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Dolly Grip

Expert Sources: Kenny Davis
Date: August 30, 2019
Reads: 8,944

Career Overview

Dolly Grips prepare a location or set for camera motion and support the camera any time it is moving. They lay protective flooring according to the scene blocking, hold the camera when it is rigged to any moving vehicle or equipment, and push and pull the dolly along track or across the floor.

Alternate Titles

A Dolly Grip, B Dolly Grip

Salary Range

$100K-$300K

Career Description

Kenny Davis is a veteran Dolly Grip, with extensive high-profile feature credits including Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven and Nolan’s Memento. He sheds light on the nebulous nuances of being a Dolly Grip:

“As a Dolly Grip, you’re more part of the Camera Department because our job is camera support, movement, animation of the camera in many shapes and forms. I support the camera itself any time it’s in motion. It doesn’t necessarily mean the camera is actually on a dolly or on track.”

Davis breaks apart the specific roles around the camera any time there is movement: “An Operator holds the camera and there’s an AC (Assistant Camera) to pull focus. But even that is being done more and more remotely. They’re often not present at the camera; nowadays, physically on the camera are the Dolly Grip and the Operator. The AC will pull focus remotely.”

Davis goes into the technicalities of how much the industry is changing from a technological point of view, and how it affects his day-to-day:

“These days, particularly with the Soderbergh movies I’ve been doing, we use a Ronin head (a gyroscopically/electronically stabilized head) — it’s a carbon-fiber head that goes on a short arm, like a Steadicam arm, with spring-loaded shock absorbers to absorb vibration and bounce. This way, we can actually move on regular existing floor: sidewalk, marble, a floor in a house, anything like that.”

In these cases, it’s just the Dolly Grip on the camera while the Operator works remotely. Davis continues: “It’s me physically pushing a dolly with the camera suspended, floating, on the shock absorbed arm and head. I become an Operator and the Dolly Grip! Meanwhile, the Operator works remotely, spinning the dolly wheels, moving the camera left and right. In these scenarios, the workload equation shifts to a lot of Dolly Grip, and a little bit of Operator.”

Davis makes it clear that being a Dolly Grip is an extraordinarily physical job and y