What crew do you need to film a corporate video?

Who’s who on the film crew?

If you’ve watched the credits rolling by at the end of a feature film you will have gotten a feel for the number of people and the range of skills involved in creating a ninety minute movie. Many of the job titles are incomprehensible to anyone but an industry insider: the Best Boy (Grip), Foley artist, Chaperone or Greensman. We’ve tackled some of those roles in our A to Z of Film & Video Production, but here we thought it would be helpful to break down the composition of a crew that’s likely to turn up on a range of typical corporate video shoots – from a simple case study to a 30 second ad spot involving actors and grip equipment.

Let’s start at the shallow end.

Option 1 

FILMMAKER 

It’s possible that all a shoot requires is an operator with some self-directing nous and a camera. We might call them a Filmmaker. Crucially this person has to be able to manage all their kit on their own, so they probably won’t bring much more than the camera, a tripod, small monitor, a few lenses and perhaps a light with a stand. A filmmaker operating alone will make decisions based on a brief that has been agreed in advance and roll with the punches on the day, using their initiative. For filming broll (ie general location shots) a lone filmmaker is a low-key and cost-effective approach, but if there’s an interview involved or more nuanced requirements, then you’ll need an extra person.

Option 2  

PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY

A Producer/ Director (also known as a PD) is the go-to production person (as opposed to technician) for the bulk of corporate work. As the title suggests a PD wears two hats – a producer’s (all things practical involving client liaison, budgets, schedules, deliverables) and a director’s (scripting, literally giving direction to the camera team, working with the editor after the shoot). On big productions the producer and director roles are separated and compartmentalised, so that the director – who is more concerned with the vision of the piece than the fiscals – would have to approach the producer for more of anything (time, celebrity actors, explosions) rather than just reward him/herself.

On a corporate video the PD is likely to have been involved in all the pre-production leading up to the shoot including the extrapolation of information from the brief to create a script, visiting the location for filming on a ‘recce’ (a ‘scouting’ to our American cousins and ‘un repérage’ in France), the crewing and the scheduling. On the day the PD will direct, guiding the Director of Photography on what needs to be achieved visually, asking interview questions and liaising with the client. After the shoot the PD will manage the edit, working alongside the editor, and be responsible for client management right up to delivery. 

In this instance we have called the camera technician a Director of Photography, often abbreviated to DP or DOP and alternatively called a cinematographer, though that term is more typically associated with feature films. Any corporate video production company worth its salt will have an in-house DoP. There is a distinction being made by using the term DoP from filmmaker (more a jack-of-all trades who may also edit), and a Camera Operator, who will be technically sound but who will follow the vision of the DoP. The DoP works with the PD to achieve the look of each shot, which often involves lighting. A DoP is therefore often also called a Lighting Cameraman or Camerawoman, and on a typical corporate shoot will set up and adjust the lights him/herself. As shoots get bigger the DoP will stop operating the camera and handling the lights, leaving this to other individuals who work to realise their vision.

In corporate video production the DoP will also manage the sound, whether that’s a lapel mic clipped to the speaker or a boom mic positioned just out of frame on a stand. This approach presumes that the sound being captured is from a static position and that only one or two contributors are speaking at the same time. As soon as there is a requirement to capture sound on the move or there are a number of contributors speaking concurrently, then its time to introduce a new member of the team: the Sound Recordist

Here are some example of NextShoot videos created using the above crew structure:

Stylus Look Ahead 2020 Trailer
https://nextshoot.com/video/stylus-look-ahead-2020

The National Gallery: Courtaud Impressionists – Manet https://nextshoot.com/video/the-national-gallery-manet

The Creative Land Trust
https://nextshoot.com/video/creative-land-trust-launch-video

Arup – Tunnel Ventilation
https://nextshoot.com/video/arup-tunnel-ventilation

Clayton/ Deliveroo Case Study
https://nextshoot.com/video/clayton-deliveroo-customer-story

CBRE- the Royal college of Pathologists
https://nextshoot.com/video/cbre-royal-college-of-pathologists

 

Option 3  

PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY
CAMERA OPERATOR
SOUND RECORDIST
RUNNER

We’ve established the role of the PD and the DoP. 

Joining them in this scenario are further team members for a filming day that involves:

  • a three camera interview shoot with two contributors speaking to each other in an interview format 
  • these two contributors walking together through an office and delivering lines that we need to capture as both pictures and audio
  • the capture of high quality ‘natural sound’ of the office environment . 
  • the use of some heavy kit (a dolly and track with stands, for example) 
  • a very tight schedule 

The specifics of this shoot will require three extra crew members. 

First of all, because we need to cover 2 interviewees talking to each other with 3 cameras (ie one wide and two close-up shots), the DOP is going to need the support of a Camera Operator. The DoP would manage one close-up, the Camera Operator the second close-up and the PD can make sure the wide shot is running and in focus. As we touched on above, the Camera Operator is not being called on to make any decisions about the shot size or lighting set-up, just to follow the instructions of the DoP and to adjust the framing and focus of the shot during the interview. 

Next up, we’re going to need a Sound Recordist. The nomenclature for roles in film and TV is evolving and fortunately it’s no longer accurate or acceptable to assume that the person operating a camera or a sound mixer is a male. So while cameraman and soundman as generic terms are on the way out, the gender neutral terms are not universally agreed. At NextShoot we refer to someone recording sound on set as a Sound Recordist. In this scenario we’re going to need one, in particular to boom the ‘walk & talk’ sequence, and also to ensure that the quality of the ‘natural sound’ is very good. A Sound Recordist is not only an extra pair of hands to sling a boom on the move, they also monitor the sound input to the camera through their mixer/ record, adjusting it as needed, and record all the sound separately onto their own device. So, when the budget allows, a Sound Recordist is always welcome on the team, especially as they remove the responsibility of the often fiddly business of capturing sound from the DoP.

And finally, given the broll is going to involve some heavy kit and we’re on a tight schedule we would recommend a Runner. What does a runner run after, you ask? Tea, mainly, but having an extra pair of hands on set can be invaluable as it frees up the creatives and technicians to focus on their job rather than ordering lunch and feeding the metre. 

Here’s an example of NextShoot content created using the above crew structure:

Royal Shakespeare Company:
https://nextshoot.com/video/royal-shakespeare-company-video-production

 

Option 4  

PRODUCER
DIRECTOR
1ST AD
2ND AD
RUNNER
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY
GIMBAL OPERATOR
1ST AC
2ND AC
SOUND RECORDIST
GAFFER
SPARK
GRIP
VIDEO PLAYBACK
DIT
HAIR & MAKE-UP
WARDROBE SUPERVISOR
ACTORS

We’ve arrived at the deep end. 

A complex corporate video shoot
Track and dolly for a camera mounted on a crane with a remote head. The crew are gathered round the monitor to try and figure out how we’re going to get the shot.

A corporate video production company works directly with brands and organisations, and is also hired by agencies as a service production company to fulfil the vision they have created with the brand directly. Either way, a video production company like NextShoot is working on increasingly sophisticated content with higher production values. 

As ambitions for a video develop so does the need for specialisation on the crew, and while a corporate video production company may have a number of in-house experts there’s inevitably a time when it calls on its roster of freelance specialists to support its core team.

In this scenario – a real one in fact – we introduce a crew with the specific skills and expertise that you would find on sophisticated branded content or a 30 second commercial spot, and someway up the ladder towards the sort of crew used on a small independent movie. 

In this instance there is a separation between the Producer and the Director, whose roles we have touched on above, both supported by a First Assistant Director (1st AD).

Contrary to their title, 1st ADs don’t actually direct. Above all are responsible for managing the filming schedule. To do this effectively a 1st AD will attend a technical recce ahead of the shoot day with other key crew, typically including the Producer, Director, DoP, Gaffer and First Assistant Camera (1st AC). From the technical recce the 1st AD builds a filming schedule that allows time for each set-up, sequence, move and break. 

On the shoot day the 1st AD typically calls for the talent, shouts out the start and end of each take (‘Action! and ‘Cut!), gives cues for the background artists, keeps the director and the crew on time and assists the director and producer in checking off the shot list. 

The 1st AD is often supported by a Second Assistant Camera (2nd AD) who works more closely with the background artists, often chaperoning them into the right position in frame from instructions given by the 1st AD on a walkie-talkie.

On set the 1st AD and the director often discuss the schedule. The 1st AD is empowered to be blunt with a director telling them that they can have another take, but perhaps at the cost of another shot, or (less often) advising them that they’re ahead of schedule and have time to try something different. 

There can be a number of other production team members on a shoot (an Assistant Producer for example), but for most corporate work a producer will suffice. One industry entry-point role is invaluable, however: the Runner. Runners often report to the Assistant Directors, but generally assist wherever they are needed and their duties vary depending on where they are assigned. These may include acting as a courier, keeping the set tidy and distributing call sheets and other paperwork. Where there isn’t a catering team on set, runners help with food orders and, crucially, organise tea & coffee for the crew between breaks.

The DoP is head of the Camera Department and works with the director to translate their vision of the mood of the film into a lit frame. Ahead of the shoot the DoP will assemble the equipment list needed for each shot and sequence – from cameras, lenses and lights to jibs, cranes and drones. On set, the DoP is responsible for all lighting plans and the quality of the light. The DoP suggests the lens, angles and camera movement for each shot, working with the director and then passing instructions to their team. A DoP on a medium sized production is likely to operate a camera if it’s on a tripod or a dolly. As soon as a camera gets mounted onto a crane with multiple axes a specialist operator is required, overseen by the DOP. 

If your production requires smooth tracking shots of people on the move that cannot be achieved on a track, then you’re going to be adding a Gimbal Operator to the call sheet. A motorized gimbal can keep a camera level on all axes while the operator moves with the camera. This gives the impression to the viewer that the camera is floating through the air, an effect achieved previously by the Steadicam (often seen up and down the touchlines of football games). Gimbals can be mounted on vehicles and even drones, where vibrations or sudden movements would make it impractical to use a tripod or other camera mounts.

The First Assistant Camera (1st AC or Focus Puller) is on set to support all the cameras, whether on a gimbal, tripod or jib.

 

1st AC with Magliner on Shoot
Two cameras, lenses, tripods and all the other bits and pieces can be a real headache to drag around on location. A Magliner trolley makes light work of it.

The 1st AC will visit to the equipment hire company ahead of a shoot for a prep day or longer, depending on the amount on equipment being used. During this prep period the 1st AC checks every piece of kit, in particular the cameras and lenses, to ensure nothing is missing or broken. If an unchecked camera or lens is found to be faulty on a shoot day it could jeopardise the ability to get a crucial shot or impact the schedule adversely before a replacement is received. 

On location the 1st AC is responsible for setting up the cameras at the start of the day, requiring a good deal of technical know-how across a range of camera and ancillary equipment such as wireless monitoring kits.

The 1st AC is also know as a Focus Puller. Pulling focus is their primary responsibility on set, which is typically done using a wireless follow-focus lens control system and a monitor. They also ensure batteries are charged, that media cards are on standby and often take the camera between takes to give the DoP or Camera Operator a break.

At the end of the day they make sure everything gets put back in its box before being returned to the hire company. 

Depending on the number of cameras being used, a production may also require a Second Assistant Camera (2nd AC, or Clapper Loader) and even a 3rd AC. The Second Assistant Camera operates the clapperboard at the beginning of each take. When film stock was more commonly used, the 2nd AC loaded the raw film stock into the camera magazines.

We’ve touched on the role of the Sound Recordist already, whose prime function is to make sound recordings of excellent quality, free from all unwanted noise. On a corporate production the Sound Recordist will typically be taking sound via radio mics and/or a boom mic to their recorder/mixer which they wear in a special shoulder-mounted bag. The sound can be passed directly to the camera and/or recorded separately. 

While ‘the Gaffer’ is a respectful term used by football players for their manager, on a set it’s the name given to the head electrician and the person responsible for executing the DoP’s lighting plan. Essentially gaffers shape the light to meet the DoPs objectives using flags, nets or diffusion filters to control their direction, softness and intensity. Gaffers traditionally manage the electricians on set.

A Spark is an electrician who reports to the Gaffer. The electrical team handles power on a set, usually for lighting, and manages the power draw on the building or generator. 

Grips have their own department on a film set and are headed by a Key Grip. They work closely with the camera department to provide camera support, especially if the camera is mounted to a dolly, jib or a crane.

Setting up a dolly track for a crane

After a take the DoP and director are often found peering into a monitor (maybe with the client), reviewing the last shot – picture and often sound. This immediate review process is made possible by Playback or Video Assist. During playback a shot can be looped so that those watching have ample opportunity to see and hear the take under review before deciding whether to reshoot or move on.

As the person responsible for transferring the filming data on a camera’s media cards to hard drives, the Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) has become one of the most important crew members on set. 

DITs use their own kit, including programs that perform checks on data totals to make sure all media files are accounted for. DITs have their own processes, but what they have in common is that they back up each card at least twice. 

DITs perform quality control checks throughout the filming day to ensure nothing is corrupted and although data corruption is rare, it’s better to know about it on set while there’s still a chance to reshoot. 

A DIT also knows how to manipulate colour profiles to execute the specific look wanted for a project. DITs feedback to the Director and DoP about the quality of the image – for example about the graininess of a sequence shot in low light.

On corporate videos Make-up Artists also tend to a contributor’s or actor’s hair (ie they’re a Hair & Make-up Artist). On bigger productions these roles are split. After their initial work, Hair & Make-up artists are always present on set for final adjustments before the camera roles.

The Wardrobe Supervisor is in charge of the maintenance and organisation of the costumes during the production. On larger productions the Wardrobe Supervisor will manage a team of Costume Assistants and Costume Dressers, overseeing which outfits will be needed for each scene. A Wardrobe Supervisor needs to ensure that all costumes arrive on set or on location along with the necessary equipment (sewing machines, irons, steamers) and ensure that all hired in costumes are returned safely. 

On a corporate video it’s likely many of the actors will wear their own clothing on camera, but they will have been instructed by the production team to bring a selection of outfits. In this situation the Wardrobe Supervisor will oversee which option is worn.

Finally, we come to ‘the talent’: the actors who speak or take specific direction, and then the ‘extras’, ‘Background Actors’ or ‘Supporting Artistes. For corporate content it’s likely that actors will have been cast through a Casting Agent (who might hold auditions and send video footage of options to the production company) and then booked through an Agent. For extras there are now plenty of online platforms that make it quick and easy to book Supporting Artistes. As soon as children of  school age are involved in filming there are a number of protocols that need to be carefully followed. A permit may be required from the council where they go to school and they will require a parent or Chaperone to accompany them.

Here are some example of NextShoot content created using this crew structure:

Bloomberg Press Video: https://nextshoot.com/video/bloomberg-london-building-press-video

Bloomberg Inside Story: https://nextshoot.com/video/inside-bloomberg-london-video

That’s a wrap on a possible crew for a high end corporate shoot, but if that’s whet the appetite for an even more comprehensive list of possible team and crew members, then you’ll find that list here

Who does what in a corporate video film crew?

Here’s a breakdown of many (though by no means all) of the job titles and roles that could be involved on a corporate video shoot so you’ll never again mix the Boom Operator with the DIT or the Runner with the 1st AC.

KEY CREATIVE TEAM

PRODUCER

The producer oversees the project, though they might report up to an Executive Producer, working with the client to understand the brief and their goals. Typically the producer will stay involved throughout the project lifecycle from pre-production, through production to post-production and delivery.

A part of the Producer’s role is the management of the budget, working with a Line Manager and the Accounts Department on larger productions. The Producer will assemble a production team in line with the budget and the project objectives, often in tandem with the Director who may want to work with preferred crew. 

DIRECTOR

The image most people conjure up of a director is on set: in a folding chair, looking at the monitor or resting up in an ice-cold winnebago (Why winnebago? See W in our our A-Z of Film & Video Production). In fact, the work for a director starts long before any cameras roll on set. A massive part of the job is the office-based preparation ahead of a shoot, including decisions on the crew, selecting the cast and choosing locations.

Working with the Producer and heads of each department Directors oversee all parts of the production and all creative questions get funneled up to them.

On set the director is the quarterback of the show. He or she is best kept in a pocket away from the noise, given space to focus on the key creative decisions with their immediate team and, crucially, directs and works with the talent. 

PRODUCTION TEAM

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

An Executive Producer is usually a senior member of the production company who will be act as an executive on a number of projects simultaneously. On feature films the Executive Producer is likely to be an investor in the project or someone who has facilitated the funding of the project. 

LINE PRODUCER

The most senior member of the production team after the Producer, a Line Producer manages the budget of a film production. Working closely with heads of department, they decide how money gets spent, delivering the best possible solution to the Producer while offering the Director and heads of department what they need to realise their vision.  

Line producers hire crew and facilities, overseeing all the contracts and paperwork. A good Line Producer understands the artistry of film-making and spends time on set as well as in the office. They help to spot potential pitfalls and find creative solutions. At the end of the shoot, they oversee the wrap of the production and hand over to the post-production team.

PRODUCTION MANAGER

The Production Manager supervises the personnel, budget, and scheduling of a production. It is the Production Manager who ensures filming stays on schedule and on budget. The Production Manager often works under the supervision of a Line Producer and oversees the Production Coordinator.

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

 

The Production Coordinator supports the Production Manager and Line Producer in organising all the logistics involved in hiring crew, renting equipment and booking talent. 

FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (1st AD)

Contrary to their title, 1st ADs don’t actually direct the film, but above all are responsible for managing the filming schedule. To do this effectively a 1st AD will attend a technical recce ahead of the shoot day with other key crew, typically the Producer, Director, DoP, Gaffer and First Assistant Camera (1st AC). From the technical recce the 1st AD builds a filming schedule that allows time for each set-up, sequence, move and break. 

On the shoot day the 1st AD typically calls for the talent, shouts out the start and end of each take (‘Action! and ‘Cut!), gives cues for the background artists, keeps the director and the crew on time and assists the Director and Producer in checking off the shot list. 

On set the 1st AD and the Director often discuss how to make the best use of the filming time. The 1st AD is empowered to be blunt with a Director, telling them that they can have another take, but that they will have to lose another shot.

SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (2nd AD)

The 1st AD is often supported by a 2nd AD who works more closely with the background artists, often chaperoning them into the right position in frame from instructions given by the 1st AD on a walkie-talkie.

RUNNER

Runners often report to the Assistant Directors, but generally assist wherever they are needed and their duties vary depending on where they are assigned. These may include distributing call sheets, acting as a courier and keeping the set tidy. Where there isn’t a catering team on set, runners help with food orders and, crucially, organise tea & coffee for the crew between breaks.

CASTING DIRECTOR 

The Casting Director works closely with the Director and Producer to understand a project’s casting requirements. They suggest actors for each role, and arrange and attend auditions, which typically are filmed and presented to the Director and Producer..

CAMERA DEPARTMENT

 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY (DoP, DP or CINEMATOGRAPHER)

The DoP works with the Director to translate their vision of the film into a lit frame. Ahead of the shoot the DoP will assemble the equipment list needed for each shot and sequence – from cameras, lenses and lights to jibs, cranes and drones. On set, the DoP is typically responsible for all lighting plans and the quality of the light. The DoP suggests the lens, angles and camera movement for each shot, working with the Director and then passing instructions to their team. A DoP on a medium sized production is likely to still operate the camera if it’s on a tripod or a dolly. As soon as the camera gets mounted onto a crane with multiple axes a specialist operator is required. 

GIMBAL OPERATOR

If your production requires smooth tracking shots of people that cannot be achieved on a track, then you’re going to be adding a Gimbal Operator to the call sheet. A 3-axis motorised gimbal can keep a camera level on all axes as the operator moves the camera. This gives the impression to the viewer that the camera is floating through the air, an effect achieved previously by the Steadicam. Gimbals can be mounted on vehicles and drones, where vibrations or sudden movements would make it impractical to use tripods or other camera mounts.

CAMERA OPERATOR

On smaller productions, the DoP will operate the camera. However, on larger productions this task is sometimes given to a Camera Operator. After choices have been made on framing and movement the DoP directs the operator with specific instructions. 

FIRST ASSISTANT CAMERA (1st AC, FOCUS PULLER)

The 1st AC will typically go to the equipment hire company ahead of a shoot for a prep day or longer, depending on the amount on equipment being used. During this prep period the 1st AC checks every piece of kit, in particular the cameras and the lenses, to make sure nothing is missing or broken. If an unchecked camera or lens is found to be faulty on a shoot day it could jeopardise the ability to get a shot or impact the schedule adversely before a replacement is received. 

On location the 1st AC is responsible for setting up the cameras at the start of the day, requiring a good deal of technical know-how across a range of camera and ancillary equipment such as wireless monitoring kit.

The 1st AC is also know as a Focus Puller. Pulling focus is their primary responsibility on set, which is typically done using a wireless follow-focus lens control system and monitor. They also ensure batteries are charged, that media cards are ready and often take the camera between takes to give the DoP or Camera Operator a break.

At the end of the day they make sure everything gets put back in its box before being returned to the hire company. 

SECOND ASSISTANT CAMERA (2nd AC, CLAPPER LOADER)

Depending on the number of cameras being used, a production may also require a 2nd and even a 3rd AC. The Second Assistant Camera operates the clapperboard at the beginning of each take. When film stock was more common, the 2nd AC loaded the raw film stock into the camera magazines.

PLAYBACK/ VIDEO ASSIST

After a take the DoP, Director and often the 1st AC (Focus Puller) are frequently found peering into a monitor, reviewing the last shot – picture and often sound. This immediate review process is made possible by Playback or Video Assist. During playback a shot can be looped so that those watching have ample opportunities to see and hear the take under review before deciding whether to reshoot or move on.

DIGITAL IMAGING TECHNICIAN (DIT)

As the person responsible for transferring the filming data on a camera’s media cards to hard drives, the Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) has become one of the most important crew members on set. 

DITs use their own kit, including programs that perform checks on data totals to make sure all media files are accounted for. DITs have their own processes, but what they have in common is that they back up each card at least twice. 

DITs perform quality control checks throughout the filming day to ensure nothing is corrupted and although data corruption is rare, it’s better to know about it on set while there’s still a chance to reshoot. 

A DIT also knows how to manipulate colour profiles to execute the specific look wanted for a project. DITs feedback to the Director and DoP about the quality of the image – for example about the graininess of a sequence shot in low light.

SOUND DEPARTMENT

SOUND RECORDIST

A Sound Recordist’s prime function is to make sound recordings of outstanding quality, free from all unwanted noise. On a corporate production the Sound Recordist will typically take sound via radio mics and/or a boom mic through to their recorder/mixer, which is carried in a special shoulder mounted bag. The sound can be passed from there directly to the camera and/or recorded separately. 

 

On a feature film the Sound Department would be larger and likely consist of a Sound Recordist, one or two Boom Operators and a Sound Trainee. The quantity of microphones and equipment employed differs, with two boom microphones being operated and recorded simultaneously, possibly in conjunction with clip mics fitted to actors. This requires the Sound Recordist to monitor several mic inputs at the same time via a small mobile mixing desk, usually installed on a custom made trolley.

A boom operator at work.
A boom operator at work. Strong arms are a requirement.

BOOM OPERATOR 

The Boom Operator is easily identifiable as the crew member wieding a microphone on a pole while wearing headphones. The Boom Op gets the microphone as close as possible to the sound (which could be speech, but equally might just be ‘natural sounds’), while making sure their mic, boom poll and their shadow does not encroach on the shot.

ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT

GAFFER

While ‘the gaffer’ is an affectionate term used by football players for their manager, on a set it’s the title given to the head electrician and the person responsible for executing the DoP’s lighting plan. Essentially Gaffers shape the light to meet the DoPs objectives using flags, nets or diffusion filters to control their direction, softness and intensity. Gaffers traditionally manage the electricians on set.

SPARK

A Spark is an electrician who reports to the Gaffer. The electrical team handles power on a set, usually for lighting, and manages the power draw on the building or generator. 

BEST BOY (ELECTRICAL)

The Best Boy (Electrical) is the Spark who is chief assistant to the Gaffer.

GRIP DEPARTMENT

KEY GRIP

Grips have their own department on a film set and are headed by a Key Grip. They work closely with the camera department to provide camera support, especially if the camera is mounted to a dolly, jib or a crane. In the United States and Canada, the title Grip is also given to those who work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups, under the direction of the DoP and Gaffer. 

BEST BOY (GRIP)

Best Boy (Grip) is the chief assistant to the Key Grip. They are also responsible for organisation of the grip truck throughout the filming day.

A dolly grip at work
A dolly grip at work

DOLLY GRIP

The grip in charge of operating the camera dolly is called the Dolly Grip. They place, level, and move the dolly track, then push and pull the dolly up and down the track with the DoP/ Camera Operator on board.

ART DEPARTMENT

PRODUCTION DESIGNER

The Production Designer is responsible for creating the overall physical and visual appearance of a film – from sets, costumes and props to make-up. 

ART DIRECTOR

The Art Director works with the Production Designer, Set Designer, Prop Master and others in the Art Department. The Art Director is responsible for realising the creative vision set by the Director to give the film its look & feel. Often it’s the Art Director who in charge of bringing a brand’s personality to life in a commercial or branded content piece.

SET DESIGNER 

The Set Designer is the draftsman who realises the external structures or interior spaces outlined by the Production Designer.

A set designer’s model which will later be realised full size, or of course rendered using CGI


STORYBOARD ARTIST

A Storyboard Artist turns the words of a script into a visual story through key frames. The storyboard artist aims to convey everything from gestures to emotion, with minimal (or no) words or dialogue. Their sketches suggest the shot size and also the camera movement and movement of people within the frame. Directors work in different ways with storyboards. Some will refine them in advance of filming and then follow them closely, others use them more like a visual aide-memoir.

PROP MASTER

The Prop Master is in charge of finding all the props on a production ahead of filming and then managing those props on set. 

ARMOURER

Rarely featured on the call sheet for a corporate video (!), the armourer is a specialised props technician who deals with firearms, swords and other weapons.

GREENSMAN
The Greensman deals with the procurement and artistic arrangement or landscape design of any plants used on a set, both real and fake.

 

Impressive work from the Greensman on the set of Edward Scissorhands
Impressive work from the Greensman on the set of Edward Scissorhands

 

WARDROBE DEPARTMENT

WARDROBE SUPERVISOR

There are two parts to a Costume Department, the Running Wardrobe and the Making Wardrobe, all of which is overseen by the Costume Designer. The Making Wardrobe incorporates the design and creation of the costumes during the pre-production period (rare for corporate content). The Running Wardrobe, overseen by the Wardrobe Supervisor, includes the maintenance and organisation of the costumes during the production.

A Wardrobe Supervisor ensures that all costumes arrive on set/ location along with the necessary equipment (sewing machines, irons, steamers). They are across which costumes will be needed for each scene on a shoot, and manage a team of Costume Assistants and Costume Dressers to ensure the talent is in the right costume for the right scene.

After the shoot the Wardrobe Supervisor is responsible to making sure all hired costumes are returned safely.

 

LOCATION DEPARTMENT

LOCATION MANAGER

The Location Manager is responsible for finding and securing locations for the production and coordinating the logistics, permits and costs involved. They make the decisions on the Unit Base and arrange for the necessary facilities (parking, catering, ‘honey-wagons’). They also act as the face of the production to the public.

LOCATION ASSISTANT

Location Assistants support the Location Manager. They are typically the first to arrive on set and the last to leave.

HAIR & MAKE-UP DEPARTMENT

MAKE-UP ARTIST (MUA)

Make-up Artists on corporate videos tend to also tend to a contributor’s or actor’s hair (ie they are a Hair & Make-up Artist). On bigger productions they may be involved in the use of prosthetics and other effects to manipulate how talent appears on screen. 

HAIR STYLIST

The Hair Stylist is responsible for maintaining and styling the hair of anyone appearing on screen. They work in conjunction with the Make-up Artist often sharing the same base. Both Hair and Make-up are especially important in fashion video production, of course, and the Hair and Make-up Artists are always on set to make final adjustments before the camera roles.

 

POST PRODUCTION 

EDITOR

The Editor assembles the various shots captured during the shooting period into a coherent narrative, working closely with the Director. 

COMPUTER GENERATED IMAGERY (CGI) 

CGI is a catch-all term for the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images, whether static or moving, 2-D or 3-D.

2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images from two-dimensional models. In corporate content this tends to be name and job title banners, infographics (maps, charts, graphs) and kinetic typography (text that develops onto the screen to support what the viewer is seeing or hearing). It could also be a 2-D animation with flat sets and characters. 

3D computer graphics use a three-dimensional representation of data to give a volumetric visual image of an object. 3D computer graphics are often used in architecture and construction videos and in product videos. The creation of volumetric content is supported by Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. 

Of course, besides real-life objects like buildings and consumer products. 3D computer graphics can be used to create abstract volumetric visual images. 

Under the umbrella of CGI there are number of specialist job roles. For example, a Roto Artist manually creates mattes for use in compositing and may also paint visual information out of a scene, such as removing wires and rigs from green screen shots or telephone pylons from a landscape shot.

A compositor is a visual effects artist responsible for compositing images from different sources such as video, computer generated 3-D imagery and matte paintings into one image.

ARCHIVE & STILLS RESEARCHER

Some projects may require specific film or video imagery which needs to be sourced from a specialist archive library, such the the Imperial War Museum Film & Archive Collection or BBC Motion Gallery, managed by Getty Images. 

An Archive & Stills Researcher has the experience to dig out well known clips and unearth new finds of historical imagery. For most corporate work online stock footage companies such as Dissolve and Shutterstock have a suitable collection of high quality material, which can be easily sourced by a Producer, Director or Editor. 

COLOURIST  

A Colourist adjusts the colour of each shot, in a process often referred to as grading,  to bring consistency to the overall look & feel of the content and to give the video a distinct look. While expert Colourists are the stars of London’s West End post production houses, much can be achieved in-house at a corporate video production company using readily available software such as DaVinci.

FOLEY ARTIST

A Foley Artist creates and records many of the sound effects for a feature film. See F in our A-Z of Film & Video Production for details on this extraordinary profession. For most corporate video work sounds sourced from an online library will cover the vast majority of sound effects required. 

VOICEOVER ARTIST (VO Artist) 

A Voiceover Artist records the script commentary which is then laid over the pictures by the Editor. Prior to recording the final voiceover track the production team use a guide voiceover, often recorded by the Director. Many VO Artists are able to work from a home recording studio and deliver their sound files online, making it a cost-effective process. At NextShoot we have over 300 Voiceover Artists on our books with a variety of local, regional and international accents and, of course, many are able to speak foreign languages.