Film Lingo

Film has its own language and is often the most confusing aspect of a film set. The following are some samples of set terminology and language that are listed under the applicable departments.


General Crew

WATCH YOUR BACK – A warning said by anyone coming though or around the set with an object that could potentially hit someone.

CROSSING – A warning said by anyone who must cross in front of the camera during a set-up. It alerts the Camera Operator.

86 IT – Something needs to be removed from the scene (i.e. a prop, a piece of set dressing)

DEAL MEMO – A crew contract made with the Production Company that outlines salary, screen credit and kit rental fee

BUTT CANS – (Usually) metal buckets with sand for depositing cigarette butts on set.

10-4 – An affirmative response. It usually follows a question such as ‘Did you copy that?’

10-100 – Indicates a cast or crew person has left set to go to the washroom

COPY – Confirmation that someone has heard a message over the walkie. Also used in the phrase ‘Copy that’.

WALKIE – A walkie-talkie used by most crew on set to communicate with one another

WALKIE CHECK – Indicates someone is checking to see their walkie-talkie is functioning

WHAT IS YOUR 20? – What is your exact location? It usually means someone is looking for you

WINNIE – One of the large trailers or Winnebagos on set that can house a cast member, makeup and hair, wardrobe, the AD office or sometimes the production office.

CIRCUS – The area where the trucks, catering trucks, tents and trailers are set up on the filming location.

HONEYWAGON – The film trailer that contains the washrooms, AD office and other portable rooms

LOCK IT UP – Called out by the 1st AD to indicate all noise, traffic, activity or action should be halted as shooting is about to begin

ROLL CAMERA – Called by the 1st AD to start the camera rolling.

TURN OVER – Same as ROLL CAMERA

SPEED – Called by the Sound Mixer when the sound recorder is rolling and ready to record.

CHECKING THE GATE – Called by the 1st AD to indicate the 1st Camera Assistant will be checking the camera casing for any debris that could spoil the shot. If the casing is clean, the 1st Camera Assistant responds with “THE GATE IS GOOD” and set-up begins on the next shot.

HOT SET – Refers to a set in progress where nothing should be touched

DAILIES – Crewmembers who are brought in on a day-to-day basis as required. DAILIES can also refer to the footage shot on any given day to be regularly reviewed by the Director, 1st Ad, DOP and Producers.

FIRE WATCH – The duty of watching equipment and sets while the cast and crew are on lunch break.

THE ABBY– The second last shot of the day.

THE WINDOW SHOT – The last shot of the day.

EYELINE – The eyeline of an actor (i.e. the direction he or she is looking) while performing. All crew should avoid the actor’s eyeline at all times

BOGEY – Refers to a person who has breached the set and is walking through the shot

KILL THAT – Make it stop. Usually refers to a loud noise that is disrupting the set (i.e. “Kill that lawnmower”)

WRAP – When shooting is done for the day

GENERAL CREW CALL – The time at the beginning of the shoot day when most of the cast and crew are expected on set. Some cast and crew will have different calls dependent on when they are required.


Directors, ADs, and Actors

FIRST TEAM – the actors in the scene

BLOCKING – the activity where a scene is walked though by the actors under the Director’s supervision. All crew on set usually observe this practice since it often provides vital information for shooting. Actors may or may not be in costume

REHEARSAL – the activity where the Director supervises actors in a practice run. Actors are usually in costume and have been through the hair and make-up process. Rehearsals generally precede shooting

ACTION – the Director’s signal that actors should begin performing

TURNING AROUND – the camera will be shooting from the opposite angle

FLASHING – A warning issued by anyone taking a Polaroid photograph on set. All crew should stay out of the way and not move anything until after the Polaroid has been taken.

CUT – The Director will yell this when he wants the camera, sound and action to stop.

COVERAGE– Refers to a variety of different shots filmed for a scene. They are used in the editing process to create pace and variety.


Sound

M.O.S – The scene does not require any sound to be recorded. It comes from the German expression “Mit out sound” which means “Without Sound”

AMBIENT SOUND – Background sound. Often the Sound Mixer will record 1 or 2 minutes of this noise to establish background sound for Sound Editors to use.


Camera, Grip and Electric

SPUDS, SPREADERS and PANCAKES – Different types of Grip equipment.

DOLLY – A platform with wheels that has a mount for the camera.

BLONDES, REDHEADS and BABIES – Different types of set lights.

CRANE SHOT – Indicates a crane is being used to get an overhead or aerial shot of the scene.

BALLAST – A device that regulates the current from the generator to an HMI light. No one but an Electric should ever approach a ballast because they are extremely dangerous

CLAPPER – The device used to mark in and out points of a scene.


The terms listed here are a partial list. Many times, sets and/or crewmembers will have their own names for things. If you are in doubt, please ask for more information.