The Hurley Dolly had proved itself in many situations. However, it was time to re-visit the mechanism, which, though rugged, was too heavy for easy transport off-track.
The aim was to produce a lightweight driver, which ideally would operate from a small battery, be simple to use, and fit in a backpack.
The demanding requirements of Fulldome Panorama 20 megapixel photography meant there was no room for a sloppy mechanism – it had to be very smooth indeed. And reliable.
Operating under difficult conditions meant the controls had to be very simple. I have built a lot of gadgets for remote areas, and one thing which you can rely on is – you can’t rely on the gear. If it’s complicated, someone will stuff it up. If it’s cumbersome, it will get dropped. If it’s sophisticated, it will break. People get tired, cold and hungry. They make mistakes. Just getting to some of these places is a huge effort, and, when it’s raining and people are tired, they want to concentrate on doing what they came for, not fiddling with equipment.
The gear has to be simple – preferably using bits and pieces easily to hand. If you can’t fix it on the spot – your effort it wasted. And, though I take enough bits to mend anything common, there’s always something that’s missing.
Generally I have 3 ways of doing everything – so I have 3 options for power, 3 computers, 3 leads etc etc. Chances are you won’t use them all. If you do, you’re grateful, if you don’t, well, you’re lucky. There’s no point in taking the kitchen sink, but you need backups. I learned this lesson once and for all when I was flying in remote areas – my pilot was a fussy bugger who always filled the planes tanks everywhere he could, taking another half hour or so over it. For a couple of years we flew around the Kimberly and landed back home with heaps of fuel. I took the piss out of him for this. Until one day we flew down to a tiny airstrip a long way away, and found the bloke on the runway up to his knees in water. We turned round and flew home – with enough fuel in the tanks to land. I shut up after that.