Even though the popcorn is long gone, you may be the small handful of people who stay behind for the credits. If you are, you may notice that there is always one behind-the-celluloid person called the key grip, who earns his recognition by being indispensable to a film's production.
The key grip as key to production
He is the one with the administrative responsibility of the grips department. Grips are the heavy laborers of every movie or television show. Hired for their strength and practical skills, grips move the lights, scenery, microphones and furniture, lay the dolly tracks for the camera, and erect scaffolding. They are responsible for making sure that everything is where it needs to be to produce the lighting and camera angles used to make movies dramatic and exciting.
The key grip works closely with the cinematographer, the director of photography, the gaffer and the chief electrician to map a plan for the cameras and lights for each scene. Key grips are creative problem solvers as well as heavy lifters. If a scene is particularly complex, they must experiment to get the look and feel needed.
Because of the heavy equipment and overhead rigging, pyrotechnics and complex electronics, key grips also oversee safety for the entire production, including stunts.
The grips department
The key grip oversees the grips department, which includes:
Other talented people behind the spotlights
Now that you have a good picture of all the important people behind the camera, maybe the next time you'll stay in your seat until the scene fades to black.