Grip and Lighting Illustrated
for Film and
P - from Parabolic light to Punch.
Parabolic (spotlight) - a stage, film and
video lighting unit using a parabolic reflector (and often a non-fresnel
type lens) to produce a narrow beam of light. Lekos, Source Fours and
similar brands of lights fall into this category.
Parallels - the individual horizontally oriented bars in
scaffolding. The word is also used to name the entire scaffolding
system. Parallels/scaffolds can be used to build a camera shooting
platform, support fairly large lights and other tasks on a film shoot.
Photoflood - a type of light bulb or globe which is run at an
over-voltage to raise the color temperature (above the normal orange
tungsten color temp) and increase the brightness or output.
Photometer (aka light meter) - is used to measure light
intensity. The two types are incident and spot meters. Incident light
meters measure the light falling onto a light-sensitive ball or disc,
while spot meters evaluate the light reflected from a given object in
the scene through a lens. Gaffers and L.D.'s use them along with D.P.'s/cameramen
to fine tune light levels and "be on the same page" with the
Pipes - can be parallels in a scaffold set up or individual
crossing beams in an overhead grid for hanging lighting and grip units.
Polarity - the direction of current in a DC (direct current)
power feed or system, defined as either positive or negative.
Polecats - a very useful type of spring-loaded, cylindrical/pipe
type rigging. Polecats feature suction-cup type pads at either end, and
are expandable in length. They can be used vertically between a floor
and ceiling, or horizontally from wall to wall (depending on their
maximum length). Polecats can be used for rigging lights and grip items,
background support and many other applications.
Pool-hall lighting - a style of film/video lighting that seems
to, or does, come from one overhead lighting source, such as might be
found over a pool table or boxing ring.
Poop - a phrase sometimes used to request more light output from a lamp, either by moving it closer to the subject or spotting it in (if a fresnel type fixture). "Get a little more poop out of that 2K".
Porcelain - a higher capacity (60 or 100 amp) extension cable or
whip that has a single or double pocket stage plug hole.
Practical - refers to any electrical (and sometimes mechanical)
item in a scene, set or location that needs to actually operate while a
scene is being filmed. A practical light, for example, is a light that
is on and visible in the shot. A practical computer would be on/working
and the screen display visible in a given shot or scene.
Practical set - a "real" or location "set",
as opposed to a built set in a studio or on a film lot.
Props - comes from the word properties, and refers to any item to
be used in a scene, usually of a portable nature, and includes
furniture. Items as small as a book of matches (or smaller) up to
something as large as a non-working airplane in the background could be
considered "props". Although not part of the grip and lighting
departments really, the props are part of the landscape a grip, gaffer,
L.D and D.P must factor into setups and shots. A "prop" can
even be the subject of the shot itself.
Punch - can refer to the amount of light or the
"spottiness" or "tightness" of the beam from a given
lighting instrument. "Give it more punch" would mean
"adjust the beam toward the spot setting and away from the flood
setting", or to create a more focused beam (from a fresnel-type
light, for example).