A new vision for the grip truck
From TV shows, through production to commercial work DP Jordan Halland has an impressive resume with over 20 years’ experience in the filmmaking industry. Over the years he has witnessed changes in gear, he explains “when I first started gear was super bulky and heavy and really made life working on set with a tripod or a light way more difficult than it is now.”
Jordan recently spotted a gap in the market and started a new grip rental company utilising a Ford Bronco. “My goal with the Bronco grip truck was, that I wanted gear that you can use in a traditional way but also gives you the ability to use in more creative ways.” He says “this is not just a grip truck with great gear but a production support vehicle that has the equipment that you need, that allows you as a smaller production company, the ability to shoot everything that you need”
In launching the new venture Jordan had to consider the best gear to equip the truck with. “Everything about the gear must be robust and strong. It must serve multiple purposes. Because it saves on space, it saves on time, and it allows the user to spend more time focusing on their production. Everything on there must be compact, easy to use and have multiple uses like the truck itself.”
Talk of the truck
Choosing the right tripod system for the truck was crucial decision for Jordan. “I’ve had years of fumbling with a heavy camera on top of a tripod and trying to level it with one hand while you are holding it.
“With the aktiv speed-levelling system, we get ready in seconds instead of minutes. It saves so much time on shoots.”
Sachtler aktiv has been the talk of the truck and become an integral part of the setup. “When filmmakers see aktiv for the first time and realise there is a way better system. It is paradigm shifting for them for them. I heard filmmakers say, ‘oh my gosh, I have been doing this wrong.’ There is a way easier way to do this.”
The aktiv SpeedSwap technology allows filmmakers to move from tripod to slider in seconds, a feature which saves precious time on set. “The ability to be creative using the Sachtler aktiv system and being able to switch to a Syrp slider, allows us to be more creative in the whole process of making the film or the or the commercial because if it doesn’t work, we haven’t wasted an hour, just a couple of minutes and we’re on to the next thing. It is an actual investment in making the production better because it allows me to focus more on the production instead of on the equipment. And that has been a game changer in the months that I have used it.”
Switching the aktiv head from the flowtech tripod to the Syrp slider takes seconds with the aktiv speed-swap system.
Stability at 14,000ft
Jordan’s latest TV commercial shot in Seattle brought about an unusual challenge, how to get super smooth shots whilst in the back of a small aircraft. “The aktiv system on this shoot made filming in the seaplane so much easier as I could control it with one hand and adjust it.”
With the aktiv SpeedLevel, Jordan could level the head at speed “I figured out how to get it on the plane in the right spot, and then just lock the head on level with the SpeedLevel clamp, the directors could not believe it. We were able to get like a nice locked off shot of like the plane off the side of the wing.”
For Jordan, having the aktiv drag technology to hand is important. “The aktiv drag is spot on I can control how much I need; I do not think about it that much because it just is perfect. I have turned it all the way off before to do whip pans and it is amazing. It does not feel like there is any drag at all which I have never had a tripod do that. I can loosen all the way up and it does not feel like I am fighting against it.”
Jordan and the crew have been able to push gear to the limits without any problems to ensure that his customers are working with the most reliable equipment. Jordan was able to take aktiv into the extremes to assess the durability. “We have filmed in deserts, mountains and had it in snow and water. We have done shoots where we have put them in crazy conditions, and it worked every time without fail.”
A fully geared production support vehicle
The truck also features other reliable products by industry brands that Jordan selected for the truck. “We chose Litepanels Gemini due to its lightweight nature, it’s punch and it’s color accuracy.” He says “the thing I like about those are they are workhorses. They are seriously robust.”
“With the Geminis you can get high output out of them and really light up like your subject. And then the Quasar Science Rainbows are powerful enough that you could use those to line up a subject too, but they work well and dialling in how your background wants to look. You can adjust all of that quickly and easily and they have a small footprint too.””
The truck also features reliable power from Anton/Bauer. “We can power all the lights without mains needs. Filmmakers love that, we can be anywhere, and we have enough power on the truck to run a shoot.”
The Bronco grip truck is making its way across the US to filmmaker festivals and is out on location regularly now.
“We want you to think of this not as a grip truck but as a production support vehicle. It is something that allows you to do the work you want to do without thinking about all the elements that you need, because we have already thought of it, all the reliable gear you need is in this one vehicle.”