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A grip is a person who is responsible for maintaining all equipment that supports and moves cameras during a shoot. Grips are required in both film and television shoots, for smooth camera movements and creative filming techniques.
An experienced grip will play a vital role in ensuring the façade of a film; making sure that the composition looks realistic rather than fake or contrived. Grips work alongside directors, directors of photography and camera operators, taking instruction and technically bringing a creative vision to life.
Grips deal with all sorts of equipment and must have great physical and technical skills to deal with all of the required tools. The delicate but heavy-duty equipment needs experienced, professional hands to assemble and operate it.
Equipment operated can include:
Grips are needed to assemble all equipment during the pre-production part of filming. The assembly must be meticulous and involves pushing, pulling or mounting cameras and equipment in various different ways. The type of work can vary dramatically depending on the type of production. A grip's task could either be assembling a tripod and basic tracks for a small television show, or could be hanging cameras from moving objects. This all depends on the size of the production, as in bigger films, more than one grip is likely to be employed at one time.
Grips usually start out in an apprentice style role, building up their knowledge of camera equipment, before moving into the role of grip. They must have extensive professional experience of a complete range of equipment.