On a film set, the grip handles all means of camera support. Grips assist the cinematographer and gaffer in managing and sculpting the light. They also deal with safety aspects of cast and crew while working on set.
In the world of photography we may occasionally have an assistant, but such jobs are usually up to us. In this video from ASC Cameraman, Mark Vargo, we get an peek into the life of a grip.
Having worked as DP on movies such as White House Down, Ted, and The Green Mile, Mark provides a great insight into the work of grips on set.
Don’t let the cinematography aspect of this video fool you, though. It also contains plenty of great tips in there to help photographers.
For example, I usually take a couple of reflectors out with me on shoots. They’re the typical white/silver/gold/black/translucent 5-in-1 types that many of us use. This particular shot has got me rethinking exactly what reflectors I might want to make and experiment with in the future.
I’d never considered combining silver and gold to reduce warmth or going with blue to cool the bounced light.
Something else that location shooters may need to think about is blocking or diffusing bright overhead sunlight. I’ve built a few makeshift frames with white backdrop cloth over them for the same reason with outdoor portraits.
One aspect most photographers don’t have to deal with is moving the camera. In still frames, camera motion isn’t usually required or even desired. On a movie, grips are responsible for making this happen.
More recently released, this behind the scenes video from the new Jason Bourne movie shows just what a good grip crew can allow the camera to achieve.
Yeah, ok, so the second video may not be completely relevant to stills photographers. But it’s still a lot of fun to watch and who doesn’t enjoy a good Bourne movie? Even if it is only a short behind the scenes.
Movies are something I often study to help photography. The workflow and techniques of those creating it can still be very valuable for stills. The lighting used is also always a great inspiration for me.
Where outside of photography do you look to help you do grow as a photographer? What skills have you gained doing other things that have helped your photography? Let us know in the comments.
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