Set up and control specialized carts that move movie cameras around.
What does a Dolly Grip do?
A Dolly Grip is exclusively in charge of dollies during filmmaking. No, dollies aren’t Barbies, but rather hefty carts that hold the camera and the Camera Operator as they move along a pre-laid track.
As a Dolly Grip, you have an important job because dollies—along with tripods, stabilizers, and cranes—isolate the cameras from the Camera Operators’ natural body movements. Anyone who has filmed or watched home movies is familiar with the tremulous look of handheld footage: When you hold a camera in your hand, what you get are children’s birthday parties and family vacations that look as though they took place in the middle of an earthquake.
Because dollies prevent the “shaky screen” effect, cameras are often mounted on them during the course of filming scenes in a movie—especially moving or tracking scenes, which are scenes that follow characters or objects as they move through their environment. In that way, the Camera Operator can more fluidly move the camera as it follows its subject (without those pesky bumps and jiggles).
Like other Grips, you’re paid to move and set up the equipment on film sets. Your focus as the “dolly” guy or gal, however, is singular: You place, level, and move the dolly track, then push and pull the dolly cart during filming.
Hired by the head Grip, known as the Key Grip, Dolly Grips spend their days doing a delicate dance along a cinematic train track. Because of that, you’ve got to know where to go, when to start, when to stop, and at what speed to move, all in pursuit of the perfect—and perfectly steady—shot!