19 February 2007

Crew structure and roles


Today we talked about the many different people who could be involved with a production and at which point the might join the project. If you’ve ever wondered about the many people listed in the credits of a movie, read on:


★ Writer - (who is also sometimes the director);
★ Producer - finds script/idea, commissions writer, puts together package to raise money,holds and assigns rights and is the principal organiser. There are also executive producers (brings money or might have a relationship with the distributor or other source of funding), co-producers (could be a producer in another country) and associate producers (who might hold some rights);

Working for the producer are:

★ Line producer - executes management, organises schedule, budget and script, assisted by one or more:
★ Production managers - organises crew contracts;
★ Location manager/scout - supervises schedules, hires gear and locations and organises facilities such as cars, hotels, studios;
★ Production co-ordinator - makes sure personnel get to and from the shoot, that the schedule is feasible and organises the gear for the actual shoot; all of them are assisted by
★ Production assistants and secretaries as well as runners.

Attached to the production office are also publicists and casting managers, who will spring into action later on, as well as unit and caterers during the shoot. These people stay on throughout the film making process as needed, while many more crew is added for the shoot:

★ Director - the director comes on board during pre-production, but their main role comes during the shoot, where they are responsible for the vision of the film. They work with the producer (mostly ;-) and are supported by
★ 1st assistant director - controls scheduling on a day to day basis, is the connection between the set and the production office, monitors information from the department heads, is basically an organiser, manager and liaison;
★ 2nd assistant director - also liaises between production office and set, concentrating on actors and the next day’s call sheet;
★ Script supervisor - keeping track of rehearsals and any script changes as well as continuity.

Working with the director are also

★ Director of Photography (DoP) - evolves the visual style together with the art director and the director; on set assisted by
★ Camera operator - handles the camera, provides a sense of continuity, knows what the frame should be, deals with actors, lighting and the art department;
★ Camera assistant - can also be the focus puller and is responsible for camera and accessories;
★ Clapper loader - responsible for loading the camera, maintaining stock and getting it to the processing house as well as keeping detailed shooting records;
★ Video assist - provides a monitor feed from the camera to a monitor for continuity. In the lighting department supporting the DoP is the
★ Gaffer - in charge of the lighting crew,
★ Best Boy - assistant to the gaffer,
★ Lighting assists - run cables, put up lights, set up power supplies and may do some FX lighting,
★ Grip - is responsible for all camera movement, mounting the camera on cranes, dollies, etc, as well as building rostrums and other fixings for the camera.

The sound department on set is headed by the 

★ Sound recordist or location recorder - checks the picture from the video screen, may record two or three tracks simultaneously, makes atmosphere recordings and captures background sound as needed,
★ Boom swinger/operator - captures the best possible sound without the mic getting into the frame, ★ grams operator - provides any practical music on set,
★ playback - used in music videos. In post production there is also the
★ Sound designer - responsible for the post production process, dubbing editor, musical composer, track layers, foley and sound mixers.

The art department is headed by the

 ★ Production designer - responsible for the look (with the DoP and the director), makes budget decision for set and location, decides on the style and colour palette and costumes.
★ Art director - executes this vision
★ Art department managers - budget, co-ordinate and provide personnel,
★ Builders, such as chippies and plasterers, build the sets,
★ Set finishers and decorators - paint and age the set as necessary,
★ set dressers - provide props and ‘reality’ to the set, assisted by the prop buyers and handlers (also stand-by props) during the shoot.
★ Costume designer - supervises pattern makers, cutters, machinists and dyers during pre-production and stand-by wardrobe, dressers, and make-up during the shoot.
★ Animal and vehicle wranglers do just that. 

Post-production As well as sound people post-production adds these people to the crew:

★ Editor - either operates the editing gear or works with an editor
★ Digitiser - converts footage into data for the non-linear editor
★ Compositors - if there are any animated or FX sequences
★ Negative cutter - creates the master print

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