On-Set Terms
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On-Set Terms

BLOCKING: Planning the position and movement an actor takes or does in a scene.

CAMERA RIGHT / CAMERA LEFT: Directions assigned when facing the same way the camera lens is facing. This means that actors and extras facing the camera need interpret the directions as opposite. For example if you are facing the camera and are asked to move a few steps camera right you will actually move to your left.

CHECKING THE GATE: The process of looking into the camera lens or removing the lens and checking the film plane for any dust or scratches. After each individual camera set up one of the members of the camera dept., usually the Assistant Camera Operator (A.C.), checks the gate before moving on to a new camera set up. This is usually a good notification that the director has the shots wanted and there will be a short break before filming will commence again.

CONTINUITY: The term for matching shots, action, or locations of actors, extras, or pops. The matching of two shots from different camera angles or multiple takes so the shots seem to appear to mach each other as if occurring at or within a time frame. To keep continuity, actors and extras need repeat actions exactly as they occurred previously over again and again so to match the action when switching camera angles in the editing process.

COVERAGE: The term used when filming additional materials after the main scene or "Master Shot" has been filmed. Coverage can consist of new camera angles or tighter shots of individual actors or props so that the scene has various shots that the editor can use when assembling the picture.

DAILIES: Also called "rushes." Picture and sound work prints of a day's shooting; usually an untimed one-light print, made without regard to color balance. Delivered from the lab daily during the shooting period, for viewing by
the director, cameramen, etc. so that the action can be checked and the best takes selected; usually shown before the next day's shooting begins.

DOLLY: (1) A truck built to any camera and camera operator to facilitate movement of the camera during the shooting of scenes. (2) To move the camera toward or away from the subject while shooting a scene.

FOREGROUND: The area in front of the camera between a photographed object or principal actors. Sometimes extras will appear in the foreground of the shot moving in front of or past the principal actors to give the illusion a crowded or busier area.

HOT SET: Any set or location that is being used for filming or taping. Even if the cameras are not rolling, a location can be considered "Hot" if all the props, lights, and camera arrangements are set up and ready. It is important to not disturb anything on a Hot Set as to maintain Continuity.

LOCATION: The set, stage, or area where filming is being done.

MATCHING: The process of matching your action when repeating the same scene over and over again when doing multiple takes or filming the scene from different angles. To keep the scene's continuity actors and extras need match their action each time the scene is filmed so to make the varying shots appear seamless when edited.

ON A BELL: This is the term used when the production uses a bell, often accompanied by a red light, to signal the beginning of a take. Usually the bell rings just before the cast and crew is asked to settle and the cameras are ordered to roll. The red light illuminates when the filming is about to begin or is in progress and is turned off between takes or setups. Never enter a set where the red light is lit.

OUT TIME: The actual time one has been released from set.

PICTURE CAR: The name for any vehicle shown in a movie.

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY: Referring to the stages of filmmaking. The actual filming of a movie where actors are present.

PROP: Any object on a film set that is handled by an actor. All other objects are considered set pieces.

SECOND UNIT: A smaller crew of filmmakers who film many of the additional shots not involving the principal talent or critical action. Usually a Second Unit will film insert shots of locations, scenery, crowd shots.

SET: The area used in filming a motion picture. A Set is usually a constructed environment designed to appear as a natural environment or existing location when filmed. Sets frequently used because they are easier to maintain and control than are real locations.

SIDES: A physically smaller size set of script pages that actors and filmmakers can easily carry around with them on the set. The Sides only include the pages that will be filmed that day. Actors use the pages to read and rehearse their scenes as the crew sets up the shot.

SPEC: Anyone who arrives on location when not officially booked. Often individuals show up just hoping to be added to the call list.

SQUIB: A small explosive device that can simulate the effect of a bullet or other wound when worn by actors. The device usually pops a small container of stage blood to give a realistic visual impression. Extras need be upgraded to Principal Talent before being permitted to wear a Squib.

STUNT: Any action that is considered dangerous and thus requires a Stunt Double.

TAKE: The single continuous action recorded for a scene. Each assembled scene usually consists of many different takes comprising several different camera angles.


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