April 2009

 

This is not meant to be the be-all and end-all of lighting/grip, but enough so you can assist someone without needing everything explained to you in the middle of a busy shoot.  

Never hesitate to ask for help. Lifting lamps onto stands is not a contest. Even if it were possible to mount something awkwardly on your own, it's much better to do it with two people.



Grip/Rigging:
Superclamps and skyhooks/gaffer-grip clamps are cool:
A superclamp can clamp onto round poles/pipes/light stands/autopoles and a double ended spigot can be inserted into its receptacle to give you a spigot to which you can attach a light etc.
You can lock a superclamp onto the top of a light stand by sticking the light stand’s spigot into the superclamp receptacle. You then have a height adjustable horizontal clamp for holding horizontal poles etc.


You can change the spigots which you insert into the receptacle to give you:

  • threads to which you can attach mic holders - flush mounted or otherwise
  • u-hooks to suspend a pole which can be rolled
  • another superclamp to clamp a pole to another pole or something else
  • flex-arms for very light lights (peppers), mics, flags, LCD monitor without battery
  • magic arms for same as flex-arms


Superclamp wedges can be put into the grip part of the clamp to let you clamp onto flat beams etc. instead of round poles.
Don’t lose the wedges - lock them under the superclamp spigot locks or put them into their bag.

A good way to store superclamps is to clamp them to a c-stand as clamping them to the c-stand’s bottom pole doesn’t affect opening/collapsing c-stands the way it does with regular light stands.

Grip heads:
Often found on C-Stands.
Used for holding flags/scrims/nets etc. for controlling light spill and intensity.
Can also be used to directly grip white card as a reflector or a tubular frame.
Version available that fits to superclamp.
To show you know what you’re doing - position the flag etc. which is inserted into the grip head so that the weight of the flag pulling downwards will tighten the head locking knuckle rather then loosen it. Work with gravity, not against it.
“Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey” - knobs tighten to the right and loosen to the left.

Grip arms:
Usually attached to grip heads.
Used for holding flags/scrims/nets etc. for controlling light spill and intensity.
Occasionally used for holding lightweight lamps.

Magic Arm:
Arm with spigots at both end for clamps etc. and multiple pivot points
Can be used to place lightweight objects in exact positions without bulky stands.
Holds very lightweight lamps (peppers), mics, flags, LCD monitor without battery
The screw lock magic arm takes more weight than the lever lock version.

Flex Arm HD: (Heavy Duty)

Flexible short pole which weighs less than the Magic-Arm and does much the same but probably cannot hold as much weight.
Has superclamp spigot on one end and spigot with thread at other end.

Reflector holder arm:
Attaches onto spigot of stand and has small grips to hold the reflector sides at 180 degrees to each other.
Can usually be left on stand, folded down when packed up.

Regular lamp stands:

Usually have a spigot on the end - lights/superclamps etc. can be attached
Some have a thread as well which you could attach a mic grip to or a shotgun mic grip
You can’t place them so the centre pole is right up next to a wall.

When raising stands - extend the top section (riser) first. If you extend the other sections first you may find the top risers become out of reach when you need to raise them, and you’ll look a bit dim.
The exception is when the lamp etc. is too heavy for the stand and you can strengthen the stand by not using the top section or only a part of it.


Backlite stand: (ground level stand)

Great for placing uplights/mics etc. which need to be at ground level.
You can change the spigots which it holds.
Can be put on a table etc. without the bulk of a regular stand.
Can be nailed/affixed with rope to the side of a tree.
Useful for holding a light which is meant to represent a TV flickering.

C-Stands:
Can be put flush right up against a wall by adjusting the leg rotation.
C-Stands fold up flat.
Its easier to drape sandbags/weights etc. over their horizontal bottom legs.
C-stands often have grip heads on them.
If the stand has weight (an arm etc.) extended away from the centre of the stand - place the longest leg under the extended arm.

TIGHTEN ALL KNOBS ON LIGHT STANDS/AUTOPOLES ETC. DURING USE AND WHILE PACKED UP - SOMEONE ELSE OR YOU IS GOING TO PICK ONE UP SIDEWAYS AND THE POLE WILL COME FLYING OUT AND HIT SOMEONE, OR ITS GOING TO HAVE A LAMP ON IT WHICH WILL GET SMASHED. CHECK ALL KNOBS, EVEN ONES WHICH HAVEN’T BEEN USED - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Some clamps have a tightening arm which can be positioned independently of the tightened position. When tightening these super clamps and the reflector holder arm be careful as the threads can get destroyed with too much force.