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Old May 30th, 2005, 07:55 PM   #1
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Need a cheap dolly? Try WheelchairCam!

Just thought I would share my ultra low budget idea for dolly shots that we used on my latest movie HUNTING CAMP. You don't even need track, just a wheelchair and a navigator! he he

Pictures:
http://www.the-lyons-den.com/hunting.../IMG_0880A.htm

http://www.the-lyons-den.com/hunting.../IMG_0880B.htm
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:01 PM   #2
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Great idea. Useful only on pristine surfaces like an indoor parkade without any surface treatment or traction aid ... but the camera is still handheld ... sort of a contradiction of a dolly setup ...
But it will provide for a cool "how'd they do that" behind the scenes website blog set 'o photos.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:11 PM   #3
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All true Jimmy!

But it was a very low budget production that we didn't want to look low budget (on screen) as much as possible. "Dolly" by definition or not it got the job done. For less smooth surfaces I just used the wheelchair or handheld shots in conjunction with a free plug-in for PPro 1.5 and it smoothed them out perfectly.

On one shot in particular (you can see a bit of it in the HC trailer) people always ask afterwards if we had some sort of crane or stabilizer mount to pull off its "smoothness" and I can say with a smile that I just handheld it. Indies can be done on "zero" $ and still look good!
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #4
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Agreed.
Here's a never before shared secret. That SteadyMove plugin you referred to, I recently used in a video (intentionally being vague here) for the largest of it's category business on all 5 continents with sales in the 10s of billions.
Ya do what works. Clients love value and great looking scenes. That's my credo.
Keep your ingenutity engine running! It'll take you places!
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Old May 30th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #5
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he he, that's awesome Jimmy! yes SteadyMove that's the same one.

Sometimes its great, sometimes its no help, but you're right - you do what works!
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Old May 30th, 2005, 10:38 PM   #6
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I am a big fan of the wheel chair too!

http://sunens.uqac.ca/~jparchib/Albu.../photo_13.html

http://sunens.uqac.ca/~jparchib/Albu.../photo_14.html

http://sunens.uqac.ca/~jparchib/Albu.../photo_38.html

http://sunens.uqac.ca/~jparchib/Albu.../photo_39.html

Also a big fan of low budget productions! :)
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Last edited by Jean-Philippe Archibald; June 1st, 2005 at 08:10 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 10:44 PM   #7
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The wheel chair idea is tried and true and anything but new. It was used on "The French Connection" combined with a handheld camera in lieu of a dolly or dolly track with tremendous results.

RB
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Old May 30th, 2005, 11:02 PM   #8
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Jean-Philippe,

Wow, you went a tripod-combo as well! Looks like you don't have it strapped down in any of those pics, that's some skill! Manuevering around that restaurant scene looks pretty tricky...

Rick,

Cool to hear they used one in The French Connection! I by no means thought I invented using a wheelchair, I just thought I would bring light to it for any unknowing filmmakers that aren't at the stage where they have the $ for all that dolly equipment.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:44 AM   #9
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I'd like to take credit for the wheel chair also but I have to defer to my dad who was the camera operator on the film and came up with the idea while shooting in the bar as Popeye Doyle rousted everyone. http://www.rbravo.com/the_french_connection.htm

Friedkin has a very nice tribute to him in "A Decade Under the Influence", a documentary on the impact of 70s film making! He talks about the wheel chair in the film. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0342275/

Regards, RB.
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Old June 30th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #10
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Modified Wheelchair

Has anybody tried modifying a wheelchair to provide a smoother ride -- like replacing the wheels/tires with bicycle or similar wheels/tires?
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Old July 1st, 2005, 05:09 PM   #11
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I used a wheelchair for some scenes for my end project for school too.
And for my new movie, I needed fast travels, too fast for a wheelchair, so I tried - and it's a tip for everybody, because with the stabilisator on the camera it can give you very good results! - sit in the car of a supermarket. or put your tripod in the supermarket-car and rooooooole baby.
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Old July 2nd, 2005, 05:27 PM   #12
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If you have a baby jogging stroller these could probably do a pretty good job if you can mount a tripod in it. The BOB strollers http://www.bobtrailers.com/ have shocks in the rear wheels, and the tires are air inflated. These would be a good choice for a dirt road or path. I would recommend adding some weight to the stroller so that it doesn't bounce so easily.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 01:07 AM   #13
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Using a wheelchair goes waay back, and it can still work well. Used by Godard in Breathless (1960). I wouldn't be surprised if there were some even earlier examples.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #14
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Didn't the brother Lumiere, the ones who first came with film, use it for one of their 11 short movies? I thought I saw a documentary a while ago where new filmmakers had to make a little movie, the same as the 11 the brothers Lumiere made, with - watch this - the SAME camera. That's right, that piece of antique. It was a pretty funny documentary.
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