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LIGHTING AND GRIPS

Job Title: Gaffer, Chief Lighting Technician, Job Title: Rigging Gaffer, Job Title: Key Grip

Although their jobs overlap to the point that even they sometimes have difficulty explaining their duties, lighting and grip departments perform distinctly different functions. The grip department sets up all of the lighting and equipment needed to film a scene. The gaffers then move in to set and focus the lights, and power the equipment.

Positions within the lighting or electrical department include:

  • • Gaffer (Chief Electrician): head of the lighting department; light the set to the cinematographer's specification.
  • • Electrical Best Boy or Second Electric: the gaffer's chief assistant and foreman of the lighting crew; responsible for all electrical hook-ups.
  • • Lamp Operator or Electrician: place, focus, and maintain the lights.

Larger productions may require a splinter crew, consisting of a Rigging Gaffer, Rigging Best Boy, Rigging Electric or Riggers, that work parallel with the electrical department, handling electrical distribution, running power and cabling, and setting the broad strokes of the lighting on set in advance of the shooting crew.

Positions within the grip department include:

  • • Key Grip: head of the grip department, with the dual role of supporting the lighting and camera departments; they rig lights, move cameras, dollies, and cranes, and other equipment.
  • • Best Boy Grip: the key grip's chief assistant and the foreman of the grip crew. Responsible for all equipment and supplies.
  • • Dolly Grip: move the dolly or crane that supports the camera.
  • • Grip or Rigger: lift, move, and install lights, camera dolly track, and move other lighting and camera equipment.

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