Managing all the moving parts on an independent film set can be challenging. Grips are professionals on set who build rigging equipment to support lighting and cameras. In addition, the key grip supervises the grip crew. For those of you not sure whether or not you need a grip crew on your set, let's dive a little deeper into the roles they play on film sets and how it is beneficial to have one on your team.
A grip works with rigging equipment on set that supports cameras or lighting. Beyond just setting up supplies, they make sure everything runs efficiently, and work to resolve any issues if it doesn't. A grip knows how to handle any and all gear that supports the lighting and camera equipment. If they lack extensive knowledge about handling and configuring this type of equipment, they are not the most suitable candidate for a grip film crew. In addition, they do not handle the lights themselves: that's the responsibility of the gaffer and their electric crew. If something malfunctions, grips are who you go to find the instrument to fix whatever demands fixing.
While grips are a whole crew on their own, the key grip is their leader. This person must have the command to lead a group. A key grip watches over technicians and works directly with the director of photography and the cinematography department, conveying critical messages between departments. A key grip role demands leadership, so if your candidate struggles with leading groups, they are not the best person to fill this role for you. Our Grip truck experts offer the following reasons your independent film needs a key grip.
It is easy to feel like you are responsible for everything as the director. While it's true that you have an immense share of power and responsibility, your key grip is an excellent leader who takes charge of their department and ensures that all duties are completed.
They have excellent communication skills and are talented problem solvers who help alleviate your stress and bring your creative vision to life. Of course, there is always conflict, but a solid key grip allows you the freedom to know that when disputes occur, they will solve them without needing your attention.
Safety is a top concern in every field, especially on a film set. As we said earlier, a key grip is familiar with how all film equipment operates. Hence, they are hyper-aware of safety precautions and ensure everything functions safely and effectively.
Thankfully, your key grip and your whole grip crew know how to handle lighting and help you significantly if anything starts malfunctioning. Without at least a key grip on the set, you would have to contact outside aid to help fix the equipment, taking cherished time out of your well-constructed production timetable.