Lights, Camera, Action! As the saying goes, you’ll need your lights and cameras in order, before you can even hope of getting the shot. No matter the size of your production, it is crucial to have great lighting and camera equipment technicians with the expertise to help your production run smoothly. This is where grips and gaffers come into play. A grip is a technician responsible for setting up the equipment to support the cameras, like tripods, tracks, and cranes. Grips may also set up equipment to manipulate the lighting in a scene, by using stands with flags, nets, or other diffusing materials. Meanwhile, gaffers are responsible for the execution of the lighting design for a production. To get the most bang for your buck, your best bet is to find a great grip or gaffer with a fully stocked grip van that can tackle any technical task. The San Francisco Bay Area has a collection of diligent grip and lighting companies and grip van rentals that are worth their weight in gold.
Rebel Sun Lighting and Grip
10280 Imperial Ave Cupertino, CA 95014
At Rebel Sun you will find the expertise of Gordon McIver and Cisco Rivera, who have over 30 years combined experience in lighting films, commercials, music videos, industrial videos and photography shoots. The Rebel Sun team offers 1, 2, 3, and 4 ton grip trucks for rent, each meticulously equipped with grip packages (flags, stands, apple boxes, rags, frames, rails, etc.), stingers, and expendables (lighting gel sheets, wraps, tapes, etc.). Rebel Sun provides quality equipment and attention to detail to quickly resolve challenges that arise. Additionally, Rebel Sun strives to be eco-friendly: “Film and video productions sometimes create a big footprint. Rebel Sun takes every step possible to reduce the impact production has on the environment. From reusing cut gels, to turning lights off when not in use, to bringing our own re-usable coffee mugs and water bottles, we do what we can to help.”
The Little Giant Lighting & Grip Co.
211 S. Hill Dr. Suite A Brisbane, CA 94005
For quality service, with a memorable name and logo, look for The Little Giant Lighting & Grip Company. This crew specializes in “Built for the Bay” truck rentals that are efficiently packed with exactly the gear you need to save you time and money. You can rent 1, 3, and 5 ton trucks or a sprinter van with all the standard stands, frames, flags, rags, grips, and expendables. These lighting specialists will help you select a lighting package to achieve the best look for your shots, and also rent cameras and lenses to complete your lighting and grip package. If you’re interested in starting your own grip van, check their social media to learn about their next “BIG Little Giant Gear Sale” for extremely discounted prices on used equipment.
Bolt Lighting Rental
1103 10th street Berkeley CA 94710
For a full service lighting and grip rental company that does things a little differently, check out Bolt Lighting Rental, which was founded by Matthew Stouppe and Ryan Thomas in 2016. The duo were inspired by the principles of lean manufacturing and decided to build a lighting rental company founded on continuous improvement. Bolt Lighting Rental runs efficiently using their in-house rental management software and their own line of milk crate dividers to help organize gear. Clients get access to a variety of clean, well-organized trucks, stocked with all the best gear, as well as customizable packages so that you can get the same set-up each time, and all within your budget. Now, for those on an extremely tight budget, take advantage of the Bolt Equipment Grant, a small but completely free lighting package for filmmakers just getting started. There is only 1 package available, so reserve ahead!
Luke Seerveld of Seerveld Lighting
Luke Seerveld has been a San Francisco Bay Area gaffer since 1989 and is the founder of Seerveld Lighting. Seerveld Lighting specializes in small to medium projects with small crews for corporate, educational, and documentary projects. Luke brings his passion and expertise, as well as his 2 ton truck to your production. You can view the complete list of grip and lighting equipment included in the truck, but don’t hesitate to ask for anything else. Luke can accommodate other equipment as needed, including finding you a larger truck. Most importantly, to get to know that man behind the van, check out Luke’s grip poetry page or his YouTube channel Meet The Gaffer for discussions on gear, lighting concepts, freelancing, and video production.
Alan Steinheimer of Lighting By Steinheimer
824 Madison Street Albany, CA 94706
Alan Steinheimer owns and operates 2 and 4 ton trucks, and offers reliable and quality service, as well as the creativity and ingenuity to solve any problem of any size: “I can bring anything from a 1-ton to 10-ton to the set, as well as generators, HMIs, tungsten lights, Kino-flos, dollies, speedrail, Chimeras, electrical distribution and cable, and crews to bring it all together. My strengths are my creativity, speed, and crew management. I can improvise until the sun goes down or comes up, or I can follow the DP’s game plan.”
To learn how to light a set like a seasoned professional, be sure to check out Alan’s latest edition of his hands-on guide to lighting for video: Shaping Light for Video in the Age of LEDs: A Practical Guide to the Art, Craft, and Business of Lighting. In this book, Alan dives into how LEDs are affecting the aesthetics of lighting and offers practical tools that you can apply on the job.
Tom Guiney has a 1 ton van and the experience to tackle any small and medium sized project. Tom has been working on corporate and marketing videos for tech, finance, and wine companies in the Bay Area since 2013. Tom began his career as a gaffer in New York in 1998, working features, music videos, commercials, corporate videos, and reality TV. Tom’s passion for his work led him to create and patent AIRBOX Inflatable softboxes, a compact and lightweight solution for modern LED light fixtures. The AIRBOX product line is now owned by ALZO Digital.
Ken Martini of Ecstatic Films
Ken Martini owns and operates a 1.5 ton van, and offers technical expertise to handle any challenge of any size. Ken’s creativity and innovation is how he designed the layout of his 1.5 ton sprinter van. Ken explains, “I went from a 3 ton to a Sprinter. I managed to get 70% of the contents of the 3 ton into the Sprinter. The layout had to be tightly designed and organized to accomplish this. I did the layout on CAD. The wire shelves on the driver side and towards the front are 21” deep. This is perfect for milk crates and apples.” For a complete list of equipment onboard the van, check out Ecstatic Films’ website.
Mike Van Dine of Power & Light
2126 Adams Ave, San Leandro, CA 94577
Mike Van Dine of Power & Light has been a gaffer in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than twenty years. Mike owns and operates a 1 ton van and pickup, as well as 2 and 4 ton trucks. In addition to grip equipment, you can choose from all the latest lighting tools for efficient and bright lighting. Mike is happy to offer what he can, including recommendations for locals in other departments. All in all, Mike offers his professionalism to get the job done: “I know what it takes to manage all the lighting equipment and crew so you can focus on the rest of your video production. Weʼll make your budget work and always bring energy and creativity to your set.”
The Importance of Lighting
In conclusion, grip equipment and lighting are essential components of any production project, which is why it’s important to have a reliable grip and gaffer to operate them. The San Francisco Bay Area offers a number of reputable grip & lighting companies that can provide the highest quality service as well as grip van rentals. Remember, having good equipment and proper setup are paramount to creating quality video content. For your next production project in the San Francisco Bay Area, remember that there are plenty of options for getting the help you need for perfect lighting and camera setups. Contact us today if you need top-notch assistance with setting up your production so that you can produce stellar visuals!