I visited Cinetech Italiana s.r.l. — a couple of miles from Cinecittà Studios in Rome. Armando Grottesi is the owner and President. Over lunch at Gigi’s, his favorite restaurant (and now one of mine), I asked how the company got started.
“I was an independent camera technician,” Armando explained. “One day, a long time ago, Henryk Chroscicki, Manager of Technovision (Natasza Chroscicki’s Dad), dared me to build a dolly. He said I couldn’t do it. That was enough to get me started on this long journey.”
Cinetech Italiana today is what I expected it to look like: a high-tech workshop with CNC machines, wheels, parts and tools that would be just as familiar building the latest Grand Prix racer.
Cinetech Italiana builds dollies. They don’t rent. Their dollies are seen in rental houses and as part of grip packages in 35 countries.
Currently there are five models: Super Falcon II hydraulic, Super Falcon II hydraulic and electronic, Super Hawk II, Sea Gull, and T-Dolly. In the next 4 months, a new dolly named Albatros, will come out.
The choice of hydraulic or electronic/hydraulic on the Super Falcon II is interesting. I believe this is the only articulating arm dolly to offer electronically repeatable and programmable starts/stops and intermediate marks. Imagine the best of the Panther-style electronic center column with the comfort and low angles of an articulating arm dolly. The lift mechanism is hydraulic, but the actuation is electronic.
The Cinetech dollies are high tech and beautifully built. They track straight. Curved moves are precise. You can change between crab, round and conventional modes without any extraneous movement of the wheels. All the parts of the dollies are made with stainless steel or light aluminum alloy.
Vertical moves are smooth and repeatable with nicely feathered starts and stops. They are extremely rugged, as evidenced on a recent trip to South America.
Everything is designed and built in the factory in Rome.