Tag Archives: Cast and Crew

Tech Talk – Film set jargon a glossary for the unit stills photographer

Film sets can be a pretty unwelcoming place for a naive photographer especially when the photographer puts a foot wrong. You may not always be so lucky as to work with crew patient enough to impart to you the meanings or implications of the strange language that the crew speak. Here’s a few useful bits…

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  • Mike O'Neill LBIPPJune 28, 2011 - 11:51 am

    Great Content, I didnt know these…

    Mike

  • Angus YoungJune 28, 2011 - 12:07 pm

    I’m glad you found it helpful, Mike. I just read your blog on working on a movie set. Nice article!

  • Curtis CleggJuly 29, 2011 - 12:34 am

    Here are a bunch more terms commonly heard on movie sets… some are pretty funny!
    http://artfulwriter.com/?p=117

  • James MurrayAugust 7, 2014 - 8:39 am

    I’ve been reading so many of your articles. I haven’t been able to stay away!

    I’ve been a hobbyist photographer for a while and was trying to work out what would suit me best. I finally think you’ve opened up my eyes to a whole new sector that I never knew existed. I know you say that the best way to get into Stills Photography is to use small productions but is there a way that you could assist for a while to gain industry experience from another photographer? Perhaps just to help shooting BTS photos?

    Thanks

  • PSbyAYAugust 7, 2014 - 8:56 am

    Hi James, You could try that route there is nothing stopping you. I’ll be honest and say I get several emails from aspiring photographers per month wanting to assist me. As I keep saying, one photographer is barely welcome on most film sets the prospect of having an assistant is highly unlikely, certainly on the projects that I work on. There are occasional opportunities to assist a unit stills photographer on large scale projects but in my observation those are usually made to already experienced up and coming unit stills photographers or experienced photographer’s assistants. All the best!

  • Colin GrayJanuary 11, 2015 - 7:13 pm

    With great sadness must report that Roger Whitby, such a fine talent and wonderful person, passed away yesterday, Saturday 10 January 2015. A great loss and will be much missed.

  • Steve SwisherJuly 29, 2017 - 12:38 am

    For any other American’s out there, Crew Show will generally be called “Marking Rehearsal” or just shouted out as “Marking” or “Blocking”. Final Checks is almost always referred to as “Last Looks” unless your 1st AD is European or Canadian. Hold Fire is generally “Picture’s up” “Picture’s next” or “Picture”. Turn over will simply be “Rolling”.  Some added useful terms I’d suggest knowing, “Moving on” generally indicating a new camera setup/position as opposed to just a lens change. “Turning Around” meaning the cameras are repositioning to the other side of to room or “world”  to capture the reverse actor’s coverage who was facing away from camera. “Holding the roll” meaning the roll was prematurely called and they’re cutting if need be to quickly correct an unforeseen issue/delay.  – 5 year Set Production Assistant on 50+ films/tv.   PS. Even as an experienced film crewmember I’ve learned a great deal already from this website! As there’s generally only 1 still photographer per show it can be a very cutthroat business of people wanting to covet their knowledge and trade secrets.  So thank you for your willingness to share to the younger generation!!

  • PSbyAYJuly 31, 2017 - 10:53 am

    Thank you for sharing these ones, Steve!