SCHOOL OF FILMMAKING
1533 S. Main Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27127
FIM 151 - FUNDAMENTALS OF FILMMAKING - CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Film Production Crew and related terminology
The following is a list of some, but by no mean all of the job titles on the set and how they relate
to one another.
Above the Line People
These are usually considered the "important" people on a film, the ones who are responsible for
everyone else being there. Above the line people usually don't get too "dirty" on the set.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – A person who is ultimately responsible for a film's production but who
seldom takes part in any phase of the filmmaking. He is often in charge of several productions
simultaneously and usually oversees general business aspects while leaving each venture to the
actual charge of a producer. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues
PRODUCER – The person in charge of all the financial and administrative aspects of a film
production. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER – An ambiguous term given to someone that may have contributed
something substantial or special to the production of a film. The title may be given to a
production manager, an editor, performer or writer as a form of compensation.
LINE PRODUCER – A producer with much production experience, who is in charge of the daily
operations of a film production. He will hire the crew, coordinate production, see to it that
everyone is paid and fed and generally makes sure all departments are doing their respective jobs
within the parameters of the budget. A producer who is responsible for managing every person
and issue during the making of a film. Line producers only work on one film at a time.May also
be the same as the Production Manager or Unit Production Manager.
WRITER – The person responsible in whole or in part for writing the film script.
One thing to be aware of when watching credits, there is a difference between...
The ampersand (&) indicates the writers worked on the script together, as partners. The word
"and" means they worked on the script separately and may have never even met.
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DIRECTOR –The director is responsible for the vision and final realization of the entire film
project. The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the
driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that
he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties may also include casting, script
editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic
control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by
agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate
less important scenes to a second unit.
FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (1ST A.D.) – breaks down and schedules the production, makes
certain everyone is given their call times and coordinates any extras that may be used. On the set
he is responsible for keeping things moving and keeping them moving safely. He is the whip;
responsible for seeing that everything is carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (2ND A.D.) – Since the first A.D. must be on the set at all times
during production the Second A.D. handles all of the First's duties that would require him to be
off the set, such as preparing the call sheets, copying them, placing phone calls, etc...
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR – An administrative position that helps keep the production
moving smoothly. They are most often in charge of the production office and overseeing a
number of different activities relating to the production, including overseeing practical matters
such as ordering equipment, getting near-location accommodations for the cast and crew, etc.
PRODUCTION DESIGNER – The person responsible for the design, overall physical appearance,
and entire vision of the motion picture that appears on screen.
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR – A key member of the film crew, stationed by the camera, whose job it is
to assure the film's continuity. The script supervisor takes notes of the details of each take,
records the dialogue actually spoken, describes the action of the players and their exact positions
and attire, notes any departure from the written script, reminds the director of the direction of the
action (from right to left or left to right), instructs the 2nd AC what number to use on each shot,
records the number of takes, their duration, etc. The script supervisor’s notes form a film's log
and are typed daily on continuity sheets.
Below the Line People
These are usually considered the technical people on a film, the ones who are responsible for the
actual physical production of the film. Below the line people are the grips, electricians, camera
people and all the other technical on-set people working to make the film
The Camera Crew
There are four main people on the camera crew. Some large productions have more, many small
productions use less.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY (THE D.P.) – The film's Cinematographer, the D.P. is head of
both the camera and lighting departments. His job involves working closely with the film's
Director to achieve the photographic look of the film. He may work closely with the Production
Designer to determine a palette of colors, textures and shapes that make up the total visual design
of the production. The D.P. is responsible for selecting lenses, filters, film stocks and exposures.
He determines the look of the lighting and the placement of the fixtures. He is familiar with
diffusion materials and gels for the lights and selects which will be used on which fixtures.
Essentially, he is in charge of "photographing" the film, making the technical decisions needed to
achieve a specific aesthetic result.
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CAMERA OPERATOR – The crew member who adjusts the composition of the shot during
photography. His job is both mechanical and artistic. As the actors move about the set he must
follow them, as the shot requires. In most situations his camera moves should be smooth and
invisible, keeping the subject framed properly while moving seamlessly from one composition to
another. The Operator works directly for the D.P.
THE FIRST ASSISTANT CAMERAMAN (1ST A.C.) – The person who is responsible for keeping the
shot in focus during photography and maintaining the camera on the set. His job involves
cleaning the gate, changing lenses and threading the film in the camera. If a camera problem
occurs it is up to him to fix it or get someone in who can. The 1st AC reports directly to the D.P.
The most important thing a 1st does is pull focus. During a shot the actors and camera will move
about the set. By using a tape measure, reference marks and a good sense of estimation, an
experienced A.C. will be able to adjust the focus distance on the lens to the current camera-to-
subject distance on a moment to moment basis so that no matter how much someone moves they
are ALWAYS in focus. Needless to say this requires a great deal of skill and practice and is one
of the things that makes being a 1st A.C. one of the most demanding jobs in the business. Also
known as focus puller.
THE SECOND ASSISTANT CAMERAMAN (2ND A.C.) – This crew member, sometimes known as
the "clapper/loader," is responsible for slating the shot, loading the film in the magazines,
keeping the paperwork on the film inventory and generally assisting the 1st A.C.. Since the 1st
AC will tend to stay glued to the side of the camera the 2nd will do all the running for any parts,
lenses, film magazines or other things, which may be needed. The 2nd AC reports directly to the
The Grip and Lighting Crew
THE GAFFER – The chief electrician on a film unit, responsible for the lighting of a set under
instructions from the director of photography. Under his supervision the electrical crew positions
The Gaffer often supervises both the Grip and Electric crews. The head of the electrical
department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production based
on the request of the cinematographer.
KEY GRIP – The head grip on the film crew who supervises the other grips on the production.
BEST BOY –The chief assistant, usually of the gaffer or key grip. In charge of the men and
equipment, scheduling the required quantities for each day's work.
ELECTRICIAN – A member of a motion picture production crew who, under the supervision of
the gaffer, places and adjusts lights on the set, in the studio or on location. The person in charge
of and familiar with the electrical equipment on the set.
DOLLY GRIP – A grip whose primary responsibility is moving the dolly or crane for any type of
GRIP – A general-purpose handyman, the movie set's counterpart of the theater's stagehand. His
duties include laying dolly tracks, moving flats, setting up parallels, building platforms, placing
reflectors and gobos, doing light carpentry, and generally performing tasks that require brawn.
In the USA, a grip is a skilled person responsible for the set up, adjustment and maintenance of
production equipment on the set. Their typical duties involve camera movement, lighting
refinement, and mechanical rigging. In the UK, grips work exclusively with equipment that the
camera is mounted on.
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The Sound Crew
SOUND MIXER (LOCATION SOUND) An audio engineer who works with a boom operator to
record the production sound on the set at the time of shooting. The person responsible for
recording the sound during the shooting of a film. He is to audio what the D.P. is to the visual.
BOOM OPERATOR The person who positions the microphone during shooting in such a way so
as to get the best possible sound while remaining clear of the shot.
CABLE PULLER The person who works closely with the sound mixer and boom operator. He
helps to unload, setup and handle the cables used by the sound department. During a shot he
may move the cables in order to facilitate the shot.
Other Crew Positions
ART DIRECTOR – The person who helps to carry out the production designer’s vision. They
may draw plans of the set, construct models of the set and sometimes may also be responsible for
the actual decoration of a film set.
SET DECORATOR – The person responsible for dressing a motion picture set with appropriate
decorative furnishings—furniture, rugs, lamps, draperies, wall paintings, books, etc. This person
is answerable to the production designer and ultimately to the art director.
PROPERTY MASTER – The person responsible for the availability, maintenance, and placement
of all props on a set. He must have them on the set for a given scene, collect them at the end of
the day and return them to their original sources when production is finished.
COSTUMER – The man or woman responsible for the acquisition of clothes and their
maintenance throughout a film's production. Popularly known as "wardrobe master" or
"wardrobe mistress." Two male and two female costumers are usually assigned to a major film
several weeks before the start of production.
MAKE-UP/HAIRSTYLIST – (sometimes one position, usually two) is responsible for the
appearance of the actors in front of the camera. Must make certain that make up and hair is
consistent from shot to shot and from scene to scene.
EDITOR – The person who arranges the various shots and scenes to form the final movie.
Editing is sometimes considered one of the most important aspects of motion picture production
and top editor's in the industry are well respected and (usually) well paid. Editors are given the
burden of making things work which didn't work on the set, thus the famous phrase "We'll save it
in the editing." Editing can so fundamentally alter a film that, until you actually become
involved in the process, it's difficult to convey just how important it is. In the end the work of
the Editor, if done properly, is utterly invisible.
ASSISTANT EDITOR – Duties vary, depending on whether the assistant is working with a picture
or sound editor and whether the show is being edited on film or on a non-linear editing system.
During production the Assistant Editor is responsible for synching the dailies (putting the picture
and sound together for projection). After production he assists the editor by keeping track of all
"trims" (piece of film that are cut out) so they may be found later if they need to be put back.
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Most assistant editors do a great deal of paperwork and no cutting. On a film-edited show,
assistant picture editors will, during production: coordinate with the film lab and sound transfer
facility regarding the processing of dailies; leader, sync and edgecode the dailies rolls; coordinate
and take notes during dailies screenings; organize and maintain camera reports, sound reports,
script notes, and lined script pages from the set, as well as lab reports and sound transfer reports;
log all dailies footage; and reorganize footage for editing, if necessary. Ongoing, and during
post-production, they will: reconstitute trims; locate and pull trims requested by the editor; check
sync, clean, measure, re-splice, and add change-over marks to cut reels; coordinate screenings of
cut work; take notes during screenings. Once the sound department begins work, the assistants
produce change sheets detailing each day's changes to the workprint and production track and
send them, along with any necessary duplicate trims, to the sound department.
ADR EDITOR – A sound editor who specializes in “Additional dialogue Replacement.” During
the shooting, dialogue may be improperly recorded, there may be background noise or there may
be other sound related problems. The ADR editor supervises the re-recording of the dialogue for
the individual scenes. (The term "ADR" became popular in the 1980s.)
FOLEY ARTIST – Often during photography scenes of incidental action are shot without
recording sound or the sound the was recorded was not suitable. In these cases sounds, such as
footsteps when people walk, must be added in during post production in a process known of as
FOLEY. On a Foley stage the film is projected, the Foley artist watches the action and sets up
whatever is needed to simulate the sound it looks like the action should have made. (Often the
actual sound made by the actual action doesn't sound right at all, and that's where sound people
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (P.A.) – An entry level position on the film crew. This person
performs a variety of tasks including preparation and distribution of scripts, call sheets, crew
lists. The PA may also help in the production office, run errands and any other type of work that
is needed by the production.
CRAFT SERVICES – To many members of the film crew, this is one of the most important
positions. This person provides all of the snacks, drinks and food for the crew during the course
of the day. The work day on a film set is quite long and as you all know it is quite difficult to
work on an empty stomach. Throughout the day various snacks and drinks are available to the
crew so that they may keep their energy level and work level at the top.
DAY PLAYER – An additional crew member hired for one or more days due to special production
needs. There may be additional cameras which necessitate additional camera and grip crew,
large crowd scenes which would require an additional assistant director, etc.
This is, by no mean, a complete list. There are many, many other jobs, not listed here. But it is
hoped that these will help give you a start on understanding some of the jobs being done a little
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