As a new actor in the film industry, there will be several terms used "on set" that may seem like a foreign language to you! Below is a list of definitions that may help you translate your "on set" experience:
As a new actor in the film industry, there will be several terms used "on set" that may seem like a foreign language to you! Below is a list of definitions that may help you translate your "on set" experience:
- Live set (Hot set): A set in use or about to be in use. "Hot" means everything on set has been carefully placed and NOTHING should be touched. Do not sit on set furniture, touch set props or eat set food!
- Wrap: Finished the scene or the day
- Call time: Start time; the time to arrive on set, ready to work. Usually cast and crew arrive on location 15 to 30 minutes early, so they can make their way to set and be ready to go at Call Time.
- Meal Penalty: Working beyond first 5 hours in Commercial and first 6 hours in film with no meal
- Set dressing: The way the Art Dept. and/or props have decorated the set
- Shot list: The Director's list of shots required to complete the shoot
- Touch-ups: Done by hair, makeup and wardrobe to make talent ready
- TV cut-off (or TV safe lines): Rounded corner inner frame line seen through camera - exactly what shows on TV
- Donuts: Circular cards ussed as flaps by grips. Also segment in a commercial fixed in time for substitution
- VOC & VO: Voice on camera; Voice over (certain action)
- OC: Off camera - watch, sometimes it means on camera
- SFX: Special Effects
- Dissolve: The tail end of one shot overlapping the front 12-48 frames of another. One fades as the other comes up - a blend.
- Match Dissolve: Framing and action from one shot (similiar) butts to the same on the next shot. eg Woman in clean clothes
- ECU: Extreme close up
- CU: Close up
- MCU: Medium close up
- MS: Medium shot
- FS: Full shot
- LS: Long shot
- Super: A title, phrase or sentence superimposed over the picture - horizontally or vertically, top, side or bottom
- Reveal: A camera move like a zoom out, tilt, pan or dolly to bring subject into camera's frame
- Wipe: Happens where the camera's or talent's movement totally covers frame in the FG to black it momentarily
- Storyboard: A series of pictures like a comic strip telling the story
- Frame: The picture seen by the camera - like a snapshot. 24 strung in succession= 1 second of time.
- Colour correct: Colour-enhanced to make a more beautiful pak
- Mastershot: The main establishing shot introducing characters, place, etc.
- Cutaway: A shot of something different to divert attention
- Intercut: A tighter, more detailed, more specific magnification of a segment of the master
- Insert: a quick, very close shot of something magnified in CU or ECU
- Blue Screen: The evenly lit bright blue BG required to be able to do chroma key
- Chroma Key: The technique where a backgroung (BG) is keyed in later, not during the shot
- POV: Point of view (that character in not in the shot) at eye level. Would be about the size of an eye viewing (approx. 50 mm)
- Montage: A series of shots of the same subjet cut together in a sequence to condense time or space. Usually dissolves, usually no sync.
- Jump cut: A cut not totally in logical following order and without a transition shot (mismatch caused by change in position or look)
- Depth of field: The distance which can be held in focus by a particular lens - dependent on F stop and light
- A take: One run on Film (from slate to cut) of the reheared action
- First A.D.: First Assistant Director - controls the floor and moves things along. Provides Director with working environment
- Gaffer: The head electrician working on set Grip: The head "brawn" guy - the carpenter type who sets flags, moves the dolly, sets the camera and lays track
- "Pretty Department": Consists of hair, make-up and wardrobe
- The"Talent": Common reference for the actors
- Boom Operator: Part of the Sound Dept. who works on set with the microphone, sometimes on a boom pole
- Mixer: Reference to the soundman who mixes sound from various microphones
- Editor: The head of the Dept. who cuts or edits the film and creates the final film you see in a theatre
- Best Boy: The head electrician's or gaffer's first assistant
- Props Master: Property Master - the Dept. head in charge of movable objects on the set (as opposed to set dressing)
- Operator: The person physically manning the camera
- Dolly: 4 wheeled wagon or cart that the camera and operator sit on in order to be pushed about. There are several different kinds of dollies in various shapes and sizes
- Pan: Right to left or left to right horizontal turn of the camera head
- Swish pan:A very quick panning movement also referred to as a whip pan
- Tilt: Up and down movement of the camera heads as if looking to the ground, then the sky or vice versa
- Crane: A very big dolly but with greater range of motion. Used to lift and move the camera, operator, focus puller or even lights. The movements may be sideways, up and down or diagonal
- Boom Up: A term used to indicate the camera moving up (or down). Can mean the boom is in frame
- Crab: A diagonal dolly move
- DOP: Director of Photography, Cinematographer
- Slo-mo: Slow motion, achieved by shooting more then 24 FPS
- High speed: Usually refers to a camera used to achieve slow motion
- FPS: Frames per second
- Slate: The clapper board used to identify each shot and take and it also makes syncing sound and picture accurate
- Eyeline: The direction in which the actor or animal looks. It must match from master to CUs and be consistent
- Axis: The imaginary line drawn between the actors. It keeps their eyelines in the correct direction (if they cross the line it changes)
- Filters: Pieces of glass placed in front of the lens to create a certain effect, protection or colouration
- Focal length: The length of the lens. eg 50 mm is referred to as the "2 inch". It is the mm you need.
- Focus: The distance from the lens to the subjects to be held in focus (Rack focus, Follow focus)
- Zoom lens: An adjustable lens allowing a picture from wide angle to long shot: 25' - 250' is a 10-1. Good size, variety. Need more light.
- Dulling spray: A clear spray used on objects on the set to take down a glare.
- Flag: A light-weight black matte material shaped on a wire used to cut the light off various objects or the lens. Used on grip stands
- Gel: A clear but coloured celluloid (semi-solid) sheet used to colour the light effet.
- Grip stand: An adjustable metal stand used for holding various pipes, flags, drapes, etc.
- Scrims: A wire mesh on a frame used to specially direct the light to a narrow area.
- Snoot: A tin round tube on a frame used to specially direct the light to a narrow area.
- French Flag: A flat piece of metal on an adjustable arm, used to screen the light from the lens. It is attached to the matte box on the camera.
- Hi hat: A metal 3 legged stand (about 10") on a board used to mount the camera close to the ground.
- Mattes: Various sized cutouts fitted to the matte box, designed to keep the frame lines clean and to shield the light.
- Tyler mount: Used for stabilizing when shooting from a helicopter - a series of springs under the seat the cameraman is on.
- O'Connor head: Heavier head used mostly with 16mm. Allows for camera fluidity. Has one handle for pan and tilt.
- Worral head: The most common for 35 mm. Smoother and easier camera movement. Good flexibility, 2 wheels for pan and tilt.
- Day for night: Shooting in daylight with no sun or clouds in the sky so the lab can print down darker.
- Day light: (5600 Calvin) Like outdoor lighting, as opposed to quartz (3200). HMIs shoot daylight.
- Overcrank: Run the camera more than 24 FPS.
- Undercrank: Run the camera less than 24 FPS.
- MOS: "Mit out sound". No sync slate; location sound or dialogue is not being recorded.
- Wild track or wild sound: A sound track with no sync to anything. Used to record sound effects on location, words or dialogue that will be used later in editing.
- Guide track: Recording sound not intended to be used, but is done as a simple guide for cutting.
- Sync Slate: The identification marker which allows aligning the picture and the sound.
- Post syncing: Happens after the edit, when the sound is then pieced together, as needed.
- Jingle track: The music track often pre-mixed for commercials
- The"bell": The soundman's method of informing people outside the studio when they are shooting or have cut.
- Overlaps: One or more sounds begin over or during another sound.
- Magazine: A Metal, lighproof protective container for the film which is attached atop the camera.
- Card: Sound and images are recorded on electronic media called cards.
- Normal speed: 24 FPS for 16 mm and 35 mm; 23.97 for digital video.
- Graphics: Photographic artwork, eg lettering, logos
- P.A: Production Assistant. Usually a craftservice person or gopher. Very different between film and television.
- Lock it up: Shut up the studio and prepare for a take
- Screen direction: The direction in which characters or vehicles are moving or looking.
- P.U.: Pick-up. Starting a take from within the original shot instead of at the beginning again. (Usually just a short portion or the end of a shot).
- Freeze frame: Hold or pause on one particular frame.
- Rushes/dailies: All the printed footage shot, synced up.
- Second sticks: A second clap of the slate on one take. Done because either sound or camera wasn't rolling when the first clapper was done.
- Tail slate: A slate put at the end of the take, upside-down. It must be verbally announced at the end of the take and sometimes also at the head.
- BG: Abbreviation for background
Background Work Information
Background work can be a good experience for anyone that has not worked on a set and gain credits for your resume. It definitely gives you hands on experience and appreciation for a working set. If you submit your headshot and resume to any of the casting directors, be prepared that you may be called to work as a background performer.When they call you, you do have the option to decline, but remember the more times you decline; eventually they will just stop considering you.
If you receive a call to work as a background performer, get as many details as possible before you agree to work:
It is always good to know the project you will be working for. If it is one that has questionable content, you have every right to decline.
2.When would you be needed?
Make sure the date that they need you is clear on your schedule before you commit to working. Yes, sometimes unusual circumstances do arise, but you must be very professional in that if you commit to working, you will be there. Also, if they book your child for work, then only your child and 1 parent/guardian is allowed to be present. If you have other children, a sitter will need to be arranged.
3.Where is the production taking place?
It is very important to know if the production is being shot in the city or outside and if you would be willing to drive on the highway, etc. Also parking is usually your responsibility make plans ahead of time, know where to park (all day parking), or get dropped off. Sometimes a shuttle will be offered.
4.What type of a scene is it, is it indoor or outdoor?
As a background performer you are expected to come prepared.If it is outdoors and raining, have your raingear with you, or if it is outside, even in the winter be prepared! The shoots are very rarely cancelled, so even if it is -47, you will be expected to work.
Once you have considered all of the above and have agreed to work, usually you will not get your call time until the night before. Do not panic, this is the way it works. Sometimes you may not get the call time until very late into the evening.The call time varies due to the time they wrap (finish) on set the day before.If they run late into the night, they require a certain amount of hours before they can start the next day.
Always be ready to work a long day. Sets are very unpredictable; things can go awry for any scene which may make for a longer day. Sometimes scenes go very well and production is a head of schedule and may let you go earlier.If you ask how long you will be working, they may give you an approximate time. Don't make any appointments based on that time; plan to be there all day.
When you receive your call time, they will confirm where you are going, your call time and what items of clothing and props you need to bring. If it is a beach scene, you will need summer clothing (bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts etc). They will also specify colours to wear and not to wear and almost always, no logos! Follow these specifications as
closely as possible, but do not run out to buy items. Just bring 2-3 options, so that they may choose the best outfit. If they ask you to bring props such as bicycles, sand pails, balls, etc. make sure you have them packed to go.
Always prepare for the weather and bring sweaters if it is a cooler day. On a hot day, bring sunscreen and bug spray. They may have these on set, but it is more for the crew. It is also good to bring snacks and drinks. Typically there are snacks and drinks provided, but every project differs. Make sure you bring items to keep yourself and the children amused for a long day, items like books, colouring books, games (deck of cards is great), video games (with headphones), etc. You do not want to bring loud activities due to sound restrictions during takes. Remember it could be a long day and there is a lot of waiting for set changes where you just sit in Extras Holding waiting to go on set.
Arriving on Set
Always be on time. If the production place is outside the city, plan ahead and leave early, always consider that there may be construction or other delays. Once you arrive, look for Extras Holding. There are usually signs directing you to this area. This will be your new home for the day when you are not on set. Make sure you are signed in and you will be given a voucher to fill in.
Now it is time to work. You will be asked by wardrobe to go through the items of clothing you brought. They will tell you which one they want you to wear. On some productions, you may also be sent to hair and make up. Then once you are done getting ready, you wait for instructions. Get comfortable and pull out a book until they tell you that you are needed. Now is a good time to take a washroom break; you won't have time to go when you are on set.
Again, there may be food and drinks available, but do not assume that the food and drinks are for background. Confirm FIRST that you may help yourself. Usually the craft service food and snacks are exclusively for the cast and crew who have very little time to sit around, and snacks are provided by their contracts (and come out of their pay cheques.) Many productions will do their best to provide some minimum drinks or water for background but it is ALWAYS your obligation to bring your own water and snacks, like any other workplace.
When they serve you lunch, cast and crew must be served first, so if you rush to the lunch line, you will be asked to step aside. Please remember that crew are paying for this food out of their dues and they are often working much harder (and for less money) than the people in front of the camera they are trying so hard to make look good.
Once you are asked to come to set, you will be told what to do and where to go. If it is just your child working on set, you need to be within eyesight, either just off the set or in view of the video monitor. It is your responsibility to watch and to ensure your child is safe at all times. The safety of everyone on a film set is taken very seriously so be prepared to listen to specific instructions and follow direction. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your child's safety!
Typically, they will have an area for parents, if not; ask where it would be best for you to be so that you are not in the way.
Your child will be given a starting position ("first position") and that is the position they must return to when they yell "Back to firsts." Always listen to the direction that is given and get back to your first position as fast as possible so that you are not holding up the take.
Background performers brings a scene to life and are a very necessary part of scenes. You are creating an atmosphere. Act normal, and be as professional as possible. Do NOT approach any of the cast, never leave the set without permission, be very quiet when the cameras are rolling and NEVER bring a camera to set.
Background work can be a lot of fun if you approach it with the right attitude. Have some fun on the set. Absorb your surroundings. Watch what is going on and who is doing what. You will soon figure out who the director is, the 1st A.D., 2nd A.D. etc. You will get to know some of the equipment and what it is used for.There are so many things behind the scenes that make movies so magical.
That Is A Wrap
Once you are told that you are wrapped, always sign out with your voucher prior to leaving and retain your copy. If wardrobe or props lent you anything, make sure you return it. Be courteous, be professional and thank the crew for what was hopefully a wonderful day on set!
Remember all of the above notes are for reference only. Projects and situations may vary.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with the children and parents. Our children are getting the 'wow' factor because of you. You are always encouraging, positive and energetic!
Thank you and have a great weekend,
We are very happy to be a part of your classes. We are new to this and just found you by reading the Winnipeg Parent. We always want the best teachers for our kids so that they can learn from the best and don't learn any bad habits that need to be broken and then re-learn. Thank you for always putting in 110%, bringing in other experts and for also educating us parents.
I wanted to say that your classes have been incredible and thoroughly enjoyed. I love and appreciate how you include the parents in both correspondence and encourage us to come and watch them in class to see their progress. You are a positive influence on the young adults and outgoing, friendly, approachable and very knowledgeable. All that you teach them is exactly what the industry requires and it is nice to find someone out there to help us prepare for all of that such as arranging Head shots, audition technique and most importantly how to act. The type of class you offer is unique and the only one of its kind for kids offered in Winnipeg ( to my knowledge anyway ) These sorts are classes are offered in other cities but difficult to attend or don't cover as much detail. Most classes in Winnipeg are for theatre acting not on camera acting.
Kyla Jensen J
The Children's Acting Center is by far the most creative, fun and informative workshop in Winnipeg. My son started taking classes with Lois Brothers in the fall of 2004. He has gained tons of confidence and loves of the camera. The classes are fast paced, energetic and very well designed for any child who may want to act for the camera.I also feel, it helps children to express themselves in a positive environment, and gain public speaking skills.I highly recommend it to any parent of that creative child.
Dorothy and Mackenzie Vannan
The Value of Coaching:
My daughter has had private coaching from Lois for auditions, and I did not realize what a valuable tool this was until I watched and learned what was needed for the character. As a parent with no acting background, I found this very worth while and will definitely do it again for future auditions. It is very hard to know what and how much your child needs to put into the part they are auditioning for, and it amazed me what can be learned from a one hour private
Lois Brothers is fantastic with kids!
She has this way of bringing out the best in them. I have noticed a huge difference in my boys since starting at the CAC. As a parent it is a wonderful feeling to watch your children learn important skills, not only for acting but for all areas of life. Thank you Lois!!
I just want to say that private lessons with Lois are an absolute must before any audition. My son landed a lead role in a feature film as a result of her 1:1 instruction.Lois's training in both education and as an actress make her the
best Winnipeg has to offer. Thank you Lois.
Tina and Riva both said it went well. Riva was given some nice compliments about being prepared, being so poised for her first audition, and listening to the change up from the director. Overall, was a worthwhile experience.
It seemed to go well. I could hear from the waiting area and they had her do the first two
scenes in another way and they told her after that it was a fabulous first audition. The women who brought her out after, talked to me and Carlyn for a moment and told her to be herself, that's how you cinch the roles and to really understand the character. She said she had done very well.
Thanks for your help, she had fun!
Sam made it through her first audition and I'm really proud of her. Sam said that everyone in the room was very nice and made her feel comfortable. Thanks so much for your coaching it made a big difference! I think I was more nervous than she was.
What the students are saying:
It is so much fun, I don't even notice how much I am learning.
Lois is super friendly. I have alot of fun in her classes!
What others are saying:
Lois you've taught your children to love and respect their craft. This shows in their preparedness, their understanding of character, their etiquette and their enthusiasm. These children understand that acting is playing. They are able to play imaginary people, in imaginary places, yet they remain truthful and in the moment - without trepidation. This is a skill that most adults never achieve. It is a real joy to work with such well trained actors. I learned so much from them.
Thanks for everything on this film, the previous film and all the many films to come.
Stephan Recksiedler - Director
Working on the set of "Cowboy Dreams" as the first assistant director, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with three teenage actors, the heroes of our family film. Wonderful because once the trio of trouble, i used to tease them, would hit the shooting floor, the whole atmosphere of the room would light up. They (Linden Porco, Keziah Brothers and Blane Cypurda) would stroll always with a smile, prepared and ready to work. Never did they hit that floor unprepared, always ready, they worked as a team and helped each other thru scenes. It was truly inspiring to see these young actors enjoying themselves while working. The best part for me I must admit was the Hannah Montana dance the trio would teach me while the camera, lighting and grip would set up for the next shot. We would laugh as I worked my hardest to get the dance right!!!!!! The trio taught me the greatest lesson..to balance hard work with fun! I feel I lucked out as the saying goes to work with Linden Porco, Keziah Brothers and Blane Cypurda.
Danielle Dumesnil - Assistant Director Film Production
Several of Lois' students appeared as the Kravchenko children in my recent feature film 'Black Field'. I was very impressed with the training that these child actors had received. They took direction well, they knew their roles, and they were completely professional. It was a pleasure to have them on set.
Danishka Esterhazy - Director
I recently worked on a feature film entitled "Black Field," a dark historical drama set in the 19th century rural Canada. My character in this movie has seven children. Five of those children cast for the various roles are either currently or have been training with Lois Brothers.All those involved with the project including the director, Danishka Esterhazy, commented on the fact that the children were extremely professional, patient and talented in their respective roles.For me, it was a distinct pleasure to be the "mother" of these children, albeit for only one day.
Adriana O'Neil - Actor