Gripopedia – Apple Box

When you think of an Apple Box, well you think of a box . . . full of Apples! But in terms of grip equipment, Apple Boxes are wooden boxes fashioned after wooden apple crates used in film production. They are used to prop up furniture, light stands, to give people a boost in height, and even to level out dolly track on uneven ground. They are also excellent as a portable place to sit, a temporary staircase, or a makeshift workbench.

Apple Boxes

Apple Boxes

Standard Apple Boxes as you see in the image above come in the following sizes:

  • Eighth – 12 x 20 x 1″ – The Eighth Apple Box is also known as a “pancake” because it’s flat like a pancake!
  • Quarter – 12 x 20 x 2″
  • Half – 12 x 20 x 4″
  • Full – 12 x 20 x 8″

There is a logic between the sizes. 2 Eighth’s equal a Quarter and two Quarters equal a Half, etc. 

There are also Mini Apple Boxes available that are half as long as their standard counterparts.

  • Eighth Mini – 12 x 10 x 1″
  • Quarter Mini – 12 x 10 x 2″
  • Half Mini – 12 x 10 x 4″
  • Eighth Mini – 12 x 10 x 8″

Apple Boxes are super strong and you’ll see some vintage ones around that are decades old and the stories they can tell would be as varied as the scripts for the productions in which they are used. 



Gripopedia – Pigeon

Normally when you think about a pigeon, something like this fine feathered friend crosses your mind:


Tweet Tweet!


3" Baby Plate (KG003512)

3″ Baby Plate (KG003512)

But in the world of grip, a pigeon, or pigeon plate is a classic grip tool for super low mounting of your lighting and accessories. Typically it is a baby plate mounted to a larger stable platform such as a piece of wood or metal.

Check out the 3″ Baby Plate video and you’ll see me make a Pigeon.  

Wall Plate with Baby 5/8″ Stud – 3″ Long from Kupo Grip on Vimeo.

When it comes to a pigeon, a “bird’s eye view”doesn’t apply, that is unless that bird happens to be perched just a few inches from the ground! So grab a few pieces of wood and baby plates and and make yourself some today!


Gripopedia – Hi-Hat

A Hi Hat is a camera mount that get’s you as close as possible to the ground for low shooting angles. There are many versions available from cast-iron with fixed legs to more of a mini-tripod style without the traditional center column. They are available with many different camera mounts from a flat plate to a bowl adapter to mount different types of tripod heads. If low is the way you like to go, then this shortie will probably be your best friend! 

Induro Dual Range Hi-Hat

Induro Dual Range Hi-Hat

 The Induro Dual Range Hi-Hat happens to be one of my favorites. As opposed to cast iron hi-hats that are fixed, the ability to adjust the leg length, gives this hi-hat a ton of flexibility. 

O'Connor Cast Iron Hi-Hat

O’Connor Cast Iron Hi-Hat

As you can see, this is a bit more limited when it comes to functionality. Next time you find yourself trying to manhandle your tripod into a low shooting angle, you may want to consider picking up a hi hat!

Kupo Grip – Never Let Go!




Gripopedia – Blackwrap

Blackwrap is an thick foil used to shape and control light. It is made by various manufacturers and comes in different sizes. While it is most commonly anodized black to prevent reflections, there are black and white combinations available. As you can see below, a popular brand of blackwrap is Cinefoil made by Rosco. 

Rosco Cinefoil

Rosco Cinefoil


Blackwrap used as a snoot

Blackwrap used as a snoot

 Blackwrap is chosen instead of fabric or paper because it’s metal and less likely to combust when placed in front of a hot light source. 

Some other uses for Blackwrap:

  • Altering the shape of your light source.
  • Blocking light from where you don’t want it to go. 
  • Blocking daylight from entering windows.
  • Used as a makeshift gobo (go between) to cast a shadow in a certain shape onto your background. With a sharp knife you can cut a patten that you want projected.
  • Used as a lens hood to prevent flare from entering your camera lens. 

Due to it’s durability, and since it can be a bit pricey, it is often reused over and over again. Anybody who has been in the business long enough will have a piece of black wrap that has the texture of a raisin!



Gripopedia – Kill the Blond and Strike the Redhead

Before you call the cops or think that I’d kill blondes and cause harm to redheads, let me explain what these terms mean in the context of lighting.

Kill:To kill is to turn off a light fixture or “kill the power” to that particular light fixture.

Strike: This term is has two meanings on a film set.

1. It is used when something is to be dismantled or removed from set. When they say, “Strike the set”, they mean to clear the set taken from the Middle English term striken “to cross out”

2. It is also used when turning on a lighting fixture taken from the term “strike a match” to create light. Some lighting fixtures don’t have “hot restrike” capability such as HMI’s with magnetic ballasts. This means that you have to wait for them to cool down completely before you are able to power them up again.

Redhead: This is the slang term used to describe an open faced (no lens) 0.65 – 1K (650 – 1000 Watt) lighting fixture.

Redhead 1K Open Faced Lighting Fixture

Redhead 0.65K – 1.0K Open Face

Blond: This is the slang term used to describe an open faced (no lens) 2K (2000 Watt) lighting fixture.

Blonde 2K Open Face

Blonde 2K Open Face

They get their names because of the color of their housings. A redhead is usually a bright orange red color and a blonde, you guessed it, is yellow in color. They have been manufactured by many different lighting companies over the years such as Photon Beard and Ianiro.

So the only result from killing a blonde or redhead is actually saving electricity!

Both Mole-Richardson and Arri have their equivalents of the 0.65K-1K and 2K open face lighting fixtures. But in Mole-Richardson’s case they are both their signature red color. In Arri’s case they are both their signature blue color.