Grip Gear Quick Reference
The grip department is tasked with a large number of responsibilities. Some example include:
- Shaping, Blocking & Diffusing lights
- Attaching anything & everything to structures, cars, truss and any other object you can think of.
- Performing smooth camera moves
- and many other jobs on set
As a result of their varied responsibilities, a large number of specialized grip gear is ever present on film sets. It probably has the most variety when it comes to the sheer number of different items.
To keep things somewhat organized, we have split the grip universe in the following categories:
- Stands, used to hold & support everything.
- Overheads & Flags, used to shape and modify light.
- Clamps, used to attach to something and provide a mounting point
- Rigging, gear specialized for attaching to car, truss and everything else
- SpeedRail(r), pipes & fittings to create mind bending contraptions.
- Hardware, a catch all category for stuff that doesn’t fit somewhere else
These categories are totally arbitrary and a given piece of grip gear could easily be in multiple locations.
Grip Gear Manufacturers
There are a number of companies that manufacture grip gear. This is far from an exhaustive list, but does represent companies we have personally dealt with.
If you have been on a film set, chances are you have encountered their stands, recognizable by their blue accents.
They manufacture all the staples of the grip world: Stands, Fabric goods, Sand bags, frames and Apple Boxes.
Their support is great, and if you need a replacement part, even for a 20 year old stand, they can get it for you.
They have recently moved to a become a vertically integrated manufacturer to lessen reliance on subcontractors. Unfortunately, this can cause some long lead times for specialty gear.
Matthews is another recognizable name (their stand accents are orange) that you see on set.
MSE goes design their own variations on grip gear and creates new unique products like their MQ Mount for LED tube lights.
They also sometimes partner with inventors to commercialize and manufacture new products. The Dutti Dolly is an example of this.
Modern has long been the place to get all your grip hardware. While they have stands, fabrics and other staples, they are most recognizable for their zinc plated hardware with a golden hue.
They have recently changed hands, as the original owners retired and are now investing heavily in their manufacturing capabilities. They want to make sure they can fulfill any size order in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, this means they are no longer doing custom one-off grip hardware as they did in the past.
Meet the Gaffer did an episode on Modern and their transition. Check it out.
As their name implies, Canvas Grip specializes in grip gear involving fabric. Obviously overheads and flags, but also sand and shot bags. Ivan is our go to guy for bags.
They also do awesome custom silk screening on rags bags. Perfect to get that brand recognition!
A relative newcomer, The Grip House also specializes in soft goods and customization. Reasonable prices and good service!
One of their unique product is their Creeper Butt Dolly bag, which allows you to easily store & transport that dolly much better than milk crates.