Why is the Production Sound Mixer so important? What are some of their responsibilities in a film?
The saying goes that people will watch a movie with bad video, but will never sit through bad audio. Sound mixers are tasked with just that -- the recording and mixing of dialogue and other audio effects.
Two weeks before shooting, production sound mixers usually meet with the producer and director to confirm on creative intentions, financial statuses, and any equipment needs. Following this discussion, the production sound mixers will meet with the costume and visual effects departments to discuss microphone placement on the actors.
During production, the production sound mixers meet early to plan microphone choice, final placement of microphones on actors and the equipment that will be used by the boom operators to ensure the best quality possible.
Why is the director of photography role so crucial in a film? What are some of their responsibilities on a movie set?
The role of the director of photography is crucial because they manage and lead the cinematography department. They are also a creative force on set, providing the film with an artistic identity and look, through the use of lighting, framing, camera movement, camera settings and much more.
One of the responsibilities DoP's have is closely collaborating with many of the other crew members. This list of their collaborators is the camera crew, the gaffers, the production designer, the costume designer and the hair/makeup artists.
In addition to these collaborations, the DoP also works closely with the director, discussing the visual style of the film.
If the production is smaller, the DoP may also operate the camera itself.
As the shoot wraps up, the DoP is also responsible for checking the boxes of the following day's requirements (ordering the proper equipment, planning a seamless workflow) and may review the raw footage with the director.
Lastly, during post-production, the likely DoP attends the grading of the film, a process that can take weeks at a time.
What are three critical pieces of advice about the chain of command? Why is it so important?
The term originating from the military, the chain of command on set is who gets talked to, or who has to report to who.
An example of a chain of command on set is a gaffer in charge of lighting having a grip helping them with lights and other equipment.
1. Keep the general chatter down
Creative coworkers usually love helping one another, so chatter follows naturally. However, as shoots and cameras become more complex, involving more crew members and clients, essential details can be drowned out in conversation. While it is okay to hold conversations and crew members should enjoy working with one another, discussions should be kept to a minimum or your immediate chain of command while the actual shoot is happening.
2. Know the chain of command well
Knowing the chain of command well is important because if a problem arises, you will know who to report it to. If you notice the camera isn't slated or that the timecode isn't synced, for example, you will want to know when to and who to inform.
3. Stay alert during a shoot
Pay attention to the shoot, and keep your eyes open. It is important that the problems that are spotted are reported.
Why is the director's role so important in a film? What are some of their responsibilities on a movie set?
The director is the chief creative force on the set of a movie. They visualize, design and direct the conception and style of the film. While this mainly applies when shooting scenes, the director carries out and oversees other production jobs such as casting, editing of the screenplay, shot composition/selection and post-production.
The director's role is critical because they are responsible for painting the visual and audible image we watch from its original pages in the script. They are ultimately responsible for whether or not the film is successful creatively and commercially.
The director can even be responsible for writing the script if a dedicated screenwriter is not available or wanted.
Also, during post-production, directors that work closely with the editor/editing department through their technical and artistic process produce better results.
In conclusion, the director is working from the film's conception to its final cut. They must produce creative, commercial and financial results. They must work closely with each department to convey his vision and motivate the team. They must have an attention to detail, and the determination to succeed.
What department on set interests you? If you had to choose a job in filmmaking, what would it be? Why?
The departments on a film set that I could see myself working in is either the production department or a part of the key creative team. While I love working with cameras, there's nothing like directing your vision through your crew/talent or constructing your vision in Premiere Pro.
So, evidently, the jobs I'd choose in filmmaking is either directing or editing. Being that the field I want to dominate is in music video production, I feel these skills are prevailing. Also, there aren't as many production roles when on set.
Examples of filmmakers who fill similar roles to what I intend to pursue are Cole Bennett and Darren Miller. Both are well regarded in the industry and have skills in directing, editing, screenwriting, and cinematography. However, their expertise in directing and editing are what dominate the overall quality of their work.
Their work, in addition to the joy I find in editing/directing, is why I want to improve in these aspects. I know that as these skills improve, so will the music videos that I produce.
Why is the producer's role so important in a film?
A producer's role is essential because the producer handles most of the financial aspects of production that are necessary for the film to be created.
What are some of a producer's responsibilities on the movie crew?
A film producer has a mountain of responsibilities on a movie crew, but mainly coordination. They coordinate the screenwriting, directing, post-production and production departments all the while managing finances and creating an environment where the cast, crew and overall output can flourish and run smoothly. However, great power comes with all of this responsibility. The producer has control of the whole direction and product of the film. The producer approves the production team, selects the screenplay and has the final say on just about everything else.
What is the order that events need to be called on set, and why is it so important?
The specifics to what is called before beginning a shoot can vary from set to set and project to project, but the general goal is always identical: to get every department on the same page to prevent any problems or interruptions arising later while filming. Below is a typical scenario for what the various crew members will radio to each other before shooting a scene.
Assistant Director / Production Assistants: "Picture's up"
This lets everyone on set know that shooting is about to begin. After it is called by the AD, the PA's stationed around the set repeat it, alerting everyone in their respective area. If there is a rehearsal, however, the AD will call "Rehearsal's Up!"
Assistant Director: "Roll Sound" Production Assistants: "Rolling"
This lets the boom operators, and sound mixers know to begin recording, and for the surrounding crew members to quiet down.
Sound Guy: "Sound Speeds"
This is called to alert the directors that the sound is running smoothly.
First Assistant Camera: "Camera Speeds"
This is called to alert the set that the camera has begun filming.
Second Assistant Camera: "Mark"
The 2nd AC will slate the shot, so the cameras are synchronized in post-production.
Camera Operator / Cinematographer: "Set"
This lets the set know to be ready for filming, that the camera is focused and that the settings are correct.
Once set has been called, the director is ready to call action.
What is the main difference between a shot vs. a set up?
The main difference between a shot and a set up is the sequence in which they are ordered. Shots are a series of clips that make up a scene, and a set up is grouping similar shots together to shoot them at the same time, saving the crew the of time from having to reconfigure the camera, lighting and other aspects of the set from shot to shot.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind with set ups?
The most important thing to keep in mind regarding shots and set ups when going to shoot a scene is minimizing the number of unnecessary turnarounds by grouping similar shots together into set ups. Turnarounds are the instances where lighting, the set and camera direction are reconfigured for a different shot. More often than not, that means the scene will be filmed out of order.
One quick way to use setups efficiently is to organize similar shots/shots of characters in the initial shot list. Preparing this ahead of time will allow the crew to get started right away, and producers will love your preparation and organization.
What is a shot list?
A shot list is a list that gives filmmakers a general idea of every shot they foresee being in the project or movie. A list of the movie edited inside a filmmaker's head.
To create a shot list, use the script and read through the movie scene by scene and write down every shot (medium close-up of x, long shot displaying y and z, etc.) that the scene should contain. In addition to listing the type of shot, a shot list can include whether the shot is tracking, a dolly, panning, or any zooms used and even the type of lenses -- essentially anything imaginable by the filmmaker.
Some other terminology used to clarify shots in a shot list is stating if the shot is dirty or clean. A dirty shot means there is an object or subject in the foreground, such as an over the shoulder shot, and a clean shot, such as a close-up, means the opposite.
Why is it so important?
Shot lists are important because they allow film crews to work quickly and efficiently. You are essentially looking into the future, planning tech around how to get to the future, and this will produce results.