Instead of being the runner—the type of crewmember that’s constantly asked to run and grab something–be the crewmember that always has resources on hand.
An integral part of independent filmmaking is being incredibly resourceful, versatile, and time-efficient. One of the quickest ways to convert yourself into a walking grip-Swiss Army Knife is to learn effective, efficient, DIY rigging.
As primarily a documentarian and grip, a lot of the work I do is on the fly and requires a multitude of tools to be within an arm’s reach at all times. That means sometimes I’ve got several rolls of multi-colored spike tape and a pop-up reflector fastened to my belt loops with pony clamps and carabiners aimlessly attached to my person.
My most recent tango with DIY rigging (above) included binding my field recorded to the external microphone mounted on top of the camera with a hair tie. Embrace hair ties. They’re a quick, frugal, method for cleaning up a chaotic wire situation or binding lightweight objects together.
Purchase some sort of pro-sumer grade pony clamps (or vice grips) and carabiners. With a little creativity, tape and clamps can make for a reliable fastener on the fly (right). They’re worth every penny for video production. For example, hanging or clamping a reflector to an inconspicuous a part of the set instead of having to hoist it by hand saves time, keeps crew away from the scene, and eliminates an additional variable of movement in the frame.
Make a bag. Dedicate space for very simple (and often household) rigging tools.
What goes in the bag?
- -Hair ties
- -Pony clamps/Vice grips
- -Rubber bands
- -Tie line
- -Gaffer’s & spike tape
You’ll be heckled on set for looking like an odd grip-janitor hybrid, but there’s no shame in sporting C-47s clipped to your sleeves and old spike marks taped to your t-shirt.
What are your favorite DIY rigging techniques and tools? Share them in the comments below (with images of your rig in action if you’ve got them) and we’ll feature our favorites on the Perplexity Pictures Facebook!
With a specialty in lighting and graphic design, Bryan aims to blend his artistic passions together in a seamless manner. His experience in graphic design includes traditional print (newspaper/magazine layout), brand identity/logo design and expressive typography with his latest venture being motion graphics. He’s always trying to find a way to connect the dots between his passions—something says he just might find a way.