Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A long hiatus

Well after a long hiatus I am back on my blog. Paul and I went on a long excursion to Texas. We were thinking of relocating back to Texas. We tried working for an agency for a few weeks but it just didn't work out. We came home to Phoenix and almost immediately started working on an independent movie. We have been on that set for about three weeks. Paul is DP and they are using Lizardland Film Video HD grip truck and genny. We have met many talented people from the area. I will be back in full swing with my grip equipment tomorrow. Yesterday I worked with a female grip who is excellent AND knows lighting. Spectacular find for this area. It feels good to be blogging again. More to come from LizardlandVideo.com. Picture is of Paul on set.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lowel Tota

Today I found these at Lizardland Film Video HD. They are Lowel Tota lights. They come with a gel frame or you can add diffusion. They have doors that shut completely so they are good for travel and you can double stack them. They are tungsten halogen lights. The gulf wing doors have reflectors on them which create a smooth and even background light. You can also point it toward the ceiling to raise the ambient light level of a room. I have not seen these used much in the Phoenix Video Production community. Not much more from LizardlandVideo.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


These are Frezzi Mini-Fill lights. We just have a couple of these at Lizardland Film Video HD. They were originally made by Frezzolini for the first Mt Everst climb. The have traditionally been used in the broadcast industry but are now used by many in video.It is a quartz-tungsten light that mounts on your camera. You can get them with dimmers but ours just have an on/off switch. You can put a little piece of diffusion on it to soften up your subject. They actually have a soft box you can buy and the newer ones have dimmers. That's all for today from LizardlandVideo.com from the Phoenix Video Production community.


Beadboard is basically rigid panel insulation made out of a plastic foam material. This is easy to pick up at Home Depot or Lowe's. You can also use it to make reflectors. Just by some Rosco 3902 and use gaff tape to attach it to the beadboard.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Base Camp

I am very familiar with Base Camp when we are on location for Lizardland Film Video HD. It is usually one of my jobs to watch the equipment. The Base Camp is where all the grip trucks are parked. I love how the grip looks like a monkey in our truck. On location we usually have our taco carts staged next to the grip trucks. With the economy the way it is there are definitely sticky fingers out there. LizardlandVideo.com has been very fortunate to do work on many MLM (network marketing videos) the last few years. These companies always demand the highest quality and have the budget to get it done. We have set up Base Camps at carnivals, office buildings, parks, closed city streets and rented homes. Many of these shoots were for MLM companies. This is a link to our last video. How about that tabletop? I love doing tabletop. Yes, it is tedious. What I like about is that ,it is you, your imagination, your camera and the product. In case you haven't picked up on it yet I do get a lot of the grunt jobs on the set. That is totally ok because I know the least. I am constantly learning. We do get a lot of work in the Phoenix Video Production community. Enjoy the video.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Cucoloris, don't you just love this word? We have a couple of these at Lizardland Film Video HD. These are really cool. They create a shadow pattern on a backdrop or subject. You place it in front of your light and it breaks the light up into shadows. When you put it really close to your light the result will be diffused. When you put it close to the backdrop or subject the patterns from the shadows will be sharp. The ones we have are made of wood. You can also get mesh ones. I have not seen these. These are very easy to make. I have been on the road before without our grip truck and made one with a piece of styrofoam insulation (bead board) from Home Depot. Then just cut out amoeba like shapes with a sharp knife. You'll be set to go. There really is no reason to ever buy one Just get a piece of 2' x 3' plywood and use a jigsaw to cut out your shapes. Then spray paint it black. For the pin cut a piece of 3/8" bar stock and weld that to two plates that you screw to the wood. It's nickname is cuke. When you use a branch it's a brancholoris. It really is silly to pay $95.00 for these. They like using these in the Phoenix Video Production community. One of these pictures is during the filming of National Treasure. That's all from LizardlandVideo.com

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Great Shops of Burbank

Lizardland Film Video HD took to the road yesterday and drove to Burbank on a repair and buying trip. My partner Paul in business and life has been in this business for 30+ years. With that comes a level of knowledge that you can't learn in school, on message boards or with the newest, neatest model of equipment. He is a lighting genius. He also knows his equipment and absolutely loves to tinker with his grip equipment. Many items we use Paul made himself as opposed to paying high prices for new equipment. Many things he makes are better than store bought. So today I'm going to write about the great places to buy grip equipment. We took a HMI with us to Advance Motion Picture Lighting in North Hollywood to be repaired by Eddie the owner. He can fix any HMI. We were only there two days and our light needed a part he couldn't find so he had it made. We started our buying trip at Modern Studio Equipment Inc. The stuff they have in there is amazing. Any part you need. Then we went to Pyramid-films.com in Sun Valley (Burbank). They buy and sell used movie equipment. If you are looking for something you should always call them. Just because it isn't on their website doesn't mean they don't have it. Paul was so happy in this place. Stands, lights, stacks and stacks of them. Next we were off to Norm's Studio Equipment. Now some of you may have heard that they closed but the just restructured and moved. They actually have a website now. Got this great picture of Norm from inside the shop. We drove by Kino Flo and wound up our trip at Film Tools. If only the Phoenix Video Production community had places like this. But those are just dreams. If you really are a good grip and want this as your career I would highly suggest this sojourn. I was promised a trip to the Getty on our next trip.  Keep reading and commenting on LizardlandVideo.com 


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg

Today at Lizardland Film Video HD I am going to write about Easter eggs. These are not the ones you will find in your house or outside today. These  are the little gems filmmakers insert in their movies for the sharp movie fan. They are items that you have to really look for. Akin to Directors making cameos in their movies. The most famous being Alfred Hitchcock. More recently we see Quentin Tarentino doing this. In dvd's many times there is additional menu information you can reach just by clicking around and sometimes they have an additional scene after the credits. Some say the term came from Atari from a game. I am not a gamer so I am not going to explore that avenue. The origin I like best that I came across comes from the movie Rocky Horror Picture Show. Tim Curry is just great in this movie. They had a real easter egg hunt on the set and not all the eggs were found. They show up in some of the scenes. In the Phoenix Video Production community that would require a lot of imagination. We have never done it in our commercials but as I write this it makes me ponder. I know this is not an item a grip would handle I just thought I would acknowledge the commercial aspect of the holiday today. After all isn't that what we are here for? Well I'm off to look for easter eggs if my low boys haven't already found them. They do have an edge over me. More to come from LizardlandVideo.com

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Low-Boy Stand

A Low-Boy Stand is just like a combo/light stand but lower. Imagine that a term that makes sense. It was designed specifically for when a combo stand is too tall. The receiver is a 1 1/8" hole. We carry several of these on our grip truck for use in the Phoenix Production community.  Lizardland Film Video HD purchased one that just came in the mail. We bought it from Norm's in California. Great little shop near Hollywood. Norm's has been around along time. Easy to talk with someone knowledgeable and friendly on the phone. They also give 25% off if you pay over the phone as opposed to putting it on account. This one just arrived today. As you can see one of my other low boys made it in the picture. I actually have three of those low boys. I am still figuring out their best use. This particular low boy is Oscar. He has been to Hollywood with his two mates on a working trip. Keep reading LizardlandVideo.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The invention of the HMI did wonders for lighting in Hollywood. Hydrargyrum Medium-Arc Iodide. That is a mouthful. I wonder how many gaffers know that. HMI's use an arc light instead of incandescents so they use less power and run cooler. They require a ballast. They are balanced for daylight. They usually burn at 5600k also known as blue light. We have 6 at Lizardland Film Video HD. If you can afford them these lights work great. They take the place of many smaller lights. My friend Jarrod who owns Pirate Grip & Electric here in town also has a few of these. So they do use these in the Phoenix Video Production community here. More to come from LizardlandVideo.com.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blondes and Redheads

Wow, this time I was away a long time. Sorry. Lizardland Film Video HD does not have a Blonde or Redhead light. These are made by De Sisti in Italy. You really can't go wrong with something made in Italy. I mean really, can you think of anything that they make that is crappy? This company was founded in 1982 by the famous designer Mario De Sisti. Not to be confused with Super Mario. The Blonde is a 2k, lightweight high intensity, focusing quartz light. You can adjust the beam spread. These are called blondes because they are painted yellow. We have an Arri not a De Sisti but it is still called a Blonde. The Redhead is a 1k light that is painted red, if it is made by De Sisti. Mole-Richardson calls the same light Mickeys. Wouldn't that be great if the grip or gaffer really brought a good looking blonde or redhead when the director called for it? I mean a woman. That would certainly perk up many a dull set. But they might come with babys and you can't keep them quite on the set. So if you are working on the set in the Phoenix Video Production community make sure you grab the correct light. Won't be away so long again so please keep reading LizardlandVideo.com.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I did not go to Lizardland Film Video HD and take a picture today so I am once again going to write about a term. Shoot. We certainly use this word many times a day in our business. Are you going to the shoot? What was your last shoot like? Where is the shoot? Or here in Arizona a good one is Is it a paying shoot? It also means to point the camera and Shoot. Who knows what it is derived from? My trusty partner in this venture had not heard this. The first cameras on the set had a crank handle. The camera operator turned the crank in the same motion as a machine gun. Back in the day, say 1930, the director would shout "Gun It" to cue the cameraman to start filming. I still hear "Speed" today. This is also from the days of yore when the motors in the cameras were completely running. "Up to Speed" I imagine that there are very few industry people in the Phoenix Video Production community that knows this. Or I could be completely wrong. Perhaps this is the most knowledge bastion of film knowledge in the United States. Right. The camera on the right is a Universal movie camera. The crank is not original. The camera below belonged to Frank Hurley. He was an Australian film maker who sailed to the Antarctic on the Discovery in 1929. He made a talkie with this camera titled Siege of the South. This film depicted life on the Discovery and the various animals and scenery of the Antarctic. Very cool, no pun intended. This film premiered in Brisbane in 1931. Keep reading LizardlandVideo.com to learn more.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Today at Lizardland Film Video HD we used a Hi-Hat with a slider to do some tabletop. We have our camera mounted on a Hi-Hat which  in turn is clamped on a piece of wood with skate board wheels. This Hi Hat was made by the infamous Willy Widgets. He actually lives here in Scottsdale so I have met him. I will devote an entire post to him and his company later. In the picture you can see we use Cardellini clamps which I have written about previously. You use the Hi-Hat to mount your camera on a flat surface. You can use your fluid head off your tripod to mount your camera on the Hi-Hat. We use our Hi-Hat the most on our slider set up. You can also use it for low angle shots by putting the Hi-Hat on the ground with a sand bag. It is definitely something you need along with your tripod.  So if you go out into the Phoenix Video production community don't forget your Hi-Hat. You know I can only guess that these are called Hi-Hats because they resemble a man's High Hat from a long time ago. This is  picture of a man at the Wagner Festival in Germany. You can just imagine a camera sitting there instead of the picture of Richard Wagner. Check out LizardlandVideo.com 

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Hollywood It"

I just heard this term yesterday on the Lizardland Film Video HD set. When you first start hearing these terms it seems too absurd that people really use them in everyday speech and don't expect to be laughed at. If you over think this one you might get it wrong. I'm thinking "Hollywood It" means make it look good like they do in Hollywood. Wrong, it means to hold something by hand such as a flag or sometimes a light in a pinch. When I listen to the director spew this vast encyclopedia of nonsensical words it is sometimes hard not to believe I am not in a Dr Seuss book. Definitely my author of choice in my younger years. I belonged to his book of the month club. Wow, sorry to get off track. I find the set an amazing library of knowledge if I keep my mouth shut and stay very alert. Sometimes I wonder if the Phoenix Video Production Community possesses this vast knowledge. I should have snapped some pics yesterday of our grip to post. I will get a picture of a grip in "Hollywood it" mode. Thanks for reading LizardlandVideo.com. Feel free to comment or email.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Honey Wagon

So I am back and not in the icky way Jay Leno is. I have been busy with a new commercial and some tabletop. Those are just excuses. I was just being a slacker. So who knows what a Honey Wagon is? Well I am glad to say that we do not own a Honey Wagon. We do however own a RV which we take to location shoots in the Phoenix Video Production community for our Honey Wagon. A Honey Wagon is the set bathroom. It sounds like something so nice. The origin of the phrase is from Honey Bucket, a slang phrase for a container or bucket that was used when a toilet wasn't available. Wikipedia states it might come from the honey colored liquid that comes out when it is drained. Ok I promise I won't be this disgusting again in my blog. I'm turning in our taxes today so I will go to the studio tomorrow and find something good to write about. Thanks for reading LizardlandVideo.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby Senior Solarspot

Ok so I am back on my Mole-Richardson kick. We have a many of these at Lizardland Film Video HD. I suppose I am fond of them because I love old movies and they remind me of that era. This is a picture of our Baby Senior Solarspot. This is a 5k light. That's right folks 5000 watts with a Fresnel lens. It makes a great key light and fill light. We have it on an old Mole-Richardson junior stand. You can't plug this into a socket like you find in your home which are 15 amps.  We have a Bates plug at the studio which is 60 amps which more than covers the 45 amps that you need.  If we are out in the Phoenix Video Production community we plug it in our trusty generator. It is a sweet light to have. Later from Lizardland Film Video HD.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Safety Cables

Today at Lizardland Film Video HD I am going to talk about safety cables. We have several dozen of these hanging in our studio. Our trucks never go anywhere with out them. On a personal note they saved my butt once too. We were working an event at the Anaheim Convention Center and I was taking down our DVD players that we had in the clients store. These were hooked up to big 42" monitors showing their merchandise. Well, the pipe and drape people started taking their stuff down and their drape started falling. This knocked over the trussing I was standing next to. The trussing had the monitor attached about 8' up. I was also standing next to a large glass jewelry case. Well, it all fell, I escaped thanks to the help of my grip Mason who pulled me out. The jewelry case stopped the trussing from falling to the ground. When it was all over the Lizardland Monitor was hanging by it's Safety Cable unharmed. Yea!! I don't suggest a learning curve such as this to anyone but I am safety cable queen now. You should always cable a heavy light if you put it up high. We also use them to hang our speakers in our studio. If they are not using these on the set in the Phoenix Video Production community or anywhere else in the film world you should walk off the set. More to come from Lizardlandvideo.com

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well this is exactly what you think it is. Wooden wedges are invaluable on the Lizardland Film Video HD set. In a pinch you can use half a C 47 for a camera wedge. We have one legal milk crate filled with small wooden pieces. In the Phoenix Video Production community these come in handy. Wedges and cribbing. Cribbing is a must with C clamps. Signing off, LizardlandVideo.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

C Clamp

C clamps are another useful tool we have on our Lizardland Film Video HD taco carts. They come in many sizes from 1" to 12". Most of the ones used in the Phoenix Video Production community have  a 5/8" baby pin or a 1 1/8" junior receiver mounted vertically or horizontally. If you have to use them on wood make sure you put some shims in between so you don't put dents in the wood. Clamps are an absolute must for any taco cart. LizardlandVideo.com will be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cardellini Clamps

Cardellini clamps are awesome. At Lizardland Film Video HD we have quite a few of these on our taco carts. With the pads they have on them they are safe for even delicate uses. They are made and designed by Steve Cardellini. He is a Key Grip in the San Francisco area. The rating for weight is 20 pounds. If you have used these you know they will actually hold more. The jaws are cast with an aluminum alloy which is stronger than die-cast parts like those used on the Matthellini's. One of the ways we use them is for our high hat when we put it on our slider. In the Phoenix Video Production community they are used often. If you have your choice between a Cardellini and a Mattellini I would pick the Cardellini everytime. They are stronger. See you from LizardlandVideo.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sand Bags

Well sorry to be away for so long. Things got a little hectic at Lizardland Film Video HD there for awhile. Since I mentioned Sand Bags in my last post I have decided to write about them. You may think they are too trivial to write about but you must have them on the set. They come in a few different sizes but the most common are 15 and 35 pounds. The 35 pound is called a Ball Buster. I have carried these frequently and have no balls so this term obviously came about before female grips. You can buy these empty with velcro or zippers. I have used these to travel and filled them with rocks, dirt or sand off the beach. These ones are a bit of a pain in the studio as they tend to leak. When you buy them they are filled with sand or lead pellets. Another term used for them in Phoenix Video Production circles is Silent Grip. You can hang them from the head on  C-stand. They also make good door stops.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


At Lizardland Film Video HD we have many, many C-stands. C-stand is short for century stand. Some say that is how long it will take you to master it's many uses. When set up their three legs are staggered in height. Some have sliding legs so the legs can be placed at different heights. These legs are called Rocky Mountains. While handling these be careful! These are real ankle bruisers which I can attest to. On the set they are used to support many things. Lights, flags anything that changes the light. When my husband and I do table top pours we use a C-stand to hold a funnel.  A C-stand has a 5/8" pin on top and has two sections which can be raised higher. If you are not using it for a light you almost always need an arm and a head. The head is a clamp to hold whatever you put in it. The arms come in different lengths. The head has a knob or knuckle that you use to tighten the head. The knuckle should always be put on the right. Let's say you have a flag. The weight will pull the knuckle and tighten it. For safety you should always put a sandbag on one of the legs. We also use tennis balls with a hole in them to put on the ends of arms so no one gets an arm in their eye. C-stands come in two heights. The shorter one is called a Gary Coleman. The other day while working in the Phoenix Video Production community on our set I got to see two non-grips try to set up a C-stand. We were filming a music video for a Miss Krystle for free so we were running with a skeleton crew. They never got the legs apart. It really was hilarious. The director finally grabbed it and opened it. I would have done it but I didn't get the chance to. LizardlandVideo.com signing off.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Junior Stand

Keeping with the lights I have been talking about  I am going to talk about junior stands today at Lizardland Film Video HD. This stand in the picture is a Matthews. They don't come painted blue. This one is used and I suppose the previous owner painted it. The difference between C-stands and Junior Stands is that the Juniors have inies and the C-stands have outies. That said you can use a Junior stand for heavy lighting and equipment. We actually have an E fan on one of our Junior stands. They are much beefier than C-stands. So if you are out in the Phoenix Video Production community working they should have Junior stands for Junior lights. LizardlandVideo.com will be back tomorrow to write about C-stands.