Early in my career, when I was working at CITY TV I shot a recreation of a robbery in a grocery store. I wanted to get a tracking shot of the robber running down the aisle so I hopped in a shopping cart. Since then I’ve used wheelchairs, dolly carts…anything to get that moving shot. I always thought there must be a better way so I went down in my basement and started building the shooter scooter prototype. The concept is simple, it’s a low platform that you can stand on and shoot in any direction. A harness keeps you secure. An assistant can pull or push you using the handle or an optional rickshaw handle. There is even an attachment for a bike. Now any shooter can hop on and get a great smooth tracking shot quickly and easily. We have now sold shooter scooters around the world. It’s very satisfying to know that something you created in your basement is being used on the other side of the world.
The first time I wanted to do a dolly shot I discovered that it wasn’t that simple. I had to book the dolly for the shoot, I needed a grip and the whole system was bulky and not very portable. So I set out to create my own system. There seemed to be two types of dolly’s out there; the skateboard dolly which you could ride on but was awkward to operate alone and the micro dolly which was very portable but you couldn’t get on it. I decided to make a hybrid. I created an aluminum “H” frame and used much smaller wheels that rode on ½” metal conduit (or PVC), available at any hardware store. It was easy to operate alone, just drop the pipes in place, put the dolly on and place your tripod on the frame. In seconds you had a great dolly shot. You could also ride it just by standing on the frame, no need for a bulky platform. It meant that I always have a dolly with me and even when I’m working alone I can easily do a dolly shot. Like the shooter scooter, this has sold around the world.
The, “Missing Link” from Lowel was my first invention. In news we rarely use c-stands so when I needed to hold something in place, like a piece of foam core (to flag a light), I would just clamp it to a light stand. Trouble was, I couldn’t adjust the angle so I went to my local hardware store and bought a work light with clamp that had an articulating joint. I took the work light off and replaced it with a Lowel light stand adapter. Now I had a clamp with an articulating joint that could be mounted on a light stand. This meant I could hold an object and position it at any angle. Everybody liked the idea and there didn’t seem to be anything like it out there. I contacted Lowel to see if they might be interested and … long story short…they took the idea, made it even better and got the US patent. My name is also on the patent. This started an amazing relationship with Lowel, who are very passionate about the craft and are very committed to shooters, videographers, and cinematographers. They listen.