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Offering a dog’s-eye view

Laura Sturza

If the staff at Doggicam had tails, they would be wagging.

The rental camera equipment designed by the company has traversed

the world -- and has been affixed to a motorcycle moving at 125 mph

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and strapped to the body of Mick Jagger -- logging 50 major motion

pictures as well as commercials and videos.

“These are products that can do things that no one else can,”

company president Gary Thieltges said. “They allow you to put the

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camera into the scene and move it in ways that are expressive of

that.”

As a cinematographer, Thieltges spent 28 years shooting more than

2,000 commercials and seven films. His work on the Red Dog beer

commercials set him to building a better camera system -- one that

allowed him to offer viewers a dog’s perspective using the Doggicam,

which lets the camera move smoothly an inch from the ground.

Chuck Cohen was the second unit director of photography on Warner

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Bros.’ “Any Given Sunday,” and shot all of the football action for

the film. By mounting a Doggicam on the running back who carried the

football, Cohen captured that player’s lower body in the foreground

while the defensive players ran to tackle him in the background.

“Gary’s equipment is specialized ... it gives you the ability to

give the audience a perspective on a shot which is different than

what you would usually see,” Cohen said. “You can use your

imagination.”

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The company manufactures its equipment, and has doubled its

business every year but 2000 and 2001, which Thieltges describes as

“pretty tough in the film industry.” But runaway production hasn’t

hurt Doggicam.

“Last year, our business exploded,” Thieltges said. “We are an

international company, so wherever the business ran away to -- we

still participated.”

Thieltges just purchased a 5,600-square-foot building at 1500 W.

Verdugo Ave., and plans to move the business from its home at 909 S.

Victory Blvd. by May. It quadruples his floor space, but half of it

will be available for rent.


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