'Grip Tips' Videos Are a Great, Free Resource for Learning Tools to Light a Film Set

If you're a fan of the informational videos put out by folks like The Slanted Lens, Film Riot, and theC47, then you'll also want to check this one out. Grip Tips focuses on tools of the trade for grips and electricians working on a film set, but the equipment that's explained could also be found in a photography studio as well.

The videos are made by Dave Donaldson, a Michigan-based gaffer/AC who has worked on some big-budget films like "Transformers" and "The Avengers" and has done a lot of reality work as well. With his channel, Grip Tips, Dave wanted to provide insight on the tools he often found himself using when lighting a set. He even does giveaways from time to time. A few notable videos that I thought were good have been included below, but I'd encourage you to just check out his channel for yourself.

First, if you don't know exactly what the difference between a grip and a gaffer are, this video explains it pretty clearly.

This video is about using gaff tape vs. photo black, something I admittedly never even knew existed. Gaff tape and spike tape have been mainstays in my lighting kit, but photo black seems to be something that I should consider adding!

Lastly, this video talks about the uses of black wrap or Cinefoil. If you don't know what Cinefoil is, this video is a must watch.

You can learn more about Dave and his work by listening to this podcast on the Cinematography Database, where he is interviewed by Matt Workman.

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Mike Wilkinson is an award-winning video director with his company Wilkinson Visual, currently based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Mike has been working in production for over 10 years as a shooter, editor, and producer. His passion lies in outdoor adventures, documentary filmmaking, photography, and locally-sourced food and beer.

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They missed a key product in the gaffer vs blackout masking tape. Tunnel tape. It's available in 4" and 6" widths in solid black, solid yellow, and what I use all the time, the 6" yellow/black striped. It's available at a few grip expendables supplies like Quixote in LA. It's amin function is only the outter 2' on each side are sticky, so no messy glue all over cables.