Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Collapsible Travel Grip Frame

Does anyone know of a good collapsible 48x48 travel style grip frame? The only one I’ve discovered so far is the Chimera 42x42 which comes in a small duffel with assorted rags. Any others out there? Opinions?


John Roche,


While I don't remember the particular names of some of the others that I have used, I do know that the Wescott Scrim Jim system is pretty popular in my circle. That being said, I love my Chimera frames and the only thing I like better about the Scrim Jim is that it stretches a double black net tighter than the Chimera, which is better when you are shooting through it (such as when you use it to knock down a background behind a person).

Mike Meinhardt
Network Television News Photographer, Freelance

>Does anyone know of a good collapsible 48x48 travel style grip frame?

John :

Have you considered a flexfill? They come in various sizes with various reflective and transparent materials available.

Have a look at

(Usual disclaimer)


John Sheeren
Camera Operator
1st. Assistant
Houston, Texas

I know a couple of guys who have simply made their own using PVC pipe with some holes drilled at the corners for aircraft pins to keep the frame solid. Works great and travels easily.

Mitch Gross

Mitch Gross wrote :

>I know a couple of guys who have simply made their own using PVC >pipe with some holes drilled at the corners for aircraft pins to keep the >frame solid. Works great and travels easily...

I have a couple of 3'x3' frames made like this using 22mm plastic waste pipe and plastic elbows to hold it all together. I have a selection of 3'x3' silks and solids that fit onto the frame with elastic on each corner.

It's quick to assemble and lightweight. I use it mostly for interviews with some parachute silk on it and an Arri 650w behind it. Calumet Photographic used to sell something very like it, but I made mine for about £10.00 each.

Stuart Brereton
DP, Bristol, UK

Just checked the Calumet website. They actually do still sell their PVC frames, with sizes up to 78"x78", and a variety of different coverings. It looks like the most expensive is $110.

Hope this helps,

Stuart Brereton
DP, Bristol, UK

>Does anyone know of a good collapsible 48x48 travel style grip frame?

Check out the Lastolite web site at

In the UK we are dealers and in USA Bogen are the dealers. The Skylight range is the frame and it comes with a Manfrotto grip head for attaching to stands etc.

Peter Daffarn
Projects Department Ltd

Visit us at NAB on the Cinemills Booth

'Let Farkas' sold some knock-down 4x4 frames in the late 90'sthat might have been made by Modern Grip Euipt. Try calling Senno. It is not in the catalogue that I have, but maybe he would still make them.

It looked pretty much like a normal 4x4 with a pin at one end and the three other sides slid into metal sleeves - lacing the frame up held it all together...come to think of it, it might have been a 6x6 but I think they had 4x4's also - the frame member diameter was small, like a normal 4x4, not large diameter like a Mathews 6x6.

You could also have norms or someone like that take one of their small diameter 6x6 frames (like the two we have at Liberty) and cut them down and re-weld them as 4x4's, but that would be an excessively annoying solution.

Mark Weingartner

Collapsible Travel Grip Frame...FOUND ONE!

Norms lists in their catalogue a B000 4x4 butterfly set which is the same design as the newer of the L3 6x6 frames - thin aluminium tubing with steel corner sleeves and a pin on one end you can also buy individual frame and rags for it from Norms.

Personally, I like this design better than pvc or EMT frames because the frame itself is thinner so you can wedge it up into the corner of a corporate boardroom window and Blk paper tape the frame and grommets and dress it into the edge of the window for your talking head longish lens set-up and see the tree outside etc etc

The design of the one I described before was more elegant but this ain't bad either. Nets and silks pretty much have to tie to the inside of the frame, but I would have someone sew a duvetyn pillowcase type cover for it (or find someone who already sells this) for the solid as this will give you something with three clean dress-able edges.

The other design that I mentioned (which may or may not have been Modern) has the advantage, in being thin wall steel instead of aluminium tube, of being a little more rigid, which means that the rags that tie to it can be made slightly bigger since you don't need as much tie to tighten the nets because the centres of the frame don't deflect as much, but their is probably not enough difference between the two for anyone but a materials engineer or myself to notice or care.

Mark Weingartner

Usual disclaimers - I have no interest in Norms, Modern, or Lynn Farkas' company that sews (or used to sew) butterflies and recovers... but I DO have an interest in John's lighting company in NY...

I'd like to second Mike's recommendation of the Wescott Scrim Jim.

I've had mine for a few years now and still enjoy its versatility and quality. The velcro and elastic used to attach the rags to the frame let you get remarkable stretch (literally like a drum) so much so that the silver lame fabric from

Wescott can give nearly identical output as the soft side of a 4x4 shiny board and there is no risk of fluttering in wind like the flex-fills. I highly recommend using 2 of the clamp on pins for rigid mounting in C-stands especially if you are shooting in windy conditions. Another trick, I took a scrap of the fuzzy surfaced Digi-Green fabric and sewed a 4x4 piece with the edges doubled back on itself. The hard edge of the velcro holds the Digi-Green perfectly and is just the right size for doing talking head composites.

It's seen a lot of use and seems no worse for the wear.

As for the use of PVC pipe...a great way to improve the rigidity of these inexpensive frames is to fill them with expanding insulating foam. You can get the spray cans of the stuff at any home improvement store. Drill a few 1/8" holes along the length of the pipe and spray in the foam. When it expands and dries it will leave the pipe incredibly rigid and adds very little weight.

Sorry for the long post, hope the ideas help.

David C. Smith
LA/OC DP and Gaffer

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