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A film crew is a group of people, hired by a production company, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. The crew is distinguished from the cast, as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. The crew is also separate from the producers, as the producers are the ones who own a portion of either the film studio or the film's intellectual property rights. A film crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production. Film crew positions have evolved over the years, spurred by technological change, but many traditional jobs date from the early 20th century and are common across jurisdictions and filmmaking cultures.
Motion picture projects have three discrete stages: development, production, and distribution. Within the production stage there are also three clearly defined sequential phases (pre-production, principal photography, and post-production) and many film crew positions are associated with only one or two of the phases. Distinctions are also made between above-the-line personnel (such as the director, screenwriter, and producers) who begin their involvement during the project's development stage, and the below-the-line technical crew involved only with the production stage.
A director is the person who directs the making of a film. The director most often has the highest authority on a film set. Generally, a director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay (or script) while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.
The director gives direction to the cast and crew, and creates an overall vision through which a film eventually becomes realized or noticed. Directors need to be able to mediate differences in creative visions and stay within the boundaries of the film's budget. There are many pathways to becoming a film director. Some directors started as screenwriters, cinematographers, film editors, or actors. Other directors have attended a film school. Directors use different approaches. Some outline a general plotline and let the actors improvise dialogue, while others control every aspect, and demand that the actors and crew follow instructions precisely. Some directors also write their own screenplays or collaborate on screenplays with long-standing writing partners. Some directors edit or appear in their films, or compose the music score for their films.
Production is generally not considered a department as such, but rather as a series of functional groups. These include the film's producers and executive producers and production office staff such as the production manager, the production coordinator, and their assistants; the various assistant directors; the accounting staff and sometimes the locations manager and their assistants.
Assistant production manager
Since the turn of the 21st century, several additional professionals are now routinely listed in the production credits on most major motion pictures.
Grips are trained lighting and rigging technicians. Their main responsibility is to work closely with the electrical department to put in the non-electrical components of lighting set-ups required for a shot, such as flags, overheads, and bounces. On the sound stage, they move and adjust major set pieces when something needs to be moved to get a camera into position. In addition to lifting heavy objects and setting rigging points for lights, they also report to the key grip. In the US and Canada, grips may belong to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
The art department in a major feature film can often number hundreds of people. Usually it is considered to include several sub-departments: the art department proper, with its art director, set designers and draftsmen; set decoration, under the set decorator; props, under the props master/mistress; construction, headed by the construction coordinator; scenic, headed by the key scenic artist; and special effects.
Within the overall art department is a sub-department, also called the art department – which can be confusing. This consists of the people who design the sets and create the graphic art.
Some actors or actresses have personal makeup artists or hair stylists.
The special effects department oversees the mechanical effects (also called physical or practical effects) that create optical illusions during live-action shooting. It is not to be confused with the visual effects department, which adds photographic effects during filming to be altered later during video editing in the post-production process.
Visual effects commonly refers to post-production alterations of the film's images. The on set VFX crew works to prepare shots and plates for future visual effects. This may include adding tracking markers, taking and asking for reference plates and helping the director understand the limitations and ease of certain shots that will effect the future post production. A VFX crew can also work alongside the special effects department for any on-set optical effects that need physical representation during filming (on camera).
Previsualization (also known as previs, previz, pre-rendering, preview, or wireframe windows) is the visualizing of complex scenes in a film before filming. It is also a concept in still photography. It is also used to describe techniques such as storyboarding, either in the form of charcoal sketches or in digital technology, in the planning and conceptualization of film scenes.
Animation film crews have many of the same roles and departments as live-action films (including directing, production, editing, camera, sound, etc.), but nearly all on-set departments (lighting, electrical, grip, sets, props, costume, hair, makeup, special effects, and stunts) were traditionally replaced with a single animation department made up of various types of animators (character, effects, in-betweeners, cleanup, etc.). In traditional animation, the nature of the medium meant that everything was literally flattened into the drawn lines and solid colors that became the characters, making nearly all live-action positions irrelevant. Because animation has traditionally been so labor-intensive and thus expensive, animation films normally have a separate story department in which storyboard artists painstakingly develop scenes to make sure they make sense before they are actually animated.
However, since the turn of the 21st century, modern 3D computer graphics and computer animation have made possible a level of rich detail never seen before. Many animated films now have specialized artists and animators who act as the virtual equivalent of lighting technicians, grips, costume designers, props masters, set decorators, set dressers, and cinematographers. They make artistic decisions strongly similar to those of their live-action counterparts, but implement them in a virtual space that exists only in software rather than on a physical set. There have been major breakthroughs in the simulation of hair since 2005, meaning that hairstylists have been called in since then to consult on a few animation projects.
Stage management is a broad field that is generally defined as the practice of organization and coordination of an event or theatrical production. Stage management may encompass a variety of activities including the overseeing of the rehearsal process and coordinating communications among various production teams and personnel. Stage management requires a general understanding of all aspects of production and offers organisational support to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently.
Electrical lighting technicians (ELT), or simply lighting tech, are involved with rigging stage and location sets and controlling artificial, electric lights for art and entertainment venues or in video, television, or film production.
"Below-the-line" is a term derived from the top sheet of a film budget for motion pictures, television programs, industrial films, independent films, student films and documentaries as well as commercials. The "line" in "below-the-line" refers to the separation of production costs between script and story writers, producers, directors, actors, and casting and the rest of the crew, or production team.
The role of an assistant director on a film includes tracking daily progress against the filming production schedule, arranging logistics, preparing daily call sheets, checking cast and crew, and maintaining order on the set. They also have to take care of the health and safety of the crew. The role of an assistant to the director is often confused with assistant director but the responsibilities are entirely different. The assistant to the director manages all of the directors in development, pre-production, while on set, through post-production and is often involved in both personal management as well as creative aspects of the production process.
Running crew, run crew or stage crew, is a collective term used in theatre to describe the members of the technical crew who supervise and operate ("run") the various technical aspects of the production during a performance. While the "technical crew" includes all persons other than performers involved with the production, such as those who build and take down the sets and place the lighting, the term "running crew" is generally limited to those who work during an actual performance.
Filmmaking is the process by which a film is made. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission. Then it continues through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and an exhibition. Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts. It uses a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques.
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.
The set decorator is the head of the set decoration department in the film and television industry, responsible for selecting, designing, fabricating, and sourcing the "set dressing" elements of each set in a Feature Film, Television, or New Media episode or commercial, in support of the story and characters of the script. The set decorator is responsible for each décor element inside the sets, from practical lighting, technology, art, furniture, drapery, floor coverings, books, collectables, to exterior furnishings such as satellite dishes, Old West water troughs, streetlamps, traffic lights, garden furniture and sculptures.
A stagehand is a person who works backstage or behind the scenes in theatres, film, television, or location performance. Their work include setting up the scenery, lights, sound, props, rigging, and special effects for a production.
Location scouting is a vital process in the pre-production stage of filmmaking and commercial photography. Once scriptwriters, producers or directors have decided what general kind of scenery they require for the various parts of their work that is shot outside of the studio, the search for a suitable place or "location" outside the studio begins. Location scouts also look for generally spectacular or interesting locations beforehand, to have a database of locations in case of requests.
A script supervisor is a member of a film crew and oversees the continuity of the motion picture Including wardrobe set dressing,hair,makeup and the actions of the actors during a scene. is a member of a film crew who oversees the continuity of the motion picture including wardrobe, props, set dressing, hair, makeup and the actions of the actors during a scene. The notes recorded by the script supervisor during the shooting of a scene are used to help the editor cut the scene. They are also responsible for keeping track of the film production unit's daily progress. The script supervisor credit typically appears in the closing credits of a motion picture. Script supervisors are a department head and play a crucial role in the shooting of a film. It is the script supervisor's job to monitor the camera shots, seeking to maintain coherence between the scenes.
Performing arts – are art forms where the participant engages in a physical performance using their body, voice, language, or use of specific equipment for entertainment purposes.
A theatrical technician, is a person who operates technical equipment and systems in the performing arts and entertainment industry. In contrast to performers, this broad category contains all "unseen" theatrical personnel who practice stagecraft and are responsible for the logistic and production-related aspects of a performance including designers, operators, and supervisors. Many professional designers and technicians consider the diminutive "techie" to be offensive.
(Also known as Designer's Guild or B.F.D.G. and can be seen after a member's name as a professional certification abbreviation)
Articles related to the field of motion pictures include:
A special effects supervisor is an individual who works on a commercial, theater, television or film set creating special effects. The supervisor generally is the department head who defers to the film's director and/or producers, and who is in charge of the entire special effects team. Special effects include anything that is manual or mechanically manipulated. This may include the use of mechanized props, special effects makeup, props, scenery, scale models, pyrotechnics and atmospheric effects: creating physical wind, rain, fog, snow, clouds etc.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to stagecraft:
A line producer is a type of film producer who is the key manager during daily operations of a feature film, advertisement film, television film, or an episode of a TV program. A line producer usually works on one film at a time. They are responsible for human resources and handling any problems that come up during production. Line producers also manage the budget of a motion picture and day-to-day physical aspects of the film production.
Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden is a 2011 concert special which documents the February 21 and 22, 2011 shows of American pop singer Lady Gaga's worldwide concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour. Filmed at Madison Square Garden in Gaga's hometown of New York City, the two-hour special was directed by the singer's choreographer Laurieann Gibson and produced by HBO. It was first broadcast on the channel on May 7, 2011, a day after Gaga's last date of The Monster Ball Tour. The special was released on November 21, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray by Media Blasters.