The following lesson was created by Vimeo for its Vimeo Video School. It’s used here with permission. Look for a new lesson each week.
Making a video can be a one person production but the more elaborate your ideas get, the more likely you’ll need a crew to execute your vision. Below is a list to give you an idea of how all the work is divided up on a basic crew. Keep in mind that this focuses mostly on the on-set personnel, and even still it doesn’t include every single crew member. What you’ll find below are some of the most common folks you’ll find on a set. The amount of people you need to help make your film vary widely from a simple duo to many hundreds of crew members.
A Producer is a key coordinator for the production. They are involved in many if not all aspects of the production from start to finish. They often have a hand in the production process, creative, financial, and administrative.
An Executive Producer is usually the main investor of the project.
The Production Manager works alongside the executive producer and helps to prepare the budget, oversees the preparation of the production team, and various day to day production decisions.
The Director is in control of all creative aspects of the film. They are the primary person responsible for the storytelling, creative decisions and acting of the film.
The 1st Assistant Director is in charge of basically running the set. As an assistant to the director, they organize the crew, prepare shooting schedules and organize the entire flow of all production activity.
The 2nd Assistant Director distributes documents such as scripts and call sheets to the cast and crew. They also help supervise the set with the 1st AD.
The Script Supervisor‘s job is to keep track of what has been shot in accordance with the script including what changes has been made and how to prevent any continuity errors going forward.
The person who makes the chief lighting, framing, and composition decisions is the Cinematographer, often referred to as the Director Of Photography (or DP). The director will often tell the DP what they want the shot to look like and then they will work their magic, making sure everything looks great to help achieve the director’s vision. On smaller sets, the DP will often double as the camera operator.
The Camera Operator is the person in charge of working the camera to capture the scenes.
The 1st Assistant Camera is often the focus puller. Their job is to make sure the shot is always in focus. On smaller productions, the camera operator will also handle this job.
The 2nd assistant camera is the person who writes all of the shot information on the slate and holds it in front of the camera before each shot. The slate (or clapboard) is the device you write all of the shot information (shot number, take number, etc) as well as the clapper to help sync sound.
It’s the Production sound mixer‘s job to make sure the sound is being properly recorded and mixed on set. They will hold the sound mixer and listen with a pair of headphones to monitor the sound.
A Boom Operator is the person that holds the boom microphone near the action. On smaller sets, the production sound mixer can also take on this roll.
The Key Grip is in charge of supervising camera cranes, dollies, platforms and all on set equipment on a set.
The Gaffer is responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan on set. They work closely with the DP to make sure everything is lit correctly. Also referred at as the Chief Lighting Technician.
The Special Effects Supervisor is in charge of the creative and technical issues of visual effects on a project. They take care of anything that will break, explode, burn, collapse, etc. and work with the director on blocking the actors’ so they don’t get in harm’s way.
The Production Designer is responsible for creating the visual appearance of the film. Working closely with the DP and Director they are in charge of the look of all settings, costumes, character makeup, and more. Also known as the Creative Director.
The Art Director develops, coordinates, and oversees the overall design of the production and is responsible for everything you see on screen. On a smaller crew, this is also the Set Designer.
The Props Master is in charge of finding and managing all the props that appear on screen.
The Props Builder‘s job is to construct all custom props that are needed for production. Also referred to as Propsmaker
The Make-up Artist / Hairdresser is the person that dresses and maintains the cast’s hair and makeup throughout the shoot.
It’s the Costumer Designer / Supervisor‘s job to design, obtain, assemble, and maintain the costumes for a production.
These are just some of the basic crew members that can be found on set. Depending on your budget and how ambitious your project is, the amount of people needed to help create it can vary drastically.