Tip #677: A Guide to On-Set Film Terms – Part 1

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #677: A Guide to On-Set Film Terms – Part 1

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

These eleven terms are heard daily on virtually every production set.

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The intrepid team at MotionArray.com has compiled a glossary of film terms. Here’s a sample that relates to the gear on set.

  • Blonde. A type of light but much brighter than a redhead. (1,000-2,000 watts).
  • Boom Mic. A directional mic mounted to the end of a long pole that is then wielded by sound technician folk to capture close-range audio.
  • Clapper. So it turns out that black-and-white striped board that someone snaps in front of the camera before every take does have a name. And that name is clapper. Or clapboard. Or a clacker. This does two very important things: It displays all the scene and take info that the crew needs to sort through the footage at a later date, and the snappy sound it makes is essential for syncing video with the audio during post.
  • Dead Cat. A fuzzy black cover that goes over the end of a boom mic.
  • Dolly. A wheeled cart onto which you mount a camera in order to capture smooth horizontal shots. Ever since steadicams came onto the scene, the use of dollies has been reduced in production.
  • Hot Brick. A walkie-talkie with a fully charged battery.
  • Legs or Sticks. Simple slang for a tripod.
  • Redhead. A type of light with a power rating in the vicinity of 800 watts.
  • Squib. A tiny explosive device used to simulate a bullet hitting an actor. You’ve probably seen squillions of these throughout your movie-watching career.
  • Steadicam. This stabilizing contraption enables you to strap a camera to your big ol’ belly (or rather a vest that you’re wearing around your big ol’ belly) to get those super smooth shots.
  • Stinger. An extension cord

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2 replies
    SCOTT MARK I says:

    From an old gaffer. A red head was always a 1k open face light which was actually surrounded in a red plastic exterior housing. Blondes were always 2k open face lights and always had a Yellow outside plastic. Yes I suppose you could put in a lower wattage bulb in either head but out of the rental houses it was Red 1k Blond 2kOpen Face ligtht. BTW A dum Orange was always a hardware store orange usually 18guage extension cord vs 12 gauge Stinger.


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