More often than not, filmmaking is all about improvisation. Experienced directors and department heads will always have a preference for crew members who are resourceful above all else. Being able to solve issues that present themselves in the spot is a highly sought-after quality in any crew member, but those who are able to anticipate the problems and have a readymade solution always stand above the rest. Whether you are a grip or not, it is always good to learn a new thing or two that could make an important difference for someone’s work on set. Keep reading to learn 5 tips every grip and crew should know on set.
5 Tips Every Film Grip Should Know
1. Use flags to shade other crew from the sun
Flags are some of the most abundant pieces of gear that you can find on any set. Normally, there will be a complete set of different sizes that you can use to your advantage to shape light in any way you need, but beyond that, they make great tools to protect you and others against the sun.
When shooting on exteriors and the sun is burning hot enough to keep your cameraman and DP squinting to check the viewfinder, make sure to use flags to shade them from the sun and make everyone’s work flow easier and faster.
2. Pad surfaces to make awkward shots more comfortable
There are times when the cameraman and other crew members need to shoot a difficult shot over and over again in uncomfortable positions that require sitting on rough surfaces or kneeling down on the floor without protection.
Keeping any sort of padding foam or material around that you can use to make these shots easier to get over with will be greatly appreciated.
3. Eliminate diffusion noise with tape and cups
Shooting outside can be challenging for a variety of reasons, but your sound crew will tell you the number one thing they hate about being outdoors is the noise of the wind interfering with their job in all sorts of ways.
One unexpected way in which wind can ruin the sound of a scene is by blowing into diffusion and gels you have installed for the scene. Using a cup or any sort of light object that you can press against the sheet will tighten it up and keep it from making noise when the wind hits it. Secure it with tape and you’re ready to keep rolling.
4. Keep noise blankets handy at all times
Padding surfaces might not always be possible when it comes to difficult camera angles and tight spaces. This also happens fairly frequently, so you want to make sure you have alternatives in these cases.
Noise blankets are a jack of all trades for these situations. Due to how thick and soft they are, while also being fairly large in most cases, they make for great support when rolled or folded. Keep one extra handy at all times to provide additional support to the camera crew.
5. Use #0 spring clamps instead of clothespins
Lastly, clothespins or C-47s are fairly popular and low-cost lifesavers virtually on every set. However, experienced grips and gaffers will tell you that most of the time, they get lost or knocked over fairly easily, and also that they don’t offer a tight enough grip for some situations.
The smallest size of spring clamps you can find, commonly known as zeroes, are much more stable and offer a much stronger grip than clothespins. Another alternative is using binder clamps, which are also quite sturdy and easier to get if extra are needed in case of emergency.