What do rows of brightly colored tape, audio and video cables, cotton
diapers, windshield sealant and sandbags have in common?
All are used by cinematographers, camera assistants and grips --
the people who set up camera and lighting equipment. And all are sold
by Burbank’s Filmtools, which moved to its 5,000 square-foot shop at
3100 Magnolia Blvd. earlier this year, having outgrown its 1,200
square-foot digs on Olive Avenue, where they opened in 2000.
“The only thing indigenous to the film industry is the film and
the camera,” said Filmtools employee Sam Cicchirillo, a Burbank
resident. “Everything comes from somewhere else.”
Sandbags are used to keep equipment from toppling over, while
windshield sealant works double duty to keep props in place or for
special effects since it is flammable, Cicchirillo said.
With the expansion, the store’s staff increased from six to nine
Some of the store’s inventory is made in the shop’s manufacturing
plant. Heavy-duty carts used to transport camera equipment are also
built by the company, and have been on the film and TV sets of “The
Sopranos” and “Spy Kids 2.”
Co-owner Stan McClain attributes the company’s growth to a
combination of providing online sales that are almost always
processed the same day, identifying a niche market that was not being
served and having set up shop in Burbank.
“There’s an invisible wall at the Cahuenga Pass, and people don’t
like going over that hill,” McClain said of his local clientele.
Burbank resident Kevin Ivey is a camera assistant who shops at
“It’s more of a friendly environment going in there than anywhere
else,” Ivey said. “If you need something, [they will] make sure
you’ll get it.”