Saturday, May 26, 2007

What does the "grip" on a movie do?

Who's asking: Steve Lechner, Freeport, ME

The grip is responsible for moving and setting up the physical equipment of filmmaking: lights and reflectors, Steadicam tracks, pipes and scaffolding, etc. The "key grip" is the leader of a group of grips (say that fast), and can also work as the on-set construction coordinator.

Don't make the mistake of thinking this is unskilled labor. Good grips can make all the difference to a day's shooting. If you've never been on a movie set, you would not believe how long it can take to set things up -- and if it takes too long, depending on the shot, the light has changed and you have to set it up all over again.

Since this was Steve's follow-up question, the "best boy" is the key grip's chief assistant, sometimes called the assistant chief lighting technician. It's the best boy's responsibility to figure out how many men and how much equipment is required for each day's shooting.

I'm off to Agway to look at seedlings. It's a gorgeous day, and Dizzy and I have already spent an hour down at the Cobbosseecontee, reading and chewing on sticks. (Well, each of us did one of those things.)

6 comments:

John said...

Thank you answer girl. You were helpful. John Fleming

AnswerGirl said...

Wow that couldn't be less helpful, since you didn't sign your comment and gave me no way to get in touch with you to ask for additional clarification. What a waste of your time and mine.

Calvin Starnes said...

A grip works with the camera cranes, camera dollies and any rigging that is involved in putting a camera in a non traditional location. i.e. rigging it to the side of cards or on the front of a motorcycle or any place the DP says he/she wants it.

A grip works in partnership with the electric department in lighting the sets and/or stages. A grip never deals with actual lights, but rather diffuses the light or shapes it with flags and nets.

This is a very basic description. And answergirl is correct, there is a difference between a good and bad grip. And in some instances people could get hurt or killed in a grip fails to do his/her job properly.

Calvin Starnes said...

side of CARS, not cards...

Anonymous said...

"I am a grip and that is a fairly accurate depiction of what we do but there is no such thing as steady - cam track. There is dolly track and there is steady- cam but they are two totally different creatures..."

LOL! Steadi-cam track... right. Answer girl needs a bit more education before she answers.

AnswerGirl said...

Thank you for correcting me! I had this explained to me by my oldest and closest friend, a film director, but obviously transcribed his explanation incorrectly. Sorry about that.