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grip to DP


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#1 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 02:39 AM

I am supprised that more key grip don't continue on to become DPs. Why isn't it considered an exceptable road to take to becoming a DP? I'm bringing this up because many DPs (and I think this technique is compatable with my habits as a young cameraman) use larger sources and afterwards (after the electric dept. is at crafty) the grips shape that light to emphasis and de-emphasis different parts of the set. This process of unlighting is an artform- no?

The age of the grip is upon us. Grip it.
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#2 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 02:44 AM

"Grip it and rip it!"

I've seen a lot grips get into camera operating but not so much DPing. I think it may because a lot of the grips I know work closer with the camera operator and the gaffer closer with the DP. Not totally sure tho, just my wild guess. Glen Winter, smallville's DP was a grip before he was a DP. But he's the only one I know.

Edited by Chayse Irvin, 08 February 2007 - 02:44 AM.

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#3 Matt Workman

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 11:03 PM

I think that for anyone to move up you need to be ON SET as much as possible to see not only the lighting gripping, but the coverage, lens choice, interaction with director, actors, etc. In that case a smart script supervisor or AD could make the jump becuase they are there for every moment. Maybe that is a stretch.

But even as a 2nd AC I am not on set for all of the shooting and neither are most of the grip/electrics when the camera rolls.

Matt :ph34r:
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#4 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 08:39 AM

I think there are no hard and fast rules about this kind of progression though I believe it is somewhat more probable for a grip to become a DP than a first AD to become one.
That being said anything is possible in this business.
I've seen PA's become colourists, for example.
If it feels right for you then go that way.
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#5 Andy Sparaco SOC

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:27 AM

Good Gaffers and Keys always find work. Once you move up the food chain work becomes harder and harder to find. If there was one job which is "technology proof" it is the Gaffer. Regardless of what happens to camera and recording technology--Somebody will always be setting up a light. ;)
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 12:33 PM

Stefan Czapsky (spelling?) gripped before DPing some of Tim Burton's earlier movies.

It can be done, and there's no reason an intelligent person couldn't learn more about the process while being a grip, because lights have to be controlled after they're turned on. (I'm often struck by the way gaffers and DPs overlook the grip aspect of lighting, putting lights right on the edge of frame, etc.) In my limited DP experience, I find my grip experience really helps. If I design a lighting setup, I always envision the flags that go w/ the lights, so I'm sort of eliminating a step. If I'm lucky enough to have someone prerig a backlight, for example, the teaser is part of the package. The experience also comes in handy when planning for dollies and jibs, and lifts, and gelling windows, and so on ...

That said, grips are definitely lower on the food chain than gaffers or camera assistants. There's a lot of dirty manual labor involved. If you say grip to a producer, it's very likely he will imagine some dumb guy schleppiing sandbags around the stage. It's not really the image of a Cinematographer, and it's very tough to break the stereotype.
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#7 John Thomas

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 05:54 PM

Constantine Makris ASC was a grip before joining the camera dept., He's won 3 Emmys as a DP.
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#8 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 07:43 PM

i know some grips who does bigger jobs that grips that a lot of dp's will love to do as ac's.
my tow cents of euros
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 07:53 PM

A Dop friend of mine used to be a grip. I know of another one who became a steadicam operator. Talk about joining the competition ;)
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#10 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 08:01 PM

we talk about the the same thing max, its not about grip dp or gaffer it's about the capacity of telling a story with images
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#11 Brian Baker

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 10:12 PM

And everyone gets into this industry with the same dream: movie magic.
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#12 Paul M. Sommers

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 04:01 PM

I started in Chicago in a nonunion environment as a Grip/Electric. As my career progressed I focused more on Dolly and Key gripping. Later I moved into Steadicam as well as traditional operating. Every phase of my career has had an impact on the way I shoot. I think that my ability to communicate with all of the peole that I work with has proved invaluable.

The wrong light in the wrong place always requires a lot of shaping, and a light on the edge of frame is often the nemesis of an operator. There is no right way to learn this craft. We all come up our own way. When I pushed dolly I thought that it was the best seat in the house. As an operator I said the same thing. Getting to work with other accomplished craftspeople has taought me a great deal. But when it comes down to it sitting in the big chair teaches you more than anything else. Having wide experience allows you to draw from other people's tricks and apply them to your shoot.

Paul
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