Saturday Night Live honors one of its most famous pieces of equipment with this feature on its iconic SNL dolly crane.
It’s hard to imagine that a piece of stage equipment could be so recognizable. Yet, for fans of Saturday Night Live over the years, there is indeed one piece of camera gear which always seems to fly out of the set when the broadcast shows its typical behind-the-scenes looks (usually as a teaser or before or after a commercial break).
Originally conceived by the original SNL director Dave Wilson, in a surprisingly heartfelt tribute, crew members of Saturday Night Live reminisce about the early days and their multi-decade careers operating the SNL dolly crane and how its served them through the decades.
The crew, which includes a driver, an operator for locking/unlocking and controlling the arm and camera op sitting atop (plus several other helpers from the looks of it), has worked together for years navigating tight spaces for quick transitions performing dolly moves, trucking shots, and high and low angle maneuvers.
It’s an interesting breakdown into both the dolly crane’s operation as well as the typical SNL workweek with blocking rehearsals and insights into some of the most famous camera moves in the show’s storied history.