Skip to main content

Film Crew

Lesson 9 from: Introduction to HDDSLR Cinema

Vincent Laforet

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

9. Film Crew

Next Lesson: The First Shoot!

Lesson Info

Film Crew

Um basically we're going to talk a little bit about what makes up a film crew and then we're going to go ahead and shoot our first live shoot um at um the end of today we're then going to tomorrow uh have all the students here basically be guinea pigs and you're gonna watch them ah work for the entire process of developing a story together uh working on a storyboard together choosing roles together as to what they're going to do and shooting their narrative short uh within a two hour period a hard deadline and then we're going to go into post where you would kind of sit back and get some instruction on some of the, uh the more popular pieces of software out there so this is kind of last theory I think we're gonna start with questions as the seven forty seven flies above our heads yes so this is kenna and I've been taking questions from the chat room sure and so I'm gonna go back to when you were talking about riggs and uh about what riggs riggs and so we had gyro who wanted to know hav...

e you ever tried using a mono pod with legs in combination with a mat box and follow focus or is that too much for a mono pod? Well it's not too much for a mono pod um I just uh you know what? I've never tried it uh I own a model pod with legs on it that man photo makes it actually will stand upon its own weather light camera stay upright uh I for whatever reason have never tried it out has anyone here ever tried it out? I know that marcus uh who was a film student uh pooh poohs that big time it's just that you know you would never want to do that as a filmmaker uh or documentary photographer I don't know that that's not true I it sounds good to me but I've always used handheld uh a tripod or these other rigs and I've discussed so uh long and short of it is I don't have any experience doing that I know film students make fun of it uh doesn't mean doesn't work rate because it's a very quick and easy way to move around, plant it down get some stability um the questions more about weight and I don't think that's gonna be an issue off course to a limit but I would love to hear people say on the uh on the internet about what they've done because I'm sure that people have found to be successful next question uh what's the budget of the production's you're we're using a lot of this equipment um they vary I mean uh if you were doing production with every single piece of equipment we have here ah that would start to be a pretty serious production and there's really no answer for that question because if you rent this stuff is actually really quite reasonable given the low cost that of purchasing that equipment relative to motion picture equipment fishes you know and the five six figures very quickly um but, um you know if if you're renting it um it's an impossible answer it's like saying, you know, what's the budget of your average production there is no such thing um they're smaller productions and there's large productions s I'm not trying to skirt the answer a cz muchas I don't know how to answer it yes so moving on to lighting we heard some questions around the color temperature of the lady is in fifty six hundred daylight the bicolor khun go from daylight that's bankston okay and, um the other one's air daylight balanced and you can put droppin filters in front of it okay? And, um on the camera what is the white balance setting that you use when you're using led? Uh it depends on what I said the led to and obviously the environment that I'm trying to marry that light with sofer indoors and tungsten you're gonna want to put this the ellie light on tunks and as well so the two color temperatures balance unless you want a stylistic we have blue light hitting someone then you would leave it on daylight okay and how far can the led light reach depending on if you're shooting sixty four hundred s a pretty far one two uh it's amazing how those things get picked up because those cameras are picking up a tremendous amount of light that being said these led lights are not meant to light from afar they're meant to be relatively close to the subject matter can you go into a little bit on how you sink your sound with your image in recording we did that yesterday okay yes another question from chat uh when you were showing the marshall monitor uh folks wanted to know if there's a way to loop out composite video from from that marshall monitor is there an answer on that we ever tried it uh what about composite but I know it'll loop out um marcus will the marshal loop the signal in and out s t h d s d ie for sure we've never tried it people here seem to think it wouldn't work answer it and what I think I've learned is if you don't know don't try to answer um there is a hdfc I in an hd sd out logic would say that yes but given that we've never tried I'm not gonna take that um yes why we've never tried is beyond me but looping video signals is actually one of the most common things to do it's like daisy chaining one device into another good all right, let's jump into the film crew this will be a relatively short uh section um the purpose of it is that I think, um but I can say this with relative authority um even some people that I've been to film school have a hard time answering exactly what the different roles are part of the crew uh, if you asked someone for an explanation of what an executive producer is versace line producer um they may have difficulty that's not for all film students, obviously, but the majority of people don't really know what these crude titles mean, so we're going to talk about, uh, different crew positions and, um, we're not we're goingto they're not necessary listed in hierarchy, you have to understand it. A film crew uh, works like a tree, and if you had to look at, uh either direction so down towards the roots as they expand or up towards the branches in the center that core um you could probably say the again it gets very political, but the director tends to be the number one person that disseminates information to different department head, so the film crew is broken down into sections so that ah, one person will communicate uh, to this section head about lighting and that section had has a bunch of people working for him or her underneath him or her taking care of a variety of things that include the grip in terms of lighting mounting lighting um you know mounting lights on c stands or uh from ceilings or what not as well as people in the electric department that take care of the electrical requirements were as a um a person that's on the camera team has his or her own set of assistance that take care of make ensure the film is loaded properly if you're using film or the digital mags were ready and formatted to go as well as the first assistant um uh first day see that focus pulls etcetera etcetera so let's talk first about what the executive producer is the simplest way I could describe an executive producer and again a lot of these titles really change okay that's a key part and they actually a producer means a different thing at times in tv versus film uh in many ways is the generality a producer on a tv show uh let's just say like something like cnn in effect can very often become a director um you know leslie have a director as part of a documentary film crew unless it's someone like ken burns but going back the executive producer one way to describe it is the person who ultimate signs all the checks uh the executive producer is the one producer who is very often brought on um and this is again, general, about producers of producing credit khun b an honorary role um, it generally means some sort of financial attachment to the project. All right, so it's getting happen that a director of photography becomes gets also gets producer credit because that director photography is going to be involved in the raising of capital or the providing equipment that has some sort of value, so that when the film is sold or makes a profit, there's uh, there's a chance of that person will also get some financial benefit that's pretty uncommon. I'm just trying to tell you how these things work if you want to talk about a hornets nest and egos um, the you need to realize that titles my actors air negotiated in terms of who's name shows up first ad nauseum in terms of how big the titles are if you've ever seen a film starring x y and z and at the end, it says and another big name that's their way of saying we weren't starring and were such a big name that we're not going to number two or three to that actor, we're going to be at the end, I'm progressing really quickly, but an executive producer could be given to someone like tom ham steven spielberg is a good example ahh, he may be an executive producer uh on a cartoon he's not the producer necessarily is not that involved but he'll associate his name with the project to kind of give it his rubber stamp he'll be in charge of finding perhaps the director and the producer and putting them together and the dp the producer is really the person who's in charge in general in flying that team in terms of negotiating the money the resource is etcetera they kind of play a very key role also they tend to be asses again a generality but in films the one that khun financially benefit the most uh that are most response we're finding that funding um some directors depending on what they negotiate could benefit more or less from the film. Ah, but through sir is a very powerful person in the film business uh they're the ones that can really make a raid your career at times much more so in the director's because the director ultimately answers to the producer that's a very key point. This is where you hear the nightmare stories about directors hating the film of they've shot because they have to answer to other people whether their studio executives or producers uh they get paid the director by the producer and the peace eventually so there is a hierarchy going on here um as you can understand, when a major studio decides to spend one hundred million dollars on the film and wants to hire a thirty year old producer on his or her first film uh there's going to be a lot of politics and that sure that young director is kept in check uh and make sure that they do their job directors can and very often do get fired too removed in the middle of a shoot if they're not doing well enough. It's not uncommon. Um the wizard of oz I believe I know had three perhaps four different directors working on that project uh from start to finish uh it's not uncommon for crew members to start a project and have to jump onto another one and get someone else to finish the job. The line producer is a entirely different type of person who basically is long and short of it the logistics head ahh the line producer is in charge of taking care of every single thing that's involved in the film. They obviously have a bunch of assistance uh and a bunch of sub department heads that take help to do this but the buck kind of stops the line producer in terms of making sure this thing comes together that people are there on time that they know where to go ah, they know what the call sheet is and what time it is and the location and get directions of course their assistants will take care of that but they're the ones who if you're not sure where you need to go or what to do and things go wrong uh it's kind of uh their job to make sure that never happens so line producer is a pretty important person who very often is also in charge of hiring uh certain levels of people now the first a d ah the first a d is a key role on any production especially film ah it's the first assistant director that doesn't mean the first a d goes get goes to get coffee for the director at all the first a d is someone who actually generally is the one that talks and screams on set uh it's the best way I can describe it is that a director pretty much at times khun sit on uh the folding chair watching the screen the entire time and you may never hit hear from him or her ever um they're generally the ones that yell action and cut but that can also be relegated to the first a d the first a d for all intensive purposes is the bad cop on set they're the ones that will scream it someone if they're not doing their jobs they're the ones that will raise their voice and keep everyone uh on schedule they know the schedule they know the shot list the assistant director and making sure that things go on time and on schedule they make sure that every department head is doing their job uh, kind of a funny technical thing. Uh, if you're the director of the movie and you walk overto anat extra and you have any conversation with that extra and give them any sort of direction, like you might want him or walk this way or to the left of the right, technically that extra now becomes an actor who now needs to be paid a different rate. Uh, there's a really interesting politics involved there and therefore that's why the first assistant director will gently take care of all the extras. So when you see scene with hundreds of extras walking around, you know, down the street in manhattan that's the first aids job on the responsibilities to make sure that everyone knows where they're going and they're the ones you know, the best way to describe what they really do besides keep the ship on in the right direction is to be the bad cop, so we'll have a first a d and everything we shoot your job is to not be necessarily nice doesn't mean you have to be rude or abusive, and you won't last long doing that, but if the film doesn't get made on time, uh, it's your fault and you will get replaced very quickly then comes the director of photography or dp for short so dp is the person who is intrinsically in charge of the visuals off the lighting of the camera and the way the camera moves you can also call that person a cinematographer and that's generally a term reserved for people for example that are in the in the uh the um and the american society of cinematography you'll see these little titles behind people's names on credits eh is kind of a club that is, you know, reserved for the very best cinematographers it's by invitation only uh for editors you'll see a c e in the back of their entitles that's what those letters stand for and um uh you'll see bsc for cinematographers from the british society of cinematographers or the it goes on and on uh the dp um in effect uh has the job of really being responsible for the visual every visual aspect of the film and we're not getting too involved into it. It should be stated that the relationship between a dp and a director is a very, very interesting one in that some directors have absolutely no visual acumen whatsoever they don't care about the way a film necessary looks that much they don't have any visual training they don't know about light or lensing and they're extremely hands off that's one of the extremes and they basically say, uh you know I'm actors director I'd like to interact with the actors I really you know don't necessarily get involved in the way the camera moves even necessarily should hopefully have a good understanding of pacing and cutting a story and how to bring it together how to tell a story but they may have very little visual experience and they're going to rely heavily on a great dp to make sure that the film works that looks good and that's where dp will get heavily involved in how sometimes a shot selection goes um in terms of how the cameroons etcetera there is the other extreme uh I convert you that ridley scott who was a photographer and commercial photographer or stanley kubrick were extremely involved in the visual all visual aspects of their films you know if you think of black hawk down um it's an incredibly visual movie that can really be attributed to ridley scott so when ridley walk works with a dp um I would expect him to be setting up the camera and telling the dp I want this lens on this dolly to start from point a to point b and I want this type of light and that's absolutely acceptable ultimately in terms of power the director is absolutely above the dp and that being said uh when the relationship works it could be an incredibly fantastic one but those are two of the more important roles creatively in the process and you know all these air different types of of generalities and also very common for a studio to put and an experienced director with the fantastic dp who's got thirty, forty years of filmmaking experience to kind of make sure that they shepherd them along in the filmmaking process. A gaffer uh is the person that I mentioned earlier is solely responsible for lighting so a dp could be a great uh, lens man sexist term lens person in other words, someone who understands the way to lend something what lends to choose where to put the camera that field all that fun stuff understands light but doesn't actually know as much about how to use those tools they can rely on a particularly strong gaffer sometimes dps are very often either former camera department people so they know the camera's in and out very often to as well the dp is a former dafur uh that nose lighting like the back of their hand shane hurl but uh who is someone who's I worked on a lot of the five day march to stuff uh we used to be a gaffer so he knows lighting inside and uh the gaffer is in charge of all the electrician's all the people who take care of the lights then uh there's a camera operator that is the person that physically handles the camera uh that camera operator um has a first day see for a focus puller followed by a second a c and I'm not going to all the details there's obviously hierarchy there it is very uncommon for a director to walk up to a camera and start uh leveling the boll er or working on the physical camera there's a hierarchy there that um you know, kind of states that it could be considered rude to you know, have the director do that because it's someone else's job especially in a union job not to mention that if the director is not familiar with the equipment should've director get hurt you know or break something it's gonna ultimately fall on the camera peter's hands or a sees that being said it is absolutely appropriate for a director or a dps sit behind a camera and operate um and uh that happens quite often. The key grips and grips are the crew members that deal with everything that involves moving the camera. So setting up dolly track on the key grip will supervise a bunch of people that will lay out the perfect trap track that is absolutely study uh or take care of jeb's etcetera um and uh that's the way that works and that's why we'll never see again are very rarely adp handling a hot lamp and adjusting it they'll tell someone who's on a ladder up there ready to go to move three degrees and left uh add a scrim or some diffusion or at a flag to cut down on some light the production designer it's someone who uh is involved and kind of bringing everything together uh in terms of the location um the, um the car all the kind of you know, all the elements that you're gonna bring together in terms of, um, the visual aesthetic parts of a production of course there's an art director that worked with them hand in hand and is very important understand that a director and or dp or very closely with the production designer and art director to make sure that for example all the colors match in the background so that an actor is not wearing a white shirt uh against black in the background because they're white sure is going to blow out. In fact, a very cool little cinema trick is very you almost never some quick tips never ever allow your actors to wear pure white or pure black because when you think about it, sensors have limitations have them wear a dark gray that you could make look black or like, you know, a little bit darker than pure white that I was very, very light gray that you could make look quite later because you're going to be challenging cameras and that's something that an art director uh well pay close attention to with the director also you really want to avoid strike shirts er for more ray issues and other technical considerations and um I believe that we put one more there a sound technician lest we forget is obviously a key person haven't any crew someone who is in charge of, uh making sure we have fifty percent of film in the bag or on the can that's it for crew positions uh we're going to take kind of a few questions from you guys and from the audience about that um and we're then gonna break one more time and set up for the final shoot of the day the final section what we're going to do is we're going to ask the students to break up into these roles um and in this an interest of time I'm going to choose different people and give them titles. The worst thing you could do is bring eight two duis together and say, why don't you figure out amongst yourselves who the director should be um that's like throwing you know, uh, candy in the middle of a bunch of hungry children um and um well, I'll go ahead and assist you in that are there any questions that are out there on this section or other that we should dress? Sure, I have a question from the chat room um with regard to union it's and if you a cz instant rolls his eyes of if you're still photographer moving into this world, when does union become important to you? Uh the reason I rolled my eyes is such a complex issue with so many layers and something different opinions ah, one thing that you should know is that the motion picture industry um is, um, unionized and that they're a bunch of different um unions and subsections uh that for example different gills. So, uh, almost all directors are part of the directors guild of america in the united states, for example, they get benefits, they get health care and they get pensions. Uh, one little known fact is, there are very few directors above sixty five because a lot of them have heart attacks or died due to the stress in their life generality but something I heard one point I'm not sure if that's true, but I can kind of understand that. Uh, but more back to the point of unions. Um if you're a dp you're a member of local six hundred for example, your classification is a dp and local six hundred. You have to work a certain days as part of a crew two crew enough experience to be become asian member that's what tends to make a motion picture uh one a more professional crew because people can just walk on the set and call themselves a first a c camera operator a gaffer or dp they have to find a way to get enough jobs while not being union to build up enough experience enough days to become that role so it is very hard hierarchical system where you can work your way from the bottom level all the way up and get upgraded one step at a time and leads to a very professional group of people that really know what they do um and I've been a member of the union many times I'm a member of local six hundred I was a member of newspaper gil when I was in at the new york times and I can say that anyone who works as part of a unit can tell you there's pluses and minuses of unions um and I don't really wanna get into that but there were quite obvious um and um you know unions is about protecting jobs and protecting wages so uh part of the reason that director should probably not touch the camera is that when you do that um bean counter might say well ah you know why do we need to hire this person to touch the camera if you're doing it yourself you know that someone's job you could potentially be taking away uh but unions are interesting in that when you leave the world of photography and into the film world ah you're entering an entirely new system where um you have to find your way to get into that union um either through a lot of hard work experience there is one little caveat that's quite interesting if you join a production so you're part of a movie that's being planned and you're with it before they sign a union contract and the director says I want so and so to be my dp he is not currently a union member he's never worked on a film but this is one of most interesting people I've ever worked with and I want him or her to be my dp you will automatically become and you remember when they signed that contract if you join before there there are ways to get around all this stuff describe these issues called being grandfather dead just so you know um but um that's that's kind of the issue you're going face being a photographer um the issue that you need to keep in mind is that unions are great but they're hard to break into because you have to have a certain little experience since the old uh chicken before the egg um and um it's kind of hard to get that experience level and so you may not want to join your union immediately because, um the rules by which union productions air are done are much director the rates are very much set in stone and if you work on smaller productions that are not unionized, um, below a certain income level and production level, um, you know, not being part of the union is gonna allow you to take much greater chances initially.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase


Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I would recommend this class to anyone needing a refresher on video in a DSLR world, but I would imagine that some of the technical topics might be a bit too much of a deep dive in an introductory course like this. Not everyone is going to be creating staged events and so the attention paid to blocking and focus might be less interest. Overall, for someone who graduated in film/video a while ago, it was great to get up to speed on today's cameras and hardware.

Marvin Løvenfeldt

Seems like an update to this class is needed. he talks about the Canon 5D mark II. Several better cameras have come on the market since including several other brands, many better options in 2017.

Johnnee Lin

Why should I buy the class again to see it since I have bought the package ?

Student Work