright (they said it would) and after a third prompting, Whites realized that it wouldn't work in their suggested manner (a Filmair meerkat or similar with a remote head and an Arri 35BL3) Then some things were sorted out, and dropped the remote head from the list.

The final setup was:

- Hotdog Dolly on standard straight filmair track (from Whites)
- AeroCrane with 4' of extension arm (the rest was used on other shots but there was a bulkhead) (Whites)
- Ronford F7 2 axis head
- Preston Wireless follow focus (from DJ Woods)
- Video Tap (from Complete Film Rental as was the rest of the camera package)
- I think we were on a 25mm lens

It was a bit of a tight fit because of the heating/cooling bulkhead and the length of the backarm, but we worked it out. The actor just had to contort/cheat a bit to get into the shot.

The DP has told me that he and the director like the finished shot. Job done. Well except for reshoots (but that's other scenes).

-Josh

Edited by Josh Henderson, 28 March 2008 - 12:47 AM.

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#12 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:46 AM

Josh,

Thanks for the follow-up. Sounds like you hit on a very sensible and flexible solution.
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