Crew



CAMERA, LIGHTING, ELECTRICAL, AND PRODUCTION SOUND DEPARTMENTS

The camera crew is headed by the director of photography, who works closely with the director. Together they select the camera(s) and film stock and plan the camera angles and movements. The director of photography also takes responsibility for selecting camera lenses and designing the lighting.

The director of photography may also operate the camera, but normally this task is delegated to a camera operator. For multicamera shooting, several operators are needed, and these may be credited with such titles as "B camera" or "additional camera." The camera operator may be supported by an assistant cameraman, who is responsible for the care of the equipment, as well as preparing the camera report, or dope sheet. The clapper loader has various duties, including loading the camera with film and operating the clapperboard at the start of each take. This board displays the film title, scene number, and take number. The clapper loader stands before the camera and reads these details out loud before closing the hinged clapsticks. This device allows the sound and image tracks to be accurately synchronized during postproduction while identifying the contents of a filmstrip or sound recording. Although the traditional board is still in use, more sophisticated electronic versions are now available. The focus puller ensures that the image remains in focus, making adjustments when either the camera or the actors move. To allow instant evaluation of takes, video footage may be recorded and played back by the video assist operator.

If a camera is required to move during the take, additional crew members are needed. The dolly grip takes responsibility for the camera dolly, a wheeled support that allows the camera to be moved along tracks. A 1973 invention now allows a Steadicam operator to move the camera in a special device attached to his or her body, which minimizes the shakiness of the operator's movements. A crane operator may be employed when a camera (and sometimes its operator) needs to be elevated for very high angled shots.

The electrical department is headed by the gaffer, who is responsible for delivering the lighting effects required by the director of photography. The gaffer's first assistant is the best boy electric (a title used irrespective of actual gender), and the department also employs electricians, or "sparks." A generator operator may be needed when extra power is required, especially common when shooting on location.

Since the demands of lighting placement are often complex, the gaffer relies heavily on the grips, physical laborers who handle and maintain a range of equipment used on the set, and who are particularly associated with the lighting and camera departments. The key grip works closely with the director of photography, the camera operator, and the gaffer in order to plan ways to meet the physical requirements of lighting and camera movement. The key grip's first assistant is known as the best boy grip. Construction grips, or riggers, erect any scaffolding required for the camera or lighting and help to disassemble and reassemble sets.

Some sound is normally recorded during filming, although much of the soundtrack is created during postproduction. On set, the production sound mixer is responsible for selecting microphones and supervising their placement. Several different types may be used. These include microphones concealed around the set—behind furniture, for instance—and radio microphones worn under the performers' clothing. A boom, or long rod, is often used to suspend a microphone above the action and out of the camera's range. This is handled by the boom operator. The cable puller handles the masses of wiring that the microphones require. The sound recordist operates the tape recording equipment on the set.



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