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A grip is a person who moves this and that from here to there and helps to set up things on the set. There are several types of grips: the key grip, the dolly grip, and the best boy grip. None have anything to do with keys or dolls, and the best boy can be female. Grips are strong people in good physical condition. They know all of the equipment on the set and understand how it is used. If you go this route, you will be moving things around the set. Therefore, you have to know what everything is and how it works. You may help out with the camera and lights as well as with props.
The head of the grips is the key grip. He or she is responsible for hiring a good team of workers to get the film made and is also in charge of renting the equipment the crew will need for the shoot. Each city has its own equipment rental house. As a key grip, you eventually may accumulate your own equipment, which will mean that the production company will have to pay you for the use of this equipment. You will be required to read the script of the production you are working on and set up the necessary equipment to shoot each scene. You also will need to know what lights are needed. The only way to know these things is through experience. To get experience you must start at the bottom of the grip pile and work your way up. You may have to start as a volunteer on a production.
Let us take a look at the ranking of grips by going down the ladder. The top position, as noted earlier, is the key grip. The key grip's assistant is called the best boy grip. The best boy is officially known as the assistant key grip or the assistant chief lighting technician. He or she is second in command to the key grip. Before you get there, you will probably work as a dolly grip after you have mastered some of the basics during your time as a hard-working volunteer. A dolly is a camera on wheels that can be positioned manually to get the shot just right. The dolly grip is the person who moves this camera mounting back and forth to get the shot. You need to be strong and have smooth movement so that the dolly moves without bumping or jerking. Sometimes you also will have to raise and lower a crane arm to get the camera in the right position. All of this comes after you have mastered your understanding of the machinery you are using.
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