Who's Who on a Movie Crew?

Making a video can be a one person production but the more elaborate your ideas get, the more likely you'll need a crew to execute your vision. In this video, we give you a rundown of the basics of how all the work is divided up on a basic crew.

Keep in mind that this focuses mostly on the on-set personnel, and even still it doesn't include every single crew member! Here's a recap of what we just learned, along with a few extra people peppered in there to round out the list. The amount of people you need to help make your film vary widely from a simple duo to many hundreds of crew members.

A Producer is a key coordinator for the production. They are involved in many if not all aspects of the production from start to finish. They often have a hand in the production process, creative, financial, and administrative.

An Executive Producer is usually the main investor of the project.

The Production Manager works alongside the executive producer and helps to prepare the budget, oversees the preparation of the production team, and various day to day production decisions.

The Director is in control of all creative aspects of the film. They are the primary person responsible for the storytelling, creative decisions and acting of the film.

The 1st Assistant Director is in charge of basically running the set. As an assistant to the director, they organize the crew, prepare shooting schedules and organize the entire flow of all production activity.

The 2nd Assistant Director distributes documents such as scripts and call sheets to the cast and crew. They also help supervise the set with the 1st AD.

The Script Supervisor's job is to keep track of what has been shot in accordance with the script including what changes has been made and how to prevent any continuity errors going forward.

The person who makes the chief lighting, framing, and composition decisions is the Cinematographer, often referred to as the Director Of Photography (or DP). The director will often tell the DP what they want the shot to look like and then they will work their magic, making sure everything looks great to help achieve the director's vision. On smaller sets, the DP will often double as the camera operator.

The Camera Operator is the person in charge of working the camera to capture the scenes.

The 1st Assistant Camera is often the focus puller. Their job is to make sure the shot is always in focus. On smaller productions, the camera operator will also handle this job.

The 2nd assistant camera is the person who writes all of the shot information on the slate and holds it in front of the camera before each shot. The slate (or clapboard) is the device you write all of the shot information (shot number, take number, etc) as well as the clapper to help sync sound.

It's the Production sound mixer's job to make sure the sound is being properly recorded and mixed on set. They will hold the sound mixer and listen with a pair of headphones to monitor the sound.

A Boom Operator is the person that holds the boom microphone near the action. On smaller sets, the production sound mixer can also take on this roll.

The Key Grip is in charge of supervising camera cranes, dollies, lights, platforms and all on set equipment.

The Gaffer is responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan on set. They work closely with the DP to make sure everything is lit correctly. Also referred at as the Chief Lighting Technician.

The Special Effects Supervisor is in charge of the creative and technical issues of visual effects on a project. They take care of anything that will break, explode, burn, collapse, etc. and work with the director on blocking the actors' so they don't get in harm's way.

The Production Designer is responsible for creating the visual appearance of the film. Working closely with the DP and Director they are in charge of the look of all settings, costumes, character makeup, and more. Also known as the Creative Director.

The Art Director develops, coordinates, and oversees the overall design of the production and is responsible for everything you see on screen. On a smaller crew, this is also the Set Designer.

The Props Master is in charge of finding and managing all the props that appear on screen.

The Props Builder's job is to construct all custom props that are needed for production. Also referred to as Propsmaker

The Make-up Artist / Hairdresser is the person that dresses and maintains the cast's hair and makeup throughout the shoot.

It's the Costumer Designer / Supervisor's job to design, obtain, assemble, and maintain the costumes for a production.

These are just some of the basic crew members that can be found on set. Depending on your budget and how ambitious your project is, the amount of people needed to help create it can vary drastically. Now get out there and make some movie magic!

PPro tip: Stumped on where to find the people you need? Check out our lesson on how to assemble a crew!

Category:
Behind The Scenes
Difficulty:
Beginner

32 Comments

stillswordsandmotion

stillswordsandmotion Plus

This is awesome. I'm finishing up several courses on production and this list is a great supplement.

Tommy Estridge

Tommy Estridge

You didn't mention that after the camera rolls, the Property Master is responsible for running the set. He maintains continuity on the set and is responsible for moving and/or rearranging set pieces as needed for photography.

Mark

Mark Staff

This is by no means a comprehensive list, there are hundreds of rolls we did not include here!

Pompo Bresciani

Pompo Bresciani

roles or rolls? Also, stills photographers are also part of the crew, hired by the UPM they are an essential presence on any set! :)

Tommy Estridge

Tommy Estridge

Grips are also responsible for placing all of the light modifiers ie. flags, scrims, barn doors. They also set up the light on the stand, then a electrician aims and focuses the light. They are also responsible for the safety of all the gear on the set, sandbagging and/or tying off everything to make sure it cannot fall and injure someone.

Kristjan Knigge

Kristjan Knigge Plus

this is only true in the US. In most countries Grips are responsible for pacing, moving and securing the camera and camera crew. They do not touch anything related to lights or electrical. that is all handled within the electrical department.

Tommy Estridge

Tommy Estridge

The 2nd AD generally works with the Director to plan and coordinate the background action.

Raul Sacristan

Raul Sacristan

it's confusing...I thought executive producer take care of something else...and producer is the main investor of the project

Mark

Mark Staff

Traditionally speaking, exec producers are the financial backers and are not involved on set. Producers oversee and supervise all aspects of the production.

Kristjan Knigge

Kristjan Knigge Plus

The definition of Executive Producer in the piece is oversimplified and wrong. Also, Mark, you are not entirely correct. Execs are not necessarily the financial backers, that would be the investors. The Execs will usually be responsible for securing or brokering a portion of the finances.

From The Producers Guild of America website:

The credit of Executive Producer shall only apply to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the motion picture and who additionally qualifies under one of two categories:

Having secured an essential and proportionally significant part (no less than 25%) of the financing for the motion picture; and/or
Having made a significant contribution to the development of the literary property, typically including the securement of the underlying rights to the material on which the motion picture is based.

Matt Schwarz

Matt Schwarz Staff

Thanks for the feedback, Kristjan. As Mark mentioned this is a broad overview and not a comprehensive list. Also, roles tend to shift based on the size of a project and it's hard to fit all of that detail into a short video. I hope you found it helpful and entertaining nonetheless.

STONEY XL

STONEY XL

Or we could all just go rent "Living In Oblivion" from the Summer of 1995. Cheers.

Hold Still Media

Hold Still Media Plus

The most valuable asset didn't even make the list in the story text. #PAsForgottenAgain

camille martínez

camille martínez

I just learned a whole lot of things I've always wondered but have been too lazy or forgetful to look into. THANK YOU!

domadr0515

domadr0515

Great Info. It's really Awesome how it's all pieced together. Thanks Guys & Ladies for Your Efforts.Kool.

Deanna Meske

Deanna Meske

I was just thinking last night " I need to really clear up all of the film crew terms", THANK YOU!!!!

joezachs

joezachs

Wow.... like that simple animation and the feel of the fifties (including the music)

Abdul majeed

Abdul majeed

Very useful information about the film product. at we get a basic knowledge.from experience we can learn .

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Lesson Summary

Look, films don't make themselves - depending on your budget and how ambitious your project is, you need at least one person or sometimes hundreds. We're going to take a look at some of the most common people that can be found on a film set.

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