Common types of grip equipment
When it comes to lighting sets, after deciding what type of light sources will be used, the mounting and gripping questions arise. A properly rigged set means that the lighting will look better, the crew will work with greater efficiency so that the final outcome will meet the director's aspirations for the project.
A very important part of any shooting is organizing and running the lighting operations, and without proper equipment, the job cannot be completed. During any production, many changes may occur on the set so any gripping and mounting accessory will come handy at some point. Gripping accessories are also responsible with the safety of the entire set, so don't ignore that small feature of a particular clamp that helps tightening down a lighting fixture.
For any photographer or filmmaker some of these rigging hardware should be indispensable so maybe a short description of them will help unraveling the secret of an efficient shooting.
C-clamps are used when an extremely secure quick mount is demanded. C-clamps for motion picture use come fitted with 16 mm pins. The type of C-clamps used in the film industry have either pipe faces or flat faces.
The pipe face has a small piece of channel iron welded to the flat face at a 90 degree angle. This gives the clamp a better clamping action when attached to a pole or a pipe.
Please note that pipe face C-clamps should never be used on a wood surface. The edges of the face will create indentations on the wood surface. If there are no flat face clamps available, you may use a pipe face with two pieces of cribbing sandwiched between the surface you're working on and the clamp.
The gaffer grip is a multi-use device that is unique in that it comes with two 16 mm pins. One pin is on the handle and on is on the jaws.
Adjustable jaw openings provide normal expanded mounting capabilities.
Gaffer grips are normally used for quick mounting small light fixtures to virtually anything, such as door, pipe, furniture or light stands.
They are also called "gator grips" due to the style of the teeth in the jaw.
Baby grid clamps are designed for maximum hold. The baby grid clamp fits a 32 mm to 65 mm pipe.
When the bottom nut has been securely fastened, the grid clamp is virtually unmovable.
The Pro clamp, also called "Mafer clamp" (pronounced may-fer) , "Convi clamp", "Super clamp", is a very frequently used clamp with a 16 mm pin on it. It is a versatile mount, small but strong enough.
It has a rubber-lined jaws that will attach to most pipes and flat surfaces.
A baby pipe clamp is designed and strengthened to allow fixtures to hang on a pipe without the danger of slipping off the pipe while the clamp is loose.
This type of clamp is recommended to be hanged from heavy steel pipes. and not from lightweight or thin-walled pipe or tubing because, after tightening up the bolt, you'll probably break right through the tube.
The lock-off bolt can be tightened to hold the pipe clamp in any desired position with ease. It terminates with a 16 mm pin.
Also called "gobo head", this is the accessory that connects a grip arm to a light stand. It allows for the arm to spin 360 degrees horizontally and vertically. Using this type of attachment, the grip arm can move in a 3D space, being of course limited by its length.
The grip head consists mainly from two parts: the adapter that fits on the light stand and the circular part with holes in it that takes the arm and tightens up with the knob when the desired rotation is achieved.
Another important type of grip head is the one that comes with double gags (two wheels) also called "gag head" and can hold more than one arm at a time.
Baby plates are used for holding down small fixtures or grip heads. They can be nailed or screwed to the top of set walls or practically any surface into which a nail can be driven (a tree for example).
The pin size is 16 mm and has a small hole through it, near the end, for a safety pin or wire to go through. Something should be slipped through this hole and secured to prevent a light from falling off.
The pin has a recessed area near the end in which the lamp's locking pin / knuckle rides. This allows the lamp to rotate on the pin without falling off when the light is being panned.
Always check the weld on the pin to the plate first, before use. If you are screwing the plate into a set wall (usually 6 mm plywood), place a piece of cribbing on the other side of the wall to give the screws something to hold to.
Junior wall plates may also be called set wall brackets. They are similar in design with baby plates.
These plates are fitted with a 28 mm receiver. The junior wall plate can be nailed, in either vertical or horizontal position. The set wall bracket provides an extremely stable base for mounting a fixture on top of a set, wall and so on.
Also called "grip chain", this is what most grips in the industry use to secure (tie down) most lighting fixtures on the set. Some of the gripping accessories are provided with dedicated holes to insert the secure wire and prevent accidents from happening.