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Fast Dolly Moves


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#1 Alex Donkle

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:33 PM

Just finished my first well crewed short film (3 days, RED ONE, 10 man crew, awesome experience) and during one shot I wanted to have the camera dolly 8ft. around a character as fast as possible. We were shooting on a Fisher 11 dolly and my dolly grip basically explained that between the weight of the dolly, the 1st AC, and DP riding, it was pretty damn hard to get a fast start/stop. And having another person helping push wasn't possible since then you'd have the dolly twisting on the track if there weren't 100% in sync.

We did it a few times and I was satisfied, but just for future knowledge, what's the ideal way to pull off very fast dolly moves when you need two people riding with the camera on the dolly. (Thinking of the fast moves in a lot of Scorsese movies specifically, or does he just have body builders for dolly grips?)
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:41 PM

You just start needing more grips. I've been riding pulling focus when 4 grips were needed to start and stop the dolly. As I understand, it's easier with 4 rather than 2 because everyone's slight differences will average each other out.
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#3 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:33 PM

Hi Alex,
There are several ways to do a really fast move. 2 people pushing is not at all a problem, as long as you have a system going. On the movie "The Darjeeling Limited" I had several dolly moves that ranged from 250ft to 310 ft. Most of them were really fast, flat out moves tracking with actors chasing cars, taxis and trains. We had a Fisher 10 with 3 people on board - DoP, Focus Puller and Director. I was pushing along with one of my best boy grips. It worked great. We needed 4 people to stop the dolly though. 2 of them were on "parachutes" - ropes tied from the dolly to speed rail handles. take a look

http://www.thegripwo...darjeeling.html

If you want to go a lot faster than you can run there are ways to do that as well. If you dont have access to motordrive track, or a captive track dolly , you can use a regular dolly on track, remote head and focus, and rope the dolly through pulleys to have a mechanical disadvantage (more speed for less distance) Run the rope to a Quad / ATV and use it to accelerate the dolly. Mark a spot to stop the Quad so you dont pull the dolly off track. Use a bungee decellerator or a cable fan descender to stop the dolly depending on the weight of the dolly.

Hope that helps
Regards

Sanjay Sami
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#4 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:21 PM

Try to get a more stable dolly like a Hustler or Fisher 10. Keep the AC off the dolly (Preston etc) if you can, and, as the others say, get a couple guys to help. I've had as many as 4 guys pushing one dolly with a couple to help stop. Circles on track are harder, especially with a small dolly like the 11 because it will be more likely to tip or twist.
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#5 Onno Perdijk

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 03:23 PM

Hello All,

The idea of Sanjay of roping and pulleys to let the dolly move this fast has been working for me quite often.

When doing A move this fast around a person I would suggest to line-up the shot in this way that there is no need for an operator on the dolly.

If we go on higher speeds around a person I prefer to use a rotating platform (or similar) since you do not want to run the dolly of track going fast on a curved-track. The seat-swifflesupport from MSE can do a lot of good work. When you go bigger; the huge bearing which is used for trailers of lorries can do the job as well.

High speed straight tracking? get in touch with a broadcastcompany doing sports! They now their bussiness very well, depending on the payload of the camera.

Good Luck

Onno

Edited by Onno Perdijk, 16 October 2008 - 03:23 PM.

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#6 Michele Peterson

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 05:58 PM

The type of moves and speed of the moves is very important information when choosing which dolly to rent.

Edited by Michele Peterson, 16 October 2008 - 05:58 PM.

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#7 Zander Kroon

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 11:40 AM

http://www.thegripwo...darjeeling.html

The sites appears to be down.
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#8 Alex Donkle

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 02:24 PM

The type of moves and speed of the moves is very important information when choosing which dolly to rent.


Just curious, but in pre-pro when working out all the gear that's needed, who should actually be the one to make the call about what dolly would be the best choice? Is that part of a DPs job to know?
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#9 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:29 PM

As a DP, you should be familiar with the dollies, but talk it over with your key grip and dolly grip. Most dolly grips have a machine that they prefer and are comfortable with. Trying to force one to use one he isn't as familiar with can result in problems as he gets reaquainted with it. Most Dps leave it up to the key and dolly grips to know which machine is best for a particular job.
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FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly