November 16, 2014

Getting a Grip on Grip Trucks: How to Load One & What Equipment Typically Comes in Them

Grip Truck Basics
As you move up the filmmaking ladder and start working on productions with higher budgets, you're going to encounter new types of equipment and new ways of working.

If you happen to be working in the lighting or grip departments, you will more than likely encounter some variation of the grip truck, a (hopefully) well-organized and well-stocked wonderland containing all of the essential and under-appreciated tools of filmmaking, as well as all of the bits and pieces that you would ever need to tackle the variety of technical problems that arise on any set. What's even more exciting is that grip trucks usually aren't prohibitively expensive, which puts them within reach for some lower-budget productions.

So what kinds of tools can you expect to find on a grip truck? Here's a walkthrough of a basic three ton grip truck package that rents for $195/day at Miami's Budget Video Rentals:

As grip truck packages go, the one shown above is among the most basic and most inexpensive. When you factor in that many grip truck rentals also feature some form of a dolly, most often a doorway dolly or a Fisher, you're usually looking somewhere in the neighborhood of $300-$400/day. However, more often than not, your lighting packages will also be rented along with the grip truck, which, depending on the package you choose, can put a three to five ton grip truck rental more along the lines of $500-900/day, depending on where you live. Last, but not least, many rental houses that offer grip truck packages treat those rentals much like the process of renting a U-Haul, where you're also charged for mileage put on the vehicle. It's important to make sure that you factor those costs into your grip and electric budget as well.

Now that you've got a good idea of the types of things that are included in a grip truck, let's take a look at some best practices for the packing and unpacking of a grip truck. This tutorial is an excerpt from an awesome Lynda.com course called Pro Video Tips:

And last but not least, here's the best (and only) piece of grip truck sketch comedy that I've come across:

What are some of your best practices for renting and packing a grip truck?     

Your Comment

4 Comments

How can one rent a grip truck if they are not somewhere that has rental places nearby? I do not live in an area that is big in filmmaking.

November 17, 2014 at 1:39AM

11
Reply

You might have a local gaffer that'll rent out his personal truck. You might be able to find someone like this on a site like mandy.com, but they're probably gonna want you to hire them as well.

November 17, 2014 at 11:34AM

0
Reply
Chuck McDowell
1st AC
520

Buy a van, start with diy or inexpensive equipment and when you make some money upgrade to a bigger truck, buy some professional gear and rent it out to others in your area.

November 26, 2014 at 11:55PM

2
Reply
Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
671

Don't forget lights are not included in the rental. Grip trucks may have lights on board. You pay rental fees for any lights you use.

@Samuel Sloan- Call the closest rental house and ask. You'll pay a rental fee and a mileage fee, plus buy the fuel you use.

November 17, 2014 at 4:11AM

2
Reply
Charlie K
1311