Continuity Person - The continuity person tries to prevent embarrassing gaffes in the final film, such as an actor wearing a hat that mysteriously disappears in one shot then reappears in another. The continuity person logs how many times a scene was shot, how long the shot lasted, which actors were in the scene, where they were standing and any other intricate details — like that disappearing hat!
Cinematographer - The cinematographer, or director of photography (D.P.), helps create the look of a movie. The D.P. directs the lighting for each scene, helps frame shots, chooses lenses, selects film stock and ensures that the visual look of the film conforms to the director’s vision. The cinematographer usually does not operate the camera on set (this is the duty of the camera operator).
Gaffer - The gaffer is the chief electrician on the set, and is responsible for lighting the set according to the instructions of the cinematographer.
Camera Operator - The camera operator is a member of the camera crew and runs the camera as instructed by the director and the cinematographer. The camera operator is responsible for keeping the action in frame, and responding quickly to the action as it unfolds.
Assistant Cameraperson - Often there is a first and second assistant cameraperson. The first assistant cameraman is generally responsible for the maintenance of the camera. The first assistant cameraperson also changes lenses, maintains focus during shots, marks the spots where actors will stand and measures the distance between the camera and the subject matter. The second assistant cameraman fills out camera reports and is often responsible for loading and unloading camera magazines, which contain the film. (Also see film loader.)
Film Loader - The film loader is a member of the camera crew in charge of loading and unloading the camera’s film magazines. The film loader also keeps the loading room in a good and clean condition.
Stead cam Operator - A Stead cam is a body frame that helps the Stead cam operator keep a hand-held camera steady. This allows the Stead cam operator to follow the action without the jerky movement seen in normal hand-held cameras. Stead cam operators need special training and require much strength and energy.
Production Sound Mixer - The production sound mixer records sound during filming. This person is also responsible for mixing the various soundtracks into the film’s composite soundtrack, which is then put onto the film with either a magnetic or optical stripe. Boom Operator - The boom operator is a sound crew member who handles the microphone boom, a long pole that holds the microphone near the action but out of frame, allowing the microphone to follow the actors as they move.
Key Grip - The key grip is the chief grip on the set. Grips create shadow effects with lights and operate camera cranes, dollies and platforms as directed by the cinematographer.
Dolly Grip - The dolly grip places and moves the dolly track, then pushes and pulls the dolly along that track. The dolly is a cart that the camera and sometimes its crew sit on. It allows the camera to move smoothly from place to place during a shot.
Best Boy - There are actually two separate best boy positions — the best boy/electric and the best boy/grip — who are second in command to the gaffer and to the key grip. The best boy/grip is in charge of the rest of the grips and grip equipment. The best boy/electric is in charge of the rest of the electricians and the electrical equipment.
Stunt Coordinator - The stunt coordinator lines up professional stunt people to take the risks that make the movies so exciting. The stunt coordinator makes sure that all safety regulations are followed and that all safety equipment is on the set and ready for action!
Visual Effects Director - The visual effects director’s job varies according to the needs of the production. Sometimes the visual effects director helps with effects on the set. But he or she could also be called upon to supervise separate teams of effects technicians working away from the set.
FX Coordinator - FX is film shorthand for special effects. The job of the FX coordinator differs from film to film. Special effects range from complicated computer animation to helping superman fly to simple on-set logistics like making a shower work. Property Master - The property master finds, maintains and places on the set all essential props for a scene. A prop is a moveable item that is essential to a scene.
Lead Man - The lead man answers to the set designer and heads the swing gang (the people who set up and take down the set) and the set dressing department.
Set Dresser - The set dresser is responsible for everything on a set except props that are essential to the scene. The set dresser selects items like drapes, artwork, bed linens, dishes and anything else, to make the set a realistic environment.
Costumer - The costumer, or wardrobe person, takes care of the costumes on the set, keeping them in good, clean condition, and making sure the right actor gets the right costume.
Make-up Artist - The make-up artist is usually a licensed professional who applies any make-up to an actor above the breastbone to the top of the head and from the tips of the fingers to the elbow. (Also see body make-up artist.)
Body Make-up Artist - Union rules state that the body make-up artist applies any make-up below the actor’s breastbone, or above the elbow (Also see make-up artist).
Hairdresser - The hairdresser is licensed to cut, color and style the hair of actors in a production. He or she also styles and cuts wigs when necessary. Usually the hairdresser provides all the necessary equipment and rents it to the production on a weekly basis.
Production Assistant - Often called a gofer or a runner on the set, the production assistant (P.A.) performs small but essential tasks for the cast and crew.