BASIC MUST KNOW FILM DIRECTOR TERMINOLOGY
If you’re going to be a film director there are Basic Must Know Film Director Terminology that you have to know. There are many, but these are among the most used and you’d be doing your self a great service by becoming familiar with them.
You may not be calling out these terminologies yet, but knowing them will help you blend in among those who do. So, let’s start!
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This is what the director, and only the director, unless he instructs his assistant director to do so, yells out to signal talent (actors) to start acting. Thus everyone else on the set becomes completely quiet except those doing roles that support the actors performance.
This is what the director yells out to stop the acting in a scene. However, it has several meanings. One is to stop the talents acting then is followed by stopping the cameras recording. It does not, however, always mean that the scene was a good one and a keeper.
Cut can also be used when referring to the editing process, when scenes are cut in a way that will tell a story.
It’s the equivalent of done. “It’s a wrap” or “That’s a wrap” is usually called at the end of the filming day but can be used as wrap on a scene, actor or item.
The time of day when shooting is scheduled to commence. Individual call times may vary.
ABBY SINGER SHOT
This is the second last camera setup of the day. It’s named after renowned Assistant Director, Abby Singer. He always called the last two shots, giving the crew time to start packing up their gear because they were almost at wrap.
This is the last camera setup of the day. It is announced on set so everyone knows to pack up any equipment that is not in use.
This refers to the shooting a scene from different angles. This way extra footage will be available during the editing process. For example, after shooting a wide shot, the director might say “On to coverage.”
FROM THE TOP
This means to start from the beginning. For example, a scene may be reshot from the last line or a mid-way point. Shooting a scene again, from the very beginning of the scene, is the equivalent of From The Top.
Scenes with principal actors are shot one day. Then the next day is dedicated to shooting pickup shots, quick shots to fill in detail for a scene. For example close ups of props and cutaway shots can be pickups.
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Zandir Santos is contributing writer to MarilynFilms.com. In an addition to filmmaking, Zandir is a website designer and editor.