Industry Archives - Sheedy Crane

film4.jpg

January 14, 2019by Sheedy Crane0

When most people think of cranes they think of construction (and rightly so!). Cranes are used to lift and move loads which are beyond human ability to transport simply, so they are commonly employed in loading and unloading freight or in material movement during construction. But these traditional and well-known uses of cranes aren’t the whole story. Cranes in film production have a rich and widely varied history and are responsible for many iconic scenes in a countless number of blockbuster films.

Introducing: Crane Shots

The ground-breaking addition of cranes to the repertoire of tools used in film production can be traced back to 1916, with the film Intolerance. This D.W. Griffith silent film features what is widely accepted as the first “crane shot.” The inventor and engineer Allan Dwan, a fellow film director, dreamed up the yet-unheard-of shot for Griffith’s film. The result had an impact, making audience members gasp in wonder from the grandiosity and scale of the sight.

Not long thereafter, camera cranes created to elicit just such a reaction became popular at major movie studios. They were typically produced as massive monstrosities, specialty items created by large ironworks companies. They got bigger and heavier, carrying multiple people and the cumbersome camera equipment of the day. Each crane was built with a specific shot or purpose in mind, and as such their appearance and capabilities varied greatly, while their mobility was limited.

The Camera Crane Revolution

And so it was, for over 20 years in the film industry. Bulky film cranes with little flexibility stayed on studio lots, seldom transported to on-location shoots. That all changed in the late 1940’s, when Ralph Chapman, a special effects technician with a knack for engineering, developed a line of cranes. His gasoline-powered film crane could travel on location independently, revolutionizing the use of exterior crane shots in film. Before long, these mobile crane units were available for hire.

Television and sports soon joined the fray, and the high-angle boom shots became popular in filming dance numbers, creating emotive scenes, and covering sports, much to the delight of audiences. Since the early days of limited, one-off cranes made for particular shots, technology has exploded. Crane capability has vastly improved, alongside the safety-consciousness and expertise of operators. The use of crane shots in both television and film is ubiquitous in the modern era of entertainment.

Film and TV Cranes Today

Studios and production companies generally rent crane equipment from the manufacturers who own them. This cuts down on costs and allows for a variety of cranes to be used on a production. The usage of rented cranes in film and production has seen a decline in recent years, as the introduction of drones and light-weight digital cameras have revolutionized the industry. Despite this shift, there will no doubt always be room for the silent, sweeping shots which can only be obtained by the massive cranes originally designed decades ago. They are a part of the history and future of the crane industry, and will help tell stories in a way nothing else can for years to come.



September 1, 2018by Sheedy Crane0

crane

Difficult lifting or jacking jobs are like puzzles for those of us in the industry. We thrive on helping businesses solve difficult lifting safely and efficiently.

What are some of the most puzzling types of jobs we’ve come across in our years of heavy lifting?

Foundation Replacements

One of the most diverse jobs in lifting and support is the need for propping up buildings. An unsurprisingly common need in San Francisco is seismic retrofitting. That is, jacking up older buildings to upgrade foundations for earthquake proofing. The foundation replacement requires specialized jacks, frames, and lifting equipment, alongside project design co-ordination to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Seismic retrofitting requires a difficult balancing act where support columns are jacked up with temporary support, while base isolators are installed. With our list of accomplishments including San Francisco City Hall and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, among some of the largest seismic isolation projects in the world, no job is too big!

Overhanging Roofs

Where an overhang exists, it’s hard to get a crane in position. This is where a type of crane called a flying jib comes in handy.

The flying jib is a counter-weighted arm, which allows the load weight to hang at a distance from the crane pick-up point, therefore allowing the item to be placed under an overhanging roof easily.

A flying jib can also be a pivoted and weighted arm attached to a crane for more diverse angles.

Awkward Shapes and Sizes

When an item is regularly shaped, it’s easy to pick up with standard equipment. When there are irregular shapes, off-center weights, and difficult attachment points, the means of securing the load can become more complicated. The solution to this is simple. However, if one of our non-standard rigging solutions doesn’t suit the item, then a custom rigging solution can be designed to fit, which will make critical lift planning a breeze.

Extremely Heavy Items

While the cranes and hydraulic locking jacks at Sheedy Crane can handle up to 500 tons easily, it’s not as simple as just putting a crane on a truck and setting it up to lift your load.

Firstly, large cranes require special transport, which needs permits and coordination. Then, assembly and rigging need critical attention to ensure the equipment is secure, and that it is structurally and mechanically sound. The rigging for the actual lifting often requires expert design by our specialty engineering team.

Finally, all the strength and safety aspects of the lift need to be thoroughly checked and certified by qualified engineers, in accordance with engineering and safety regulations, an extremely heavy item can’t have any risk of failure.

Specialist Rigging Design

For difficult jobs, a specialist rigging design is required. For complex jobs, professional engineers use 3D CAD modeling to complete the design. 3D modeling enables all aspects of a lift to be considered, from all angles, before the job begins.

Difficult rigging and lifting jobs are the ones we thrive on, so ask us if you need help planning your next critical lift. Contact Sheedy Crane today!


crane3.jpg

August 28, 2018by Sheedy Crane0

Over the past decades, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of the “best of the best” in the rigging industry. We’ve seen everything from priceless pieces of art hanging from a crane over a body of water, and an entire bridge being driven through a dirt road in a remote jungle.

Our industry is all about logistics. Some of the top factors we look into when moving anything from a Toyota Camry to a 4-ton block of concrete are how much it weighs? How is the weight distributed? Is it awkward in size? Does it have hazmat limitations?

Here are some of the top considerations when  driving an oversized load through a busy location:

First and foremost, know your route. Take the time beforehand and plan exactly where you are going. You don’t want to get stuck on a bridge with a boat crossing when you don’t have to. Cement trucks often times have to plan this out down to the minute when transporting wet cement to a job site.

san francisco map

 

Know local regulations. There are some towns and municipalities that don’t allow big rigs to come through city streets. Others require you to get a permit for such jobs. You don’t want to get stuck driving tons of equipment across the state only to find out last minute you can’t make it down the “final stretch.” You will also know well in advance whether or not you need a pilot or an escort car, but if you are going across state lines you’ll also need to know if there are any additional regulations for the pilot car.

Know your lodging and stops. Amateur drivers might skip over this part, but in a multi-part or destination trip, it is imperative you know this beforehand. Imagine this: you are 8 hours into a trip and its legally time to clock out. You need to find a hotel, but the only ones nearby don’t have parking for semi’s, and definitely not for oversized loads.

San Francisco, for example, has a map of what it is considered “urbanized” and has special requirements when traveling in those areas.

san francisco street restrictions

 

Get to know your pilot car/escort. Many times you’ll be required to drive along with an escort car. This is normally a sedan-sized vehicle with a marking on the car alerting other motorists of your presence. A good escort car will stay in constant communication with the driver, and in some cases have a passenger in the pilot car equipped with GPS and laptop. Maintaining a good relationship with the pilot vehicle is very important, especially when you are navigating busy city streets or tough intersections.

Hazmat Considerations. Hazmat considerations are important not only for legal reasons but for your own safety as well. If you watch the news you can see some of the results of these accidents in real life. If you are transporting flammable liquids or solids it’s even more important for your own safety and for the general public.

Other considerations. Most States have special considerations for inclement weather, holidays, weight/height, and for mobile homes etc. Transporting an over-sized load can take weeks to plan.