Set lighting technicians manage power distribution and lamps for video and film sets. The grip department governs the rigging for camera lighting, camera support, and light modifiers. There is a particular number of tools that technicians either have with them at all times or keep close at hand for when the time comes that they need a specific tool to keep both departments running safely and efficiently. This list is simply a starting point for professional grips and electricians to show up to the set looking prepared because everyone has different preferences on the tools they use. Following are the elements that make up an everyday belt.
Here we will start with items you need as a set lighting technician or a grip and follow with the specifics for each position.
Tool belt -This is a belt used to put pouches on or take them off quickly for any reason that might arise, like lunch or environments with no-tool belt work.
Mini tool pouch -These pouches hold the standard tools needed for grip work or set lighting technicians.
Expendables pouch -Some people use small binder clips to attach cube taps to their tool belt, while others prefer small pouches instead. A repurposed tape measure pouch will hold any expendables needed, including C-47s.
Tape roll -A tape roll is made up of a rope with various tapes used on the job. These can be purchased or made with a carabiner and a rope.
Glove clip -This gives you easy access to your gloves.
Tape measure pouch -This is a closable pouch to keep your tape measure in.
Multimeter pouch-This is a small pouch with a strap to keep your multimeter handy without allowing it to fall out.
Headlamp pouch -This is a zip-up pouch that keeps your headlamp safe. Having a pouch available for your headlamp helps remind you to turn it off when it is not in use. Also, leaving it loose in your gig bag or allowing it to dangle from your belt often causes it to turn on and leaves you with a dead battery when you need it the most.
Radio pouch -This pouch helps keep your walkie-talkie within arm's reach. Most people think they don't need one until their walkie-talkie jumps off their belt several times a day.
This is a list of various tools anyone in lighting or working in grip should have on hand.
Sharpies -Both thick tip and thin Point sharpies are essential to keep on hand. Some professionals also carry a silver sharpie to write on black tape. Always keep your sharpies upside down in your pouch so that the tips don't dry out.
Ballpoint pen -This makes filling out start paperwork easy; otherwise, you won't get paid. We find that an excellent ballpoint pen is the Pilot G2.
Black photo paper tape -This tape is the lifeblood of the electric and grip departments. Everyone on set should have a role on their tool belt. They are costly and should be provided by production, so don't feel like you have to buy one.
Diagonal cutters-These Cutters are great for cutting rope, zip ties, or anything your knife is too dangerous to cut.
Flashlight or headlamp -Though professionals can use either, a headlamp allows you to work with both hands.
Knife -An electrical technician or grip should always have a knife in their tool belt.
4-in-1 Screwdriver-These handy screwdrivers have large and small flat and Phillips head bits. You should be able to handle at least 95% of the screws you come across in your job with this screwdriver.
8” C-wrench -Obviously.
Maxi-flex gloves -These thin gloves will help keep your dexterity intact while you are working. They are available from your local expendables shop or through Amazon. Always keep a few pairs on hand.
¾” black electrical tape -This is handy for completing simple electrical projects.
1” white Gaffers tape -This should be kept handy for labeling dimmer channels and stingers.
C-47’s -These are used for clipping gels onto a light. Clothespins can be used as well.
Electrician scissors -These scissors are small but extremely strong and can cut through thin wires and metal. They also come in handy for cutting gels for gel frames.
Needle nose pliers -These are fantastic for pulling out hot scrims.
Wire strippers -You may need to have these readily available or keep them at the back of your cart, depending on the job you are doing.
Multimeter -Multimeters allow you to read voltage on a given electrical line easily. Using the continuity tester function, you can see if something is grounded correctly or if a globe has gone bad. Some multimeters even include antique lamps to let you know how much amperage is on a cable run.
Socket tester -A socket tester is used to check if an outlet is hot or not. You can also use them to find out if it is appropriately grounded. A socket tester is often more reliable than a sniffer that some people use.
Torpedo level -This can help you with leveling stands for the electric department.
Hammer -Hammers are great grip equipment for percussive maintenance or getting set walls in place.
11/16” and 7/8” ratcheting wrenches-These wrenches can be found in one tool for your convenience.
3/16” speed wrench -This ratcheting wrench has an Allen head and is used for speed rail fittings.
25’ tape measure -Once you get used to carrying this on your tool belt, you'll likely realize how much time you save from running back and forth to carts to try to get the right size rags or perfect cut of duvetyne.
This list accounts for nearly everything needed for a grip department or lighting department tool belt. It may be sensible to carry kino clips and zip ties in your belt if you are on a show where you are constantly using them. Being flexible with the things you keep on your tool belt can be helpful.