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Process Trailers


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#1 Brian Yankou

Brian Yankou

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  • Bronx, NY

Posted 30 June 2011 - 01:19 AM

Hi everybody!

I'm going to be gripping on an indie feature that will be using a process trailer for traveling car shots. I've worked with hood mounts and the like but this will be my first time dealing with a process trailer. What are some of the basic things I have to know in regards to rigging, safety, etc? What extra equipment (clamps, speed rail, ratchet straps, etc.) should we have on hand? Is there a basic rig configuration that you'd recommend as a starting point? I'm sure a lot of you have a lot of pictures of stuff you've done on trailers too.

Our preproduction meeting isn't until tomorrow so I don't have a lot of details about the trailer itself or what we'll be working with but since I wasn't able to find a thread on this subject, maybe the discussion can start off with more general advice and then I can ask about specifics for this job a bit later.

Thanks!
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#2 John David Miller

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 03:12 PM

Camera cars(CC) and process trailers(PT) are fun but dangerous.

I work with several DPs who are quite particular about several things in working on a PT. Unviversally, they all want the PT with the lowest ground clearance, a PT operator (CC driver) who is seasoned, and as little parallax between the car and camera as possible.

Usually when a CC/PT shows up to set the first thing I have the guys do is get the carts close. I build and rig a 8x8 frame with a ultrabounce (black down) over the CC for shade and glare. Tape a Furnipad across the level where the director/DP will be sitting. Have a few full apples for yourself, 1st AC, Gaffer. 1st AC will usually want a monitor rigged so a short arm and head, a 5/8 baby pin with 1/4" male stud should do the trick. Next is a getting a hero crate together that will ride with you. This should have a tape roll, scrap muslin, duvetyne, sash, cardellinis, #1&2 handclamps, a few chainvise grips, screwgun and bag(with grip chain), extra battery, heads and arms, lens flag, a few different flavors of diffusion/ND based on your situation.

Lighting is pretty straight forward. Use the pipe and fittings to put lights where they want them. Dont be afraid to ask the CC Op what he has to get a light in a tough place. Let him know you a new to this piece of equipment and ask him to pull you to the side if see's something wrong. Don't let ego get somebody hurt. Use pipe or head and arms to brace the lights and any diffusion frames you put up. Use diffusion frames that are tightly skinned to reduce noise.

Getting the picture car on the trailer should be happening ASAP. Once it is landed, use appleboxes and wedges to block up the car at all four tires. Once this is done have the Op strap down the car. This will minimize the parallax (the car bounces independently of the trailer). Any lighting done with stands on the PT should be chained down once set. Dolly track should be screwed down, level track relative to the car. You will be on uneven road remember. Have harnesses for those who want them. Ask the Op how many people can ride and let the 1st AD know. Pretty basic stuff. Do a walk around to look for loose gear before you head out.

Good luck!
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