Archive for the 'Grip' Category


GF Primo Dolly

Pixipixel are going up in the world!


gf promo dolly.jpg

Yesterday I was attempting to hide from work in our camera arch here at Pixipixel Hoxton, when I was distracted by an air of excitement amongst our camera technicians. They were all gathered round something that to me looked like a cross between a NASA Luna rover and one of the Wacky Races cars so I feigned interest and joined the crowd. I’m glad I did because I got introduced to our new GFM Primo Dolly and very nice it is too.


My initial assessment stands; the Primo Dolly would not look out of place on an interstellar mission or racing against Dick Dastardly but having witnessed its built in ejector seat perhaps Mr Bond would be a more suitable user.


I’ve had a bit of a play and done some research and the GFM Primo is one very nice dolly indeed. With all the features you would expect from a top of the line cinematic dolly and a few extra surprises like its ejector seat, let me tell you a little about it.


I will start with steering, the Primo has 3 steering modes, front or rear wheel steering or crab (this is where all 4 wheels turn for sideways movement or turning on the spot etc.) I love crab steering and got used to it on telehandlers in Australia, let’s just say it makes doing doughnuts in a 12 tone forklift easy. To facilitate all these methods of steering a telescopic and inclining steering rod is provided and can be used in four different positions depending on the application. A fifth steering position from the center of the dolly is also available.

You can of course fit the skateboard wheels and then it will run along tracks making steering a tad redundant.


Equipped with a multi function turnstile and adapters to allow for a wide range of seating and camera positioning, for example it can handle two cameras and to operators at the same time, or I am told 4 seats, this could be useful come lunch time.


Rather nicely our GFM jibs will attach easily to the Primo making a perfect combination for those complex shots.


The platform is a solid affair and able to support even the most rotund of crew and has more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese, some of these are plain and some threaded to allow for numerous options for mounting various adaptors, light stands, monitor mounts and so on.


We have also purchased the optional multifunctional low platform that opens up a swage of options from varying the platform height or increasing the platform size to attaching scaffold tubes for almost unlimited rigging options.


But the really good bit has to be the ejector seat, the whole center column is electro mechanical and telescopic giving an adjustable height range from 70cm, (27”) to 140cm (54”) and that’s with the crew and kit riding on it. Ok so it’s not really an ejector seat but it can go from bottom to top in 2.5 seconds if required.

This movement can be limited with start stop positions programmed in and adjustable ramp speeds (how fast or slow it comes to a stop, necessary if you don’t want to spill your coffee) Also these movements can be saved and repeated for CGI applications and so on.


As the movement is electro mechanical it does require batteries but GFM have thought this through well too, with a simple plug and play battery solution, the batteries literally just hook onto the side of the column and are ready to go, you could swap them over in the blink of the eye.


One final and rather nice feature is the remote control. All the center column functions are controlled by a hand held remote control unit (this comes with a hard wired option too just in case)


I will stop there as the technical details are best explained by GFM or one of our technicians, so if you have any questions please give us a call.


I have to admit I’m exceedingly impressed with the Primo, its one amazing bit of kit and I know you are going to love using it. My Brucie coolness rating is off the scale on this one at least an eleven out of ten in my book. Now if I could just drive it to work it would be perfect….




Day 7 of Brucie Bloggers Christmas Wish List



Day seven, so today’s just didn’t quite make it to the top three.

Today’s is in fact one of the more reasonably priced gifts so far, but that doesn’t make it any less wanted and in fact this is one I would get more use out of than most and if all else fails I could always go hunt some giant marsupial rabbits or the odd giant flightless bird with it and I’m talking Cassowaries not Emus because they are more vicious and bigger.


4          Boomerang Flash Bracket

Boomerang Flash Bracket




The diabolical jumper today is this little beauty I wonder if this is where the alien stomach scene originated??


cs2 (1).jpg

2nd runner up tomorrow

Cheers BB


KOTW- Boomerang Bracket

Warning to all Shoreditch kangaroos to keep your heads down.


Pixipixel have armed ourselves with a boomerang!

In fact our Boomerang is designed for shooting not throwing and far from keeping your head down it actually keeps it up!

Made by Pro Media Gear the BBS Flash Bracket or “Boomerang” is a wonderfully trick looking bit of CNC’d aluminium liberally adorned with titanium bits and bobs, precision bearings and all that sort of stuff. i give it a 10 out of 10 for coolness in looks alone. but where it really stands out is in use.


Designed to do a simple job but to do it well and to do it time and time again without letting you down, I would say that Pro Media Gear have a winner in this product.

So what is it for if not knocking out the odd marsupial giant rabbit? Well put simply it is designed to hold a speedlite above your camera whilst shooting in landscape or portrait orientation and hence eliminate unwanted shadows.


This is often an issue for event photography as having the speedlite on the camera hot shoe whilst changing shooting orientation has the effect of changing the flash position from above the lens to beside the lens and hence changing the look from one photograph to the next.


The Boomerang allows you to rotate the flash around the centre axis of the lens and keep it positioned above the camera no matter what way you decide to frame your shot.

Yes it has been done before but never with such quality and attention to detail, everything on this beauty works and works well, it does exactly what you want and it does it time and time again without fail.

Combine it with an off camera flash cord and a speedlite and off you go to that event, weighing in at a trifling 14 oz it won’t weigh you down and with a simple squeeze of the trigger to change orientation it won’t slow you down either.  Compatible with most of the larger camera bodies, or bodies with battery grips attached. It is perfect for the pro shooters of events, weddings and so on .


Also this unit is an ideal companion for our Profoto B2 250 flash kits.boomerangg1


KOTW-Fisher Dolly 10

KOTW-Fisher Dolly

Ok so as un-cool as it is I must admit to liking Christmas. Now don’t get me wrong you can stick the shopping, countdown, visits to the outlaws and the infernal carols in your hat, as far as I’m concerned but the unnecessary drinking, extravagant food and partying are right up my street, so bring it on.

I particularly like the arrival of my favourite sweets from child hood, that suddenly make a comeback in supermarkets at this time of the year.  You just try and buy a bag of Jelly Tots in July and see how you get on.

So in my normal somewhat obtuse manner that brings me to my little girl’s favourite “Dolly Mixture” and how it appears to be Toby’s favourite too.

The difference is size, Freya’s Dolly Mix comes in a tube and Toby’s comes in a truck! Oh and yes Toby’s is somewhat more expensive and a lot less chewy.

Right, so if the Christmas reference hasn’t stopped you reading yet? Ok I’ll get to the point. We have just taken delivery of a shiny new Fisher 10 Dolly to complement our Fisher 11 and create our very own Dolly Mixture (Stop groaning I know its an awful link but you try writing a blog that doesn’t put people to sleep!!!)

Fisher 10

The Fisher 10 and its smaller brother the 11 are without doubt the industry standard in camera dollys, Fisher have been making them for many years and the industry has fully taken them to heart, think of any movie made in the last twenty or so years and you can bet a Fisher dolly was used in its production at some point.

Yes other manufacturers make some jolly nice dollys and we have a good selection of them too but the Fisher really is the go to product for most big shoots.

I have seen these dollys on set for years but never really had a good look at one and I must say they really are one hell of a bit of kit. I’m not going to bore you with a full run through of the features as I’m sure any of you who know of the Fisher probably know more about them than I do anyway, but below are a few highlights.

Fisher describe these as Hydraulic lift dollys because they have a hydraulically powered lift arm for those heavy cameras, The 10 will lift 227Kg to 160cm and the 10 will lift 91Kg to 130cm. What’s more they will hold it up there and not complain about aching arms.

Total load capacities of 544 and 408 Kg for the 10 and 11 respectively means that everyone on set can go for a ride.

Both have a single lever positive locking break system for those hand-break turns.

A self contained guide system features on both models to keep you on track.

With a Mitchel mount 4 way adjustable leveling head that has full 360-degree rotation you should be able to find the right angle for whatever you are shooting.

Padded seats and carpet covered standing areas to keep your feet and bottom comfy and warm. Both are standard on the 10 and 11.

fisher10 seat fisher 10_3

The ability to be charged from any power source from 90 – 240 volts and super fast times for charging the hydraulics (as little as 3 minutes) means that they wont slow you down.

Both come with more accessories than Barbie and can be configured to the particular requirements of the shoot.


Here are a couple of links to the brochures from Fisher if you want some more tech specs.

Just one more observation from me and that’s about the steering system. Both have 4 modes of steering, rear, round, crab and narrow giving you many options for movement from turning on the spot to going sideways in fact the only option its missing is a super-market trolley mode for when you want it to go in any direction EXCEPT the one you want.


Oh and cool? Yes they are super cool, a full 10 out of 10 even if you are just using them as the worlds most expensive office chair.


For the record I prefer Jelly Tots to Dolly Mixture!

One last question for you lot.

What’s the difference between a Fisher dolly and a giraffe?

A Fisher dolly has hydraulics and a giraffe has high B……………

Cheers BB


KOTW-Mitchell PE Ladder Pod

Mitchell PE Ladder Pod

What do you get if you cross a tripod and a ladder? You get a ladder pod that’s what.


I thought I knew just about every way of getting high (misspent youth say no more) but the ladder pod is a new one on me I must admit.

Basically a ladder pod is a tripod on steroids that you can climb up. In place of the tripod legs three small extension ladders are used and they are securely bolted to a central platform with a euro boss fitting that will accept various attachments and in turn your camera. Now I’m not talking about a DSLR here I’m talking full on motion equipment.

Don’t worry about the euro boss fitting we have all sorts of converters to moy etc so just let us know what you need.

Once set up the Ladder pod provides a very sturdy and stable platform from which to shoot (or umpire the tennis, trim your hedge, hang yourself etc etc)

Now you could go hire a scissor lift or a cherry picker but they wobble (believe me I know) and more to the point they wont fit in the van and cost an arm and a leg. So the ladder pod is often your best answer when requiring a high point of view.


Our one has a height range of 8 – 14 ft that’s 2.4 – 4.2 m ish and comes with an additional “step” that clips onto any of the ladders giving you a secure platform to stand on. Also a set of “webbing spreaders” is included to stop the ladders from spreading too far apart.


My contact at Mitchell Precision Engineering informs me that his product has a load weight of 80 kg and that each ladder is rated to 130 kg SWL so even the most “robust” camera operator will be ok perch atop it.

That’s probably all there is to say about it, I think its pretty self-explanatory if you have a look at the picture. I also think it’s a very cool and incredibly useful bit of kit for those “going up in the world”

So if you ever have a need to get high (altitude) then give our ladder pod a go.

Below you will see some images of Lawrence, the head of our camera department “testing” our ladder pod. Now not many people know this but Lawrence is actually the official Pixipixel test pilot / crash test dummy so he is used to danger but on this occasion we also had to use Tom as ballast to fully recreate a realistic scenario. I am pleased to announce that both made it back to earth safely despite numerous calls for them to “jump” coming from the office.

DSC_0592 DSC_0591

Now in the pursuit of fun, I am accepting dare-devil requests for Lawrence (Evil Knivel) Hart to undertake on behalf of Pixipixel, ideas can include but are not limited to.DSC_0593

Leaping from a moving Fisher Dolly, licking the end of a hyper-juice battery, asking Paul an open-ended question or anything similar. Entries on the back of an envelope please to

Pixipixel Stunt Man

Arch 371 Geffrye St


E2 8HZ

Cheers BB


KOTD Special -Matthews Magic Finger

Matthews Magic FingerMagic finger

Ok so until last week I had never heard of this bit of grip equipment and I must say it made my week when I heard about it.

One of my favorite things in this crazy industry of ours is the names that some of the equipment has and this one just takes the biscuit.

Ok so I’m a soon to be 47 smutty schoolboy at heart but you have to admit it’s a great name and it knocks the Honker Bonker off of the top spot in my book.

So skillfully avoiding any references to siting a blonde or red head on Matthews magic finger (oops perhaps I just failed in that) I’m going to give you the low down on this magnificently named and very useful gizmo.

Matthews Studio Equipment MSE say that this is one of the most popular grip accessories of all time, it must be something about the name I guess.

Basically it’s a 5/8” pin atop a lockable ball joint.

This allows for full 360deg rotation and a pivot range of -15 – +90deg so you can get that blonde angled just how you like (sorry cant resist.) everything is locked in place with one leaver.


The base of the magic finger has an internal bore to fit onto a 5/8th inch (16mm) pin.

That’s about it before I get into trouble, but just so you know I now have a new ambition and that is to hire out a Blonde, magic finger, honker bonker and long john silver combo. If that ever happens I may die laughing.

Oh and 10 out of 10 for coolness rating for the name alone, no lets go Spinal Tap on this one 11 out of 10 because its useful too.

Somewhat disappointingly the Ops boys call this a 16 -16 swivel spigot, Boring!

Have a great weekend Peeps!


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