Grip Department

Film Crew Position: 2nd Unit Grip

What does a 2nd Unit Grip do?

A 2nd Unit Grip is a pivotal member of the Grip Department within the film industry, specifically responsible for setting up and maintaining the camera support equipment for the second unit of a production. The second unit typically focuses on capturing supplementary footage, such as stunts, inserts, or location shots, which are essential to the film but do not involve the main actors. The 2nd Unit Grip works closely with the Director of Photography and the 1st Unit Grip team to ensure visual consistency and safety across all units.

What role does a 2nd Unit Grip play?

The primary role of a 2nd Unit Grip involves handling equipment that stabilizes and supports the camera, allowing for smooth and precise imagery. This includes setting up tracks for dolly shots, rigging cranes or jibs, and securing camera mounts on vehicles or other moving objects. They must collaborate effectively with the 2nd Unit Director and Cinematographer to execute complex shooting sequences that align with the director's vision. Their expertise is crucial in maintaining the continuity of technical and aesthetic elements between the first and second unit's footage.

Do you need to go to college to be a 2nd Unit Grip?

While formal education is not a strict requirement for becoming a 2nd Unit Grip, many individuals in this position may have pursued a college degree in film production or a related field. Such programs can provide valuable hands-on experience and technical knowledge. However, the film industry often values practical experience and a proven track record over formal education. Aspiring grips typically begin their career by working as a grip intern or trainee, eventually advancing through the ranks based on experience, skill, and networking.

What skills do you need to be a 2nd Unit Grip?

To excel as a 2nd Unit Grip, a blend of technical and soft skills is required. Competence in handling and maintaining grip equipment is fundamental, as is a thorough understanding of safety protocols to prevent accidents on set. Strong communication skills are vital for coordinating with the grip department and other crew members. Additionally, a 2nd Unit Grip must be adaptable, able to think quickly on their feet, and capable of creative problem-solving to deal with unexpected challenges during filming. Physical fitness is also necessary, given the demanding nature of the job which often involves lifting heavy gear and working in a variety of environments.

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