From Grip to Gaffer: Shaping a Film’s Aesthetic
From big budget Hollywood blockbusters to modest indie films, safety on the film set is paramount to a successful production and nowhere is that more critical than the lighting department. Handling potentially hazardous levels of electricity and large-scale equipment requires experienced industry technicians who keep the set safe and hassle-free.
Care for your Cords
The gaffer is the head of the electrical department and in charge of the overall lighting plan in collaboration with the director of photography and his lighting crew. They also manage all equipment required for camera movements such as the dolly. The best boy is the right hand of the gaffer, executing every detail of the plan. Together they work with the key grip who controls shaping the light using various methods of diffusion. Across the board, caring for your cords is critical. They can be bundled together with velcro and taped to the floor, well labelled, staying away from the path of foot traffic. No stepping on cords! They must be out of the way of the camera operators, talent and other technicians who need to move quickly on set.
The Toughest Job on Set
Grips have specialties in specific machines and equipment such as jibs, cranes, and large hydraulic lifts known as condors. On set, the director may have them build, maintain, and operate a variety of support tools following the needs of the shot. The most common specialist is the Dolly Grip. Dolly Grips build dolly tracks and are responsible for moving the camera and associated operators during the shoot. These jobs are grueling, hot, and full of heavy lifting, all the while having to be on top of every single detail of the production.
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