The key grip’s job starts long before filming begins, in the preproduction stage. A key grip works with the director of photography to determine the camera set-ups and lighting equipment that are required to bring the film to life. After the equipment is determined, the key grip develops a list of all necessary equipment, assembles their grip crew, and identifies any parts of filming that will require creative rigging solutions.
What Does the Grip Crew Do?
During production, the grip crew supports both the camera and electrical departments.
For the camera department, the grips do the following:
- Set up any camera equipment and rigs that the camera operator needs (like camera dollies or cranes).
- Operate camera dollies (grips who do this are called dolly grips) or cranes (grips who do this are called crane operators) during each take.
For the electrical department, the key grip usually coordinates with the gaffer, who is in charge of the electrical department. The grips do the following:
- Set up any lighting rigs the lighting technicians need
- Set up and operate any other non-electrical lighting equipment, like diffusing materials or gobos (stencils placed on the lights to control the shape of the lighting)