Mark Vargo, ASC has been on a roll with his educational content recently. First he graced us with an incredibly informative short documentary called Let There Be Light, which is an excellent starting point for anyone just getting into lighting for cinema. He also has another extremely helpful piece about metering light and exposing properly. However, Vargo's most recent short documentary is more of a personal love letter to the entirety of the grip department than it is an instructional documentary -- but, it's entirely possible that you will learn more about being a grip in the next 11 minutes than you ever have in the rest of your life. Check it out:
For the most part, grips are often thought of as the low-level grunt workers on a film set. While the job title carries with it a veritable plethora of duties, the work is anything but menial. From rigging cameras and lighting equipment in places that are frankly mind-blowing, to laying out and leveling hundreds of feet of dolly track, to using to the tools of the trade to manipulate light in every way possible, grips are literally involved with most of the technical aspects of filmmaking in some way or another.
Most importantly, however, grips are often the ones charged with the single most important activity that occurs on every single film set: technical problem-solving.
When a broken piece of vital equipment has the cast and crew up in arms about whether the rest of the work day is salvageable, grips are there with an inherent sense of ingenuity like no other breed of people. When the director decides to throw out the shot-list and "just wing it," grips are there with a willingness to improvise and the technical knowledge to make it all work. When the sun disappears behind the clouds after a half day of shooting in direct sunlight, and for some reason all of your lighting modifiers have mysteriously vanished, grips are there with a MacGuyver-esque sense of duty that allows them to craft a 6x6 frame and bounce out of only a few tree branches, a rubber band, and half of a flexfill.
So here's to you, Grips, for you truly are the unsung heroes of the film industry.
[via Mark Vargo]