Hope this isn't too trivial a question, but can anyone explain why there are 5 scrims in a set in the USA, but, in my experience, only 4 in a set in Europe ? Only one double. Also scrims in Europe, (Ireland and Britain anyway), are listed seperately from the lights in rental catalogues, and seem to be an extra charge. After having worked in California for a few years, one of the things I find most frustrating now, is trying to get electricians to keep the scrims with the lights, on set. One gaffer I worked with last year regarded scrims as some new - fangled accessory, and one of his solutions for cutting light output was to use 216 !!!

Larry Manly DP Dublin

I have worked with DPs who have used ND's, and scrims but there is never any excuse not to have the scrims (or ND's) on the light whether it is working or not. A worse sin in my department is to steal scrims from another light to do the three doubles in a light and not put them back so that the scrim bags are incomplete the next time we use them. A sin of that magnitude usually costs an electric a case of beer, consumable by the department after hours, off site.

I favour larger lights when you need the spread of a larger fresnel and find that most Dp's do not mind the quality of light through scrims especially when they add a diffusion material as well.

Andrew Gordon

Gaffer Regina, SK Canada

I find in NYC that every one does it differently. Some places you get bags, some not. Some wrap the scrim set up with tape- no bag- go figure (as someone pointed out). Some houses have a 4 scrim set others include an extra double. For years I would get a spring clamp or binder clip and cut the trick line and make little scrim holders until it struck me that hey- wait a minute... I own the company, why don't we buy some scrim bags for these friggin' scrims. DOH! Now I just need to add the extra double and life will be good.

Sometimes it's the little things, ya know...

John Roche

Gaffer Liberty Lighting Ltd.

Larry, You pay for what you get.All lighting companies charge you for scrims in one form or the other. They are included either in the package price, lamphead rental price or as you say as an individual item. And yes, to your other point, in general in Britain & Ireland scrim sets are normally a 4 piece set, but if you specify that you want the extra double scrim to any company in either of these countries, they'll normally try to accomadate you & based on the size of your package, whether they'll charge you extra. At times this can get annoying but compared to the continent eg.Italian rental companies, where you only get one single & one double scrim & no bags. The scrims are either in the head or grouped in boxes, that can really p*** you off. But seriously, ask for the kits the way you want them on your lighting list & you may be pleasantly surprised. Regards, James Mc Guire (Gaffer, Ireland)

| 0 | I I 0 | / \ ! ! | ! ! | subject cutter 2K Wall (flag/gobo/whatevah)

2K is full flood, beam is cut precisely, I like the beam width of the Junior, I want X less stop....

2, even 3 doubles or fractions thereof is not a misdemeanor much less a felony


I recently shot a tv movie here in London and was amazed to find a full set of scrims, in a bag, attached to each head. I usually shoot documentaries, so my knowledge of what's usual over here when renting big lighting packages is limited, but I was pleasantly surprised.

My feeling on scrims is that its often a little quicker to put a scrim or two into a bigger lamp that is already in place than to swap the heads a couple of times. Maybe a 2k with a scrim is sometimes a little bit righter than a 1k.


Chris Merry

Speaking of the problem of not having scrims on the light, that same no budget job i just finished where were we only had half as many scrim sets as we had head, we didn't have a single scrim bag. The pile of scrims came with a once around piece of camera tape, so the first time you needed a wire, the rest would be free floating around the set. (and people wonder why I get upset when I demand to be present at the checkout, and they they go and do it without me anyway). It did just so happen that Craft services consisted ONLY of nuta-grain bars and water, so I borrowed the cardboard from the boxes and made some temp. scrim bags. I had them sent back to the rental house like that too with a note saying you can borrow my bag until you get one of your own.

Has anyone else EVER run into this problem? renting scrims and not getting bags for them?

Matt Metras


I've never done it, but I think it's common here in Ireland to use ND gel to cut light output down. Rental house always seems to throw in a few rolls of ND on every job, and seem to think I forgot to list it.

In New York it is common to use small spring clamps or large binder clamps to hold all the scrims together. They can then be hung off the light stand with some "trick line" (black venetian blind rope).

Jim Sofranko NY/DP

...Larry wrote- "Hope this isn't too trivial a question, but can anyone explain why there are 5 scrims in a set in the USA, but, in my experience, only 4 in a set in Europe ? Only one double."

I have often wondered the same thing, but in reverse... I have worked in Europe quite a bit the past 4 years and always wondered why they only had one double scrim in the pack. The standards are different everywhere- in other parts of the country you have to specifically ask for the "Hollywood" scrim set to get the extra double (in the Southeast, at least). Maybe it's one of those old-school Hollywood things that has just been a certain way for so long that nobody really knows why anymore.

I have worked with a DP who refused to use wire scrims in the lights- he insisted on using ND gels to cut the heat- a but picky if you ask me. I guess those wires DO change the quality of the light ever so slightly, but I attributed his idiosyncrasy more to his wanting to be different in some way- like the ND thing was one of his lighting quirks that was just for the sake of his having a quirk...

Scrim bags not with the light- a common and frustrating problem. Seems to happen in those times of "crisis", and it can happen with the most experienced of electricians!

Oh- what do you call a light with 3 doubles in front of the lens?

... The wrong light!

Toby Birney, Gaffer Los Angeles, CA

From my experience, if you rent equipment on the East coast, you also only get 4 scrims. When I was first starting out a gaffer told me, that a Hollywood Scrim pack has 2 doubles because "Hollywood tends to over light the F&%k out of everything." But then again, I just got off a job where for some reason, we could only afford to rent half as many scrim packs as we could lights (I know this doesnt make sence, I dont understand it either). I like 216 too ;)

Take Care, -Matt

Matt Metras Gaffer/NY


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