Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reason #28 Of Why I Refuse To Do Condor Duty On Low Budget Shoots...

It's nighttime and we're getting our condor into place for the upcoming shots. The residential street we're on has a slight slope to it, and as the Gaffer kept instructing the operator to keep going forward, I could tell the guy up in the bucket was getting concerned about how (un)level this heavy piece of machinery was getting. Finally, the Gaffer was happy with the placement of the base and was ready for the arm to start booming up.

"Hold on a sec," came the operator's voice over the walkie. "Can someone on the ground double check to see whether or not I need some cribbing*?"

Another co-worker and I mill around the bottom. Granted, he is on a slope, but it wasn't a very noticeable one and we both decided that while it probably wasn't necessary based on where the basket was going to be, it couldn't hurt to have them.

"Well, better safe than sorry is what I always say," called the Gaffer after hearing our prognosis. "Hey Best Boy, can you get some cribbing out to the condor?"

The Best Boy, who was standing next to me, copied his boss' call over the walkie and then proceeded to grumble. "Ugh... I miss [his usual condor guy]."

I actually happen to prefer working with my current colleague instead, so I asked him why.

"Because," he replied, "he complained less."

Um... What??

I couldn't believe what I had just heard. The guy who was about to go 60ft up in the air in something the size of a bathtub was asking a simple question concerning his safety, and the Best Boy interpreted it as whining.


*For those who are unfamiliar, by rolling onto them, the cribbing creates a level surface and safer operating environment for the condor. I've also heard them referred to as "leveling blocks".


Michael Taylor said...

The last time I went up in a condor, it was one that had seen extensive use by a painting crew -- and thus all the control indicators were buried under multiple coats of overspray. Unless you run a condor all the time (and I seldom do these days), one's familiarity with the controls and indicators -- which vary from one condor to the next -- fades, requiring a re-boot every time. With all that paint obscuring the controls, running that beast became a guessing game -- and it's not much fun trying to make adjustments to keep the gaffer happy while flying blind, at night, sixty feet up in the air...

Niall said...

Yeah sounds like that best boy hasn't had a scary ride in a lift yet. When he's nearly gotten kicked put of a bucket or had a rig get precariously placed he won't get it. Most people don't.

chris said...

Really, if you were with a competent grip crew the levelers should have been standing by the condor's base and the machine should have been leveled before the electrician even had a chance to "complain" about it

A.J. said...

Michael - I loathe using condors that the painters have used for that same reason. That, and for some reason, they seem more beat up than the average condor.

Niall - That may be true. The view from the ground seems "safer" than the one in the air.

chris - Let's just say it wasn't that kind of show...

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