When it comes to ﬁlmmaking, there are a lot of strange terms. Learning the lingo is a rite of passage that every ﬁlmmaker has to go through. Let’s take a look at some of the stranger ﬁlmmaking terms out there and ﬁgure out what they mean.
Other Names: CP-47, 47, Peg, Ammo, Bullet
On a ﬁlm set, a C-47 is simply a clothespin. The origin of why it came to be called a C-47 is somewhat fuzzy. Some say it was named after the C-47 airplane because of it’s versatility. Others say they were named after the bin in which they were stored. No matter the origin, a C-47 is one of the most-used tools on a ﬁlm set. Typically they are used to clamp ﬁlters to the barn doors of lights, but they can also be used to hold up fabric or prank unsuspecting crew members.
Other Names: Electrician
No, a juicer isn’t a kitchen appliance or muscular person. In ﬁlm, a juicer refers to an on-set electrician. A juicer is one of the most important roles on set, as there’s typically a lot of power required to operate all of the various pieces of equipment associated with shooting a ﬁlm.
Other Names: Martini Shot
A Martini, or Martini Shot, is the ﬁnal shot before wrapping the set for the day. It’s supposedly called the Martini shot because the next shot would be taken out of a glass, aka post-wrap drinking. It’s also been said that in the early days of Hollywood, stars would begin their post-wrap party a little early and start drinking martinis during the last shot. When you hear the term martini said on set, it brings about as much joy as a couple of real ones.
On a ﬁlm set, stinger refers to a single extension cord. A stinger refers to any size of extension cord. Typically on a ﬁlm set, stingers will be black instead of the bright orange cables found at local hardware stores
When a ﬁlmmaker is talking about legs, they’re typically talking about the legs of a tripod. On most professional tripods, the head and the legs can be easily separated. Professional tripod legs are usually made out of carbon ﬁber, as they are light, tough, and good in extreme conditions.
Sticks is another word for tripod on a ﬁlm set. If someone were to say grab the sticks, they would be referring to both the legs and head of the tripod.
Other Names: Baby Stick, Baby Legs
A baby on a ﬁlm set is a small set of tripod legs. Tripod legs come in all shapes and forms, but if you are wanting to put your camera extremely close to the ground, you’ll want to go lower than what most standard tripod legs will allow. To do this you will want to use a baby, or small tripod legs, to get low-angle shots.
Other Names: Striking
To strike on a ﬁlm set simply means to turn on a production light or series of lights. While it is less common in modern ﬁlmmaking, every now and then you might hear someone yell “striking” when turning on a light. However, some argue that it is much better to simply say “mind your eyes, light coming on.”
A cheeseplate is a metal plate with holes designed to serve as a multipurpose utility bracket for various ﬁlm related accessories. While cheeseplates come in all shapes and sizes, they are almost always used to create camera rigs. The holes allow the user to mount screw-based devices easily.
Abbey Singer refers to the second-to-last shot at a speciﬁc ﬁlm location. It was named after Abbey Singer, a famous production manager who would alert his crew two shots before the set needed to be collapsed.
Other Names: Cucoloris
A cookie is a device used to mask light patterns onto a background. Cookies can come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re almost always placed on a stand separate from the actual light source. They’re called cookies because their hole patterns look like a chocolate chip cookie.
Run and Gun
Run and gun is a term used to describe a style of ﬁlmmaking with very little production equipment besides a camera. Run and gun is typically used in documentary-style ﬁlmmaking, as ﬁlmmakers aren’t always given the luxury of a controlled set. With cameras quickly progressing in dynamic range and sensitivity, it is becoming increasingly popular for indie ﬁlmmakers to utilize a run and gun approach to their craft.
Other Names: Wind Muff, Mic Cover
On a ﬁlm set, a dead cat is a fuzzy cover that goes around the end of a boom mic to block out wind distortion. The name ﬁts the accessory perfectly, as its furry exterior makes it look just like a dead cat. Rode currently sells a ‘Dead Wombat’ that is slightly larger than a traditional dead cat.
Other Name: Film Slate, Clapboard, Slate, Clapperboard, Slapperboard, Time Slate, Board
A clapper is a board used for syncing and identifying a shot in post. A clapper is most notably the most iconic accessory on any movie set.
Typically, a clapper will have a place to write the scene, take, and shot with some other information like production title, director, and DP.
Did we leave anything out? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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