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Technocrane On Train Tracks

Published : 24th October 2003


Need to put a ‘Technochrane’ on a platform or vehicle that can travel on train tracks.

Needs to be fairly stable as we can put a stabilizing head on the ‘Technocrane’ to smooth things out a bit. It particularly needs to be able to stop smoothly.

Need to do a shot of train tracks passing underneath camera, tilt up, pan right and then swing out about 25 feet to the side of the tracks and come to a full standstill and hold still on a blueprint that someone is holding. The move on the train does not need to be very long. 40 feet at the most. Could be a flatbed that just holds the techno and the grips can just push it. It does not have to be very fast.

Anyway, you get the picture.

Jo Williams



>Could be a flatbed that just holds the techno and the grips can just push >it. It does not have to be very fast

What about the vehicles that are adapted to service rail lines that have hydraulic bogeys that retract so that the vehicle can then travel on the road.

Nick Paton
Film & Digital Cinematography
www.npdop.com



There are few ways you could go on this...

First of all, is this a working train track? If so, talk to your train company liaison - they sometimes have access to gear, and a low flatbed might do it for you.

You don't say which technocrane, but if you are swinging out that far, I assume you are on a Super Techno 30' crane or Technovision equivalent. This is one heavy piece of equipment...I mean HEAVY, so don't think too lightly about building an ad hoc platform with bogey wheels unless you can spend the time to engineer it properly.

Unfortunately, it may be hard to find a "high rail" (that is a pickup truck or suburban or similar with bogey wheels) that will take the capacity of the crane - in the railroad business, once you need to put a lot of capacity on a train track, you use a train car. Flatbed train cars are very heavy - you will not be doing the move pushing it by hand. Also train tracks are not laid with dolly moves in mind - you are likely to get left to right roll which translates on your crane to the post wagging back and forth out of plumb which is not something a stabilized head can fix - it can smooth direction changes, but not fix the translational offsets you will get as you are looking down at the track

I have an alternate suggestion. Can you lay 40' of crane track immediately adjacent to your picture track (on the far side) and push the chassis down the track while extending the arm a bit and then swing the arm out for your blueprint?

The advantage is that you can use crane track which will be smooth and etc...you will have to tie up the area adjacent to your hero track on the off side, but you would need to do so anyway to be safe swinging a crane on the tracks itself 40' of track will give you around 55 feet of horizontal travel including the extend on the crane, but you will need to keep pushing while swinging out to the blueprint to avoid arcing backwards.

Mark Weingartner