Hands-on demonstration of a Panavision Genesis on a
geared Panahead and a Fisher 10 dolly on skate wheels

Last Saturday 17, J.L Fisher hosted their 4th Annual Outdoor Mixer & BBQ Lunch in association with the Society of Camera Operators SOC, the International Cinematographers Guild ICG, and the American Society of Cinematographers ASC, under a cloudless blue ski and a fantastic weather. The event is held in the outdoor and indoor facilities of JL Fisher, the legendary manufacturer of motion picture and television equipment located in Burbank, California. The event consists in the participation of outdoor exhibitors presenting the latest in motion picture equipment and the anticipated panel “The Moving Camera Operation Seminar” hosted by the ASC , SOC, IGC & IATSE Local 80.

David Mahlman, SOC, (left) introduced the Panel discussion to the inquisitive audience. The focus was the working relationship between the Cinematographer, Camera Operator, 1st AC, Key Grip and Dolly Grip when using dollies and jib arms. George Spiro Dibie, ASC (center) moderated the panel addressing the questions to the guest speakers. Among the speakers were (left to right) David Frederick SOC, Buddy Fries SOC, Michael Scott SOC, Bob Gorelick SOC, Bob Hall SOC, Bill Bennett ASC, Lloyd Moriarty IATSE 80, Don M. Morgan ASC, Daniel Pearl ASC, Michael Goi ASC, Michael Negrin ASC, Richard Crudo ASC, Kees Van Oostrum ASC, Russell Nordstedt and Donald Hubbell IATSE Local 8o.

JL Fisher is the perfect venue to host such event not only because of the enormous size of their facilities and the hands-on demonstration of their dollies, boom arms and jibs, but also for the eye-to-detail displayed by their employees while explaining to the visitors the different types of camera and sound movement equipment. From their famous “Fisher 10” to the door crawler “Spyder” to their massive “Quattro” Pedestal for EFP Television production to their brand new Pipe Tracks and Articulated Skate Wheels, JL Fisher dollies allow the Dolly Grip to push or pull the camera from the starting mark to the ending mark effortlessly.

David Mahlmann, SOC and George Spiro Dibbie, ASC

Another decisive factor for the proven success of the annual gathering is the copious amounts of gourmet food and drinks JL Fisher cater through the day. Upon my arrival, I darted to the catering truck and food tent for a hefty breakfast of orange juice, spinach and ham omelet with all the trimmings prepared by a “above the line” short order cook. After I had satisfied my obsession for a good Saturday’s brunch, I went around visiting and talking with some of the many exhibitors and vendors in the already packed parking lot. Among them were, BandPro (J.Cree, SOC), Arri, Birns & Sawyer (Mike Rogers), Panavision (Richard Amadril), Innovision Optics, (Mark Centowsky) Doggy Cam (Gary Thieltges), JVC (with the new GY-HM700UXT, Greg Gorman), Filmtools and others.

Larry Parker, Tarin & Richard Crudo, ASC

Don M. Morgan, ASC and C. Lamb

The show was a pack house and by noontime was filled with all kinds of folks from the motion picture industry or not. From my count, I spoke with a couple of feature film producers, several directors, a sizable number of working camera operators and cinematographers (DoP), focus pullers, grips, sound operators, a couple script supervisors, several equipment buyers and also many film students getting educated with the impressive hands-on array of professional cameras, lenses, moving dollies, many sizes of cranes, motion control equipment, HMI, tungsten, fluorescent and LED lighting equipment, grip accessories and all kind of expendables for sale at discounted prices.

When I come here, I feel like a kid at the county fair or toy store and my adrenaline rushes up while tinkering with these “movie making toys” on display in this gigantic sandbox. After I stop daydreaming, I eyeball every piece of outstanding piece of equipment on display to index it in my brain using my mental photographic prowess for future use or field reference. Usually, I cannot afford any of this stuff, even if is on sale, so window shopping is my only option.

David Mahlmann, SOC Event Chairman
and Georgia Packard, SOC

Michael Negrin, ASC aswering questions

Bill Bennett, ASC and a guest
After visiting old friends and making new ones for the video portion of this article, I found myself in the food line again. By this time is lunchtime and I devour a juicy rib eye steak with all the trimmings, washing it down with a couple of chilled St. Pauli Girl beers. Pretty good, eh.. Then, it suddenly occured to me, it pays in one way or another to work behind the camera.

Mike Scott, SOC making a point

Loyd Moriarty, IATSE Local 800 and Darryl Humber

Dan Kneece, SOC President and guests

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