Glossary of Film Terms

Source: Most definitions are from

A person who plays a role. The term "actor" can apply to performers of either gender -- an actress or a male actor, but sometimes used only in reference to males.

Additional Camera
AKA: B Camera
An extra camera operator, often needed for complicated action sequences or stunts. Contrast with additional photography.

Additional Photography
AKA: Additional Photographer, Reshoots, Reshooting, Pickups
Focus group or studio reaction to some shots or scenes may convince the filmmakers to discard them. During editing, it may be discovered that additional footage is needed. In some cases, actors are recalled and parts of the movie are refilmed. This is referred to as "Additional Photography", "Reshoots", or "Pickups".

Art Department
The section of a production's crew concerned with visual artistry. Working under the supervision of the production designer and/or art director, the art department is responsible for arranging the overall "look" of the film (i.e. modern/high-tech, rustic, futuristic, etc.) as desired by the director. Individual positions within in this department include: production designer, production buyer, special effects supervisor, draftsman, art director, assistant art director, set decorator, set dresser, property master, leadman, swing gang, and property assistant.

Art Director
The person who oversees the artists and craftspeople who build the sets. See also production designer, set designer, set director, leadman, and swing gang.

Assistant Camera
AKA: Assistant Camera Operator, First Assistant Cameraman, 1st Assistant Cameraman, 1st Assistant Camera, Assistant Cameraman, Camera Assistant
A member of the camera crew who assists the camera operator. This person is reponsible for the maintenance and care of the camera, as well as preparing dope sheets. In smaller camera crews, they may also perform the duties of clapper-loader and/or a focus puller.

Assistant Director
AKA: AD, A.D., 1st A.D., First Assistant Director, 1st Assistant Director
An assistant director's duties include tracking the progress of filming versus the production schedule, and preparing call sheets.

Associate Producer
An individual who performs a limited number of producing functions delegated to her/him by a producer, under the direct supervision and control of that producer. The term may also refer to a person who would qualify as an executive producer of a project, but for the fact that (s)he acts on behalf of a production company which is subordinate to another one on that project.

Automatic Dialogue Replacement
AKA: Automatic Dialog Replacement, ADR, Dialogue Looping, Dialog Looping, Looping
The re-recording of dialogue by actors in a sound studio during post-production, usually performed to playback of edited picture in order to match lip movements on screen. ADR is frequently used to replace production track of poor quality (e.g., due to high levels of background noise) or to change the delivery or inflection of a line. ADR can also be used to insert new lines of dialogue which are conceived during editing, although such lines can only be placed against picture in which the face of the actor speaking is not visible.

Best Boy
AKA: Assistant Chief Lighting Technician, Best Boy Grip, Best Boy Electric
The chief assistant, usually of the gaffer, but more often lately used as a general term for the second in command of a group. There are no "best girls" per se; female chief assistants are also called "Best Boys".

Bit Part
A small unimportant role, usually lasting only one scene.

Boom Operator
A member of the sound crew who operates the boom microphone. See also sound recordist. The "boom microphone" (AKA: boom mike, boom, fishpole, giraffe) is a long pole with a microphone on the end. The boom is extended out near the actors.

A bit part played by a famous actor (or otherwise famous person) who would ordinarily not take such a small part.

Camera Loader
AKA: Clapper-Loader, Clapper Loader
The person who operates the clapboard at the beginning of a shot, also responsible for loading film stock into film magazines. The action of slapping the clapper was invented as a way of synchronizing the visual and audio components of a shot. Recent innovations in audio-visual synchronization have made this unnecessary, but it still occurs extensively.

Camera Operator
AKA: Cameraman
The person who operates the camera to the specifications dictated by the director of photography. A director or a director of photography sometimes assumes this role.

Casting Director
AKA: Extras Casting, Casting Assistant, Casting Associate, CD
The person who auditions and helps to select all of the speaking role actors in film, television shows or plays. The Casting Director must possess a vast knowledge of the actor pool and be able to match a variety of actors with just the right role. Directors and producers rely on the Casting Director to assist them with assembling the perfect cast for their production. Casting Directors are also responsible for serving as the liason between the director, and the actors and their agents. CDs negotiate the deals with agents once the actors have been cast and are also responsible for the contracts and SAG of each actor.

A person or company who provides the main meals for cast and crew either on set or on location. See also craft service.

AKA: Computer Generated Imagery
The use of computer graphics to create or enhance special effects.

A person who plans and directs dance sequences within a movie.

A person with expertise in the art of capturing images either electronically or on film stock through the application of visual recording devices and the selection and arrangement of lighting. The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the director of photography. frequently uses the term "cinematographer" and "director of photography" interchangeably.

A producer who performs a substantial portion of a creative producing function, or who is primarily responsible for one or more managerial producing functions. A co-producer has less responsibility than a producer for the completion of a project. Note that if a project has more than one producer, it doesn't mean that these individuals are "co-producers" in the technical sense of that term.

Color Timing
AKA: Color Correction, Color Timer, Color Corrected
A process which adjusts the final print so that colors match from shot to shot, regardless of the film stock and camera used to shoot the scene. So named because one aspect is adjusting the exposure time of each shot. Performed by a color timer.

A musician whose music appears in a movie's score. Most movies have at least some original music written for the score, usually after the relevant parts of the movie have been filmed.

Construction Co-Ordinator
AKA: Construction Foreman, Construction Manager
Financial responsibilities include budgeting, tracking costs, generating reports, etc. Through drawings, a construction co-ordinator is directed artistically by the Production Designer and Art Director to produce their "vision" in three dimensions. Also responsible for the physical integrity of the structures built by the construction department.

Costume Designer
A person who designs the costumes for a movie.

Costume Supervisor
The person in charge of costumes, usually preparing them for use and making sure they are accurate and faithful to the designs. Other responsibilities include consulting with the designers and training, supervising, and scheduling the costume staff.

AKA: Wardrobe, Assistant Wardrobe, Wardrobe Assistant
A person responsible for handling the costumes worn by actors.

Craft Service
Responsible for maintaining a table of snacks between meal periods; sometimes they feed the crew or extras.

AKA: Dir, Helmer
The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.

Director of Photography
A cinematographer who is ultimately responsible for the process of recording a scene in the manner desired by the director. The Director of Photography has a number of possible duties: selection of film stock, cameras, and lenses; designing and selecting lighting, directing the gaffer's placement of lighting; shot composition (in consultation with the director); film developing and film printing.

Dolly Grip
A grip that moves a dolly.
A dolly is a small truck which rolls along dolly tracks carrying the camera,some of the camera crew and occasionally the director. "Dolly" is also the action of moving the camera towards (dolly up/in) or away from (dolly/pull back) the object that it is pointing at.

AKA: Transportation Captain
A person who drives either equipment or passenger trucks, typically between location shootings, sets, and the studio. The chief driver is called the transportation captain. See also transportation co-ordinator.

AKA: Film Editor
A person who performs editing (in consultation with the director) on a movie. This term usually refers to someone who does visual editing. Editing (AKA: Visual Editing, Film Editing) is reconstructing the sequence of events in a movie.

The person or grip in charge of and familiar with the electrical equipment on the set.

Executive Producer
AKA: Executive in Charge of Production
A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues.

A person who appears in a movie where a non-specific, non-speaking character is required, usually as part of a crowd or in the background of a scene. Extras are often recruited from wherever they are available. Contrast with non-speaking role.

Feature Film
AKA: Feature
A movie at least 40-45 minutes (2 reels) long intended for theatrical release.

A collective term used to refer to people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors.

First Assistant Camera
AKA: 1AC, focus puller, B Cameraman
A member of the camera crew who adjusts the focus of the camera during filming.

Foley Artist
AKA: Foley Operator
A person who creates foley sound effects. Foley is the art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after an early practitioner. Foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud foley added thuds and slaps.

AKA: Chief Lighting Technician
The head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production.

In the USA, a grip is a person responsible for the adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set. Their typical duties include laying dolly tracks or erecting scaffolding. In the UK, grips work exclusively with equipment that the camera is mounted on. Contrast with SWING GANG, see also KEY GRIP.

AKA: Hairstyles, Hair stylist, Hairdresser, Hair dresser, Hair Styles
Person responsible for maintaining actors' hairstyles during filming.

Usually a trailer, or truck and trailer combination outfitted for and used as the dressing room for actors when on location shoots away from permanent soundstages.

Key Grip
AKA: Key-Grip
The chief of a group of grips, often doubling for a construction co-ordinator and a backup for the camera crew. Key grips work closely with the gaffer.

Lead Role
AKA: Lead, Female Lead, Male Lead
The most important character in a movie, often distinguished by gender.

Member of the art department who is in charge of swing gangs and/or set dressers and reports to the set decorator.

Lighting Crew
AKA: Lighting technician, Lighting technicians
A group of technicians who install, operate, and maintain lighting.

Line Producer
A producer who is responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line producers only work on one film at a time.

Location Manager
AKA: Assistant Location Manager
A person who manages various aspects of filming on location, such as arranging with authorities for permission to shoot in specific places.

Location mixer
A sound mixer responsible for mixing sounds recorded on location.

Location Scout
A person who looks for suitable locations for filming.

Music Preparation
Person who prepares printed parts from the composer's score for the musicians to play from at the score recording sessions.

Post-Production Co-Ordinator
A production assistant working for the post-production supervisor.

Post-Production Supervisor
A person overseeing the entire post-production of a project. They report directly to the producer and/or the studio in charge of the feature. Working side by side with the director and editor, the supervisor has the responsibility of finishing the film on time and on budget while satisfying the wants of the director. Post-production supervisors have authority over post-production co-ordinators. Typical duties include: Controlling all activities with vendors such as optical houses, sound facilities, inserts, ADR, reshooting, CGI, score, delivery requirements to domestic and international distributors, legal clearances, preview screenings, color timing, video mastering and budgeting the movie through the completion and delivery.

The chief of a movie production in all matters save the creative efforts of the director. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors.

Production Accountant
AKA: Accountant
The person responsible for managing finances during the production.

Production Assistant
AKA: Set Production Assistant, PA, Gopher, Personal Assistant, Assistant To, Assistant To Producer
A person responsible for various odd jobs, such as stopping traffic, acting as couriers, fetching items from craft service, etc. Production Assistants are often attached to individual actors or filmmakers.

Production Coordinator
AKA: Production Supervisor
The person responsible for practical matters such as ordering equipment, getting near-location accommodations for the cast and crew, etc.

Production Designer
An artist responsible for designing the overall visual appearance of a movie. Was previously referred to a the "art director," a term now usually applied to the person only in charge of creating the sets.

Production Manager
Reporting to the film's producer, this person supervises the budget, hires the crew, approves purchase orders and time cards, and generally makes sure all departments are doing their respective jobs within the parameters of the budget.

Property Assistant
AKA: Prop Assistant
Responsible for the placement and maintenance of props on a set.

Property Master
AKA: Prop Master, Props, Property, Assistant Property Master
The person responsible for buying, acquiring, and/or manufacturing any props needed for a production. The property master is responsible for all aspects of prop use on the set and, in conjunction with the script supervisor, for maintaining set continuity. Contrast with set dresser.

Re-recording Mixer
A member of the sound crew responsible for mixing the final sound elements (dialogue, music, sound effects and foley). In most feature films and some television shows there is a crew of three re-recording mixers (one for dialog, one for sound effects and foley and one for music.) Sometimes in television the music mixer mixes the foley for expediency. There are also two-person crews in which the dialog mixer (generally considered the lead mixer) mixes music as well, with the other person mixing sound effects and foley.

A writer who either adapts an existing work for production as a movie, or creates a new screenplay.

Script Supervisor
A person who tracks which parts have been filmed, how the filmed scenes deviated from the script; they also make continuity notes, creating a lined script.

Second Assistant Camera
AKA: 2nd Assistant Camera, 2nd Assistant Cameraman, Second Assistant Cameraman
An assistant to the assistant cameraman.

Second Assistant Director
AKA: 2nd Assistant Director
An assistant to the assistant director. Duties include overseeing the movements of the cast, and preparing call sheets.

Second Second Assistant Director
AKA: 2nd 2nd Assistant Director, Third Assistant Director, 3rd Assistant Director
An assistant to the second assistant director; responsible for (among other things) directing the movements of extras.

Second Unit
AKA: 2nd Unit
A small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery, etc.

Second Unit Director
AKA: 2nd Unit Director
The director of the second unit.

Set Decorator
AKA: Set Decoration
A person who has total charge of decorating the set with all furnishings, drapery, interior plants, and anything seen on indoor or outdoor sets. The set decorator has authority over a leadman.

Set Designer
The person responsible for translating a production designer's vision of the movie's environment into a set which can be used for filming. The set designer reports to the art director.

Set Dresser
A person who physically decorates a set, placing elements such as curtains and paintings.

Set Medic
The set medic provides for the medical needs and emergency medical logistics of the entire cast and crew and is the safety liason between production/construction and various agencies. This person may be an emergency medical technician, paramedic, nurse, or physician. Most often the set medic is involved in the production from the beginning of preproduction or construction through filming or production through striking the set or post-production.

Sound Crew
AKA: Sound, Sound Engineer, Sound Assistant
The group of crewmembers directly involved with creating of a movie's soundtrack. Individual job titles include: sound designer, sound editor, sound effects, sound mixer, sound recordist, boom operator, re-recording mixer, music supervisor, and foley artist. See also MPSE.

Sound Designer
The conceptual chief of a movie's soundtrack, responsible for designing and creating the audio component of a movie.

Sound Editor
A member of the sound crew who performs editing on the soundtrack.

Sound Mixer An audio engineer who performs the sound mix. The SOUND MIX is the process of re-recording multiple reels of track to produce one final soundtrack, which includes all dialogue, "looped" dialogue (ADR), music, sound effects and foley, and narration (if any), for each reel of picture. During this process, the sound mixer can adjust the volume and equalization of the sound units on the individual reels in relation to each other, as well as produce effects such as fade-ins, fade-outs, and crossfades (the audio equivalent of a lap dissolve).

AKA: Stand In
A person who has the same physical properties of a particular actor, and takes their place during the lengthy setup of a scene. This allows the actor to prepare for the filming itself.

Steadicam Operator
A camera operator who operates a Steadicam. A Steadicam is a camera attached to a camera operator via a mechanical harness which reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the operator's motion.

Still Photographer
A person who photographs the action (often alongside the camera) to be used in publicizing the movie.

Stunt Co-Ordinator
A person who arranges and plans stunts

Stunt Double
A stunt performer who specifically takes the part of another actor for a stunt. Stunt doubles rarely (if ever) speak, are typically chosen to resemble the actor that they are replacing as much as possible.

Swing Gang
AKA: Carpenter
A group within the art department that construct and take down a set. The head of the swing gang is a leadman.

Tape Recorder Operator
AKA: Sound Recordist
A member of the sound crew responsible for operating the audio recording equipment on a set. See also boom operator.

Transportation Coordinator
AKA: Transportation Manager
The person responsible for managing drivers and co-ordinating the transporation of a production's cast, crew, and equipment from the various locations and sets used for filming.

Unit Production Manager
AKA: Unit Manager, UPM
An executive who is responsible to a senior producer for the administration of a particular movie. Unit Production Managers only work on one film at a time.

Wardrobe Supervisor
The head of the wardrobe department. The Wardrobe Department is the section of a production's crew concerned with costumes. Individual job titles include: costume designer, costumer, and costume supervisor.

AKA: Animal handler
A person who is responsible for the care and control of entities used on a set that can't be spoken with. This person is typically a professional, certainly with expertise in handling the item, often with expertise in handling the item on a movie set.

Web page created 17 September 2002. Last modified 17 September 2002.