Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mini-Crab Dolly #72 - SOLD!


Update on #72 as of 2/7/14. Mini-Crab #72 has been sold. 

Great news! Visual Products is selling Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly #72.

Mini-Crab #72 which has been featured in posts below is up for sale and can be found on their website at: www.visualproducts.com Click on the dolly tab.

The dolly was recently and COMPLETELY refurbished by our friend, Marty Drennan. If you're looking for a great dolly at a great price including a 7-day money back guarantee and a 6-month parts/labor warranty....LOOK NO FURTHER!

Call Visual Products at 440-647-4999 for more information!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meet the New and Improved Mini-Crab #72

Newly refurbished, Mini-Crab #72 is pushed onto the showroom floor by Marty Drennan. Seated in the operators seat is Corri Stiemle, receptionist/accountant and the smile that greets everyone at Visual Products. Click on any image to enlarge!
Marty shows just how compact this Mini-Crab dolly truly is. Marty will soon be sharing some photos he took during the refurbishment.
We then pushed #72 outside the showroom to get a sense of how well it maneuvered on a paved surface. It performed flawlessly! 
#72 is posed here next to Marty's beautiful Model A Ford.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Proper CO2 bottles REQUIRED for your Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly!

The correct CO2 bottle position indicating 'This side up'.

Recently, the inventor of our favorite dolly, William Sargent shared with me critical information about using the proper CO2 bottle. These bottles had specially designed syphons installed to be used with the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

Originally, each Mini-Crab dolly that was sold by Colortran were outfitted with this special CO2 bottle. Over the years, these bottles were either lost or replaced with conventional CO2 bottles that are NOT acceptable to use with your Mini-Crab.

THIS IS CRITICAL!!

CHECK YOUR CO2 BOTTLES!!!


If your bottle doesn't have a stenciled 'THIS SIDE UP' it's most likely a conventional/replacement bottle and SHOULD NOT be used in your Mini-Crab!

The obvious reason is that the CO2 bottle used by the Mini-Crab dolly is placed in the CO2 compartment laying on its side. The distinction is that they're placed horizontally. Conventional CO2 bottles are designed to be used in an upright position NOT on it's side as needed for the Mini-Crab.

Mini-Crab Dollies should use a specially designed CO2 bottle with syphons installed to prevent moisture entering into your hydraulic system which can lead to cracked o-rings or other major problems. It's probable your hydraulic system will be compromised using a conventional gas bottle.

If you need the correct CO2 bottle, or if your original bottle is no longer certifiable by your local gas house...call Marty Drennan at Visual Products, 440-647-4999 about obtaining the correct bottle.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Visual Products - The Official Repair Center for the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly

Meet my friend and Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly expert, Marty Drennan of Visual Products.

Recently, I visited my new friend Marty Drennan at the world renown Visual Products in Wellington, Ohio.
Marty is a Camera Support Technician who handles the repairs of professional fluid heads, gear heads and dollies. Speaking of which, Marty is currently refurbishing a Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly bearing the serial number of #72.  This dolly was sent to Visual Products by a private owner for refurbishing. 
Once I heard that Marty was working on #72, I took the half-hour drive from my home to Visual Products. I had to see first hand what was in store for this classic dolly! To say I was impressed is an understatement! Not only did Marty completely disassemble the Mini-Crab with great care, he began bringing it back to life with new and improved processes including new cabling, seals, proper CO2 tank, lines, etc. You'll be happy to know that Marty has photographed and documented the different stages involved in refurbishing a Mini-Crab. Marty will share some of his insight and photographs in a future post. 

Over the years, I've heard from Mini-Crab owners from around the world asking about obtaining service. I'm pleased to announce that after my recent visit to Visual Products and watching Marty maneuver in his meticulously kept machine shop, Visual Products has been selected by this site as the official and recommended repair center for the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

Remember, the Mini-Crab is more than 40 years old! What an excellent way to bring your dolly back-to-specs by having it updated by Visual Products. Needless to say, Mini-Crab #72's market value has jumped substantially after Visual Products refurbished it! Compared to some of today's professional crab dollies which can reach north of $10,000, this investment was well worth it!

You may contact Marty Drennan by calling Visual Products at: 440-647-4999 or going to their website at: 
www.visualproducts.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mini-Crab Seat

I've gotten a few emails of people looking for this seat specifically made for the Mini-Crab. The seat shown here is owned by Steven Mahoney #157, from the Seattle area. If anyone has a extra seat floating around and you no longer need it, let me know and we could help find it a new home.

These seats are extremely rare. This one pictured is in it's original condition. There are a few posts on this site with the Mini-Crab seat pictured.

There's even a great shot of the inventor of the Mini-Crab, William Sargent, sitting high on the seat for a Colortran print ad that appeared in an issue of American Cinematographer.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Randall Miller & Mini-Crab #139

Just received this message below from a soon-to-be-new member of our esteemed group. Welcome Randy! Looking forward to seeing some pics of your Mini-Crab!

Hi Greg, took delivery of my dolly yesterday. I'm really excited, it is in pretty good shape. 

It's missing the latch for the cover for the CO2 tank. I will start cleaning it later today. Lots of oil in the tank compartment, not sure where it came from. 


The prior owner was using compressed air. Planning on getting the five tanks filled with CO2 to make sure everything works. It is Mini-Crab #139 and I think it was originally owned by the GM photographic department, the cylinder cases have GM photographic stickers on them. 


If anyone knows of any parts let me know. I will send pictures soon!

Thanks, Randy

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Josh Zach and Mini-Crab #175

Meet Mini-Crab Dolly #175, owned by our new friend, Josh Zach, of Raleigh, North Carolina. Looks like a nice, clean dolly with some great accessories, including factory front and side boards. 
Josh shares his story on how he acquired #175, "I'm a radio news correspondent in Raleigh, and spend my spare time as a photographer and videographer. In 2009, I was working as a freelance DP for a marketing company on a TV commercial shoot. One day of the week-long shoot was on the green screen stage of an area corporation (they use the stage for many things, one of which is motion capture for video games). Anyway, during the course of the shoot, the CEO of the marketing company noticed that the stage was in the process of updating equipment and getting rid of items they didn't want anymore. He had his eye on a pair of reel to reel decks, but in order to obtain them he had to buy a tagged lot. The Colortran Crab Dolly was in that lot, and when I saw it, I fell in love with it. He held on to the dolly until recently, and when he asked me if I wanted it -- I jumped at the opportunity. #175 is in complete working order, a smooth ride, and really just needs a good cleaning".

Josh will be made a member of the exclusive Sarkell Society. The society's membership list will be updated soon as we have a couple of new members to add.

On behalf of the Sarkell Society, we welcome Josh Zach to the brotherhood of Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly owners! Welcome Josh!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly Operating Manual

After receiving many requests to post the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly Operating Manual, here it is! All 17 pages! 
Unfortunately, I only have a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. So, the quality is not the best, but hopefully you can get the info you need from this posting. I will also work on trying to convert this file to a pdf file for anyone that needs it. If someone out there has an original copy of this manual, please let me know. Click on any image to enlarge.



David Rakoczy of Emerald Coast Filmworks

David Rakoczy, CEO of Emerald Coast Filmworks, a member of our distinguished society, recently shared this image of his Sony F3 system.

David's beautiful F3 system, outfitted with premium Cooke Primes, was paired-up in the above photo with his Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly, #148. Although David's Mini-Crab is not shown in the photo, you can find his Mini-Crab archived on this site in an earlier post. It's posted under October 2, 2010.

Many DP's are now shooting on Super 35, 4K and other digital formats. The film cameras of yesterday are becoming relics of the past.

It's good to know that the Colortran Mini-Crab dollies are being ushered into the new age of digital cinematography. Just another testimate to William Sargent's ingenious and compact design!

Check out David's website at: www.emeraldcoastfilmworks.com

Send us images of your Colortran Mini-Crab outfitted with your current camera system to: gregoryz@centurylink.net