Grips have such an important job on a set. Here are some of the tools that allow them to get stuff done.
If cinema is magic, then those who make it are magicians.
Directors are flamboyant stage magicians with expert-level misdirection. Cinematographers are brilliant mentalists. Editors are masters of close-up sleight-of-hand. But grips -- they're escape artists who build elaborate sets with trap doors, mirrors, and secret compartments. They're able to get themselves out of anything.
It takes an immense amount of technical knowledge and creativity to work as a grip, but what are some of the most important pieces of gear they use to do their job?
Indy Mogul's Ted Sim talks with Hollywood grip Martin Torner, who has worked on everything from Iron Man 2 and Thor, to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Curb Your Enthusiasm, about essential grip gear. Martin reveals which equipment is most useful on an indie film set, how they're used, and how much they're going to cost you.
Check out the video below:
Whether you're a filmmaker writing down a list of rental equipment for your next film, or a burgeoning grip shopping for the essentials, Torner's suggestions give you a great place to start. And though you'll see most of these clamps and clips on pretty much every big-budget film production, Torner makes it a point to highlight the benefits each piece of gear will offer indie filmmakers specifically.
Here's a quick list of all of the grip gear mentioned in the video:
- Spud adapter
- Nail on plate
- Scissor clip
- Mafer clamp
- Matthellini/Cardellini clamp
- Chain vice grip
- Grid clamp
As a professional grip who works on Hollywood projects, Torner has made use of all of this gear. However, understanding that not everybody works on big-budget films, he makes it a point to determine each piece's usefulness, versatility, and price point. That way, you can decide whether or not they can service you and your project's production needs.
For example, your film or TV show may not require any big grids or frames, so purchasing grid clamps for $60 a pop is probably not going to be very helpful to you. However, Cardellini clamps and nail-on plates will allow you to do many things, like mount lights on the floor or create a quick surface for laptops, coffee cups, or...I don't know...a sandwich? Whatever you want!
What grip gear can you not live without? Let us know down in the comments.