Who and What is Grip?

Jason Friedman

Jason Friedman - Your Host

 Q: What is Grip Equipment?

A: An Erector Set for Image Professionals.

Grip equipment consists of light stands and specialized hardware that allows you to mount cameras, lighting equipment and accessories virtually anywhere.

Who is a Grip?
The origin of the term “grip” is rumored to be a slang term used in the 1930’s and 1940’s by circus technicians who carried their tools in “grip” bags.

Another rumor is that in the days of the hand-cranked camera, they used to find a burly individual to hold down the legs of the tripod to prevent the tripod from moving while the camera was being cranked to advance the film. These well sought after individuals were known as “Good Grips” as it was said that they would be instructed to, “Keep a good grip on that tripod!”

Key Grip

The Key Grip is the head of the grip department. When it comes to rigging cameras and lighting support gear, he is the boss. Some of his/her responsibilities include:
• Assembling a crew of his right hand man known as a Best Boy Grip and decides how many Grips he will need in his crew to get the job done quickly and safely.
• The Key Grip will usually be involved in pre-production meetings and will be included in location scout meetings to determine what equipment will be required, including special equipment such as cranes, car mounts and dollies. From this knowledge he’ll be able to order all the gear necessary for the production.
• The Key Grip will plan ahead to set up the next shot while one is being filmed. On location he works closely with the Gaffer (Head Electrician) to determine what grip equipment needs to be placed when and where.

Best Boy Grip

The Best Boy Grip is the right hand man, or woman, of the Key Grip. If a film set were a construction site, he’d be known as the foreman. Some of his/her responsibilities include:

• Assigning jobs to the Grips.
• Keeping track of all the gear being used on a shoot. He checks out the gear from the grip truck and checks it back on when the job is done.
• Keeping track of expendable goods such as gaffer tape, gels, etc.
• Creating a job sheet with an estimate of how long each job should take.


Grips are the guys or gals that actually do the heavy lifting. They get their assignments from the Best Boy Grip and perform multiple tasks. Some of his/her responsibilities include:

• Mounting cameras to places only limited by the imagination.
• Setting up support rigging for lighting equipment.
• Light modification with non-electrical equipment such as flags, scrims, overheads, etc.

Some grips have extensive experience with specialized equipment. They get their titles from their specialties.

• Dolly Grips – Specialist with dollies.
• Crane Operator – Specialist with cranes and jibs
• Rigging Grip – Specialist with rigging of cameras and lighting to cars, boats, airplanes and wherever else you can possibly imagine!

Kupo Grip – Never Let Go!