Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

I know that Flapjack sounds as far as possible from photography, but videographer Andy Bieber so cleverly made those into the most awesome grip ever!

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

I use a lot of white card reflectors and B-boards in my shooting and always had a problem setting them at just the right angle using only a gobo arm, spring clips and gaffers tape. Invariably I’d have to double up on the gobo arms or punch a hole in the reflectors. Now all I have to do is tape a FLAPJECK to the back of the reflector card, mount the 5/8” pin in a grip head and I have complete control. I use less C stands and gobo arms and the set is a lot less cluttered.

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

The FLAPJACK’S 5/8” aluminum pin is 2-3/4 inches long. Just long enough to clamp into a grip head. And it’s turned from hexagonal bar stock so I can use a wrench on the bottom if you want to take the pin off and use it somewhere else. This gadget is great for mounting custom cut flags and gobos to grip arms. Can even screw them down to plywood boards to make emergence nail plates, or screw them to a wall to mount lightweight fixtures.

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

I originally designed these tools to mount small lights on car interiors. I just rolled the side window down. Folded the FLAPJACK over the top of the window and rolled the window back up. Added some gaffer’s tape to the inside and outside and I had my mount. Since I knew I was going to use them against glass I put a pad on the back. I also taped them on the hood of the car but I don’t recommend it unless you are using high speed tape. The TV show I was shooting at the time was REAL STORIES OF THE HIGHWAY PATROL. I only shot about nine segments for the show here in Florida back in the early 1990’s.

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

I’m a videographer with a background in cinematography. When I made the first FLAPJACKS18 years ago I considered them as “Expendables” because I thought the aluminum would brake after it was bent back and forth a few time. The fact is I’m still using them. I had no idea they would last so long. And I usually fold them up and throw them in my grip box along with my tape so they don’t get any special treatment around here. I just got finished shooting a 15 week TV series (as the Gaffer) and used Flapjacks to hold bounce cards all the time. And of the three I had, two of them walked away at the end of the shoot.

Just for shows, here is a picture of one of my 18-year-old FLAPJACKS. They work!

Using Flapjacks As Omnipotent Grip

  • vulkanino

    Non US readers (like me) have a hard time figuring out what a flapjack is and where it can be bought.

    • udi tirosh

      I actually had to look it up too. It is a special speculate used in making pancakes.
      However, the flapjacks described in this post are hand made to specifications from stock aluminum so they’ll bend.

  • Patric Franksson

    This IS brilliant.. if I only could work out what that is..
    It’s some kind of aluminum-bar with foam on, glued to a reflector material.. got that. But where can we get it overseas?

    • Matthew Wagg

      You have to make it

  • Byron Dillard

    Its not just a non-US issue, I’ve never seen anything like this in the US either and google doesn’t have any ideas either.

  • Taffysnaps

    Shame we can’t actually use an oat-based cake snack (a flapjack) ! 😛

  • Andy B

    OK, here’s the 411 about Flapjacks from the source. When I put these things together I really
    didn’t have a name for them. Then one day on location one of the grips asked, “Can I use one of your flaps?” At the end of the day I went looking for my gear and, jokingly, made the comment; “Man don’t jack (steal) my flaps. I had a stack of them when I started this gig, now I can’t find any of them.” Then, as film crews do for just about every
    piece of equipment on the set, we came up with the nickname Flapjacks. As you may know, flapjacks are pancakes that are usually eaten by the stack. And I am referring to the breakfast food type of pancake, not the “pancake” used on a film set to lift something ¾” off the floor. So there you go. You can make them yourself if you can find the pin (I
    machined these myself) and the soft tempered aluminum.

  • bartom

    “And it’s turned from hexagonal bar stock” – not everyone has a metal lathe

    • Rick

      Then start with round stock. Drill and tap one end for 1/4-20 joint connector bolts.

  • AndyB
  • Michael Arend

    I was just thinking something like a adhesive faced grinder pad might work on a similar way…or velcro and a velcro pad face…hmmm