Article first published by Little Black Book in June 2019.

I’ve had the pleasure of working full-time in the advertising industry since I was 16 years old. It has taught me a lot. The most important lesson is that to achieve the best results, a level of planning and calm is required… not something that is synonymous with advertising or film production.

But why is that? Everyone I meet at our studios notes how tranquil it is. Why are we able to deliver so much high-end work without there being a constant stress?

Well, I would love to take the credit for this, but in reality it is down to having the best tools and the best team in one place, so there are no uncertainties. The more we control, the more we reduce errors and speed up our workflow.

Which is why for years I’ve been stuck with one question, what single bit of camera grip kit can we use on almost every shoot to help speed up production? Some shoots need a motion control rig – but they’re huge and noisy, so sound is an issue. Other shoots just need a dolly, but then I need to ensure we have enough crew to move it around, regularly the camera moves become complicated on the day and suddenly a ten hour shoot is 18 hours, resulting in tired crew and a lot of unhappy individuals – especially as many of our crew are full-time, so I like to avoid over-time where-ever possible. Then on other shoots we just needed a camera crane – but camera crane requirements often quickly morphed into motion control shoots, and so the cycle continues… you get the picture.

It was a few years ago that I had the pleasure of meeting Horst Burbulla, the designer of the SuperTechno crane system, I gave him the issues and he came back with the solution for me, the TechnoDolly.

His interpretation of a motion control rig, and a dolly and a camera crane in one, the was near silent, light-weight and addressed 100% of all our needs.

It seemed way too good to be true. Was it? Well, no, it worked, it was repeatable, it was reliable, it was simple to use. So what was the catch? Well, it was bloody expensive. But it was what we needed, and thus it became a permanent part of the Sandstorm arsenal 18 months ago.

For the Bastille shoot it was refreshing to be approached by a director who had first taken an idea and then researched to find a solution to make his idea happen. In this case it was the TechnoDolly, running a continuous ‘one-shot’, four and a half minute promo. The end result is a little trippy, but tells the story of ‘Those Nights’ perfectly.

Written by Tom Ward, Managing Director at Sandstorm for Little Black Book’s influencer series.

Tom founded Sandstorm in 2000 and today continues his hands-on approach to build Sandstorm and it’s clients into leaders in their field.

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