What is a grip, what makes a good grip and why have one?
What is a grip?
Whether you refer to a dictionary or the Director of Photography, the explanation is generally pretty simple: A grip is a technical/lighting assistant. They are generally responsible for the lighting, rigging, safety and tools of a set/scene/location.
What makes a Good Grip?
A Good Grip is someone who is obviously familiar with all of the tools being used and understands, with some limitations, the objectives of whomever is directing the shooting (whether video or photo). A good grip is going to be cognizant of many things, including but not limited to: camera dollies, camera cranes, ladders, scaffolding, lighting setups (main, key, fill, bounce, negative fill, fabrics, ambient light, true-white, soft, beadboards, poly boards, polystyrene construction, sun, shade, frame-ups, scrims, reflectors, light diffusion, condors, boom lifts and things that fall under rigging like black out setups). A Good Grip is also safety conscious, securing loose cabling and providing firm platforms and stable shooting environments for all attendees.
Why have a Good Grip?
From a business standpoint, it is not cost effective to have your video or photography talent performing these tasks, additionally, production costs are expensive, and it is cost prohibitive to have unqualified individuals performing these tasks. Unqualified individuals would require more labor(hours expended) and ultimately cause a shoot to take longer. The longer the shoot, the most costs are associated with it(the production).