When a film ends, tons of people are credited. Even though most audience members don’t stick around for the credits, as film fans, it’s nice to be reminded of all the hard work that went into making the movie you just saw. Someone just getting into film and curious about the industry might wonder, who is actually on set? and what do they do? and best boy grip…who is he? So here is a list of all the basic set roles that are credited so you can better understand the core production roles!
The Producer’s job is to see the project through, making sure that the intentions of the film are being realized as well as ensuring that the process goes down in an organized and efficient way. Most films have more than one producer, since the role requires a lot of different responsibilities, it might be better accomplished by a number people who specialize in different areas. Producers are often the people coming up with the film’s initial budget and planning the overall strategy for production, including locations and hiring crew.
The Director is the main creative on set and their job is to shape the overall story, and the look and feel of the film. The director works with all crew on set and is responsible for effectively using production materials as well as effectively guiding cast and crew to make the film happen. The director is also responsible for seeing the film as whole in a way that they are able to successfully direct camerawork, actors’ performances, and later, editing. With this, the director needs to be able to answer a lot of questions and have a clear vision of the fully realized script. Usually a single role, but can come in pairs (like the Coen Brothers.)
Assistant Directors work on day-to-day management on set, and are responsible for the shooting schedule and keeping the crew on track as well as directing background actors. Assistant directors sometimes break down the script into an
organized shooting schedule. ADs communicate with multiple departments and are responsible for making call sheets.
Director of Photography (DP, Cinematographer) works to create the look of the film that the director is looking for. The DP is responsible for choosing the type of camera, lenses, filters, and other equipment that will be needed. DP’s work with the lighting department to capture the right look. The DP works closely with the director to line up every shot and its positioning, angles, and camera movements. It is up to the DP to make sure that the director’s mission will be translated visually and create the most appropriate images for the film.
Camera Operator takes care of all the technical aspects of the camera during production. They are the main problem solvers and are responsible for figuring out how to get the shots that the DP wants in the more efficient and safe way. The camera operator is a lot of times in charge of designing camera rigs and figuring out the exact placement of the camera when shooting.
Assistant Camera (1st, 2nd AC) works closely with the DP, but is more so responsible for the care and operation of the camera equipment. Depending on the camera crew, the 1 st AC will be assisted by one or more people (2 nd AC, 3 rd AC) to actually perform camera maneuvers like pans, tilts, and focuses. They also are in charge of slate, usually.
Gaffers work under the direction of the DP, is responsible for setting up all lighting equipment and running cables.
Grips (Key Grip, Best Boy, Dolly, Rigging) responsible for assembling and
maintaining all the equipment that interacts with the camera including dollies, tracks, and jibs as wells as light stands and other light support equipment.
The Script Supervisor breaks down the script to maintain continuity in blocking, props, hair and makeup, and costumes as well as tracking progress according to the script.
Stills Photographers are on set to capture important shots that will be used for publicity and promotion of the film.
Digital Intermediate Technician (DIT) is responsible for transferring all digital data onto hard drives to ensure no footage is lost. They perform quality checks and trouble shoot problems with recorded data.
Sound Mixers put together all the sound recorded during filming. They monitor the sound be recorded and make sure they are being recorded properly and in the most optimal way to be manipulated in post.
Boom Operator holds the microphone as close to the action as possible while
filming but has to make sure the mic or it’s shadow is not going to be in the shot. Sometimes called a Boom Swinger.
The Production Designer works closely with the director to determine all props and scenery needed to complete the film in compliance with the script and contribute to the overall look of the film. The production designer makes sketches and outlines what needs to be done as far as scenic work and props.
The Art Director works under the production designer and is in charge of
delegating work to the rest of the art department which includes, Set Decorators who provide the overall décor, Set Dressers who place the items on set and remove them, the Key Scenic who is able to treat surfaces to give them a desired look, and Prop Buyers who are responsible for purchasing or renting props. The Prop Master is in charge of managing, making, or finding just the right props for the film.
Costume Designer is responsible for dressing actors and developing character. Costume designers are in charge of either getting the costumes made or renting or purchasing the garments the character will wear and how they will fit and look. Sometimes this might mean designing something from scratch to fit the script or researching clothes from a specific time for a period piece.
Hair and Makeup holds similar responsibilities to the costume designer and must also help develop character. Some productions call for glamor and other call for horror or special effects prosthetics so this is another job that depends heavily on the production.
Production Assistants (or PA) are assistants who handle a variety of tasks, such as blocking off areas to the public, setting tables and tents, escorting talent, and many other odd tasks. Often under appreciated.
Craft Services (also called “crafty”) is responsible for supplying the crew with food and drinks throughout the day, taking care of trash, and securing catering.