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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Sparks Arts Olney: Filming With Dolly Shots

Sounds complicated, but it's really quite simple ...

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Posted by David Pibworth on 11/10/2022 @ 8:00AM

This week at Sparks Arts Olney, our creative young movie makers tried their hand at creating Alfred Hitchcock-style shots using a dolly. If you don't know, a dolly is basically a wheeled cart, which runs on rail tracks ...

Our film crew had great fun trying to get this concept to work for their film!

Our film crew had great fun trying to get this concept to work for their film!

copyright: sparks arts olney

The camera is then mounted onto the cart and the cart is moved towards and away from the main subject to get a range of shots that gives depth and effects, which add new layers to a scene. Because the camera moves along a rail the movement is always smooth and controlled.

"The effect was created by Irmin Roberts, working on Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo in 1958!"

The dolly shot is a common filmmaking technique and has been used in a huge range of films, including Jaws, Lord of the Rings and Sceptre. These shots are fantastic for drawing in your audience, and character realisations, for example when a character realises something key to the film and the shot zooms into the actor's face, revealing places and locations and a lot more.

Filmmakers can get very creative with the different types of equipment that can be used as a dolly such as vehicles, roller skates and drones, but we are focussing on the more traditional apparatus to begin with! Our film crew had great fun trying to get this concept to work for their film.

As it was such a lovely day, they decided to film outside. The ground was uneven and bumpy so filming with a dolly did have its challenges. It did mean they had to rethink how they were going to continue. Being able to adapt and be flexible during the process is what it is all about.

"Next week is our last session before we break for half term!"

We will be discussing the film that our film crew will be making when we return on 6th November. If you want to join us and get hands-on with filmmaking then now is the time to do it. We meet every Sunday at East Street Community Centre from 10am until 12pm and we'd love to have some new team members join us.

To find out more about Sparks Arts Olney and to sign up for our filmmaking course, please visit the Sparks Olney website today.

Until next time ...



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If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about Sparks Arts Olney, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07879 414110 and let's see how I can help.

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About David Pibworth ...


David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.

David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.

He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.

He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.

This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.

David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.

He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!


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