Glossary

A

Accountant

The Production Accountant is responsible for finances and financial records of a production. They work with the Producer and Line Producer to prepare budgets as well as look after the finances and payroll on a daily basis to make sure everything remains in budget. They will also need to know about any local tax incentives applicable to the production.

Action Vehicle Coordinator

An Action Vehicle is any vehicle that is seen onscreen and may be driven by Actors, extras or stunt performers. Also known as a Picture Car. The Action Vehicle Coordinator is the person in charge of organising and hiring in of any vehicle used in a production.

Action Vehicle Hire

Productions often have a need for anything from a scooter to a police car, to a penny farthing, or a horse drawn coach. These are hired from companies dealing in Action Vehicle Hire, who supply and maintain such vehicles, making sure they're ready to perform in front of the camera.

Actors & Actresses

Many a production would not exist without Actors and Actresses to bring life to the characters within a script. They work across a wide range of disciplines such as film, television, radio and theatre. Voice-over work for animations, adverts, documentaries, audio books and foreign language dubbing are among their various avenues of employment.

ADR Dialogue Editor / ADR Mixer

ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) is a technique whereby unusable dialogue recorded during shooting can be re-recorded in a studio environment with the same, or different Actors. This can be due to too much background noise, or an actor being 'off-mike'. The scene is played on a screen in the studio and the actor performs their lines in sync to the original lines. It can also be used to record different lines or words to those recorded on set and to record miscellaneous dialogue and sounds for crowd scenes. Also known as Post-Sync.

Aerial Cameraman

The Aerial Cameraman is the person who operates the Camera from a helicopter or aircraft which can be from a suspension mount or from a gyroscopic stabilising mount, controlled from within the aircraft.

Agent

An agent or patent agent is someone who is not an attorney but is authorized to act for or in place of someone applying for a patent or doing other business with the patent office. The agent must be officially registered to conduct business with a patent office. An agent will often manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, composer or writer.

Animator

Animators create cartoons and any animated section of film. It is a broad term encompassing anything from hand drawn pictures to stop-motion, where physical models or objects are used, to computer driven animation. All follow the same principle, that of recording individual frames that when played in sequence at normal film speed, form the illusion of motion.

Archive Researcher

Archive Researchers are responsible for gathering background material for the production. This may involve sourcing old footage, looking up old interviews or providing a précis of a given period in time.

Armourer

The Armourer is responsible for all firearms on a set. They are responsible for advising on the right weapons to suit the period and style of the film, for training those who handle the weapons and to ensure the safety of cast and crew.

Art Department Stylist

As a member of the Production Design Department, the Stylist is responsible for dressing the set with items sourced and specified by the Art Director. While shooting commercials they pay particular attention to the look of products seen in close shot. Also know as Set Decorator.

Art Director

The Art Director is in charge of the running of the Art Department within the Production Design Department. They translate the Production Designer's vision by overseeing the construction and painting of the sets. They also specify props and all the items placed in the set and work with the Set Decorator to create the final look of the set. They will often produce worked-up drawings from the Production Designer's initial sketches from which the sets are built or a location 'dressed'.

Art Director Assistant

The Assistant Art Director is there to help the Art Director in their work. They are often a vital cog in the hierarchical structure of the Art Department.

Artist & Talent Agencies

The agencies employed by Actors, Musicians and Technicians to find them work and look after their careers. They earn their money by taking a percentage of their client's fee.

Artiste Vehicles / Trailers

Large, often luxurious mobile homes used by Actors while on location.

1st Assistant Camera

The main responsibility of the 1st Assistant Camera (1st AC) is to keep the action in focus. When the distance between the camera and the action changes during a shot, when the actors or camera move for example, they adjust or 'pull' the focus accordingly. The 1st AC is also responsible for equipment including lenses and filters, as well as assembling the camera for different shots. Previously this role was known as Focus Puller.

2nd Assistant Camera

The 2nd Assistant Camera (2nd AC) is responsible for the smooth running of the entire camera department. Responsibilities include helping the Camera Operator position the camera, lens changes, operating the clapperboard, making sure camera batteries are charged and loaded and film magazines are ready. Previously the role was known as the Clapper Loader in the UK.

Assistant Director

See 1st Assistant Director.

1st Assistant Director

The 1st Assistant Director (1stAD) Is the link between the Director and all the other departments and vice versa. During pre-production the 1st AD will break down the script into a shooting schedule in collaboration with the Director and the Production Manager. Once shooting begins, their responsibility is to ensure the smooth running of the production, liaising with all the departments contributing to the shoot, to ensure the schedule is adhered to.

2nd Assistant Director

The 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) is a largely an administrative role. They're responsible for information distribution and reporting, cast notification, recording of all data relative to the working hours of the crew and cast., preparation of call sheets, production reports and other documentation. When needed, the 2nd Assistant Director can assume the duties of the 1st Assistant Director on a temporary basis.

3rd Assistant Director

The 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) is there to support the 1st and 2nd ADs. They act as messengers to relay information to cast and crew on set, look after the actors and make sure they're made-up and ready for when they're needed on set and manage the background cast, or 'extras' and vehicles that may appear in a shot. Also known as 2nd 2nd Assistant Director.

Assistant Floor Manager

See Floor Manager.

Assistant Producer

In television, the Assistant Producer works for the producer of a single film or series, usually documentary. The can have many roles including, researching stories and people to take part in the film, writing scripts, directing and shooting sequences on a small digital camera. They can also be involved in supervising the editing of the film.

Assistant Production Coordinator

The Assistant Production Coordinator assists the Production Coordinator and are responsible for the preparation, distribution and filing of paperwork, both within the production office and on set.

Assistant Prop Master

See Property Master.

Assistant Script Editor

See Script Editor.

Assistant Sound Editor

See Sound Editor.

Associate Producer

The Associate Producer works with the Producer in all aspects of a Film or Television production. They're involved in helping to raise finance, various administrative roles and overseeing the final stages of post-production. Also known as, Line Producer, Co Producer.

Audience Coordinator

The Audience Coordinator on a television production, is the link between the audience and production. Core duties include booking audiences for specially themed shows and welcoming and seating the audience.

Audience Researcher

Audience Researchers make sure that the audience brought into a show is relevant to what the show is about. On daily talk shows this may involve finding and inviting an audience willing to participate in any studio chat.

Audio Describer

The Audio Describer works to make cinemas accessible to the blind or partially sighted. They describe characters, costumes, location etc, making sure that they don't interfere with the actual dialogue. Audio Describers also describe for films and programmes broadcast on television.

Automated (Moving Light) Lighting Operator

The Moving Light Operator programmes and controls all the automated lights on a film or television set.

Avid Editor

A film editor who specialises in editing on an Avid, computerized editing system. Avid and Apple's Final Cut Pro are the two main professional editing systems used in film and television.

B

Best Boy

When lighting a film or television set, The Best Boy is the right hand man to the Gaffer - the chief electrician, and coordinates the Lighting team. They are also the liaison between the production office and the Gaffer. They have responsibility for the booking and transportation of equipment, ensuring that it is on set when needed and dealing with any relevant paperwork.

Book Keeper

See Accountant.

Boom Operator

The Boom Operator is responsible for operating the Boom, a long pole which supports the microphone at the end. The Boom Operator gets the microphone as close to the actor as possible, usually above their head, without it coming into shot.

Boom Operator Assistant

See Boom Operator.

Broadcast Assistant

In Radio, the Broadcast Assistant has a number of roles including the researching and planning of programmes, writing scripts, working with the presenters and producer and booking contributors. They also have some technical roles including operating the mixing desk and recording equipment and coordinating phone lines for 'phone-in' shows.

Broadcast Journalist

A Broadcast Journalist works within television in a variety of genres like news, current affairs and documentaries.

Burnt-In Time Code

Often abbreviated to BITC, this is a time code superimposed onto a video image. BITC is sometimes used in conjunction with "real" machine-readable time code, but more often used in copies of original material on to a non-broadcast format such as VHS to enable logging or clip selection before editing. The BITC relates to the master tape and the original time codes can be easily located.

C

Cable Basher

In a television studio or location, a Cable Basher is responsible for ensuring that the Camera Operator doesn't get mixed up with the camera's cables.

Camera Assistant

Primarily a television role rather than film, The Camera Assistant plays a supporting role within the Camera department. Responsibilities include, preparing the camera, making sure batteries are charged, tapes logged etc, also look after equipment and pull focus.

Camera Operator

The Camera Operator frames the shot and operates the camera, panning, tilting, zooming, as required by the Director and Director Of Photography.

Camera Platform

The Camera Platform can be anything on which the camera is mounted, other than the tripod. It could be a mount on a tracking vehicle, a scaffold tower, a helicopter, a crane. A generic term.

Camera Supervisor

In television where a multi-camera shoot takes place, the most senior camera person is the Camera Supervisor. They're in charge of the camera crew, helping them to achieve what the Director wants and also specify any special equipment required and ensure the crew can operate it.

Carpenter

The Carpenter is part of the construction team. They help build the set and make any minor modifications required during shooting.

Casting Assistant

The Casting Assistant works directly for the Casting Director and has general duties around the Casting Office including booking Actors for auditions and dealing with contracts.

Casting Director

The Casting Director works in close conjunction with the Director and Producer in casting all the roles for a production. They will suggest names for each role as well as organizing and conducting auditions. The Casting Director also negotiates fees and contracts with the actor's agents.

Celebrity Booker

The Celebrity Booker books celebrity guests primarily for entertainment and chat shows. They have a very good list of personal contacts and are always aware of who's in town and suggest the most appropriate and highest profile guests for the shows they're working on.

Character Generator Operator

The Character Generator Operator creates static or animated text and graphics that can be superimposed over a live or recorded programme. These might be title credits or name captions for news and other broadcasts.

Choreographer

The Choreographer works with trained Dancers and Actors to produce routines and dance sequences for a film or television show. They can also be used as Movement Directors to show Actors how to walk or move for a given part, such as a zombie or 16th century aristocrat.

Cinematographer

See Director of Photography.

Clapper Loader

See 2nd Assistant Camera.

Clearance Coordinator

The Clearance Coordinator deals with everything copyright. Anything that appears in a film where the copyright is owned by someone other than the production company has to be cleared for use. Often dealing with commercial music tracks, library footage, stills, print material such as magazines or newspapers, the Clearance Coordinator negotiates a fee for the use of the material in the film.

Commissioning Editor

In television, the Commissioning Editor is responsible for commissioning the production of a number of programmes for a specific department. For example, the Commissioning Editor for documentaries will look at ideas submitted for documentaries, both from within the channel and from independent production companies, decide which fit the profile of the type of films they want to make and commission the production of the films. They will oversee a number of programmes at various stages of production, while also contributing towards the creation of new strands, and other aspects of the department's output with the head of department.

Computer Animator

The Computer Animator works in a specific field of Animation. Using computer systems to create wholly animated films or contributing towards individual scenes that may be partly live-action partly computer animation.

Computer Effects

Computer Effects encompasses Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), which has become the dominant method for producing effects shots in film and television production. Whereas in the past, miniature models may have been used to create an action or flying scene for example, today the scene will be created within the computer because of the speed and control it allows. A single technician is now able to create or augment a scene without the need for extras, sets or props and can create vast visual environments that would have been prohibitively expensive, or physically impossible to create by other means.

Construction Assistant

The Assistant Construction Manager helps the Construction Manager to build sets, within budgets, to deadlines, and to meet standards set by the Production Designer. Reporting to Construction Manager, they assist with tasks such as scheduling, cost estimation and cost control, hiring the necessary crew, and monitoring construction.

Construction Buyer

The Construction Buyer researches and purchases all the materials required to build the sets. They also arrange transportation and work in conjunction with the Construction Manager and their assistant.

Construction Manager

The Construction Manager supervises the construction of sets for the film, using the original plans from the Production Designer. They co-ordinate the entire process of set building, from initial planning through to the final coat of paint on the finished sets. Reporting to the Production Designer, they lead a team of craftsmen, including Carpenters, Painters, Riggers and Plasterers, and ensure that all sets are completed to deadline and within budget, and that they meet production requirements.

Contestant Researcher

In television game shows, the Contestant Researcher finds suitable contestants for each show, based on the show's requirements in terms of the type of person best suited to the objectives of the show. They also interview potential contestants and often arrange sessions where a group of potential contestants will take part in a dummy show, to see which will be most suitable to put forward for the actual show.

Continuity Script

Commonly known as a Script Supervisor or Continuity their job during the shooting of a film is to maintaining the film's internal continuity. This means making sure that the action is repeated from shot to shot within the same scene. For example, at which point in the dialogue, an actor raises a glass of wine, or opens a door. This is done so the two shots can be cut together maintaining continuity of action.

They also make sure the dialogue is said according to the script and marking on the script which shots cover which sections of dialogue. This is later used by the editor as a guide to what is available to cut. On the admin side, they keep a note of the unit's daily progress in shooting the film.

Continuity Supervisor

See Continuity Script.

Costume Buyer

Once the costumes for a film are designed or specified by the Costume Designer, the Costume Buyer buys or hires the costumes and also materials to be used by the costume department to create original costumes or to supplement costumes bought or hired. They keep track of costs, working to the design budget for the film.

Costume Design Assistant

The Costume Design Assistant starts work on a production shortly after Designers, and liaises with the entire Costume Department. They work very closely with Designers, assisting in the design process and removing all possible practical responsibilities from Designers, leaving them free to create. Responsibilities vary enormously, depending on both the Costume Designers' expectations, and can also involve keeping track of budgets, organisation and logistics.

Costume Designer

The Costume Designer starts work on a film at the beginning of pre-production. They are in charge of designing, creating, acquiring and hiring all costumes for Actors and extras. This must be achieved within strict budgets, and to tight schedules. The Costume Designers' work is integral to defining the overall 'look' of the film, and their role requires a great deal of expertise. Their creative work ranges from designing original costumes, to overseeing the purchase and adaptation of ready-made outfits. As the Head of the Costume Department, they are responsible for staffing, and for managing a team of skilled personnel. They supervise practical issues, the organisation and running of wardrobes, and costume continuity.

Costume Hire

Often on a production, costumes are hired rather than made especially for the production as it's cheaper. These would be costumes made for another film and made available for hire by a specialist company. They have period and contemporary costumes and accessories.

Costume Maker

The Costume Maker for feature films interprets designs, and fit and makes costumes. When costumes are hired, they often adapt them for the specific production. They work primarily during the pre-production stage, and liaise principally with Costume Designers, Costume Design Assistants, and/or Costume Supervisors. Many Costume Makers work from their own homes or studios, but on some films a Costume Workshop is established within the production environment, and in this case Costume Makers may work as part of a larger team.

Costume Vehicles / Trailers

When a Film or TV production is working on location the Costume Vehicle is used for transport of costumes and as a dressing and fitting room for the talent to get dressed. Depending on the size of the production these can range from vans to full size trailers, all modified for the purpose.

Couriers

Couriers, usually motorbike couriers, are used to deliver urgent items from and to various places during a production.

Cranes / Cherry Pickers

A Crane is camera platform at the end of a long arm which can take the camera to heights of up to 30 feet or more. The platform carries the camera, Camera Operator, Camera Assistant and sometimes the Director. The arm can be manipulated by the Grip on the ground, so as to raise, lower and pan the camera, the base of the crane allows the whole unit to be tracked. Some types of crane, the TechnoCrane for example, has a thinner arm and instead of having the crew on a platform, just has a remotely controlled camera which is operated from the ground. These types of crane can often reach higher and further than standard cranes, the TechnoCrane also has a telescopic arm to reach in and out. A Cherry Picker is an adaptation of a hydraulic building access platform which again has the camera and crew seated on a platform but is far less flexible than a camera crane. All of these are used to film breathtaking birds-eye view shots.

Conform

When the offline edit is complete, the pictures are re-assembled at full or 'online' resolution. An edit decision list (EDL) or equivalent, is used to automatically edit the master tape in accordance with the offline edit. Projects may be re-captured at the lowest level of compression possible- ideally with no compression at all. This conform is checked against a video copy of the offline edit to verify that the edits are correct and frame-accurate. As well, this cutting copy provides a reference for any video effects that need to be added.

Co Producer

A Co-producer is typically a Line Producer who has also performed a substantial portion of the creative producing function. Alternatively, they may be the lead Producer from another production company that is co-producing the film, or a partner or corporate officer from the production entity producing the film. In all instances, Co-producers work to the Producer. Sometimes, Co-producers may be relatively new Producers who need to work with a more senior Producer in order to package, finance and deliver the finished film. It should be noted that if a project has more than one Producer, it does not mean that these individuals are Co-producers in the technical sense of the term.

D

Deputy Editor

On long running television series, generally current affairs or documentary, the person in overall charge of the series is the Series Editor. The Deputy Editor works on the series on the more day-to-day editorial tasks, reporting back to the Series Editor.

Design Assistant

The Design Assistant works alongside the Production Designer and Art Director. Some of their roles include, making scale models of set from drawings, taking measurements on locations, providing general admin assistance to the Art Department. During filming they carry out vital roles, assisting the Standby Art Director and the Art Department Coordinator with any last minute requests or changes to the sets.

Design Materials

All the materials in the Art Department during the design process.

Digitising

The process of transferring the shot film or video tape to a digital format in preparation for editing in the digital editing system ie Avid or Final Cut Pro.

Dining Vehicles / Trailers

When a Film or TV production is working on location there is a need for a facility where meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) can be cooked and served. Depending on the size of the production these can range from vans to full size trailers, all modified for the purpose.

Director

Directors are responsible for the look and sound of a production and its technical standards; they interpret the Writer's vision. Every production has its unique internal dynamic, and Directors are responsible for ensuring that the final film or programme is faithful to the original concept. They're involved in casting and work with the Actors, in rehearsal and in guiding their performance. They also collaborate closely with all Heads of Department, including Designers, Camera, Sound, Lighting and Choreographers to create the one vision for the film.

Director of Photography

The Director of Photography (DOP) is one of the major creative roles on a film. They are requested by the Director, and must be approved by the financiers, studio and/or completion bond company. DOPs creating the way the film looks in terms of lighting and visualization in collaboration with the Director and Production Designer. Lighting is one of the fundamental elements in filmmaking, the way in which light falls on an actor's face, reveals an interior space, or illuminates a landscape, can create mood, drama and excitement for the audience. The role of the Director of Photography or Cinematographer is to provide a film with its unique visual identity, or look.

Director / Cameraperson

Since the development of small, easy to operate digital video cameras, documentary makers have been able to direct and shoot the film themselves. This allows them to be in full control of what they want to show and allows them to be a lot less obtrusive in any environment as it's just the one person rather than a full crew.

Dressing Props

Dressing Props install props on sets and locations before film crews arrive to shoot scenes. Dressing Props are recruited onto productions two to three weeks prior to the beginning of the shoot, and are briefed by the Property Master, Production Designer and/or Art Director. If Set Dressers are involved in the production, they supervise the Dressing Props team. Dressing Props usually work in teams of two or three people, the senior member being referred to as the Charge hand. The team dresses the sets with furniture, drapes, flooring, machinery and other props.

Driver

See Unit Driver.

Dubbing Editor

The Dubbing Editor is part of the Editing post-production team and prepares all the sound for the film ready to be mixed. They use digital editing systems which take in all the sound used by the Film Editor which the Dubbing Editor then places onto a group of separate tracks. This will be largely dialogue to which they add sound effects, Foley, music recordings, ADR and any other sounds, ready to be mixed by the Dubbing Mixer.

Dubbing Mixer / Re-recording Mixer

The Re-Recording Mixer, formerly known as Dubbing Mixer, works with all the sound elements prepared by the Dubbing Editor, (Dialogue, ADR, Foley, Sound Effects, Atmospheres, and Music), and mixes them together to create the final soundtrack.

Setting the relative volume levels and positioning these sounds is an art form in its own right, requiring the skill and aesthetic judgment provided by experienced Re-recording Mixers.

Duplication & Format Transfer

Once a film or TV programme is completed, it has to be duplicated in a variety of formats for many subsequent uses. This can be creating copies from a master tape for Blu Ray, DVD or VHS distribution, creating tapes for broadcast in other countries with different broadcast systems or formats, and creating other formats for distribution on the internet.

DV Camera Operator

See Director/Camera Person.

E

Editor

The way a story unfolds and grabs the attention of the audience is one of the most important elements in filmmaking. The Editor ensures that the story flows effortlessly from beginning to end, each shot is carefully chosen and edited into a series of scenes, which are in turn assembled to create the finished film.

A highly creative, challenging and rewarding job, the Editor, works closely with the Director, using combinations of picture and sound, to craft the daily rushes into a coherent whole. Editors work long, unsociable hours, often under pressure, in an edit suite generally using Avid or Final Cut Pro.

Editor Assistant

Assistant Editors are responsible for running and maintaining Editing systems, and for the smooth running of the editing room. Individual Editors may have their own preferences about how the work is organised, how rushes are logged etc, but good Assistant Editors are able to adapt their own methods accordingly. They support the whole of the post production process on feature films and work closely with Film Labs, and with the Camera and Sound departments.

Electrician

The person in charge of and familiar with the lighting equipment and other electrical equipment on the set.

EPK Producer

EPKs (Electronic Press Kits) are press kits produced on broadcast quality video tape and are vital components of the unit publicity generated during film shoots. The most basic EPKs consist of a collection of interviews with key cast and crew members, and some behind the scenes footage, plus in some cases a selection of final film clips, and possibly the theatrical trailer. They're distributed to TV channels to create a buzz in the period leading up to the film's release and beyond.

EPK Producers are also responsible for other publicity materials such as "making-of" documentaries for the domestic and international market, "extras" for the DVD release, and promotional material for the film's website. However, the smaller DV cameras now being used means they can be used as a less intrusive and more economical means of shooting the behind the scenes shots (b rolls). EPKs are produced and edited by a small number of highly specialist companies who employ Director/Producers (D/Ps) to write and edit each production. EPK D/Ps often work on three or four films simultaneously.

EVS Operator

EVS is a broadcast tapeless video system used primarily in sports programming for its ability o provide instant replays and slow motion. EVS is actually a brand name which has become the generic term for all such systems.

The EVS operator controls this machine in which highlight "clips" are stored on a computer hard drive for quick recall and maximum flexibility. Highlights can be grouped together into play lists for replay packages supporting storylines or specific players during a game. EVS operators frequently take in two cameras at a time, constantly recording, and can output two channels at a time.

Executive Producer

Executive Producers in television are responsible for the overall quality control of productions, and for ensuring that final products conform to commissioners' specifications. They are part of the team who are responsible for selecting marketable projects and ensuring that every step is taken to guarantee success in the market. They lead the production of a range of television programmes, including dramas, documentaries, sport, etc. On serial dramas, and some entertainment programmes, experienced and well known Writers may also be credited as Executive Producers. On current affairs and news programming, the Executive Producer role is often combined with that of the Programme.

In Film Production the Executive Producer is primarily responsible for procuring the funding, and are also responsible for monitoring its use during production. They're also responsible for looking after all the business and legal aspects of a film production.