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. 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. will be back tomorrow to write about C-stands. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shop Posters

Well today is sunday and I am not going to Lizardland Film Video HD. So I thought I would talk about shop decor. I picked this poster up at an antique mall here in Chandler, AZ. Clint seems to be a favorite among film types. This is an actual movie theatre poster from France. Didn't you always want to know how to say Out Law Josey Wales in french? Anyway it is a hit with our crew. I mean when you are working in the studio and you think you are done for the day just look at the poster and say arggggh I can do it if Clint can. We had a charitable day today helping the Phoenix Video Production community with a project. So more tomorrow from

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Well I am still on my Mole-Richardson kick. Today at we are going to talk about  the Junior, a 2000 watt light. These are pictures of an 8" Junior from the Lizardland Film Video HD inventory. They also make 6" Baby Juniors and 10" Juniors. They have Fresnel glass in them. Mole-Richardson has been around since 1927 and were recognized by The Academy for their technical achievements as early as 1928. Peter Mole was born in Sicily in 1891. His birth name was Pietro Mule. His family immigrated to Manhattan in the early 1900's. He actually had a vaudeville act. Moved west, met Richardson and opened his doors 1927. Still in business today, another american company. These are excellent lights to have. That's all from

Friday, February 19, 2010


Inkys, mini-moles you truly feel like you have somehow traveled to a new country when you step on the set of a Lizardland Film Video HD production. Wondering what language they are speaking. Todays post is no exception. Once again I have decided to write about a Mole-Richardson product. As you can clearly see they call these lights Mini-Moles. These are also known as Inkys. A small 100W or 200W Fresnel spotlight. The term Inky comes from incandescent. Incandescent is also known as white light. Also known as an Inky Dink. While you might think you have been transported to the Land of Munchkins with this kind of lingo in the Phoenix Video Production community and anywhere else you film you are actually just working with grips and gaffers. Still sounds like munchkins doesn't it. Just don't let the director catch you humming "If I only had a brain". It will only confirm what he already thinks of you and everyone else on the set. Thanks for reading from  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


These are classic babys. Mole-Richardson calls them Baby Solar Spots. A 500-1,000 watt Fresnel light. Fresnel is the type of glass. Many times on the set of Lizardland Film Video HD what worked 40 years ago does the exact some excellent job today. While smaller and lighter is better as the industry goes that way these work great. You can use these as a Key Light, Back Light or Kicker. You can adjust the light with barn doors, gels and scrims. So when someone form the Phoenix Video Production community or anywhere else yells get the baby, baby-baby, or baby junior make sure you get the correct one. Remember bad grips are sent on erroneous tasks. Signing off from

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


At Lizardland Film Video HD we have all sorts of animal parts laying around our studio. These are Duckbills. Another invaluable tool to have on set in the Phoenix Video Production community and everywhere else. They are also called platypus and onkie-bonk. They are great for holding bead board. This produces a soft light. It looks like these were created with just a little imagination. They do not go as far back in film as most other items I have written about. Short and sweet from 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby Plates

Mmmm baby plates. Lizardland Film Video HD has quite a few of these. Although these tend to disappear too. Just left places, not stolen. They work great on an apple box to make a light stand. In New York City they are known as pigeons. Probably because they were originally used to mount baby fixtures on the top of set walls. You know like pigeons sitting on the top of a wall. They come in 3 sizes; 3", 6-12", and right angle. The pin is 5/8" in diameter. Anything with this diameter mount is called baby. The pin has a small hole in it where you can put a safety wire. A must if using up high. I have my own experience with safety cables. They are mandatory on sets. I was breaking down a convention room when the 20 foot curtains surrounding the room started to fall which then knocked over the trussing I was standing next to which had a 36" tv on it attached to a safety cable next to a glass case. Everything fell, the tv (which Lizardland owns) was dangling by it's safety cable unharmed. I was unharmed also but very scary. Anyway any good taco cart in the Phoenix Video Production community has a crate of baby plates. Of course along with this you need screws and a drill. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Apple Boxes

Lizardland Film Video HD wants to talk about Apple Boxes today. I thought that they maybe made them out of old apple crates back in the day. However they are actually made out of appleply which is alder or birch. They come in 4 sizes, full, half, quarter and the 1" is called a pancake. They have many uses. Mostly to raise things. We use them for our slider often. You can use them for electrical cords, grip chairs and with a baby plate for a light stand. A nickname for an apple box is "man maker". It makes a short actor taller. So when a director in the Phoenix Video Production community calls for a full or half you know what they are talking about. A really seasoned grip knows New York, California and Texas applies to apple boxes. New York is upright, Texas is flat and California is on it's side. At we have made a lot of our own boxes, however upon pricing them it works out about to be about the same cost to purchase them. Today I would not be surprised if our young grips thought the name had something to do with Apple corporation because just about everything else you use does. Doesn't it?   

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A or Pony Clamps

Wow, this time I have missed 3 days. I insist on being more diligent, or at least try. Today we are going to talk about A clamps. There are many different clamps on a Lizardland Film Video HD set. You can not film anything without clamps. "A" clamps are a must on any set. Typically they come in 4 different sizes, 1,2,3 and 4. I don't have a 4 in my picture. The numbers are the size of the jaws in inches. It is larger than what I have pictured. You can clip gels, diffusion, cords, wardrobe, flags, green screen, etc, etc. These also have a way of disappearing. It's just that they are quite small. Perusing one set we have on one of our taco carts (another blog) it seems that perhaps they are not all ours. Good grips usually bring some of there own so perhaps we have some of theirs. Having one in your pocket at the exact right moment on the set will make you a hero. And I don't mean the shot. In the Phoenix Video Production community as in any production area they are mandatory on the set. At least this is a term that actually makes sense. They are shaped like the letter A. The word Pony comes from The Adjustable Clamp Company. They patented the term around 1920 or 1930. That company is also a good old USA company in it's 5th generation of ownership. You can purchase these at any hardware store, Harbor Freight and places like B&H Photo in New York City. We like to buy inexpensive ones since they do have a tendency to walk off the set. It's good to label these as well as all your equipment. Sharpies work nicely. More to come from

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Road Rags

When Lizardland Film Video HD goes on the road we never leave home without our Road Rags by Matthews. This is an invaluable tool for the road. Worth every penny I paid for them. Weighing in at about 4 lbs it fits quite nicely in my suitcase. This kit contains 2 flag frames that break down and 2 scrims, 1 double, 1 single. It also contains a silk and a flag. It has a nice shoulder strap too. Now I doctor my kit up with diffusion and C-47's. I also found some very lightweight and slim light stands that I found At Kennedy's in Euless, TX. Then to top it off a have 2 very small knuckles (grip heads) that I found in Hollywood. Then you are set. What surprised me was that more than one seasoned grip has commented on how spiffy they are. So maybe the Phoenix Video Production just hasn't used them that much. So if you are traveling with a camera and a light kit these are worth their weight in gold. I did miss posting yesterday so this month I will have a double post covering 2 items from the vast inventory. We do rent out our equipment. See you tomorrow with another fascinating film and video tool.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Geaux Saints

Well, it's Super Bowl Sunday. I have decided to take the day off from Lizardland Film Video HD and writing on the blog. I know for the next several hours there is very little going on in the Phoenix Video Production community. Stayed tuned for the exciting and titillating post that is coming on Monday. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crazy Set Lingo

Today is saturday and I don't feel much like heading out to the office to find a piece of equipment to write about for  Instead we will look at a few of the strange words used on the set and even in the Phoenix Video Production community. If you are not in the film industry I am sure you have not heard of any of these.  Martini shot (by the time you get to this you will wish it had to do with alcohol), Gary Coleman (has nothing to do with being arrested), Taco Cart (has nothing to do with food), Warner Brothers (not the studio), Kill the Baby (don't worry you won't have to call Nancy Grace), Baby Baby (not the Starlet),  Junior Baby (maybe some talent),  Baby (definitely the writer at times),  Michael Jackson (this term could have new meaning now), Mickey Rooney (does not mean song and dance), Flying the Moon (I am sure that at some time during a shoot many crew members would like to fly to the moon),  Greek it (no college kids), Branch-A-Loris (not to be confused with a Cucoloris),  Dingo (not just in the outback),  Charlie Bar (not Willie Wonka),  Becky (ah sweet Becky),  Belly Lines (could apply to some grips I have worked with) Abby Singer (sometimes I wish there was a monk on set),  Beaver Side (we don't shoot porn), and my favorite Bastard Side. So now you know the key words so you to can be super cool on the set when working for Lizardland Film Video HD. Just a couple of pictures of gaffers. Don't they look important?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gaffer Tape

Today at we are going to talk about Gaffers Tape. I have a couple examples above. Not only does it sick to everything in the Phoenix Video Production community it makes a great ball to play with on the set. The producer is generally in control of the ball. So where did gaff tape come from? Once again we travel back to war time and discover that the government commissioned Permacel, a division of Johnson & Johnson at the time, to create a water proof tape. Permacel was sold to a company in Japan but I am happy to report that it is now back in the good old USA. I have seen gaffers tape used for everything on the set including fixing pants. Another reason behind the name is from another company that produced it called Gaffa. I have thought often about taping the entire crew together with Gaff tape. Much like en episode of The Muppet Show where the entire crew was super glued together. I also have had the thought to gaff tape the mouths of all the grips. Less random ideas floating around the set. I am sure the have a society for the prevention of cruelty to grips and gaffers somewhere. Oh well I digress. Here at Lizardland Flim Video HD we treat our crew with the utmost respect. It's late as I drift off into dreams of world domination with gaffers tape. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The unsung hero C47

When I first starting working on a set for Lizardland Video Film HD in the Phoenix Video Production community I saw that bags of clothes pins were always available. I soon found out that that these were NOT clothes pins but the correct term was C47. What the heck does that mean? My first thought was,Oh of course this is a man's world so of course they are not going to call them clothes pins. I mean how manly does that sound, "Hey Butch, throw me a couple of clothes pins" So of course I ask, why are they called C47's? Hmmmm, don't know, not sure and of course they are just called that! When you google C47 you mostly get hits of a military transport aircraft. You have to add the word grip to your search to delve into the world of the ever humble C47. Seems no one is quite sure where the term came from. Perhaps from World War II, a requisition number, or the amount in the bag. As for me I have used them for everything in our warehouse/studio. Makes a great hair clip too, which I have most definitely done. I always see our younger grips clipping them on each other in secret. Ha, Ha. Upon further research I have found on the great site further definitions. It seems in the film community that amidst a time of great budget cuts they decided to rename them from clothes pins to C47's so they sounded important and would not be cut. Whatever the origin don't be a fool and call them clothes pins on the set. They might send you looking for focus fluid. More fun to come from

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Purpose of my blog

Today I have created this blog for Lizardland Film Video HD is a company my husband and I started in the fall of 2007 upon moving to Phoenix, AZ. My husband has 30 years in this industry and I have been around it since I met him at the end of 2002. I have been working full-time in Phoenix video production since we started the company. I don't know the names of all the equipment or their uses so this will be a learning experiment for me. If you are new to film production perhaps you will learn something too. I will also be adding my anecdotes of my experience with the equipment. All this will be from a female perspective. So for you seasoned grips follow me for laughs. I am going to try to post an item a day for a year. Of course all this depends on the willingness and help of my ever faithful husband Paul. A man with such a good heart, he just doesn't know it.