If there are no hard mounting options for a lighting rig, it is the job of the grip department to work with the electric department to find a solution. In ideal situations, placing a light, bounce, or diffusion over a set or as a back light is rather straightforward, but when that task becomes more difficult, a Pipe Boom Kit or “Menace Arm” is usually brought into action.
A Menace Arm rig consists of three steel pieces; the Center Post, Front Baby/Jr Mount, and the Rear ratchet/sandbag mount. These three pieces (see the picture) mount to an 1-1/4″ aluminum pipe in various lengths depending on the location. Using 2 ratchets straps, aluminum pipe, and a grip stand, the weight of the rig is triangulated and distributed to the stand, allowing you to reach into the room.
How to Rig a Pipe Boom Kit: AKA “Menace Arm”
Slide each piece of the kit onto the pipe lock it into place. The Center post should be a quarter of the way from the rear of the pipe. The other two parts should be placed on the ends of the pipe with the rear ratchet sand bag mount at the back near the center post.
The ratchet strap should weave through the top ring of the center mount with the strap hooks secure on both ends of the mounts. NOTE: the ratchet mechanism should be at the rear mount.” This will triangulate the pipe.
With the stand in position place the ear of the center mount into the Grip Head. ” You can use a second stand or ladder to hold the weight of the arm while installing the light.
Install the light (or rig) and secure the cables using trick line or spring clamps down the arm towards the stand. Remember: safety the light and leave cable slack at the head.
Connect second ratchet into the rear clamp. Let the ratchet hang to floor. (Make sure you have sandbags on the legs of the stand)
When raising the stand into position never use the top riser, it will bend. You may use a second stand or ladder to help lift the weight near the top position.
Connect the loose ratchet to the bottom of the stand and pull tight, then ratchet. The arm will lift into place as you tighten the ratchet.
Be sure ratchet ends and all other material is free from the floor so no one can trip.