Yesterday to our great delight, Tony Dean of RED Rad introduced us to veteran key grip — Peter Reynolds — the mastermind behind their RAD Cam. Peter showed us his light-weight aluminum fabricated towers which can suspend the rig overhead in no time to fly a camera affordably. He also offered us use of his privately owned Italian-made crab dolly to subrent on our truck! Read below for more details about his amazing hydraulic dolly. The deluxe model with beer holders is coming soon…. We’ve coined it the term, Reynolds Peewee dolly. This is a well machined Italian version of the American Peewee dolly, not to be confused with a cheap asian knock-off. In fact, this is the only one of it’s kind in Canada. Peter has done a nice job restoring it and it comes in sexy matte Black finish, with plush italian leather. That might be an exaggeration, but smoothness of the arm is not. In fact, the Italian Peewee dolly arm movement is much better then an actual Peewee crab dolly. We tried it ourselves and agreed. Once the workhorse of Peter Reynolds fleet of grip trucks, the Italian crab dolly has been reconditioned like new to serve again. Thanks to him you don’t need to pay the standard $600/day for a hydraulic crab dolly. You can have a smooth hydraulic arm in a compact, full featured dolly; for less. For those not familiar with the hydraulic crab dolly — like everything American — they are a carefully controlled commodity which is only available by lease and never to own, by two manufacturers: Chapman-Leonard who makes the Peewee, Hustler, and Hybrid dolly, and J.L Fischer who makes the Fischer 11, Fischer 10. These two giants control a monopoly. They only build so many units, so there is no supply, and it creates a demand. No one can own the dolly so there is no way to discount it. Even the rental house has to pay a lease to Chapman or Fischer every month for the privilege of renting the crab dolly to its customers. The design of the hydraulic crab dolly dates back to World War II. Originally manufactured to load bombs into airplanes, are these dolly’s really manufactured by Lockheed-Martin for Hollywood? It’s a conspiracy theory in the making. Years ago an Italian company reverse engineered the Peewee dolly, rebuilt it with standardized machined parts for mass distribution, and outfitted it with a better hydraulic system. Chapman sued the shit out of them and banned sales in North America, crippling thier revenue and sending them out of business before they could establish a mass-production line and bring the hydraulic crab dolly to people like you and I. Fortunately Peter Reynolds bought one of these units in their prime and brings the Italian crab dolly back to us now! In fact, TALCO can pre-load the Reynolds Peewee dolly on our truck today!
As the SAG situation and economy combine to create a slow start to the new year for us in Vancouver, we look towards our next projects…Any takers? At the moment we are passing our time collaborating with Brant McIlroy and Martin Testa of the innovative Brant FX company (their website is being redesigned) on a unique animatronic project completely unlike the last film we met them on over a year ago. A photo to the left shows a taste from the past as TALCO illuminates a large night exterior using a condor flying above a rural landscape supported by fog and rain towers by the effects duo, BrantFX. They created the rain somehow without a pump truck because this was a docu-drama, not a big budget feature and the show could not afford the $3000 it would have cost to have a pump truck. They couldn’t afford a pair of 40′ trailers either with seperate grips and electrics. That’s where we came in with a carefully planned, minimal set of subrentals and our basic 5-ton package truck. Together Trounce Alley Lighting Company and BrantFX created a big budget hollywood look on a docu-drama budget. In fact, we were able to work out an arrangement to have our truck for 2 months of interviews preceding this shoot. This allowed us to push a new standard forward as far as what cinematically could be done in the confines of a docu-drama structure. We like Brant and Martin because they have the same “can-do” attitude as us. They can literally take on any challenge no matter how immense — and pull it off for relative peanuts compared to a large studio. Like us, they have built a truck for the motion picture industry and they have the equipment and knowledge to create anything out of electronics, chemicals, metals — you name it — they’ve done it — their workshop is something straight out of Ironman. Personally we’ve seen them cut steel like butter, use explosives, build circuit boards, weld, and experiment with rare mineral oils, all to the blaring sound of heavy metal on their studio’s sound system! Of even more potential: the studio space BrantFX owns — when teamed up with TALCO the possibilities are endless! Whether its music videos, commercials, or anything that needs special effects and lighting — together we raise eyebrows for a fraction of a cost of the big studio outfits! We can provide everything from 20’x20′ green screens to a camera dolly and gib arm — your complete lighting and grip needs. They can provide the studio, animatronics, and effects. Good things are in the future. Who’s going to be the first to bring us together and create million dollar results for relative pennies? We’ll keep you posted as this latest collaboration develops.
In an effort to gain more clients we are in the process of developing our website into a blog format. This will allow us to have more fun with the site and post announcements, tidbits of media surrounding our projects, or other press releases. The world of internet technology is changing so rapidly that we have turned to open source web-publishing software to keep us afloat. Our platform of choice is the widely established WordPress project which gained popularity over Movable Type when the later temporarily revoked its public licenses in an attempt to go fully private. In the spirit of independent filmmakers we choose to go with the purest project because the two are comparable in features.
We have taken on projects with first time filmmakers & academy award winning directors alike, on all size productions ranging from self-funded “passion projects” and music videos, to high-end commercials and feature length films supported by investors and distribution.
Working with an LA based production company and cinematographer Mark Richie, TALCO meets Nickelback and creates lighting for a Walmart Soundcheck exclusive video. The artist performed 5 songs and conducted an interview for their new album release, “Dark Horse”. You can see the lighting (and a recognizable TALCO technician or two in the background) in the following Soundcheck interview video: [media id=16] If you’d like to get a glimpse of the performances, heres the recording of the song “Animals” by Nickelback for Walmart Soundcheck: [media id=15]
TALCO is more then capable of organizing a large scale production with circus, generators, pre-rigging crews, condors, cable trucks, and the works. All you need to do is rent a gennie and/or a slush truck with supplemental distro, oversized lights and grip gear from a rental house using our truck as a base of tools, expendables, and expertise. In many cases you can avoid, or minimize an expensive prep day. We have a working relationship with William F. White International Commercials Division and can arrange to sub-rent larger equipment as needed. Our experience with the rental company ensures that we get exactly what we need at the best price possible for your production. By building our relationship through the commercials department we are able to get personal attention and bypass the hierarchy and b$ of the features world while maintaining full access to the equipment we need and the support we trust. Our base truck package makes sub rentals easier because we already have many of the stands and support items. This means less equipment for the rental house to pull off their shelves, and less prep for us — equals more savings for you. It provides flexibility within budgets all around. When you contract TALCO for your large scale productions, we bring business to the rentals houses in the form of subrentals — keeping everything in it’s natural order. You will not incur wrath by trying to bypass the established houses because they operate on different levels from us, and we actually work together with them. They provide the large equipment we need, and we provide the expertise and skill to create the production value the producers want. The more we can help the producers attain their vision, the larger the productions they can do in the future, and the more we go back to the rental houses for even larger equipment. This integrated concept allows us all to grow larger together. TALCO has an excellent truck package and a versatile set of equipment, but we cannot provide and maintain on our own the thousands and millions of dollars worth of equipment required for a large scale production. This is where the rental houses make their money. For smaller shows sometimes it costs so much just to have the rental houses pull the orders, and for producers to arrange for pickups, inventory, and returns — that many times the rental house will prefer you to go with TALCO and rent only the few extra things you need from them. When you contract us you are gaining our skills, crew, expendables, and simplifying your prep time. It is a win-win situation. Having our truck on set provides confidence for us to improvise and handle any situation we encounter on set. All too often does a production stumble when it finds it is missing something obvious that is overlooked. Many times a producer wont even be aware of the shortcoming because every department improvises the best it can. But it comes at a cost in speed and efficiency. We can count on our truck and the knowledge of our tools without having to waste time with less. As a result our department runs smoother and faster so you get your shot list with time to spare. Lets go big together — it is within your reach — and we have the support of the industry behind us! All you need is OUR truck and some big DREAMS!
Taking a streamlined approach from the commercials world and utilizing small crews of highy skilled technicians we combine lighting and gripping as the Europeans do, allowing us to create the hollywood result in North America at a fraction of the expense and without the usual bloated heirarchy, accounting, and other complications of a typical oversized hollywood production. Production managers know first-hand how much easier it is to work with TALCO and a preloaded truck then a typical lighting department and grip department, each with their own inventory lists that require prep days, transport, etc. In most cases we can accomplish with one gaffer, one best boy, and a small truck what would normally take a whole transport crew, 40′ trailers, and multiple departments and keys to organize. Producers understand immedetiatly that these savings translate directly into increased production value for every dollar spent. My favorite film “City of the Lost Children” (La Cité des enfants perdus) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, for example, could not have been made in a Hollywood style. The director explains his budget was so tight that his cheif lighting technician brought in a construction crane for a shot where they needed, but could not afford a movie crane. They strapped a steady-cam operator to the bucket of the lift and that was how he got one of the final scenes which was an aerial shot ascending from the set. It is this type of innovation that TALCO values and the “Can-do” attitude that states: where there is a will, there is way! We pride ourselves in our ingenuity under pressure and are confident in our abilities and tools to overcome any obstacle a production may face. The City of Lost Children trailer. Separate montage from film is posted below: