Month: March 2018

Tracking Dollies and ‘lager adverts’

I was first introduced to Dolly Tracks during my first year of University. Before then, all I had been doing was running around with a Handycam, occasionally bothering to use a Tripod.  Whenever I watched back my footage, I’d question why my stuff didn’t have the same pizzazz as actual films or those sleek ‘lager adverts’. Those ‘lager adverts’ had better quality cameras, of course, but I knew there was something else missing.

After replaying the same ‘lager advert’ over and over, it soon clicked that it was movement that I was missing – clean movement. The problem with much of my footage was that it was either as shaky as a Jason Bourne fight scene or as still as a photograph. Another thing I found was my footage was missing a cold frothy lager.

David Fincher, director of  ‘Fight Club’ and ‘Se7en’, once directed a ‘lager advert’ himself. A renowned perfectionist, Fincher uses movement to follow a character’s behaviour. When a character shrugs, the camera ever so slightly tilts, almost as if we’re shrugging with them. When a character walks, we follow them. We don’t even realise it’s happening because the camera movements are so subtle, but by using these camera tricks we subliminally become more aware of a character’s behavioural traits, making them feel more real. So, in a David Fincher lager advert, when a character uncaps a bottle of lager and takes a cool refreshing sip, we’re told a lot about this character, thanks to the camera accurately tracking the speed in which they uncap the bottle.

Movement is instrumental in creating ‘Movies’, it’s what Movie means; ‘moving pictures’. I knew I needed to get my hands on something that created movement, so I re-created my own less practical Tracking Dolly by balancing my tripod on top of a skateboard. This, obviously, was a very bad idea, so I instead began to think about putting my Tripod in a trolley and wheeling it along a flat surface – which was an ever worse idea.

After graduating, a realised I could not continue making films without something that created smooth movement, so instead of returning to balancing Tripods on skateboards, I decided to buy a Hague  D5T Tracking Dolly kit – a piece of film-making equipment which allows me to create the type of sleek ‘lager-advert’ shots I’ve always wanted to create. Now, all I need is some lager…


Posted by Adam Coburn, 0 comments