Lighting on set can make or break a shoot and in extreme cases, the entire project. This is why it is so important to have a lighting or grip package, with all the tools needed to capture the perfect lighting for every shot. Good lighting on set rarely comes from a single light; it is more often a combination of lights, reflectors, diffusers and manipulated natural light all coming together, lighting the shot to the Director’s liking.
Rental companies will rent out “grip trucks” priced by how much equipment is stored in them. The truck, as well as all the lighting equipment a set needs, are included in the rental. Here are some of the items typically included in one of these trucks.
What's in a Grip Package?
*photos taken from B&H, Amazon and our own collection.
Fresnel - A light with a lens that allows for the beam to be adjusted between flood and spot.
HMI - Hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide is basically a super powerful tungsten light.
Fluorescent - Brightness factor is similar to an HMI, but produces a softer tone without as much heat.
LED - LED lights have lower brightness but can have colors changed very easily - extremely ergonomic.
Overheads- Lights used for overhead lighting, typically mounted to the ceiling indoors.
Light Building Equipment
C-Stands - Used to position lights/flags/reflectors.
Combo Stands - More stable version of the C stand.
Wheeled Stands - Stands with wheels.
Clamps - Great to have for various reasons.
Apple boxes - Great to have around when building lights.
Sandbags - Used to weigh down/stabilize stands.
Grip Plates - Used to mount lights to walls.
Generators - These lights require a lot of power - if the set is remote, a generator may be needed.
Light Manipulation Equipment
Scrims - Used to manipulate the look Fresnels give.
Flags - Used to block light that is overexposing a shot.
Reflectors - Used to bounce light and redirect it towards the subject
Gels - Used to alter the tone/intensity of a light.
It takes an entire truckload of lighting equipment to do this properly, which is why different sized packages are typically measured in tonnage. These grip packages typically range in size from a Basic/1 Ton package, to a 10 Ton package.
All packages, even the most basic, will include a variety of light building tools, allowing the Director to choose from a variety of lights needed for their project. Bigger packages come with more lights for larger sets or complex lighting solutions.
Each grip truck can be expected to have the same basic composition: lots of stands, stingers (extension cords), clamps, sandbags and flags. Which specific lights or specialty equipment are in the van is a decision the Director or DP will usually make. The larger the set, the more lights that need to be set up. Of course, this also means more stands, flags, and diffusers will be needed as well, which is why the rental companies offer such large truck/rental packages.
Need a grip truck for your next shoot? BW Productions offers custom packages built specifically for your project! Schedule an appointment with our Producers and get an estimate on all your equipment rental needs for your next shoot.
Utah Women in Production and Photography was founded by women for women. Their mission is to advocate for women in their respective industries. Women provide unique perspectives, skills and insight, making impactful decisions on set. BW Productions is proud to represent a dedicated group that advocates for and collaborates with women.