Tight budgets are common these days. But the demand for high production values hasn't fallen with a drop in funds. So how do you achieve a slick looking series of shots without breaking the bank? Hire a portable dolly or a portable jib for only ?40 a day.
One way to make your production look like Martin Scorsese was on location is to hire Martin Scorsese. But if you had that kind of money you wouldn't be reading this. Instead, consider using a portable dolly with track. They don't take up much more space than a tripod, they weigh less than ten kilos and the cameraman can easily use one without assistance.
The most common models are the Digidolly, the Wally Dolly and the Hollywood Microdolly. The first two are made in Australia and the third is made, as the name implies, in the U.S. Different cameramen have their preferences and you can call us to discuss the merits of each. The Digidolly is becoming the most popular. Below are a few details on all three models.
Australian-made lightweight portable track and dolly system that can be set up on location within minutes. The dolly takes a tripod and it also has a low-level Hi-hat mount. The Digidolly comes with 3.6 metres of aluminium track and its construction allows for smooth movement.
The US-made Microdolly kit weighs only 4.5 kg and fits into a soft case only 86 cm long. The dolly takes a tripod and comes with four metres of track. The kit can be set up within minutes and can handle up to 45 kg of camera gear.
Australian-made lightweight (8 kg) track and dolly kit. The dolly takes a tripod and comes with three metres of aluminium track. The kit can be set up within minutes.
So you've got the dolly, what'll it do for you? Use it for presenter links to add nice, smooth movement that takes it several notches above a handheld shot. Use it for interviews to give your interview a different, more interesting look. Use it for exteriors and interiors of buildings and homes. Use it to shoot performances. The list goes on and if used well the impact can be strong and you will have raised the production value of your shoot dramatically for an extra 40 quid and for only a little more time.
Like portable dollies, portable jibs can be used by a cameraman without an assistant. They need weights so taking them on a job abroad and incurring hefty excess baggage costs makes them impractical for that purpose but if you're using a standard crew van they're easily managed. We carry two models. If you've used them a few times, you can set them up within five minutes.
The Eazy-Jib can be mounted on a standard tripod with a 100mm bowl and enables a cameraman to do interesting camera movements almost anywhere. The Eazy-Jib has an adjustable arm length that can be set between 720 and 1600 mm (2 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 2 inches). It weighs 14 kg (31 lb) and can handle a payload of 18 kg (40 lb).
A portable jib arm that can be mounted onto a tripod with a 100mm bowl. The Quadrajib 2654 weighs 14 kg and can handle a payload of 19 kg.
How can you use a portable jib? Again, you can make presenter links look far better than they will off the shoulder or from a fixed tripod. You can use them to bring any otherwise static subject to life. For shots around a garden, property exteriors and interiors, the list can go on. The result is the same as with portable dollies. The 40 pounds you spend will add many times that in production value.
Last Week's Lyrics
You may remember last month's lyrics question: who wrote "even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." That was easy but hardly anyone got the answer right. It was Bob Dylan. This week's is a little tougher. But the writer had profound impact on the music business. "I've never seen a night so long, as time goes crawling by."
If you have any questions or comments please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next month, happy shooting.
Cal Barton - Procam Television
Units 3 & 4
Linford Street Business Estate
Tel: (+44) 20 7622 9888
Fax: (+44) 20 7498 1580