These guys converted an old ambulance into an amazing grip truck
Sometimes you just have a ton of gear to lug around, especially if you do commercial photography or filmmaking for a living. Grip trucks are common in Hollywood and for huge production companies, but they don’t come cheap. The team at video production company Threefold, though, has figured out a somewhat more economical solution – They converted a 1995 Ford Diesel E350 ambulance into a custom grip truck.
Mostly, no matter what vehicle you go for, you’re going to have to do some custom conversion to turn it into your ideal grip truck. Everybody’s collection of gear is slightly different and to store and transport them has different requirements for space and ease of access. For the guys at Threefold, the E350 ambulance turned out to fit their needs quite nicely.
Threefold writes on Reddit that they purchased the vehicle directly from a county for a mere $7,000, with only 50,000 miles on the clock. They got to speak with the mechanic who had been maintaining it during its service, and determined that it was “pretty meticulously maintained” and “built like a tank”. For a vehicle they say is capable of 350,000 miles, it should serve them well.
The E350 ambulance has a number of storage compartments for storing gear that can be accessed externally, with one that can be accessed internally, too. Lights are also fitted externally over the back doors for easy viewing during evening and night time productions, and a box on the roof holds speed rails, tubes and dolly track.
Internally, there is a lockable cubby with a tripod base plate screwed down for safely storing a fully rigged camera while driving, along with plenty of shelves for storing pelican cases filled with other equipment. A charging station, powers by a 2,000 watt inverter, supplies both DC and AC power for charging or powering equipment on the go.
It’s a pretty awesome looking conversion. Even if you decide to go a different route for your gear transport needs, the video of this conversion might give you some good ideas for your own vehicles.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.