Grip Job Description, Salary, Duties-Let’s Know More

Ever wonder how your favorite film feels so good? Yeah, acting and scripts are the backbones for it, but the cinematic angles and camera movements have their significance in holding up various perspectives. The technician who is associated with setting up, operating, and maintaining equipment that supports the camera movements and lighting is the Grip. Let’s know more about Grip Job Description.

Grip Job Description

If you want to be associated with the noble camera crew, you should read this article. Here we are going to discuss every bit of their day-to-day work, salary, and every little detail.

Job Description:

As a grip, you are expected to develop and build production sets and construct equipment that supports the camera and its movements, place lights, construct dolly tracks, rig camera cranes, and perform other general rigging duties.

To develop yourself as a successful grip, you must have advanced knowledge in carpentry, metalwork, and electrical work as these are often required while setting the camera and lights.

Types of Grip:

There are various divisions in this job, each assigned with a specialized assignment to be fulfilled. Let’s have a brief look at each of them:

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  • Key Grip: The leader of the grip department is referred to as the key grip. He is the boss, also known as the first company grip. He supervises and divides the work among the other grip members.
  • Best Boy Grip: The assistant of the key grip is the best boy grip also known as the second company grip. He is the right-hand man of the boss who on behalf of the key grip works in areas such as, booking crew and equipment rental.
  • Gang Grip: This is the general category of grips who work their blood and sweat out on the set under the supervision of the key grip. Also, they are referred to as the third company grip. 
  • Construction Grip: They are responsible for constructing and dismantling the set. Laying out, moving, adjusting major set pieces on the set like walls, ceiling flats or building decks and platforms is their job.
  • Dolly Grip: The grip associated solely with the operation of dollies, and camera cranes to get the desired angle for the camera operator is known as the dolly grip.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Being a grip is no an easy job irrespective of their position in the production group hierarchy. Their day-to-day activities include:

  • Key Grip:
  1. Ensuring and supervising the construction of the set.
  2. They look after the budget and expenses for building the set.
  3. Collaborates with the camera operators to determine the necessary equipment required.
  4. Maintaining a friendly work environment for the other group members and boosting the team spirit.
  5. Motivate and boost team spirit.
  6. Work cross-functionally with different divisions and look after their works.
  • Best Boy Grip:
  1. They divide the work and determine which grip team will work in which position.
  2. Booking the crew members and providing equipment at a budget-friendly cost.
  3. They also arrange for additional cameras when a big shot takes place.
  4. Arranging for additional grip members when needed.
  5. They ensure that the right equipment is present on the set in the time of need.
  • Construction Grip:
  1. Construction and dismantling of a set.
  2. Designing, constructing, and painting the backdrops on a set.
  3. Moving set pieces during the shoot to get a better angle or with the change in scene.
  • Grip:
  1. Assembling camera equipment including dollies, jibs, rigs, cranes, and tracks.
  2. Packing and unpacking camera and rigging equipment after and before the shoot, respectively.
  3. Testing the safety and strength of the rigs after assembling them.
  4. Looking after and repairing rigging equipment when needed.
  5. Work in close association with the electrical department to create the lighting set-ups.
  6. Moving the light accordingly, with the instruction of the director.
  7. They may also order as well as rent equipment.
  8. They might fulfill administrative duties like maintaining the records on the equipment.
  • Dolly Grip:
  1. Constructing And laying dolly tracks.
  2. They move the camera dolly as the scene is being shot, with at least one camera operator on it.
  3. Ensuring that the dolly moves smoothly without disturbance and obstruction, and the shot is not wasted.

Skills:

The grip members require some basic skills to excel in what they do. Here are some skill sets that an aspiring grip must master before he jumps in the production team:

  • Communication Skills:  Working on the set without decent communication skills is impossible. Good communication is the essence of teamwork. The whole working grip team must stay in touch with each other while working and ensure that they are on the same page through communication. Coordination is of the essence between the grip divisions to give the best for their film.
  • Creativity:  Be a key grip or the best boy grip or the constructional grip or any other, this post demands creativity along with hard work. The set demands tricky solutions to the required problem. You have to come up with an instant solution that mitigates the problem immediately without disturbing the shoot.
  • Critical Thinking: The ability to think for the betterment and benefits of the production department should be there within an aspiring grip. A proper vision of the field can help you from grave losses and will also help you perform your daily works easily. You have to take quick yet cautious steps to solve out-of-the-box problems as well as problems within teams.
  • Leadership Skill: Talking about this job, the skill that one must possess is the essence of leadership. Key grip and best boy grip shoulder the huge responsibility of leading and coordinating several teams. Like, true leaders, it is their job to ensure that the shoot goes on without any problem.
  • Organizing Skill: This skill is essential throughout the career of a grip. Organizing cameras and lights for the shoot is the most basic work for the grip members. Without proper organizing skills, the shoot could be delayed and this will hamper the whole process of film-making. Also, there is a need for organizing last-minute additional cameras and grip members.
  •  Finance Management: A film is already a high-budget project. So, the grip members must ensure that they find the best rate for equipment and working crew so that there are no additional huge expenses.It is the job of the grip members to look after that the resource meets the cause. It is important to prioritize the equipment needed and allocating the resource accordingly.
  • Physical Strength and Fitness: To be a grip member, it is not only important to train the mind but also to train the body for heavy works like moving set pieces, loading and unloading of equipment, working in the wee hours of the night, and so on, heavy pressure works. They must have the fitness and stamina to endure it all.

Educational Qualification:

The aspiring grips must have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects:

  • Cinematography and Film Production.
  • Photography.
  • Film and Cinema Studies.

Not only a degree but, experience is also required before you will be hired as a professional grip member in any recognized production house. Internships are the best way to gain experience first-hand. Many small production houses offer internships that will help you gain experience as well as groom you for applying to bigger production houses.

Salary:

The salary varies based on the hierarchy in the house. The higher the position, the better the pay scale.

  • A key grip earns up to $60,000 to $100,000 per year on average. 
  • A best boy grip earns up to $50,000 to $75,000 per year on an average.
  • A grip member earns up to $35,000 per year on average.
  • A constructional grip earns up to $50,000 per year on average.
  • A dolly grip earns up to $29,000 to $42,000 per year on average.

With much work experience along the time, a grip member may apply for Key grip or best boy grip positions.

Thus, the next time, you watch a film, you already know that there is much more than acting and script, which holds the true essence of it. Without grip, a film can never be shot. They are the building blocks on which the whole of Hollywood stands firm with head up.

FAQ:
  1. What is the role of the grip?

The role of a grip has wide functions to be performed. From developing and building production sets and constructing equipment that supports the camera and its movements, placing lights, constructing dolly tracks, rigging camera cranes, and performing other general rigging duties.

  1. Are Gaffers and Grips the same?

Gaffer refers to the lighting technician. Though the work of gaffer and grip is not the same, in small budget production sets, both the roles are performed by a single person.

  1. How do I get a higher rank Grip job?

Like other aspiring film workers, you have to join the production team for an entry-level job as an assistant grip. The more the number of years you work, the more the experience, and the more the experience, the more are your chances for applying to higher grip positions.

Grip Job Description, Salary, Duties-Let’s Know More

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