A movie crew is a group of people hired by a film company for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. Crews are distinguished from cast, the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. Crews are also separate from producers, those who own a portion of either the film company or the film's intellectual property rights.
A movie crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production.
“Production” is generally not considered a department as such, but rather a collection of functional groups. These include the "front office" staff such as the Production Manager, the Production Coordinator, and their assistants; the accounting staff; the various Assistant Directors; and sometimes the Locations Manager and his or her assistants. The Director is considered to be a separate entity, not within the departmental structure.
• The Production Manager supervises the physical aspects of the production (not the creative aspects) including personnel, technology, budget, and scheduling. It is the production manager's responsibility to make sure the filming stays on schedule and within its budget. The PM also helps manage the day-to-day budget by managing operating costs such as salaries, production costs, and everyday equipment rental costs. The PM often works under the supervision of a line producer and directly supervises the Production Coordinator.
• Unit Manager
The unit manager fulfills the same role as the production manager but for secondary "unit" shooting. In some functional structures, the unit manager subsumes the role of the Transport Coordinator.
• Production Coordinator
The Production Coordinator is the information nexus of the production, responsible for organizing all the logistics from hiring crew, renting equipment, booking talent to making sure the star has only green M&M's in their trailer. The PC is an often under-appreciated but integral part of film production.
The Director is responsible for overseeing the creative aspects of a film, including controlling the content and flow of the film's plot, directing the performances of actors, organizing and selecting the locations in which the film will be shot, and managing technical details such as the positioning of cameras, the use of lighting, and the timing and content of the film's soundtrack. Though the director wields a great deal of power, he or she is ultimately subordinate to the film's producer or producers. Some directors, especially more established ones, take on many of the roles of a producer, and the distinction between the two roles is sometimes blurred.
• First Assistant Director
The First Assistant Director (1st AD) assists the production manager and director. He or she is in charge of overseeing the day-to-day management of the cast and crew scheduling, equipment, script, and set. A 1st AD may also be responsible for directing background action for major shots or the entirety of relatively minor shots, at the director's discretion.
• Second Assistant Director
The Second Assistant Director (2nd AD) is the chief assistant of the 1st AD and helps carry out those tasks delegated to the 1st AD. The 2nd AD may also direct background action and extras in addition to helping the 1st AD with scheduling, booking, script supervision, etc. In Canadian and British functional structures there are 3rd ADs and even Trainee ADs; in the American system there are 2 2nd ADs.
• Production Assistant
A Production Assistant assists the first assistant director with set operations. Production assistants, almost always referred to as PAs, also assist in the production office with general tasks.
• Script Supervisor
Also known as the "continuity person", the script supervisor keeps track of what parts of the script have been filmed and makes notes of any deviations between what was actually filmed and what appeared in the script, thereby ensuring that consistency is maintained from shot to shot. The script supervisor works very closely with the director on set.
• Production Accountant
The production accountant assists the production manager and line producer in keeping track of the film's budget. The production accountant along with his or her various assistants, are often considered to be a separate department.
• Location Manager
The location manager assists the Director and the Production designer in finding, securing, and coordinating filming locations. Location is often considered to be a separate department.
The publicist handles the publicity of a film. They promote the film by issuing press releases and overseeing advertisements.
• The Art Department in a major feature film can often number in the hundreds. Usually it is considered to include several sub-departments: the art department proper, with its art director, set designers and draughts men; sets, under the set decorator; props, under the props master; construction, headed by the construction coordinator; scenic, headed by the key scenic artist; and special effects (or simply SFX).
• A production designer is responsible for creating the physical, visual appearance of the film - settings, costumes, properties, character makeup, all taken as a unit. The production designer works closely with the director and the cinematographer to achieve the 'look' of the film.
Within the overall Art Department is a sub-department also, and often confusingly, called the Art department. This consists of the people who design the sets and create the graphic art.
• Art Director
The art director reports to the production designer, and more directly oversees artists and craftspeople, such as the set designer and set decorator, who carry out the production design.
• Set Designer
The set designer is the draftsman, often an architect, who actually realizes the structures or interior spaces called for by the production designer.
• Assistant art director
The first, second and third assistant art directors carry out the instructions of the art director. Their work often involves measuring locations, creating graphics and paper props, collecting information for the production designer and drawing sets. Sometimes a set designer is also the first assistant art director; in this capacity, he or she manages the work flow and acts as the 'foreman' of the drawing office.
• Set Decorator
The set decorator is in charge of the decorating of a film set, which includes the furnishings and all the other objects that will be seen in the film. He or she works closely with the production designer and coordinates with the art director. In recognition of the set decorator's importance, the Academy Award for Art Direction is given jointly to both the production designer and the set decorator.
The buyer is the number two person in the set department below the set decorator. The buyer locates, and then purchases or rents the set dressing.
• Lead Man
The lead man ("lead" rhymes with "seed") is the foreman of the sets crew, often referred to as the “swing gang.”
• Set Dresser
The set dressers apply and remove the "dressing," i.e., furniture, drapery, carpets—everything one would find in a location, even doorknobs and wall sockets. Most of the swing gang's work occurs before and after the shooting crew arrives but one set dresser remains with the shooting crew and is known as the on-set dresser.
• Props master
The property master, more commonly known as the props master, is in charge of finding and managing all the props that appear in the film. The props master usually has several assistants.
• Props builder
The props builder, as the name implies, builds the props that are used for the film. Props builders are often technicians skilled in construction, plastics casting, machining, and electronics.
The armourer is a specialized props technician who deals with firearms. In most jurisdictions this requires specials training and licenses.
• Construction Coordinator
The construction coordinator oversees the construction of all the sets. The coordinator orders materials, schedules the work, and supervises the often sizeable construction crew of carpenters, painters and laborers. In some jurisdictions the construction coordinator is called the construction manager.
• Head Carpenter
The head carpenter is the foreman of a "gang" of carpenters and laborers.
• Key Scenic
The key scenic artist is responsible for the surface treatments of the sets. This includes special paint treatments such as aging and gilding, as well as simulating the appearance of wood, stone, brick, metal, or stained glass--anything called for by the production designer. The key scenic artist supervises the crew of painters, and is often a master craftsperson.
The greensman is a specialized set dresser dealing with the artistic arrangement of plant material, sometimes real and sometimes artificial. Depending on the scope of the greens work in a film, the greensman may report to the set decorator or may report directly to the production designer.
Hair & Makeup
• Makeup artist
Makeup artists are beauticians that apply makeup to anyone appearing on screen. They concentrate on the area above the chest, the face, the top of the head, the fingers, hands, arms, and elbows. Their role is to manipulate an actor’s on screen appearance whether it makes them look more youthful, larger, older, or in some cases monstrous. There are also body makeup artist who concentrate their abilities on the body rather than the head.
The hairdresser (or "hair stylist") is responsible for maintaining and styling the hair of anyone appearing on screen. They work in conjunction with the makeup artist.
• Costume Designer
The costume designer is responsible for all the clothing and costumes worn by all the actors that appear on screen; as well they are responsible for designing, planning, and organizing the construction of the garments down to the fabric, colors, and sizes. The costume designer works closely with the director to understand and interpret "character," and works with the production designer to achieve an overall "look" for the film.
• Costumer Supervisor
The Costume Supervisor works closely with the designer. In addition to helping with the design of the costumes, the Costume Supervisor manages the wardrobe workspace. They are responsible for supervising the construction or sourcing of garments, the hiring and firing of support staff, the budget, paperwork, and department logistics.
• Costume Standby
The Costume Standby is present on set at all times. It is their responsibility to monitor the quality and continuity of the actors and actresses costumes before and during takes. They will also assist the actors and actresses with dressing.
• Art Finisher
An Art Finisher may be employed during the pre-production stage to "break down" garments. This specialized job includes making new clothing appear dirty, faded and worn.
On large productions a Boyer may be employed to source and purchase fabrics and garments.
• Director of photography
The director of photography is the chief of the camera and lighting crew of the film. The DoP makes decisions on lighting and framing of scenes in conjunction with the film's director. Typically, the director tells the DoP how he or she wants the film to look, and the DoP then chooses the correct aperture, filter, and lighting to achieve the desired effect.
The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now. It is usually synonymous with "director of photography," though some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person.
• Camera operator
The camera operator uses the camera at the direction of the cinematographer, director of photography, or the film director to capture the scenes on film. Generally, a cinematographer or director of photography does not operate the camera, but sometimes these jobs may be combined.
• First assistant camera operator (focus puller)
The first assistant camera operator (1AC) is responsible for keeping the camera in focus as it is shooting. Since the 1AC is not looking through the camera and cannot see the results of his or her focusing in real time, this job is considered to be extremely technically difficult. It is also the 1st AC's responsibility to maintain the camera during the duration of the filming period, apply or remove any necessary or unnecessary accessories (such as matte boxes, lens changes, filters, external viewing monitors, video assist devices, etc.), reload the camera (whether with film or video tape) and oversee the 2nd Assistant camera operator and any other members of the camera assist team (including designated loaders and camera production assistants).
Second assistant camera operator (clapper loader)
• The second assistant camera operator (2AC) operates the clapperboard at the beginning of each take and loads the raw film stock into the camera magazines between takes, if there is no additional specifically designated film loader. The 2AC is also in charge of overseeing the meticulously kept notebooks that records when the film stock is received, used, and sent to the lab for processing. Additionally, the 2nd AC oversees organization of camera equipment and transport of the equipment from one shooting location to another.
The loader is the designated film loader. He transfer's motion picture film from the manufacturer's light-tight canisters to the camera magazines for attachment to the camera by the 1st AC. After exposure during filming, the loader then removes the film from the magazines and places it back into the light-tight cans for transport to the laboratory. It is the responsibility of the loader to manage the inventory of film and communicate with the 1st AC on the film usage and remaining stock throughout the day. On small production crews, this job is often combined with the 2nd AC. With the prevalence of digital photography, this position is often eliminated.
• Camera Production Assistant (camera intern)
Usually a volunteer or trainee in the camera department, the camera PA assists the crew with menial details while learning the trade of the camera assistant, operator or cinematographer.
• Digital Imaging Technician ("DIT")
On digital photography productions the digital imaging technician is responsible for the coordination of the internal workings of the digital camera. Under the direction of the cinematographer or director of photography, the DIT will make adjustments to the multitude of variables available in most professional digital cameras to creatively or technically manipulate the resulting image.
• Production sound mixer
The production sound mixer is head of sound department on the set, responsible for recording all sound on a set. This requires choice and deployment of microphones, choice of recording media, and mixing of audio signals in real time.
• Boom operator
The boom operator is an assistant to production sound mixer, responsible for microphone placement and movement during a take. The boom operator uses a boom, a special piece of equipment that allows precise control of the microphone at a much greater distance away from the actors. In France, the boom operator is known as the perchman.
• Grips are trained lighting and rigging technicians. The main responsibilities of a grip are to work closely with the electrical department to put in the lighting set-ups necessary for a shot. On the sound stage, they are responsible for moving and adjusting major set pieces when something needs to be moved to get a camera into position. They may belong to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
• Key grip
The key grip is the chief grip on a set, and is the head of the set operations department. The key grip works with the director of photography to help set up the set and to achieve the correct lighting and blocking.
• Best boy grip
The best boy grip is the chief assistant to the key grip.
• Dolly grip
The grip in charge of operating the camera dolly is called the dolly grip. He/she places, levels, and moves the dolly track, then pushes and pulls the dolly and usually a camera operator and camera assistant as riders.
The gaffer is the head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production. Sometimes the gaffer is credited as "Chief Lighting Technician".
• Best boy electric
The best boy electric is the chief assistant to the gaffer.
• Lighting technician
Lighting technicians are involved with setting up and controlling lighting equipment.
• Film editor
The film editor is the person who assembles the various shots into a coherent film, with the help of the director. Film editors may belong to the American Cinema Editors (A.C.E.)
• Chyron operator
The Chyron operator creates titles and/or text graphics -- Chryon is a brand name for a character generator.
• Color timer
The color timer works in a film lab to adjust the color of the film.
• Negative cutter
The negative cutter cuts and splices the negatives as directed by the film editor, and then provide the assembled negative reels to the lab in order for prints (positives for projection) to be made.
• Visual effects supervisor
The visual effects supervisor is in charge of the visual effects department. Visual effects refer to post-production alterations to the film's images. They are not to be confused with special effects, which are done during production (on set).
• Sound designer
The sound designer, or "supervising sound editor", is in charge of the post-production sound of a movie. Sometimes this may involve great creative license, and other times it may simply mean working with the director and editor to balance the sound to their liking.
• Dialogue editor
The Dialogue editor is responsible for assembling and editing the dialog in the soundtrack.
• Sound editor
The Sound editor is responsible for assembling and editing the sound effects in the soundtrack.
• Re-Recording Mixer
Balances all of the sounds prepared by the dialogue, music and effects editors, and finalizes the films audio track.
• Music supervisor
The music supervisor, or "music director", works with composer, mixers and editors to create and integrate the film's music.
The composer is responsible for writing the musical score for a film.
• Foley artist
The Foley artist is the person who creates and records many of the sound effects for a film.