|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Apple Boxes are wooden boxes or crates of varying sizes with holes on each end used chiefly in film production. These boxes are specialized pieces of equipment belonging to the grip department, and should not be confused with simple crates or other boxes.
As one of the most ubiquitous and useful pieces of equipment on a film set, Apple Boxes are used for anything that needs to be propped up or supported temporarily. They can be used to prop up furniture and light stands, for leveling camera dolly track, or to provide temporary seats, workbenches, or stepladders.
Often the need arises to make an actor appear taller, either because of their height, or to fit with the composition of a particular shot. In this use Apple Boxes are jokingly referred to as "Man Makers".
Apple boxes were originally used for storage. They would have a forward opening in the box and it could be used as a double storage device for small necessary things.
Full Apple (also referred to as just an "Apple Box") 8"×20"×12"
Half Apple 4"×20"×12"
Quarter Apple 2"×20"×12"
Pancake (Eighth Apple) 1"×20"×12"
Apple Box Sizes vary somewhat depending on manufacturer, but all sizes are designed to be fractions of the "Full Apple" size. Thus two Half Apples exactly equal the size of a Full Apple, two Quarters equals one Half, and two Pancakes equal one Quarter. This modular design is often critically important as many applications require mixes of sizes.
Often when a Grip is placing an Apple Box others are lifting something heavy to put on top of it, thus arose the need for terms describing what position the Apple Box should be placed in (i.e. which side of the Apple Box should be placed face-down). It is rare that these terms are used for anything other than the "Full Apple" size.
Texas: Positioned so the Apple Box is resting on its largest side so it's BIG and WIDE like Texas. 8" tall for a full apple.
New York: Positioned so the Apple Box is tallest, like the tall buildings in New York, 20" high.
California: Positioned so the Apple Box is on its longest narrow side so it's shaped long and skinny like the state of California, 12" high.