Best Boy Grip – Everything You Need to Know

In the film industry, a best boy grip is subordinate to the key grip, ensuring the position of cameras and lights in the shooting spot. Grips interact with the camera crew and the lighting crew. They position camera dollies, trailers, mounts, or cranes. Also, they set up light stands, nets, diffusion tents, bounces, flags, and large outdoor tents, all of which help focus, direct, diffuse, or cut off the light. Let’s dive deep into the article to know the various facets of a best boy grip.

Image source: No Film School

Many departments come together to run a film production. For example, almost every film set requires electrical and grip departments. The gaffer controls the electrical department and manages and operates every scene’s lighting. In contrast, the grip department, held by the key grip, is in charge of all rigging behind the scenes. The head of these departments each has a second in command, known as the “Best Boy.”

The best boy is a crew member who functions as the chief assistant to either a gaffer or key grip.

  • When the best boy works with the gaffer (the head electrician and chief lighting technician), he/she is considered the best electric boy.
  • When the person works second to a key grip (head of the grip crew),  he/she is the best boy grip.

Best boy is a gender-neutral job title, so women in the position are usually not called “best girls.”

What Does a Best Boy Grip do?

Best Boy Grip mainly involves lighting a set and what will be filmed. Like the gaffer’s situation, the Director of Photography will speak with the Key Grip and let them know what the director expects at the given moment. From here, they will let the Best Boy Grip know so that they can all concentrate on setting up the lighting.

The Grip crew will set up the lighting to the wishes of the Key Grip, from the Director of Photography and the director. This process from the lighting department works to complement Gaffer’s work, as both departments have to satisfy the Director of Photography and director. 

So, the Gaffer and crew work together to set the camera up just right so that the Grip crew can get the perfect lighting whenever the director wants more light in a scene.

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What are the Key Functions of a Best Boy Grip?

Place Lighting Equipment

The best boy grip ensures that lighting equipment is at the exact location and in good working order. For location shooting, the lighting needs may change every day. The best boy will ensure that all lighting equipment is set in place or ready to be moved as needed in a studio.

Supervise the Crew

Best boy grips handle the lighting department staff. They calculate how many electricians and lighting assistants are needed for a location, hire new help, and ensure that each crew member is scheduled and satisfactorily qualified. Best boys also assign jobs, such as unloading trucks and ensuring that lighting equipment is positioned according to the gaffer’s floor plans.

Operate with the Gaffer

Being second in power in the lighting department means that best boy grips must be answerable to the gaffer. Gaffer directs the best boy grip to set up and adjust lighting equipment, which often involves climbing ladders, and takedown and store equipment once the shoot is complete. In addition, the best boy discusses floor plans and helps the gaffer locate power sources, particularly on location.

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Best Boy Grip Work Environment and Qualifications 

A college education isn’t necessary in this field, but it can be beneficial. Courses and knowledge in visual media, math and physics can be an added credit. The classes don’t need to be of a high level, beyond calculus or physics, but a fundamental understanding will help a person rigging. Several concepts such as objects, masses, ratios, and fulcrums are used every day by Grips.

The difference between a good Grip and a great Grip is a great Grip also knows the reasoning, not just the method. The visual media side is important because sometimes the Best Boy Grip will be asked to fill in for the Key Grip.

Image Source:The Film Fund

Best Boy Grip Required Qualifications 

There are no educational requirements beyond high school, but experience handling lighting equipment is necessary. A best boy grip must be a qualified and licensed electrician. In studio work, the best boy must also be a member of the union.

What Skills Should a Best Boy Grip Have?

Best boy grips should have significant electrical and mechanical knowledge, strong managerial, organizational, and problem-solving skills, the ability to work for extended periods, significant physical and mental endurance, work on fluctuating hours, an eye for detail, and a genuine passion and eagerness.

Best Boy Grip Salary

According to Forbes Magazine, a best-boy grip can expect to earn around $50,00 to $75,000 a year if they’re regularly working. 

Best Boy Grip Videos

5 MUST KNOW Tips when Working On Set

THE CREW – Grip Department

Ep 07: Grip and Electric explained

Electrician and Grip Tips – THE ESSENTIAL TOOLS YOU NEED

Borderline BTS: The Key Grip & Best Boy