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Dolly Track: Round to Square?


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#1 Daryn Williams

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 11:44 AM

Long time lurker :ph34r: , first time poster :unsure: ...
Preface: I work at the University of North Texas as the Equipment Room Supervisor, and while I've been around the block, there is a crap-ton I don't know, hence my long time lurking...

To the question:
We recently bought an Elemack Cricket dolly, 3 sections of 8' straight track and 4 sections of 8' 45deg curve (180deg total)... All of the track was the Panavision/MSE round tube and it works great... Here in the Metroplex, there are several rental houses where I we can get support for most everything..

We recently had a student who wanted to do a full 360deg shot, so I called our friends, and noone has round tube curved track for one reason or the other...They all have square tube track...

I have looked at all of the measurements, and it looks like I could get away with using the square tube... Clearance, width, height... All look good based on schematics/measurements that I've found/made (using our dolly, Uva's "The Grip Book" and some internet stuff)...

Is there something I'm missing?
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#2 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 12:28 PM

I have looked at all of the measurements, and it looks like I could get away with using the square tube... Clearance, width, height... All look good based on schematics/measurements that I've found/made (using our dolly, Uva's "The Grip Book" and some internet stuff)...

Is there something I'm missing?
[/quote]

Hi Daryn,
If I understand correctly, you plan to run an elemack cricket on fisher square track? Do you plan to rest the studio wheels on the track? If so, what prevents the dolly from falling right off the track immediately? Especially on curved track? Without Fishers irritating drop down bogie wheels to prevent derailment , I cannot imagine how your dolly will stay up.

Maybe I understood you wrong.

Sanjay Sami
www.thegripworks.com
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#3 Daryn Williams

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 03:51 PM

If I understand correctly, you plan to run an elemack cricket on fisher square track? Do you plan to rest the studio wheels on the track? If so, what prevents the dolly from falling right off the track immediately? Especially on curved track? Without Fishers irritating drop down bogie wheels to prevent derailment , I cannot imagine how your dolly will stay up.


It seems like the track would ride on the idler wheel inbetween the studio wheels (Elemack calls them combined wheels)... I do have a set of these big monster heavy steel things (bogie wheels?) that have two sets of wheels that you can replace the studio wheels with. They are absolutely made for square tube, but it looks like they are made for straight track and not curved... I don't know how they would articulate with their long wheelbase...
I'll try and get some stills which come in under the 100K mark and upload them if you need to see the heavy wheels...

Basically that is the question...Will the dolly just fall off?

Unfortunately it is out on another shoot until tomorrow, and their project starts shooting Thursday evening... Nothing like waiting until the last minute...Students, what are you going to do?
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#4 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 02:58 AM

[quote name='Daryn Williams' date='Feb 24 2010, 03:21 AM' post='316685']
It seems like the track would ride on the idler wheel inbetween the studio wheels (Elemack calls them combined wheels)...

Hi Daryn,
Its been about 16/17 years since I saw an Elemack Cricket. As far as I know the Combi wheels have a curvature in them, which means they need round profile tube to run on. I think you will risk derailing the dolly and damaging the track wheels by running them on curved square profile track.
Maybe do the move as a dancefloor setup? Draw the circumferance of the circle and do it straight on the floor? I am not sure if the Cricket does only crab mode this will not be practical.
Your bogie wheels sound like they will not run on curves. send us pictures of the dolly wheels, of your track and of the bogie wheels.

Regards

Sanjay Sami
www.thegripworks.com
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#5 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 03:13 PM

Sanjay's right. Round peg / square hole. The square track from Fisher is pretty well-represented in your area, Daryn. Unless the rental houses can provide you with a skateboard wheel sled specifically made for square curved track, or you can use a Fisher dolly on the rails, you won't be happy with the Elemack on it's wheels designed for round track. Shameless plug: Fisher does make round track of course, and we now have a very tight radius circle (4 90° sections). Maybe one of the places there would like to get some of our round stuff?

I'll be at the NAB in April, by the way If any other readers make it out, come see me at the J. L. Fisher booth.

Wick Hempleman
J. L. Fisher GmbH
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#6 Daryn Williams

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 05:43 PM

Maybe do the move as a dancefloor setup? Draw the circumferance of the circle and do it straight on the floor? I am not sure if the Cricket does only crab mode this will not be practical.


It would make sense to do a dancefloor, but they were inbetween storage units at an older facility with a pretty sharp grade away from the doors to the center of the drive...Being students, they didn't have the time, money nor knowledge to build the dancefloor for the one shot... The Cricket does do crab or two wheel steering, so they couldn't do a circumference scribe...


The square track from Fisher is pretty well-represented in your area, Daryn. Unless the rental houses can provide you with a skateboard wheel sled specifically made for square curved track, or you can use a Fisher dolly on the rails, you won't be happy with the Elemack on it's wheels designed for round track.


I spoke with a company that we rent from quite frequently, and they have a Cricket, but have several Fishers that they rent out more frequently...When we bought the Cricket, I was under the impression that the curved track could be found much more easily...

We can't get a Fisher because of rental cost... We were given some money by the University which we used to purchase a good bit of equipment including the Cricket... I've been very happy with it, and our students are learning the basics of dolly moves and how to set up track, which prepares them for the next level...


They ended up doing a doorway dolly wagon drag around the actor, and the camera op just did their best....They also have coverage so if it looks like crap (which it might) they can cut around it...You know students, each shot is a masterpiece, and they have to do the shot that they dreamed up or saw on some film that has no motivation what so ever, but hey they got to get it.... ;)
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#7 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 02:09 PM

...You know students, each shot is a masterpiece, and they have to do the shot that they dreamed up or saw on some film that has no motivation what so ever, but hey they got to get it.... ;)


The one thing I have learnt as I finish my second decade in this business:

Student today .... My boss tomorrow.

Many students that I have held workshops for in their final year of Cinematography school have gone on to become DP's and have hired me on jobs :D
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#8 Daryn Williams

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 05:26 PM

The one thing I have learnt as I finish my second decade in this business:

Student today .... My boss tomorrow.

Many students that I have held workshops for in their final year of Cinematography school have gone on to become DP's and have hired me on jobs :D


Absolutely true... I've been in the same situation where former students have given me a few jobs...

What I meant was, sometimes students are stubborn as hell, and instead of listening to the advice of others or finding a different shot/s which would acheive the same effect, they bullishly plow on regardless of the consequences... I understand that they need to learn, but I would think they might could learn by a bit of research instead of mistakes...It seems like they make more and more mistakes... As educators at this level, by the time they get to that point, we just have to be supportive, and supress the overwhelming urge to scream at the top of our lungs "I TOLD YOU SO!!!!" :P
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