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#1 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 01:05 AM

I am gaffing a shoot at the end of the month and the DP is now requesting that we put the larger units (18K and 6K HMI pars) on condors for better mobility and height. Ive never worked with them and was wondering where I should go for information. And who is responsible for the rig - is this something that I should be taking care of or is that more for the Key grip to handle?
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#2 Andrew Rawson

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 01:41 AM

Call John O'Malley at 24/7 Studio Rentals in Burbank at (818) 840-8247.
I've known John for years since his days at NES and Rebel and he is one of the main guys that has been renting condors in the LA area. At least you know then that you will get a nice new unit that only works on motion picture jobs and not construction jobs where they get trashed.
As far as your question is concerned, you as the gaffer are responsible ultimately for the safety of whatever rig you put on there. The key grip should rig the basket for you, either with candlesticks or a condor mount chain vise gripped to the rails and the heads safetied with strong webbing. You also need to know how to cable the arm correctly with your head feeders. These days in LA if you are working a union job you need to be certified to fly the condor and all electricians have to go through safety training classes to not only fly but rig and drive the condor. You are also now required to have leveling blocks if you are even slightly off level.
These are all good things because you are dealing with a lot of elements and the potential for someone getting hurt certainly exists.
Not to state the obvious but also watch out for power lines, high voltage electricity can arc 25' so stay at least that far away from them.
If you don't feel comfortable with all this hire someone who is and has experience, also talk to John O'Malley he's been doing this a long time and can be invaluable.
I don't mean to scare with you this post but it's serious business putting somebody up 80' in the air with a lot of amperage flowing.
Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.
Andy
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#3 edward read

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 07:19 PM

Condors are used frequently in professional film and t.v.. If, however, you havn't used them before DO NOT do so without, at the very least, getting certified by a supplier like Pride Equipment or similar. Once you do then you will realize that everything that we do with them is outside of the manufacturer's instructions. Except wearing the safety belts.

I don't think someone who hasn't used them before should employ them with out having someone who's done it before rig them. Period. No matter what the DP says he's done or the producer or whatever. Find someone who has rigged them before and learn from them.

However...better to have the correct information than none at all is my way of thinking.

Here are the pertinent points:

Grips drive condors. Grips rig positions on condors. Electricians place lights and rig with cable. Electricians go in the bucket to great heights and stay there all night peeing in bottles and wishing they'd rigged a better position for themselves. Radios are required to operate.

There is a 500# load limit!!!. After that the hydrolic stops will blow and the unit will shut down its move. For instance the bucket might not self level as it comes down. This can require subsequent underwear changes for the operator and is never pleasant to deal with. Its hell on the shooting schedule too and might require the calling of adults (like the fire department with their ladder truck)

Heads go on condors. Ballasts DO NOT. Add 2 50' head cables and rig them along the arm. Add a piece of 3 wire banded from the ground and a snake bite with lunch pail for heater/110v power. The cables should be ratchet strapped to the top of the first arm (boom arm) in two places until the 1st extension point and then sufficient cable should be looped between extension points to the basket. Sufficient to extend the arm all the way out. Leave a sufficiant hanging loop for the little jib arm at the end to go up and pan around. Strain relief this cable to the bucket. Use 1/4" manilla, not sash cord. the feeder/header then comes of the back joint of the boom and goes to the ground.

Stay the hell away from ALL overhead cables. ALL. I believe the general rule of thumb is 10' for every 10,000 volts. figure a minimum of 25'.

When you get in the basket put on the safety belt and CLIP IN!!! When you are 80' out and panning or booming the whip motion can be sudden, especially if you hit a hydrolic stop or hit the wrong switch in the middle of the move. Gravity ALLWAYS works!

I usually wrap a tarp around the bucket and put rubber mat along the bottom. Add a sound blanket and an apple box and a reading light (1k par works o.k. as heater and reading light)

If you see lightning, COME DOWN! no exceptions.

Check in on the grip forum they might have stuff I missed.

Don't let the DP talk you into a position that you feel uncomfortable with!!!
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#4 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 08:07 PM

Actually, the electricians usually spend more time rigging a lift than the grips, because they have to run the cables up the arm. If don't have the experience doing it, don't try it. Either hire a rigging gaffer who knows what he's doing, or tell them it's beyond the scope of the production.

Edited by Jon Rosenbloom, 11 April 2008 - 08:07 PM.

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