Matthews Studio Equipment - The First 50 Years

  • 2 min read

Matthews Studio Equipment is a success story that helped shape the modern film set. It began in the late ’60s, still the wild west of filmmaking when Key Grip Roy Isaia began supplying studios with rags, flags and scrims sewn in his mother’s garage in Burbank, California. The field was ripe for a young drummer turned lighting-maker, Ed Phillips who worked with Roy and eventually—partnered with accountant Carlos DeMattos—bought the business.

It was an era without recognised gear standards—Dolly Grip had 1” diameter pins and receivers while Electric used 1-1/8” or other variations depending on the manufacturer or studio lot. So Matthews opened a machine shop to develop their equipment ideas. Working with Washington DC they officially established standardisation of the 5/8” Baby Pin and 1-1/8” Junior Receiver for hardware, clamps and stands.

From the start they listened to the production community. As location work proliferated, portability became key. Matthews’ responded with the first foldable and collapsible C-stand that’s become the single most-used support gear worldwide. So began a constant flow of practical production solutions.

Ed encouraged partnering with filmmakers whose inventions were created from first- hand experience. Together they created Tulip Crane, Cam Remote, Max Menace Arm Arm, Matthews Slider, Matthelini Clamps and dozens more. Along the way the partnerships garnered three Scientific and Technical Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, numerous other honors, and perpetual accolades from filmmakers worldwide. Today’s Mathews catalog offers 2000+ products—still manufactured in Burbank, California.

Ed Phillips’ focus on quality, safety, technological innovation and customer service built a proud reputation of contribution to the craft. Today MSE President/CEO, Tyler Phillips maintains the same devotion to the industry— always aware that the family-owned company’s five-decade success is owed to the filmmakers who use tools that bear the name Matthews.