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Grips are members of a film production team, often associated with the camera and lighting crews, but actually comprising their own department. Grip equipment helps the grip team perform whatever task is assigned to them, whether it is helping with lighting set-ups or laying dolly trucks. There are many pieces of grip equipment that can come in handy for a variety of on-set jobs.
A grip on nearly any film production will have a variety of basic tools, usually strapped to him or herself for easy access. On set, a grip will generally have gaffing tape, to help secure objects such as cords and mark out locations. He or she may also have grip clips, heavy duty metal clips like clothespins that are used for a variety of purposes. Most grips will keep a basic tool kit on hand, including a screwdriver, hammer, and multi-tool for construction work.
One of the most important pieces of grip equipment is a good pair of working gloves. Since the job may involve heavy lifting, touching hot objects, and dealing with dirty or dusty sets, a pair of gloves can be instrumental in avoiding damage to the hands. Work gloves can generally be found at home supply stores, and can go a long way to making a day easier.
Grips assist with construction, and as so must be responsible and knowledgeable about a variety of building and safety equipment. Grips may be in charge of building and maintaining scaffolding or other types of temporary construction. They generally have responsibility over any building materials such as ladders or rigging equipment on set.
On a unionized studio production, there are a lot of rules about what jobs a grip can perform. Specifically, he or she is allowed to assist with lighting set-ups, but not actually handle lights. This job may involve interaction with certain pieces of lighting-related grip equipment, such as large, adjustable stands for lights called c-stands, as well as a variety of shields, reflective devices, and flags that help change lighting effect.
When working with the camera department, grips are allowed to help with the dolly or crane devices. These are movable mounts for the camera that allow moving shots. Related grip equipment for this job includes the dolly tracks, which are adjustable rails that are laid out in the pattern of the camera's movement, to ensure smooth passage. Grips may also be responsible for moving the dolly itself, as well as a similar rolling device for the sound crew that carries a sound technician with microphones along the path of the shop.
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