The Arri SkyPanel S60-C

Possibly the most versatile light fixture on the market today.

The Arri SkyPanel S60-c is an essential bit of kit for any shoot, and it just got a whole lot better. As far as constant, LED lighting goes, the Arri range is our go-to choice here at Gripvan. The SkyPanel S60-c is flexible, customisable and reliable. The S60’s face is 25.4 x 11.8 inches, making it a powerful and adjustable soft light source.


Simple, Tuneable, Versatile
One of the reason we use and recommend the SkyPanel range at Gripvan is because of its incredible versatility. It provides a beautiful soft light which can be tuned with a variety of modifiers. The LED mixing chamber, variety of diffusion panels and wide light face gives lovely soft, clean shadows. With minimal effort, you can totally transform the type of light it produces. The simple and intuitive controls give you free range to choose the settings that will work best on any given shoot.

Firmware 3.0
The latest firmware release from Arri brings a host of new features. The main additions are a high speed mode, source matching and a range of lighting effects. There’s also the usual refinements that come with a firmware release. Things just became a lot more versatile.

One of the most exciting additions is the lighting effects – and there’s a lot of them. From candle, to colour chase, to pulsing, these prefabs accurately mimic their namesakes. There’s also a new mode; source mode. This allows the user to recreate different types of light, including incandescent, fluorescent and discharge source. The ‘Other' section also has myriad modes that accurately replicate light sources as recorded on a spectrometer.

More Features, More Flexible
The SkyPanel's new High Speed Mode allows users to be as experimental as they like with frame rate and shutter angle. The team at Arri have tested it up to 25,000 FPS with a shutter angle as low as 2° and are confident that you could go faster if you wanted to.  If you do find yourself shooting at uncommon frame rates, the Frequency Selection feature provides 10 different frequencies that can reduce or eliminate slight flicker and roll bars.

In terms of ease of use, Firmware 3.0 brings two super handy features. The first is the Enabled menu. This gives users a snapshot of every setting that is currently enabled, in one concise menu. This means you don't have to hunt through every page to find out what's currently active. The second is the SkyPanel Web Server. By connecting to your network IP you can control all of the SkyPanel settings from your web browser. It's so convenient.

Overall, we love the new additions that come with Firmware 3.0. There's lots of neat things to play with, and we're sure that our customers will enjoy using them while shooting.

Gripvan seek to reduce environmental impact of shoots.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Capturing the natural world around us can be one of the most rewarding aspects of film and photography. At Gripvan we believe it’s important that we take responsibility for protecting that environment too. No matter the role on set; producer, photographer, stylist or assistant, there are changes we can make to reduce the environmental impact of our shoots.

On an everyday level, there are various steps that can be taken to reduce our impact. We can all make sure to recycle any materials associated with our kit, such as packaging, batteries, cameras themselves, and even unwanted photos. 


Taking Responsibility

Here at Gripvan, we’re taking action to be as eco-friendly as possible. At our warehouse as well as on our fleet of delivery and location shoot vehicles, we are making changes. As new technology becomes available we hope to continue reducing our environmental impact.

Starting with the basics, our goal is to recycle everything possible. Our friends over at First Mile take care of this for us. Their motto, ‘recycle everything’ is something we can firmly get behind. They deal with all of our warehouse recycling, as well as recyclable waste returned from shoots. We’re even able to provide mixed recycling bags for your use when shooting on location.

We offer a variety of services, consumables and rental items for your unit base, not least the ever essential coffee machine. We use a range of compact Nespresso machines which take single serve portions in a plethora of blends, roasts and flavours, with decaf as an option for those who need a little less caffeine. Keeping things single-serve helps reduce food wastage on set, and the capsules themselves are fully recyclable. The capsules have dedicated recycling bags which are provided with every hire. Once full these are sent back to the manufacturer for recycling.

Take a look at these videos from Nespresso to see how your used capsule can be repurposed, even becoming part of a new coffee machine.

Reusable, Recyclable, Sustainable

Once we’re finished with equipment we no longer use, we make sure to donate it to those who can get use out of it. Colleges, Universities, and our superstar photo assistants working on shoots all benefit. They reuse materials such as gel off cuts, gaffer tape, paper backgrounds and poly boards.

Part of our move towards reusability is to start supplying Ram Board floor protection wherever possible. This stuff is solid. It’s easy to roll out, and has myriad features that make it so robust. It’s perfect for shooting in any location. What’s more, it’s made from 100% recycled material and is FSC certified. They’re as committed to the environment as we are. Of course, whenever we still use corex, it’s sent to First Mile for processing and recycling where possible.

As for the equipment Gripvan provides, we’re making steps towards LED lighting and other low power consumption lighting options. We currently stock LitePanels Astra 1x1 Bi-Colour LED Panels, Arri's Sky Panel, and a range of LED practical lighting.  As for HMIs, we provide the Arri M18 and M40, both of which have lower power consumption than the equivalent standard HMI fresnel without compromising on light output.  

Low Emissions, High Ambitions

Gripvan by the very nature of our business employ the use of several vans. Whilst all our current vans meet or exceed Euro 5 standards, as we upgrade the fleet, we’re choosing those that have the most up to date green options. Stop/Start technology on our newest vans and low emissions mean we’re cleaner than ever before, and the trend will only continue. We use cycle couriers and public transport where possible for smaller deliveries, and plan our delivery routes to combine drop offs to reduce the amount of vehicles on the street. 


At Gripvan we’re making changes to be greener, smarter. and more eco-friendly. We've made good progress so far but we’ll continue improving, and make sure our impact on the environment is as minimal as possible, for us, for our customers and for the people who live and work in the city we call home.

Introducing the Profoto Pro-10 2400

Gripvan are pleased to announce that we now hold rental stock of the world's fastest flash, the Profoto Pro-10 2400 Air TTL.

Profoto Pro10 now available to rent at Gripvan London

Its full name may be a bit of a mouthful, but the benefits that the Pro-10 can bring to your shoots need far fewer words to explain. This thing is bloody fast.

Why the Pro-10?

At Gripvan we take pride in offering our clients in London and further afield the best advice, most reliable rental equipment and a truly personal service. We'd never recommend anything we wouldn't use ourselves, and we have pretty high standards, so when the decision was made to invest in studio generator flash equipment the Gripvan team thought long and hard about what to add to our existing lighting stock.

We tested a wide range of studio packs and drew upon years of lighting experience. We made rigs to test flash duration, we analysed colour and sharpness, we consulted our freelancers and clients, all to make sure that what we offer is nothing less than the best. After weeks of testing we decided to add the Profoto Pro-10 to our rental stock. We are confident that in the Pro-10 we have a pack we can recommend without hesitation for a wide range of situations.

Having the confidence to know you can freeze anything pin sharp at the power you want opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities.
— Iain Crawford, Photographer & Profoto Ambassador

The Techy Stuff

flash duration is extremely impressive and as expected, outperforms any other studio generator that we have used
— Andrew Howe, Technical Director @ Gripvan

Gripvan cater to your every need:

Alongside photographic and lighting equipment, Gripvan offer a range of production, location and catering equipment for rental in London and across the UK.

From heaters, EZ-UPs, tables and chairs, through to coffee machines and milk frothers, we're able to provide everything you need to set up your unit base. 

We know you're busy, so give us a call and know that your camera, lighting and production lists are being taken care of.

One call, One delivery, One invoice. 

Profoto Pro 10 2400 - Under the Spotlight

It was back around October 2008 when Profoto launched the Pro8A and we were all able to stop working in 1/6th stops and worrying about whether the new assistant had accidentally set the pack to auto bracket.


Eight years then of working with the 8A a flash pack which, for most, was a breeze to operate and delivered all the improvements and refinements on the 7A we could have asked for. Now with the launch of the Pro 10 we have not just the successor to the 8A but a new contender for the prize in the flash duration battle.


The new user interface is quick to learn and operating the packs is easy to get to grips with. There is enough similarity with the Pro8A to enable anyone familiar with 8As to quickly grasp the Pro10. We like the touch control on the Pro10 finding it an improvement on the 8A in terms of speed of operation and being able to observe the settings at a glance. The ‘model’ and ‘head’ on/off buttons for each output are well positioned, you find them straight away and they are simple and quick to use.


Overall the design of the pack is pleasing, the power controls easy to use and precise in operation. Personally I like to have the outputs labelled (A & B for example) it saves confusion on a busy set. The pack feels a little heavier than the 8A and although it is dumpier in form it is actually a little larger and heavier than the 8A. The handles are well placed though and it isn’t unwieldy.


I was disappointed to see only one 1/4” jack sync input. Call me old fashioned but I still sometimes like to hard wire my flash packs and I found the double jack sockets on previous Profoto models very useful for linking the packs together.


As for the important stuff, flash duration is extremely impressive and as expected, outperforms any other studio generator that we have used. As Profoto always quote the T0.5 figures (1/80,000 in this case) it is difficult to compare to the T0.1 figure (1/10,000) that is generally accepted as the shortest duration for a studio pack until now. Although we had limited time for our test we were able to conclude that the Pro10 freezes motion better than any other pack. What is not clear is the relationship between flash duration and power output.


For the 8A Profoto did produce an accurate chart of what duration to expect for each power setting and you can find this stuck on the side of some packs. It would be great if they would consider publishing T0.1 figures for the Pro 10.


As is usually the case when working with very short flash durations there is a considerable colour shift when switching between normal and freeze mode, the light becomes a lot colder.


When you are working at the edge of your equipments' capabilities and often having to squeeze an extra 1/3 stop out of your lighting it is really useful to have an immediate and exact understanding of how much that 1/3 stop will cost you in flash duration or the compromise you are making in colour temperature. Another factor is that sometimes we want a little motion blur in the image. If we know what the flash duration will be we can fine-tune that without endless testing.


Recycle time is also very impressive and even in normal mode at full power its possible to keep pace with medium format backs. We haven’t even tried using the Pro10 and a DSLR synced with TTL but the 50 frames a second Burst mode outperforms anything else we have used so far opening up new possibilities for high frame rate shooting and animated sequences or flash-lit short moving image pieces both of which we have been producing and experimenting with.


Overall we are very impressed with the Pro 10, a worthy successor to the much loved Pro8 and we very much look forward to getting to know the new pack a lot better.

Gripvan are Hiring - Kit Room Manager


Job Description    

Kit Room Manager

The Company and the Role

- Gripvan is a growing, innovative photographic and film production support business 

- Based in Battersea, London; operating across the UK & Europe 

- Gripvan service productions with its fleet of purpose built Gripvans which hold  ‘everything you need for your shoot day in one van’  

- We are now looking for a Kit Room Manager to help further develop this exciting business 

- The position comes with a good salary and career path opportunities. 


Key Responsibilities: 

  • Checking & servicing of equipment 
  • Maintaining & organising all storage
  • General management of fleet
  • Organise deliveries and collections
  • Supervising and daily management of technical assistant
  • Dealing with new and existing orders while managing the picking lists
  • Supervising the loading and unloading of Gripvans

Key Attributes:

You will be given a thorough induction and training for the role, but we require the following:

  • Someone who is highly organised, industrious and interested in the area of stills and moving image production
  • Have some previous experience working within the production industry
  • The ability to work within a team and under own initiative
  • Computer literate
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Strong organisational skills, with the ability to prioritise workload
  • Good written and verbal skills, a friendly and confident telephone manner
  • Hold a full UK driving licence 
  • The energy and initiative to help us move the company forward


Job Details:

  • Competitive salary dependant on experience includes performance related bonus
  • Based on a 40-hour week at the Gripvan office in Battersea, SW8. 
  • You will be required to work additional hours at busy times
  • 21 paid days holiday plus public holidays. 


To apply please email your CV and a covering letter to addressed ‘Kit Room Manager’. To arrive no later than 23rd October 2016, alternatively apply directly at: Interviews to be staged from 31st October 2016. Please only make contact via the email that has been provided. 

Gripvan FAQS

What is Gripvan, or what does Gripvan do?

Gripvan is a comprehensive and mobile package of stands, grip, accessories and useful bits and pieces that to quote Dean Northcott, "makes shooting on location like being in a studio". We provide peace of mind to photographers, producers and photo assistants alike.

As for what we do? At our core Gripvan does Photo shoots - whether Advertising, Fashion, Editorial or Corporate. We also do Moving Image - Commercials, Documentaries, TV, Music Promos, and more. Of course, we do Gripvans, but we also offer general equipment rental and can dry hire you cameras, digi kit, lighting, styling, and production equipment.

We can help you with power and access requirements, and offer consultancy, alongside crewing and basic production.  

In short Gripvan can get almost anything you need on your set to your set.

What's in the van?

Everything you could possibly think of, and a whole load of things you might have overlooked!

Our Standard Grip Package comes with a full complement of C Stands, Windups, Booms, frames, fabrics, flags, and all the usual grip, electrical and consumable items. All of this neatly packed in one of our custom LWB Renault Master vans.

The mini package is pretty similar, except we've condensed it down to fit in our Renault Trafic, perfect for smaller shoots or when your'e shooting somewhere with restricted headroom - planning a shoot in a multi-storey carpark? This is the one for you.

Why do I need one on my next shoot?

Gripvan solves your problems. It’s a mobile grip and lighting store, keeping kit dry and organised and saving space in your location. Gripvan makes sure all your kit is accessible, saves your crew time and impresses your clients.   

Isn't it really expensive to hire?

In a word, no! Gripvan can save you money on your shoot. Just ask our producer clients who keep coming back because GV helps them work to ever tighter budgets. Typically Gripvan offers a saving of 50% over list hire prices, not to mention the savings on peace of mind.

Do I have to pay for anything else?

Just the driver / assistant, mileage (if you're shooting outside of London) and any consumables you use. Of course if your shoot takes the crew away overnight we'd expect you to put our driver up in a hotel too!

Who can drive the Gripvan

All our vans are driven by a driver-operator who, depending on your requirements, will also be an experienced lighting/camera assistant, dig-op, gaffer or grip. Our drivers all know the vans and equipment inside out.

Where is Gripvan based?

Gripvan is based in Battersea, ideally located for London and for shoots further afield. You're welcome to visit us during working hours, but please call ahead to check we have a van available to show you!

Where has Gripvan worked?

We spend most of our time in and around London but the vans are well travelled across the UK and further afield. We frequently work in Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland, as well as Bristol, Ireland, Wales and the South West. The vans have visited the continent a fair few times and we've sent kit as far as the Maldives and Butan.

If you're planning a shoot in Europe we can help with logistics, carnets and kit transport.

Who have Gripvan worked with?

We've had the pleasure of working with and alongside some incredible people, brands and organisations. Just a few of those are:


How long have you been going?

Gripvan was founded as an LLP back in 2011 by our Technical Director Andrew Howe and colleagues working in production and location management. With a career stretching back 20+ years, Andrew noticed a gap in the market to provide a full service grip package for stills and small video productions, based on a condensed version of feature film grip trucks.  We became a limited company in 2012 and moved to our current premises in Battersea in 2014.

Can I work for Gripvan?

We're always looking for great freelance crew to work with, so if you know what you're doing on set, are 25 or over, with a clean licence and experience driving LWB vans, get in touch. Occasionally we have full or part time positions available. These will be advertised on our website as well as on the AOP job board and other job-hunt websites.

Heavy Lifting

Alongside renting photographic equipment and grip packages, Gripvan also offer a wide range of services which producers in particular find useful. Recently we've acted as fixers for an American film crew shooting in the UK, sourced DOPs and Sound Recordists for viral shorts and delivered crash mats around the country for dropkicking-footballers.

Often it is GV03 with its multipurpose interior that is pressed in to service for prop and equipment transport. With its series of high-strength foldaway shelves, long wheelbase and high roof there is little it cannot do. 

Earlier this year GV3 was called upon to carry around 100 feet of rubberised trackway from London to Brighton to facilitate access on to the beach for a beautiful Karmann Ghia convertible, along with the equally beautiful cast and crew. With equipment being provided by Gripvan in the form of GV2 in Standard Grip Package guise the whole process was seamless with no time wasted waiting for external companies to deliver the trackway before the shoot could begin. Shooting for Gumtree's latest billboard campaign Photographer David Harniman found using Gripvan "a real pleasure.... [and] nothing was too much trouble. Everything we possibly needed for the shoot was onboard and in great condition." 

David Harriman for Gumtree

David Harriman for Gumtree


We've also brought GV3 in to service as a mobile wardrobe for styling and props departments, Jim at serious boy found that the adjustable shelving was great for storing accessories, making them easily visible and quickly accessible. He told us "Working out of this well lit and clean vehicle really helps me and my department to have smooth and efficient shoots." 

GV3 is available for your project now, so whether you're carrying wardrobe like Serious Boy, carting a rubber road like David Harriman or moving delicate props, Gripvan can help. 


No matter what you need, or where you need it, just give us a call.

On Reflection

On Reflection

For most of us using reflectors is such an integral part of the way we light our sets and subjects everyday that it becomes easy to disregard the possibilities for experimentation and innovation.

I’ve always liked the quality from bounced or reflected light, from buildings, glass, water and from vehicle bodywork and chrome (come back 1974) and I enjoy replicating it when lighting sets. 

The progress of photographic sensor design and expansion of useable ISO range is ever opening new possibilities for photography and I’ve become very interested in a technique that Cinematographer Christian Berger has been developing since 1999. It’s a system for lighting films that utilises reflected light almost exclusively. Dubbed Cine Reflect Lighting System (CRLS) the technique involves reflecting beams from a light source that produces a parallel and concentrated beam of light as close as possible to the parallel light produced by the sun.  The RLS 70, specially developed for this purpose, uses a 1200W HMI lamp and is manufactured by Pani Projection of Austria together with a range of reflectors also designed by Berger and creative partner Christian Bartenbach for the CRLS. In association, Dedolight have also created a Parallel beam lens attachment for their 200,400 and 1000 series of lampsmaking them more suitable for use with the CRLS range of reflectors. Competition comes from Kaczek Visuals with their KFLECT system.

I’ve yet to get my hands on any CRLS kit but I continue to use reflection a lot and at the moment it’s the ideal way to pick outsome black leather boots on a moodily lit set without spoilingthe contrast and feel of the overall picture. 

Aside from the usual pop-up reflectors, California Sunbounce, Scrim Jim and mirror board options I often carry celotex insulation board (other brands are available) Lee Mirror Silver (No. 271) and Soft Silver Reflector (No. 273) both useful for making hard / soft reflectors of whatever size and shape you need. Mirror, or silver-backed acrylic can be cut to any size and I favour using small piecesfor still life sets adding accents of light when direct light doesn’t have the right feel or the set is just too crowded to squeeze another lamp in. 

Adjusting the quality of light from a reflector is achievable with diffusion gels, I usually carry 1/16th white diff and Hampshire frost.  When time allows applying dulling spray is a good way to make very fine adjustments. I also have a range of nets, both black and white, to soften the reflection from harder reflectors. These can be standard double or single nets as carried on all our Gripvans, but I’ve often found the local haberdashers a great place to pick up a wide range of different mesh, perfect for diffusing mirrorboards, household mirrors or any other hard reflector.

In the past I’ve custom mounted reflectors to armature wire or fixed them to baby pins to make it easier to Grip them, now I’m excited to explore the versatility that the magnet based systems offered by Pani and Kflect have to offer. Much as I’m looking forward to working with a full set of Paniflectors or K-flectors in the near future, I cant ever imagine not needing to improvise at some point. You can use so many materials as reflectors and often on set I’m scrounging mirrors from make-up artists or raiding location kitchens for shiny saucepans, silver trays or the old favourite bacofoil. I’ve used shaving mirrors, stainless steel plate, glass windows, aluminium of various finishes and the case of my Macbook Pro in the past and who knows what I’ll use in the future, I knew I kept those old CDs for good reason...



Fast as a Greyhound

We're handing over to Gripvan crew member Sam Benard for this account of a recent personal project shot on location with Gripvan.

Being born and bred in London, I’ve had the privilege of working for Gripvan since starting my assisting career 4 years ago.  I’ve had the chance to work on some fantastic shoots, many of which have been massive productions, giving me first had experience of Gripvan’s potential.  So it was amazing to finally have an opportunity to have a van on one of my own shoots. 

I’ve always taken pictures, but it’s over the past year or two that I’ve been shooting in a more considered manner, slowly building my portfolio.  The shoots I enjoy assisting on the most are sports advertising campaigns. The productions are huge and there’s always an interesting and different lighting set up to get my head around.  If all goes to plan, sports advertising is hopefully the route I’ll be going down.  That’s why I feel this test shoot was a huge step in the right direction.  I’d been thinking about this shoot for such a long time, so I was delighted when It finally came together.

The concept behind this test shoot was a combination of producing some stunning images as well as a testing my technical skills.  I also understand that there is a huge amount of controversy around the sport of greyhound racing.  But I chose to put that to one side and not take on any political views when shooting this project.  I simply wanted to show these beautiful animals in all their glory.  Their power and elegance.  On the technical side of things I wanted test myself and see if I could sync three cameras to shoot at exactly the same time, as well as freezing the motion of the dogs.  Not an easy task on an animals that can hit 45mph and reaches full speed in only a couple strides.

The day proved to be much trickier than I could even had planned for.  The initial plan was to use a laser trigger to fire cameras and flash at the same time, but there were some unforeseen technical issues with the trigger which meant I had to rethink my whole approach on the day.  In addition to that, we had very heavy fog to deal with.  This meant that it interfered with the remote flash transmissions and showed up heavily in shot for the head on angle, shot on a 600mm lens.  Meaning we had to shoot at night time with no ambient light, so not to light up the fog.  Trying to freeze the motion at that speed, meant pushing the cameras and Broncolor flash to their limits. We were given 6 dogs to work with, but with only a couple runs per dog, meaning there was very little room for error.

Having a Gripvan on the day was simply awesome.  It proved to be the safety net it has been so many times before.  This was the biggest production I’d done to date and I’d have been in stranded without it.  We ended up using almost everything on the van in one way or another.  The team at Gripvan were amazing in helping me put this shoot together, from locating specialised equipment like the laser trigger and 600mm lens, to giving valuable technical advice.  If I could have a van on all my future shoots I’d be a very happy man.

This shoot was a fantastic yet trying experience and I can’t wait to do another... hopefully with another Gripvan on my kit list.