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Grip Tools: Clamps

Lesson 9 from: Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Chris Knight

Grip Tools: Clamps

Lesson 9 from: Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

9. Grip Tools: Clamps


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Cinematic Lighting?


Motivated & Practical Lighting


5 Cinematic Lighting Tips


Low-Key & Upstage Lighting


Control Your Fill Lighting


Show Depth In Your Image


Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting


Grip Tools: Clamps


Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads


Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear


Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape


Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines


Grip Tools: Unusual Tools


Grip Tools: Filters


Grip Tools: Q&A


Theater Shoot: Concept


Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations


Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear


Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations


Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough


Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot


Theater Shoot: Hero Shot


Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats


Airstrip Shoot: Concept


Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations


The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting


Working With Scrims On Location


The Haircut: Getting the Shot


The Haircut: Shooting Plates


Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting


Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot


Capturing Plates With Talent In Background


Airstrip: Environmental Portraits


Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A


Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®


Transform Tool


Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot


Retouching Details in Photoshop®


Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3


Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®


Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®


Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting


Post-Processing: The Haircut


Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building


Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®


Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®


Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®


Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin


Lesson Info

Grip Tools: Clamps

So welcome I guess to the world's most strange cooking show. (audience chuckles) So I have this table... We're gonna talk a bit about the tools, some of the more common tools and the more unusual tools that you're gonna see over the next couple of shoots that we are gonna be doing. And the great thing about where we're gonna start which is grip, we're gonna start with grip, is they're kinda like a, grip is kinda like the legos of the production realm. Just because something looks a certain way doesn't mean it's limited to one or two particular uses. Most of this stuff can be used as creatively as you want. So generally it's about just rigging stuff up and putting stuff, I had to put a reflector over here, I need to put this over here; all of this stuff can be used in a wide variety of ways. There are also a lot of things that are not on this table that are worth, that are worth covering. So for example like I'm gonna talk about four different kinds of clamps; there's a lot more than th...

at. There's clamps for all different kinds of specialty purposes, and specialty uses, and chances are if you need a piece of equipment to be hung somewhere, or mounted to something, there are things available to help you do it, you just have to kinda do a little bit of research and figure out what those are, but I'm gonna take you through some of the more common ones, some of the ones you're gonna encounter day to day, and these are some of the more regular ones that I use in my studio. And the first of those is the standard A-clamp and we call it an A-clamp because (audience member chuckles) right? That one's pretty easy to remember. These come in a variety of sizes, a wide, wide range of sizes. Some of these are very small and they're useful for things like clipping a dress, making a dress appear to fit a little bit better, or a blazer to be a little bit smaller, and so you use those all the time; you'll see that in the video, some smaller ones. At the larger end of the spectrum, something like this, you'll probably use it to mount seamless to the bar so it's big enough that it could go around the seamless roll, and then mount to the bar, or you know, a zillion different things you can use a clamp of this size for. Usually when you first get one of these they are really, really tight, and it requires you know, a little bit of extra force to get it but you know, once you get it open, you can kinda hold it in place. And so this is the A-clamp, probably one of the most fundamental ones you'll use. If you want something even smaller and you're not looking at a small A-clamp, you know you've got the little clothes pins that you can use as well; those are pretty commonly used to attach gels and stuff to lights and barn doors, and all that other kinda good stuff. The nice thing about A-clamps is they tend to have a little bit more grip, so they can hold on to things pretty strongly for the most part. And so a bag of these, a box of these, a bin of these, whatever you gotta do, really super handy to have these lying around. The next one we're gonna talk about this is called a Mafer Clamp or a Super Clamp, depending upon you know, which word you wanna use. These come in a couple different configurations. So some of'em will have this big spindly thing on the back which is a lot easier to use. Sometimes you'll see like two of these kinda T shape knobs. I happen to think that these are a little bit easier to use but just a matter of personal preference. And you would use a Mafer Clamp very commonly, like on the top of a C-stand to put a pole or a bar into. So think of you've got a piece of seamless, you would put this right on the top of a C-stand - I'm gonna grab a C-stand just so you can see what that looks like, and I will talk more about this in just a second - but this basically goes right on top, you open it up, you put the bar in, you tighten it down, it allows you to keep grip on poles; this is pretty commonly used for that. And the thing about the way a Mafer Clamp works is usually there is a release button and a latch on the side for the bottom, and it puts a little locking mechanism in here that basically keeps this attached to the C-stand that it's on. So even though it's loose, it's not coming off. Once it's on, you tighten it down from the back and it's very, very stable, so that's a Mafer or a Super Clamp does. Used for holding poles but honestly necessarily for just poles. We are gonna use one during the first shoot where it's holding a flashlight. So, you know it holds things, things that are usually a little bit bigger, that are not pins so pins being like this kind of a thing. There's all different kinds of modifiers, grip tools that are meant to work with pins but a lot of times you're like well I gotta hold I don't know, I gotta hold a piece of chicken over here, hanging, whatever it is. Like it can be any irregular thing, the Mafer Clamp is a really good tool to hold kind of irregular, slightly larger objects. Moving kind of in that route is this called a Quacker Clamp or a Duck Bill, or a Platypus Clamp as you can see why. It's this big'ol thing right here and basically you know, it's a standard kind of vice grip on the end of it mounted to one of these, and the idea is it can hold really large things. Clamps down, this fits into whatever mount you need to hold it to. Like what would I ever use this for? Well let's say you've got not a V-flat, but you have like a panel of either wider black foam core, right? Instead of setting up a whole V-flat, you put this on, clamp it, attach this to a C-stand, and it takes up a lot less space. Or maybe you don't necessarily want a whole big piece of foam core because you need a little reflector right underneath your subjects face, this works as a way to hold that reflector, and it very cheaply and stably can hold that okay? That's a Quacker Clamp. Okay so, this is a useful one. It's a little bit more obscure for I think photographers; I don't think a lot of photographers own these, have'em or even know about'em, but it's very handy to have in certain situations. This one, this is called a Cardellini Clamp. Matthews also makes one, they call it a Matthellini Clamp; it's the same thing. This is a tremendously useful clamp. I use this quite often and it's a you know, this spins back to adjust how wide it can grip, and then obviously you tighten it down and it closes it, right? The rubber's kind of coming off a little bit. They're usually rubber lined on the inside so you can grip something without damaging it by pressing metal into really hard. One of my favorite ways to use a Cardellini Clamp is I will put this on a C-stand, and I will actually use a background that is mounted to like a canvas background when it's already mounted to PVC, I clamp it right in the middle, and then I don't need to set up a whole huge background stand to put up a background light. I put this above, I clamp this to the top of the roll, right in the middle, it balances, hangs down, no background stand visible in the shot, and it just hangs right in front of the C-stand. So really useful way to use these. But again, you can use them in a wide variety of ways. A lot of the same things you can use this for, you could also use this for. So, Cardellini's also come in different sizes; there's big ones, small ones, ones with really long you know, poles on them. So you know, this can come in a variety of different sizes; big ones, smalls ones, and everything in between. So like I said, these are probably the most commonly used clamps for me. And again, in different sizes, this will allow you to hold a zillion things up.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Chris Knight - Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture Grip Quick Reference Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Bruce Walker

This course is simply terrific, and I highly recommend it. Firstly it arrived at the perfect time for me as I am soon to do a studio shoot very much in keeping with a cinematic or theatrical aesthetic. Secondly it's taught by Chris Knight who I swear is like a long-lost twin brother. :-) There are so many parallels in the way he thinks and works to my own style. So I avidly watched this as soon as it was available for anytime streaming. This is the first time I have made extensive use of the CL iPhone app, btw, and I love how it pretty much enabled me to seamlessly switch back and forth from desktop viewing to my iPad that I carry around the house during the day. I was able to make coffee and still carry on taking in the course, uninterrupted. The content is fantastic, delivered succinctly yet entertainingly. Some material and ideas are already in my repertoire and were reinforced and validated by Chris' demonstrations. But he also introduced a lot of ideas and methods new to me and very welcome. I was particularly glad to see how practical it is to stitch a series of tripod shots into a wide pano. I have been afraid to try that but I will now be using that in my next shoot, for sure. As alway, his post production practices revealed all kinds of tips about Lightroom and Photoshop I didn't know. Negatives. The volume level mastering is iffy. It started out at a decent level then midway through one of the early lessons dropped so much I had to turn up my sound system to compensate. And as I write this one lesson (34) is missing and in its place was a duplicate of the next lesson (35). I expect CL will have that fixed shortly though (I sent support a note).

Jeph DeLorme

One of the best classes I have viewed at Creative Live. Definitely worth the investment of time and money. The pace of the class allows you to learn extra tips and tricks throughout the process. Great instructor, highly recommend this class to anyone looking to step up their creative game.

a Creativelive Student

excellent class in all regards. outstanding instructor with experience in complicated cinematic shoots but who also is willing to thoroughly cover the basic nuts and bolts. i wish all creative live classes were of this quality.

Student Work