21 Film Set Jargon Decoded

Whether you’re dipping your toes into film production, looking for camera rental in Miami or simply need a film crew job, knowing the language of production will help.

If you’re new to film-making, here’s one thing you’ll notice on a film set. People there speak a strange language, filled with nicknames, acronyms, and abbreviations. It’s called the language of production.

So here are 21 of the most commonly used film set jargon and what they actually mean.

1. Dailies

The term refers to raw footage stock of the day. The directorial team reviews the dailies at the end of each day’s shooting to look for any technical issues or inconsistencies, so they can address any need for rework at the earliest possible.

2. Above the line

In film budgeting, “above the line” usually refers to those members of the cast and crew who have creative influence over a film. Members in the category are more expensive and usually work for a fixed fee. Some examples of “above the line” crew members include the producer, the director, the lead actors and the screenwriter.

3. Below the line

“Below the line” represents those actors and crew who usually do not participate in the creative aspect of filmmaking. Some examples include lighting technicians, hair stylists, and boom operators. “Below the line” crew typically earn daily or hourly wages. In addition to wages, most other production costs fall under this category. The cost of booking camera rental in Miami, for instance, is a “below the line” expense.

4. Hot points

When crew  carry a potentially harmful object, they usually shout the phrase “Hot points” to alert others on the film set. Some grip trucks and lighting equipment available from camera rental in Miami, for instance, may come with pointy ends.

5. Hot set

Hot set is the term for a work-in-progress film set. It is important to keep all objects on a hot set “as is” for continuity purposes.

6. 10/100

It’s a crew member’s way of saying, “I’m going to the bathroom.” You may wonder why someone should use a code word for going to the restroom, but it’s simply considered good etiquette to say it that way on a film set.

7. First unit

First unit is the main crew of a film production often responsible for shooting the most important scenes that need participation of the lead actors or movie stars.

8. Second unit

It’s an additional crew used by large production houses to film any shots that don’t require involving big stars or lead actors. Often, the first and the second units work simultaneously to speed up the filming process. When both units work at the same time, you may need multiple cameras. Book your camera rental in Miami accordingly.

9. Call Sheet

Often prepared by the first assistant director on the basis of the director’s shot breakdown, a call sheet is basically a scheduling sheet for the cast and crew of a film, mentioning when and where they will be required during the shooting phase.

10. Call time

It’s the specific time of a shooting day when an actor or crew member needs to come prepared on the film set. It is usually mentioned in the daily call sheet. In the event of any last-minute changes, you need to inform the new call time to everyone involved, including your cast and crew and camera rental in Miami.

11. Crew call

It refers to the call time for the crew. Usually, crew members should reach earlier to prepare the film set for shooting. So crew call time is when the preparation for a day’s shooting starts. Actors are often called later in the day. To ensure timely arrival of the shooting equipment on your film set, book your camera rental in Miami days in advance.

12. Blocking

Blocking is the process of rehearsing a scene on the film set before the actual shooting, mainly to sync camera movements with the movement of actors and extras. Marking the movements during rehearsal helps keep everyone involved in the scene on the same page.

13. Crafty

While catering service tackles the main sit-down meals, some big productions will also have a craft service (AKA crafty) responsible for providing the crew members with tea, coffee, snacks, water and any other smaller meals.

14. Rolling

Whether you’re new to filmmaking or have already booked camera rental in Miami, you perhaps know this one. Rolling means that the cameras and the sound recorders are rolling. This also implies that everyone on the set should keep silence and pay attention.

15. Stick

When someone says “Stick” on a film set, they mean the tripod of a camera.

16. Stinger

The term stinger refers to a single extension cord. Typically, stingers on a film set come in black colors.

17. Video Village

It refers to an area on a film set where all the video monitors are positioned. Typically, the director, producer, screenwriter and other executives sit there to monitor and review the shots being taken.

18. Last looks

When a director is all set to film a scene, they often shout the phrase, “Last looks” to allow for a last-minute touch-up of the actors. Typically, crew members from the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments are responsible for the final touch-up, but it’s a final call for everyone on the set.

19. Picture’s up

On a film set, they usually do multiple rehearsals before taking an actual shot. When the time finally comes to roll the camera, they alert everyone on the set by saying, “Picture’s up.”

20. Martini Shot

It refers to the final shot of the day.

21. Wrap

Wrap usually refers to the closing of a day’s shooting, but it may also mean the end of a scene or the end of an actor’s part in the film.