Gripology 101: The beautiful ugly of grip production work

Discover the mysteries of esoteric hardware in this overview of essential grip tools

Ever been confused by the mysterious names and ways of grip hardware (like turning a “pancake” into a “pigeon plate”)? More than any other part of the production crew, grips have shrouded their craft in a vast duvetyne of obscure terms. Well, it’s time to pull back the curtain and reveal the truth behind the secret society of Hollywood grips. This week we’re featuring moviola.com’s Gripology 101 video.

Grip equipment covers the gamut from the industry specific (cheese plates and scissor clamps) to the everyday (C47’s). Why the strange names? Well some of them make a lot of sense, some of them carry a little sense of humor (like the venerable butt plug), and some of them seem to be purely an exercise in insider elitism. (Side rant: “Peg” is a single syllable word. “C47” has 5 syllables. In what universe is it more difficult to say, “Hey Joe, throw me a peg will ya?” than, “Hey Joe, throw me a see-four-tee-seh-ven will ya?”)

Whatever the case, if you didn’t grow up schlepping gear on a film set there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some extremely useful gear that would make your filmmaking a whole lot more productive. In the video (intro embedded below) we cover the essential tools of the grip trade, from apple boxes to zip ties. Even if you’ve been doing this movie thing for a while, you may be surprised by what you don’t know. For example, do you know the purpose of the sliding leg on modern C-stands? How about the weight ratings for junior, baby, and teenie weenie connectors?

OK in the spirit of sharing, here are just a handful of the obscure grip terms that are demystified in the Gripology video:

Butt plug – and male junior to male baby adaptor.

Pony clamp – heavy duty all-purpose clamp. They come as 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s (1″, 2″ and 3″ respectively)

Ratcheting handle – a handle that can be lifted and ratcheted to tighten and loosen when a full revolution of the clamp handle is made impossible by the position of the clamp

Pancake – a thin apple box used for small adjustments to the height of the gear it supports.

Los Angeles – the lowest position for an apple box (also called #1)

Chicago – medium position for an apple box (also called #2)

New York – tallest position for an apple box (also called #3)

Cheeseplate – a general purpose, heavy-duty plate full of holes specifically designed to accommodate junior, baby, and teenie weenie receiving hardware.

So sit back, relax and prepare to have your mind expanded by a rundown of the gear that literally holds the set together. The introduction to the grip series is embedded below, but follow this link to the full series on moviola.com. As with all the content on moviola.com the videos are completely free for your enjoyment, a way for the Moviola family to give back to the industry that’s served it so well.

Full series here

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Established in 1919, Moviola created the very first film editing machine. Changing with the times, we now offer a full service non-linear editing rental division with 24/7 workflow design and technical support, camera rentals, tape…