Have you ever wondered: what does a Grip do? In truly timeless 90’s Docu fashion, Mark Vargo, ASC takes us on a journey explaining the role of the grip department, with insight to popular camera and light modifying tools they use day to day.
With filmmaking becoming as accessible and self-sufficient due to today’s technology, many people are coming into the industry with a do-it-all-yourself attitude and have never, and maybe will never, come into contact with a traditionally structured professional film outfit.
That means that when you check out the Behind the Scenes of your favourite Hollywood movies, you have no idea what that Craghopper clad, burley guy holding a piece of metal is doing.
Believe it or not, you shouldn’t really have to keep an eye on your reflector leant up against a camera bag and light stand as you delicately try to poise the camera on a slider & double stacked tripod head. In a professional production, there is a whole department that deals with that for you.
Mark Vargo’s video above does a good job highlighting the key roles of a grip, whilst going into a little detail regarding popular used tools, such as grades of gobos (light modifiers that “go between” the lights and the talent).
Outside of Hollywood movies, Grips are widely used in the commercial industry, as well as high profile corporate, narrative and music videos. The smaller the jobs are, the more blurred set roles can become.
Basically speaking, the Grip Department is responsible for camera and lighting support. The key word here is support, where they never usually touch a light fixture or piece of camera kit, just the supporting elements.
Mark Vargo describes them as skilled technicians drawing experience from highly technical vocations. I couldn’t have put it better myself.