Hollywood General Machining, Inc. is located in the heart of Hollywood, CA. at 416 N. Varney St. and produces two product lines: Losmandy Astronomical Products, and Porta-Jib camera support products. Please visit our sister site: www.losmandy.com for the astronomical products.
Porta-Jib products are entirely designed by the owner of the company, Scott Losmandy, and manufactured either here in our shop, or in a couple of Los Angeles based machine shops that we use when we get too busy to keep up with production in-house. Nothing is out-sourced overseas. The rubber extrusion used in our FlexTrak is made for us by an American company in the Mid-West. We take pride in producing our own designs and producing them here in the USA.
We welcome questions from potential buyers who may need help deciding which system is right for them, as well as suggestions from end-users. We especially encourage end-users to send us pictures of our products at work in the field. We will add these to our testimonial page, and provide a link to their website next to their pictures and comments.
If you have any questions, comments, or pictures you would like to send, please contact our sales manager, Mark Schweickart at 747-283-1077, or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Losmandy, owner of Hollywood General Machining, introduced the first
Porta-Jib to the professional film and video community in 1989. It was an immediate success because of its modular design, its superb craftsmanship, its ability to accommodate heavy cameras, its ease of assembly, and its portability. This was fine for the Hollywood market because by its standards (remember that in 1989 camera systems were quite heavy) our Standard Jib was remarkably portable. However, the video and 16mm film market wanted even greater portability. They loved the jib, but it was too heavy for their light weight tripod systems, and they did not want to purchase a 35mm style tripod system just to support a jib. This gave rise to the Traveller Jib.
The Traveller is so small that when it is in its storage position, it is only 31 inches long. Yet it unfolds and telescopes out to become a full size front-operated jib. And at 29 lbs., it is light enough to be supported by a 100mm style tripod, which is standard in 16mm and video production. This meant the owner could use his existing tripod to either support his fluid head and camera, or support his Traveller Jib, fluid head, and camera.
The Vector Balancing System was then introduced for all of our Jibs. This clever idea allows us to remove the inertia inherent in all jib arms. It works like this. If one balances a jib horizontally and then booms up to a stop, the jib will slowly sink, seeking its original balancing point. By adding our Vector Bar, a small amount of weight is put on a different axis than the primary weight shafts. Now as one booms up, weight is shifting back, preventing the jib from wanting to return to the original horizontal position. The converse happens when one booms down. It is as if the jib has an automatically adjusting tuning weight. The Vector System helps one immensely in coming to a stop without the bounce normally associated with lightweight jibs.
Our next big break-through product was the Spider Dolly and FlexTrak system. FlexTrak comes in 40 foot lengths, is made of a rubber tubing reinforced with a steel lining which allows one to shape a dolly move from straight to curved almost instantaneously. Our goal was to not only provide a new tool for designing interesting moves, but to also allow one to have a complete dolly system with 40 feet of track that would fit into a standard vehicle. No large truck needed. No transporting of 10 or 12 foot lengths of track. Instead, you have track that rolls into a bundle approximately 2 feet round and 1 foot high. The dolly itself is a modular system that can be either a 3-leg version for use with a tripod, a 4-leg version that carries an operator and has an adjustable column and a seat that rotates 360 degrees around the column, or it can be miniaturized into a trolley system for table top work. The 3-Leg version folds into a single small case. The 4-Leg system goes into 2 cases.
Following this idea, we created the Porta-Glide sleds with the multi-dimensional wheel system. A problem with dolly sleds in the past was that the heavy weight load of a dolly, two operators, and a camera system caused the skate-board style wheels to immediately develop flat spots when at rest. Therefore, before a new camera move can be done, the dolly grip has to roll the dolly back and forth repeatedly until the wheels round out and one no longer feels the flat spot. This process is time consuming and tedious and during film production time is always at a premium. Our system solves the flat spot problem. We use 16 different diameters for the 16 wheels that are on each sled. Therefore, as they roll, instead of having 16 wheels hit their flat spot in unison like they do on other sleds, they each hit at a different time, so that even though the flat spots are there one does not feel them. This has been extremely well-received by the camera operators and dolly grips who have had the opportunity to work with this new concept. Our sleds also have floating arms with bearings that accommodate curved track much better than most competing sleds.
We are always trying to improve on our products to make the operation of camera movement more effective. Please take a minute to browse through our site to see the specifics of the various products. Unlike other manufacturers of small jib arms, the Porta-Jib line has grown to become a full system of modular, inter-related products.
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