It takes a lot of work to get a movie or TV show from script to screen. There are plenty of production and on set crew members who work directly with Background Actors, but there are many others responsible for bringing the elements of a film shoot together. Here are members of the production crew you might see when you're on set.
The director of photography (also known as DP or cinematographer) works with the director to design each shot and makes decisions on what lens, filter, and lighting to use to achieve the desired look of the project. They are responsible for both the artistic and technical details involved when filming. The DP is often the second most senior member of a production crew behind the director and oversees the camera and lighting crews.
While filming, the camera operator is the person who physically controls and moves the camera. They work with the director of photography to ensure each shot meets the director's vision. Stand-Ins work closely with the director of photography, camera operator, and assistant cameras. If you're booked as a Stand-In, it's a good idea to get to know the camera crew on set.
First assistant cameras (1st AC or focus puller) are responsible for maintaining and pulling focus while filming a scene. They also put together the camera at the beginning of the day and take it apart when filming has finished.
The second assistant camera (2nd AC) labels and operates the clapper/slate for every take. When shooting on film, it's their job to load and unload the film in the camera. They also maintain the records and paperwork of the camera crew.
A grip is a technician on a production crew who is responsible for building and maintaining camera and lighting set-ups. They assemble and build the dollies, tracks, cranes, and other equipment needed to film a shot. There are different kinds of grips, including the key grip who is the head of set operations and dolly grips who operate camera dollies and cranes.
The gaffer is the lead technician of a production crew and is responsible for all the lighting set-ups for filming. While the director of photography is in charge of creating the project's overall aesthetic, the gaffer finds a way to make their vision a reality.
As part of the sound department, the main responsibility of the boom operator is to hold the boom mic (a long pole with a microphone attached) near the actors, but out of view of the camera. When needed, they also place microphones on the actors or around the set.
The production designer's job is to create the overall visual aesthetic of a TV show or movie, including the set designs and costumes. They work with the director and DP to visualized the desired look of the production.
It's the script supervisor's job to maintain the continuity of the production. They take notes on every shot, keeping track of blocking, props used, and other details to make sure everything is the same from shot to shot. If there are inconsistencies, the script supervisor will tell the director so they can reshoot the scenes.
Knowing the on-set production crew members will help you be successful when you're booked by Central Casting. Want to know what else you can do to be a pro on set? Know these common production terms and find out what dress codes really mean so you can show up with the perfect wardrobe.