There a ton of must-have items that you'll need on set — duct tape, clamps, and a pair of comfy shoes. Apple boxes are another one of these.
Apple boxes serve many purposes on a shoot, whether it's to add a little height to your camera or to take a load off between setups, but there may be a little bit more to them than you realize. Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens quickly breaks down the different sizes, positions, and uses for apple boxes in the video below:
Sometimes these sizes are simply called 1, 2, and 3 — some even call a full apple box a "Tom Cruise," for obvious reasons. (Tom Cruise is a short dude.) Here are the sizes from the video, as well as their dimensions.
- Full: 20"×12"×8"
- Half: 20"×12"×4"
- Quarter: 20"×12"×2"
- Pancake: 20"×12"×1"
Different productions might refer to apple box positions differently (such as "first floor," "second flood," and "third floor"), but Evan Luzi from The Black and Blue made a helpful graphic that can help you remember the names of each of the positions mentioned in Morgan's video.
Apple boxes can be used for pretty much anything, especially if you're a creative and resourceful individual, but here are a few common ways to utilize them:
- Add height to actors, cameras, and props
- Provide support for equipment
- Create a dolly (it's hard to level a camera when it's inside a grocery cart dolly)
- Sit on 'em
- Use them as a step ladder
Apple boxes don't tend to be too expensive; you can usually get a set of them (full, half, quarter, pancake) for around $150. (Or, if you have money to burn, you can grab some Jokerboxes that double as apple boxes and storage for grip equipment.) But if you're a DIYer, here are a couple of tutorials that show you how to make your own. The first is more labor intensive and will cost a little bit more, but you'll have some nice boxes in the end. The second is much simpler and cheaper to make, but they'll look a little rough.
What are some creative ways you've used apple boxes on set? Let us know in the comments below!