Every Director, AD and DoP will have slightly different workflows and terms - there is no right or wrong. Good clear communication on set is critical, so this need establishing at the start of the shoot.

The following is a guide of terms we use during a video shoot - ie: when "on set". Because we often find ourselves working with inexperienced crew, we like use more modern videography terms with rather that sticking with archaic film terms.

(This article does not cover post-production or pre-production terms).

Production Terms

Shot: A single take.

Scene: Multiple Shots

Sequence: Multiple Scenes.

Blocking: The early stages of rehearsing a scene. The Director works with the cast to place everybody in the set and walk through actions and dialogue. Crew is to give them space and stay quiet while this is happening.

Film Crew Positions

Gaffer: The person responsible for lighting on set. They collaborate closely with the DP.

Key Grip: Oversees and maintains gear including camera cranes, dollies, lights, platforms, and all other production equipment.

Sound Mixer: The person responsible for recording sounds on set.

Boom Operator: The person that holds the boom microphone as close to the actors as possible, but outside the shot, to get the best quality sound.

Best Boy: Assistant to the Gaffer or Key Grip. Responsible for coiling and routing cables and getting gear ready.

2AC: Assistant camera operator. Operates the clapper board.

Director: The primary person responsible for the storytelling, guiding the actors, communicating with the DoP (regarding framing and vision) and reviewing the captured video. The Director directly commicates to the Actors and the DoP. The Director reviews the shots on a monitor with the DoP before proceeding to the next shot.

Assistant Director (AD): The AD is the director’s overseeing eye. They organize the crew, prepare shooting schedules, and guarantee that all production activity is executed as planned. They would call "Quiet on set". On smaller sets, the Director assumes the role of AD.

Director of Photography (DoP): The Director will communicate to the DoP the vision for how they would like the shot to look and feel. The DoP is responsible for providing the technical execution of this vision by designing the shots. On smaller sets, it is typical for a DoP to perform the function of the camera operator as well. The DoP will directly communicate with the Camera and Sound Mixer.

Calling The Roll (Shot)

DoP: "Ready?"

Camera & Sound: "Ready"

DoP: "Rolling"

Camera & Sound: "Recording" (or in the old days "Speed!" )

DoP: "Mark it"

2AC: (With Clapperboard) Clap "Scene 1, Shot 1, Take 1"  (Clapping first makes it easier to find during editing).

Director: "Action"

Director: "Cut". Actors will stop - but camera and sound will continue recording.

Director: "Next" if the take is good ... or "Take 2" if another take is required.

DoP: "Keep Rolling" - Or "Stop Recording" depending on the situation.

Note: When using multiple rolling cameras, the DoP may want the cameras and sound to continue rolling after the Director  calls "Cut" to save time syncing in post-production.

Camera Movements

Crane Shot: moving camera upwards or downwards (ie: via a crane or mechanical arm). Also done my drone. 

Dolly Shot: Moving the camera along the floor with wheels (or a slide/rail).

Pan Shot: Camera is stationary and but pivots horizontally (ie: panning left and right).

Tilt Shot: Camera is stationary and pivots vertically (ie: tilting up and down).


Shooting Distances (Shot type)

Extreme Long Shot (XLS): Cityscape, crowd, etc. 

Long Shot (LS) or Wide: Shows the character entirely in their environment.

Medium Long Shot (MLS): Shows the character from shins up. Also known as Plan American.

Medium Shot (MS): Shows the character from the waist up.

Close-Up Shot (CU): Shows the head of the character.

Extreme Close Up (XCU): Shows a detail of the face, ie: an eye.

Videography shot terms XLS Videography shot terms LS Videography shot terms MLS Videography shot terms MS Videography shot terms CU Videography shot terms XCU