Video Production: A Guide to Crew Members
So let’s say you’re making a video. You made it through all the long hours of pre-production, and now it’s on to the next step in making all that hard work go from paper to video (so to speak); and that next step is production. This is where you take all your “ingredients” from pre-production – the script, talent, crew, location, equipment, and so on – and blend them together to capture your concept visually. Now, just like any given production is going to have a different look and feel, so too will your crew members depending on budget and time. So you walk onto the set, grab a cup of coffee, and look around. What can you generally expect to see? Well, to put it simply, an organized frenzy of people arranging and rearranging the talent, props, audio, camera equipment, and lighting on set to capture each scene. Some of the crew members you will generally see include:
Director – the one who calls the shots (literally and metaphorically) regarding overarching creative decisions and works with the talent to bring out their best performance(s).
Assistant Director (AD) – assists the director in making sure his/her creative decisions are being executed effectively.
Producer – responsible for all aspects of the production, from script development through shooting and editing
Director of Photography (DP) – in charge of executing the director’s vision visually, which includes lighting and the composition of each shot. Depending on the size of your budget, the Director and Director of Photography are sometimes combined into one role.
Camera Operator – the one directly using the camera to record the scene. Often the DP fills this role as well.
First Assistant Camera (AC or focus puller) – makes sure the camera is in focus during filming. Assists in changing out lenses.
Gaffer – an electrician in charge of the lighting department. Works closely with the DP to achieve the look of each scene in regards to lighting.
Grip(s) – the person whose primary job is to load and unload or move equipment and cables. Usually works under the gaffer to build and strike lighting and camera setups.
Key Grip – the lead grip on the set.
Best Boy(s) – assistant to the Key Grip or Gaffer.
Sound Technician – records the dialogue and/or natural sounds for each scene.
Boom Operator – works with the sound technician in the placement of each microphone(s) on set.
Set Dresser – in charge of the props on set and “dressing” each scene.
Make-up Artist – makes sure the talent is looking their best.
DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) – responsible for transferring and backing up the footage obtained during the shoot from the camera cards onto hard drives (assuming that digital cameras are being used).
Production Assistant (PA) – general assistant on set.
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