In cinematography, the dolly grip is a dedicated technician trained to operate the camera dolly. This technician places, levels, and moves the dolly track, then pushes and pulls the dolly and usually a camera operator and camera assistant as riders. If the dolly has a moveable vertical axis, such as a hydraulic arm, then the dolly grip also operates the "boom". If both axes are used simultaneously, this type of dolly shot is known as a compound move.
Cinematography is the science or art of motion-picture photography and filming either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.
A camera dolly is a wheeled cart or similar device used in filmmaking and television production to create smooth horizontal camera movements. The camera is mounted to the dolly and the camera operator and focus puller or camera assistant usually ride on the dolly to push the dolly back and forth. The camera dolly is generally used to produce images which involve moving the camera toward or away from a subject while a take is being recorded, a technique known as a "dolly shot." The dolly grip is the dedicated technician trained to operate the dolly by manually pushing it back and forth.
A camera operator, or depending on the context cameraman or camerawoman, is a professional operator of a film camera or video camera as part of a film crew. The term "cameraman" does not imply that a male is performing the task.
A dolly grip must work closely with the camera crew to perfect these complex movements (cinematic techniques) during rehearsals. Focusing the lens is critical to capturing a sharp image, so a dolly grip must hit his or her marks in concert with a camera assistant who pulls focus. It is a skill that experience can hone to a point, but the best dolly grips are known for their "touch," and that makes them highly sought-after.
This article contains a list of cinematic techniques that are divided into categories and briefly described.
A dolly grip is also employed when the camera is operated in handheld mode (on the operator's shoulders or literally in their hands). While the camera operator is moving with the camera, the dolly grip is responsible for the operator's safety, helping the operator to "blindly" negotiate sometimes complicated environments. The dolly grip silently directs the operator (through gentle touches, nudges, pulls and pushes) away from walls and other obstacles that the operator cannot see while concentrating on the image in the camera viewfinder. The same is true when the camera is operated with a Steadicam or similar body-mounted stabilization tool.
Steadicam is a brand of camera stabilizer mounts for motion picture cameras invented by Garrett Brown and introduced in 1975 by Cinema Products Corporation. It mechanically isolates the operator's movement, allowing for a smooth shot, even when the camera moves over an irregular surface.
Although dolly grips are hired by and under a key grip, they are paid the same as (or more than) a best boy grip, who is the second-in-command.
In US and Canadian filmmaking, the key grip supervises all grip crews and reports to the director of photography.
In a film crew there are two kinds of best boy: best boy electric and best boy grip. They are assistants to their department heads, the gaffer and the key grip, respectively. In short, the best boy acts as the foreman for his department. A woman who performs the duties of a best boy may be called best girl.
Dolly grips may also push a wheeled platform holding the microphone and boom operator.
Crane operators in the film industry are specially trained film crew. They are normally grips.
In the U.S. and Canada, grips are technicians in the filmmaking and video production industries. They constitute their own department on a film set and are directed by a key grip. Grips have two main functions. The first is to work closely with the camera department to provide camera support, especially if the camera is mounted to a dolly, crane, or in an unusual position, such as the top of a ladder. Some grips may specialize in operating camera dollies or camera cranes. The second main function of grips is to work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups necessary for a shot under the direction of the director of photography.
Grips' responsibility is to build and maintain all the equipment that supports cameras. This equipment, which includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs, is constructed of delicate yet heavy duty parts requiring a high level of experience to operate and move. Every scene in a feature film is shot using one or more cameras, each mounted on highly complex, extremely expensive, heavy duty equipment. Grips assemble this equipment according to meticulous specifications and push, pull, mount or hang it from a variety of settings. The equipment can be as basic as a tripod standing on a studio floor, to hazardous operations such as mounting a camera on a 100 ft crane, or hanging it from a helicopter swooping above a mountain range.
Good Grips perform a crucial role in ensuring that the artifice of film is maintained, and that camera moves are as seamless as possible. Grips are usually requested by the DoP or the camera operator. Although the work is physically demanding and the hours are long, the work can be very rewarding. Many Grips work on both commercials and features.
Some shots require the camera to move. This can be done several ways, one of which is to use a camera crane. There are many types of camera cranes, most being a counterbalanced arm on a pivot, whilst others are hydraulic. Cranes can be used to lift the camera, and often the camera operator and assistant also, quickly into the air. The crane operator sets up and operates the camera crane so that the camera arrives at the right spot. This can be difficult since the camera may be a long distance from the operator.
In filmmaking and video production, a shot is a series of frames that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. Film shots are an essential aspect of a movie where angles, transitions and cuts are used to further express emotion, ideas and movement. The term "shot" can refer to two different parts of the filmmaking process:
In filmmaking and video production, a crane shot is a shot taken by a camera on a moving crane or jib. Most cranes accommodate both the camera and an operator, but some can be moved by remote control. Camera cranes go back to the dawn of movie-making, and were frequently used in silent films to enhance the epic nature of large sets and massive crowds. Another use is to move up and away from the actors, a common way of ending a movie. Crane shots are often found in what are supposed to be emotional or suspenseful scenes. One example of this technique is the shots taken by remote cranes in the car-chase sequence of the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A.. Some filmmakers place the camera on a boom arm simply to make it easier to move around between ordinary set-ups.
A film crew is a group of people, hired by a production company, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. The crew is distinguished from the cast as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. The crew is also separate from the producers as the producers are the ones who own a portion of either the film company or the film's intellectual property rights. A film crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production. Film crew positions have evolved over the years, spurred by technological change, but many traditional jobs date from the early 20th century and are common across jurisdictions and film-making cultures.
The film industry is built upon a large number of technologies and techniques, drawing upon photography, stagecraft, music, and many other disciplines. Following is an index of specific terminology applicable thereto.
A crane is a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist rope, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally. It is mainly used for lifting heavy things and transporting them to other places. The device uses one or more simple machines to create mechanical advantage and thus move loads beyond the normal capability of a human. Cranes are commonly employed in the transport industry for the loading and unloading of freight, in the construction industry for the movement of materials, and in the manufacturing industry for the assembling of heavy equipment.
A boom operator is an assistant of the production sound mixer. The principal responsibility of the boom operator is microphone placement, usually using a boom pole with a microphone attached to the end, their aim being to hold the microphone as close to the actors or action as possible without allowing the microphone or boom pole to enter the camera's frame.
"Below-the-line" is a term derived from the top sheet of a film budget for motion pictures, television programs, industrial films, independent films, student films and documentaries as well as commercials. The "line" in "below-the-line" refers to the separation of production costs between script and story writers, producers, directors, actors, and casting and the rest of the crew, or production team.
A focus puller or first assistant camera is a member of a film crew's camera department whose primary responsibility is to maintain image sharpness on whatever subject or action is being filmed.
In cinematography, a jib is a boom device with a camera on one end, and a counterweight and camera controls on the other. It operates like a see-saw, but with the balance point located close to the counterweight, so that the camera end of the arm can move through an extended arc. A jib permits the camera to be moved vertically, horizontally, or a combination of the two. A jib is often mounted on a tripod or similar support.
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.
Ground Support Equipment (GSE) is the support equipment found at an airport, usually on the apron, the servicing area by the terminal. This equipment is used to service the aircraft between flights. As the name suggests, ground support equipment is there to support the operations of aircraft whilst on the ground. The role of this equipment generally involves ground power operations, aircraft mobility, and cargo/passenger loading operations.
An operator is a professional designation used in various industries, including broadcasting, computing, power generation and transmission, customer service, physics, and construction. Operators are day-to-day end users of systems, that may or may not be mission-critical, but are typically managed and maintained by technicians or engineers. They might also work on a 24-hour rotating shift schedule.
Articles related to the field of motion pictures include:
Technocrane is a telescopic crane that is used in the film industry and in television production, currently manufactured and designed in Poland by Peter Adamietz. There are many different sizes available, from 10 ft to 100 ft. The camera is mounted on the remote head on the end of the crane and is moved by a camera operator at a control desk. The Technocrane can telescope at different speeds controlled by the operator. It allows camera moves that cannot be achieved using a jib arm and dolly, and the telescoping can be used to compensate for the camera moving in an arc called "arc compensation". Scorpio Technocranes by the manufacturers: Service Vision based in Barcelona, Spain for example: can programmed to be engaged to remove the natural arc by adjusting the telescoping arm to do a straight dolly move at a much quicker setup than a traditional dolly and track.