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KenD
04-15-2010, 14:34
Hi Roger,

In a filter-factor thread you dropped some wonderful arcane jargon:

"Not just movies. Scrim the inky? Kill the brute? Flag the bottom half of the strip? Wind the swimming pool up a bit? That's from advertising using 4x5 and 8x10 in the 70s. "

How about giving us a glossary of these Lodge-of-the-Royal-Photo-Assistants-and-Photographers expressions/ commands?

KenD

LADP
04-15-2010, 15:55
Here are a couple from the motion picture business to start it off...

"Beach" = sand bags
Example:
"Go get me some beach for this Hi Boy."

"Stinger" = Heavy duty extension cord
Example:
"I need a 25' stinger so I can give the dolly a bump."

"Hollywood it" = hand hold it instead of setting it in a stand
Example:
"We gotta go right now, I don't have time to wait for a c-stand... just Hollywood it for this take, okay?"

"Having had" = having had breakfast on your own time before the call time.
Example:
"If you're taking the courtesy, it's wheels turning @ 7:30, having had. Otherwise, see you on set at 8:00 am."

This last one means, if you're planning on taking the courtesy 15 passenger van to the set, be at the rendez-vous point at 7:20, having had your own breakfast... The van will leave promptly at 7:20. If you are driving yourself to set, the call time there is 8:00 am.

LADP
04-15-2010, 15:59
Most of these aren't really secret, they're just shorthand. The really secret ones are generally not P.C., so I can't post those. Maybe over a beer in person sometime. A few of the really old school terms are absolutely filthy, or just can't be said in public for other reasons.

Roger Hicks
04-16-2010, 00:32
Most of these aren't really secret, they're just shorthand. The really secret ones are generally not P.C., so I can't post those. Maybe over a beer in person sometime. A few of the really old school terms are absolutely filthy, or just can't be said in public for other reasons.

Gosh, what a sheltered life I've led! The movie business must be different -- or maybe it's just regional variation (I was in London).

For Ken:

Inky dinky = small spot

Brute = big variable spot/flood, as far as I recall 10 kilowatt. Also known as a 10K. Many studios had triple phase in order to accommodate the immense amount of power needed for e.g. lighting a car.

Kill or lose = turn off

Swimming pool = big (3x5 foot? 4x6 foot? I forget) soft box. Next size down was a 'fish fryer'. A long thin soft box is a strip.

Flag = opaque piece of wood or metal to shade a small area. Also known as a French flag or donkey.

Scrim = diffuser, typically of fine net or fibreglass, used to reduce the hardness & directionality of a light source.

Gobo = flag with holes in, to create a dappled effect. Some use 'gobo' for 'flag'; others project hard light through them.

Hot light = tungsten, continuous

Redhead = small 800W adjustable flood/spot (trade name)

Gel (pronounced 'jell' from ''gelatine') = coloured filter for light

Bounce = diffuse reflector, of white-painted wood or polystyrene. Often painted matt black on the other side ('Black bounce') to absorb light.

The thing is, you only remember them when you need them. But you're right about shorthand: it saves a lot of time to say 'scrim the inky' rather than 'put a piece of diffusing material in front of the small spotlight'.

Cheers,

R.

parsec1
04-16-2010, 01:20
Dear Roger,
Forget not , 'timming the brute'..... not a job for the faint hearted
and the lighting director usualy known as 'Clarence' on set.

Spent a couple of days shooting some stills for the 'movie' Oh What A Lovely War' down in Brighton many years ago.
The action stuff was filmed in Brightons municipal rubbish tip.
Had a WW1 vet with us as a 'military advisor' who reckoned the stink from the rubbish tip was far worse than the actual trenches he fought in !
Regards
Peter.

Mr_Flibble
04-16-2010, 02:03
Spent a couple of days shooting some stills for the 'movie' Oh What A Lovely War' down in Brighton many years ago.
The action stuff was filmed in Brightons municipal rubbish tip.
Had a WW1 vet with us as a 'military advisor' who reckoned the stink from the rubbish tip was far worse than the actual trenches he fought in !
Regards
Peter.

I really like that movie, recently purchased it on DVD after the video tape wore out.

parsec1
04-16-2010, 03:15
I really like that movie, recently purchased it on DVD after the video tape wore out.

One of Richard Attenboroughs (Sir, sorry Lord) first and its quite surreal and 'dreamy'but has a strong empathy with those who suffered so much in the trenches.
Hamburger Hill sems to be the best acording to my 'Nam' vet friends and severe electric shocks thru the seats of the cinema along with a downporing of blood and entrails would have put some 'context' to the audience of 'Saving Private Ryan' and the desperation of Omaha Beach.
My own 'favorite' if such a word can be ascribed to the horror of mortal combat is 'The Cruel Sea'.
Regards
Peter

LADP
04-16-2010, 08:52
Gosh, what a sheltered life I've led! The movie business must be different -- or maybe it's just regional variation (I was in London).


I think you're right, Roger, regional differences are likely. Even between NY and LA in the film industry, terms differ for certain items.

Many of the terms you mentioned in your last post are also used here currently, with one or two exceptions...

Kill/lose is still in common usage.

I've never heard the term "Swimming pool"

Flags are in common usage, but now they are usually made of a metal frame in various sizes with black, opaque duvetyne stretched and sewn over the frame.

"Scrims" for us are metal wire mesh screens that are put in front of the light (right next to the lens), but they don't really diffuse the light, they attenuate it. They come in singles, and doubles. Singles cut approximately 1/2 stop, and a double cuts approximately 1 stop. In the UK, I understand the "Sparks," which is the UK term for what we call a "juicer," or electrician in the States, feel that scrims are cheating. From what I have heard, the philosophy in the UK is that a professional chooses the right lamp for the application, with exactly the right foot candle delivery for the application. We are probably too lazy or unprofessional here in the States to adhere to that kind of discipline. ;)

To some degree, my philosophy is that I would rather pull out a slightly beefier lamp than required, and scrim it down than to pull an under powered lamp and have to swap it out.

Practically speaking, scrims aren't cheating at all, because sometimes you want the bigger lamp for the spread, but not the punch. For that reason, scrims are indispensable, IMHO.

BTW, "steel" is a frequent slang term for a scrim.
Example:
"Throw some steel in that Jr."

We still use gels and bounces. Bounces are great for adjusting the fill light. Then there's "Negative Fill," which is when you bring in a fairly large solid black "rag" of duvetyne close to the subject, in order to reduce the fill light level on the subject.

Some other fun ones...

"Meat Axe" = NY term for a long and thin flag. In LA they are called "2x6 cutter," or "floppy" or "blade."

"Pigeon" = NY term for a small metal plate with a stud welded into it to accept a "baby," which is a 1K tungsten lamp. The plate has holes in it to allow it to be screwed to set walls, over a stud, or other similar applications. In LA they are called "Baby plates."

"Platypus" or "Duckbill" = a specialty tool, which consists of a "pair of vise grips with two metal plates welded to the jaws as well as a stud or "baby pin" that allows the vise grips to grip a large piece of bead board, or foamular, and attach it to a C-stand.

Roger Hicks
04-16-2010, 14:01
Your description of scrim certanly fits better what I use today, but I'm reasonably certain I recall a fibreglass diffuser being called the same thing. The thing is, it's a long time ago, more than a third of a century, and my gaffer (head of studio, in this context) is long dead. My current flags and scrims are on common (collapsible) frames, from Lastolite. Scrimming the way I do it today (and the way you describe) is, I agree, a better idea than trying to get the light dead right to begin with.

I half recall a small, flat tripod/stand -- like a very big, flat version of a Leitz table-top tripod, three legs swiveling around a central nut, almost like a dolly -- being called a high-hat and used for the same purposes as a pigeon. But I may be misremembering the name.

I love 'meat axe' and I now know what to call my platypus.

Cheers,

R.

LADP
04-17-2010, 17:08
I half recall a small, flat tripod/stand -- like a very big, flat version of a Leitz table-top tripod, three legs swiveling around a central nut, almost like a dolly -- being called a high-hat and used for the same purposes as a pigeon. But I may be misremembering the name.

Roger, yes, hi-hats (and low hats) exist today, and are used to mount a fluid head to, instead of mounting the head to a set of sticks (aka tripod or legs). hi-hats (and low hats) are typically bolted to a square piece of plywood, and allow the camera and fluid head to be lower to the ground than on baby legs (short tripod). They differ from a pigeon, in that we don't use pigeons to mount fluid heads and cameras, but rather smallish lamps: 1K tungsten fresnels (aka Babies) or smaller, LitePanels, etc.

A few more for Saturday...

BFG = Big F*ing Light
Example:
"Let's make sure we have a BFG to put on the Condor for the night exterior."

Pepper = 100W tungsten fresnel lamp
Inky = 200W tungsten fresnel lamp
Betweeny = 300W tungsten fresnel lamp
Tweeny = 650W tungsten fresnel lamp
Baby Baby (or shortened to just "baby") = 1KW tungsten fresnel lamp
Baby Jr. (or shortened to just "Jr.") = 2KW tungsten fresnel lamp

Flyswatter = large frame (20' x 20' or larger) typically skinned with a silk or other diffusion rag and attached to a Condor or other articulating boom lift to get the frame up in the air above the actors and between them and the sun.

Martini = last shot of the day before wrap.
Example:
"Okay people, we're on the martini, so if it's not working let's load it out to the trucks."

Abby Singer (or shortened to Abby) = 2nd to last shot of the day before wrap.
Example:
"Both the Abby and the Martini will just be A Camera, so that's goodnight to the B Camera crew."

Apple box = a very useful sturdy wooden box that has a thousand uses on a film set, actually I am quite certain there are probably more than a thousand uses for them. Apple boxes have three different heights, depending on which side you put them down on, and they also come in full, 1/2, 14, 1/8 designations. 1/8 is also known as a "pancake."

They can be used to raise a person, or make a platform to raise people, or support props or a hi hat, or simply to sit on while operating a shot, for example. In the case of raising a person, they are sometimes referred to as "A Manmaker." For obvious reasons this is rarely said in front of an actor.

Dimensions are:
Full Apple = 12" x 8' x 20"
1/2 Apple = 12" x 4" x 20"
1/4 Apple = 12" x 2" x 20"
Pancake (1/8 Apple) = 12" x 1" x 20"

"Check the Gate" = looking at the physical film gate to check for any hairs that may have gotten lodged during the take or takes, and also to check the film for any obvious signs of scratches. This is generally done by the 1st AC (assistant camera person) after a shot has been completed, and the director or AD has called for the gate to be checked. No changes are made, or movements towards the next shot setup begun, or actors released, etc. until the AC says the "gate's clean." If the gate is found to be dirty, then the AC shows it to the DP, and the DP makes the call on whether or not to re-shoot the shot. The gate is cleaned either way, and the production marches on to either re-shoot the shot or continue on to the next setup.

As an aside, there are two schools of thought regarding the checking of the gate, and I have found that to some degree the technique seems to be regional.

One method (the one I was taught when I started out as an AC a long time ago) tends to be more typically the way AC's do it in NYC. The AC inches the shutter to clear the mirror, and reveal the gate when viewed from the front of the camera. If you have a sufficiently long lens (the longer the focal length the easier this is to do), you can just look through the lens from the front with the aid of a strong flashlight, like a surefire, or a mini mag light. The AC must be careful not to scratch the lens with the flashlight. The whole process just takes a few seconds, maybe 10 at most, which includes time to swing the matte box and filtration out of the way and opening up the lens iris. If the lens is too wide to easily view the gate, or if the AC prefers to do it this way anyway, he or she can remove the lens from the mount, and look directly at the gate without any lens optics to look through in the way. In a dusty environment, this is not ideal, of course.

The 2nd method, which is by far the more popular method is Los Angeles from what I have seen, is to open the camera's door, and inch the movement to disengage the registration pins and pull down claws, and open the movement, and remove the actual gate. Then holding it up to a light source or just the sky if outside in daylight, the AC can examine the actual gate, which typically will still have the hair (if there is one) still clinging to the edge. There is the possibility that a hair may have been there and was dislodged while removing the gate, and the AC would never know until viewing the dailies the next day. This seems to be rare though. The other thing to note is that using this method precludes looking for potential scratches on the negative emulsion.

Sorry for the long winded and probably not very interesting explanation, but I thought perhaps some people have been on a film set and heard the term, "Check the gate," after a shot is concluded, and wondered what it meant.

LADP
04-17-2010, 17:16
Another good one...

"BB" or "Ball Buster" = heavy duty sand bag. Usually 35 lbs. or so

maddoc
04-17-2010, 17:29
Very interesting to read for me, I had no idea of the jargon used in film business. Are there lots of new expressions due to usage of modern equipment (talking about digital) ?

LADP
04-17-2010, 17:42
Very interesting to read for me, I had no idea of the jargon used in film business. Are there lots of new expressions due to usage of modern equipment (talking about digital) ?

There are certainly new techniques and terms being developed every day on film sets, and with the ever changing landscape of new digital formats, the workflow both on set and in post is changing all the time. I will have to give some thought to new slang.

One thing that is funny, is that the term "check the gate" is still used on most digital sets, even though there is no gate on these cameras. The concept remains the same, as essentially the idea is to check the integrity of the shot. With film cameras it was looking to see if the obvious signs of hair, fuzz, etc. were in the gate. With Digital cameras, it's checking to make sure the take recorded to whatever medium it was supposed to get recorded to. So, while the AD will call to "check the gate," the AC or DIT will essentially play back the last 10 seconds or so of the last take to ensure that it did indeed get recorded. The AC will then say, "the gate's clean." Funny, but I imagine that will probably remain the nomenclature long past the era of 35mm film.

An oldie that perhaps many will know...

MOS = without sound. It means that the shot will be filmed without sound being recorded. These shots can sometimes be for an insert that has no particular sound to record, or perhaps the director knows he will have not use sound in the final edit for the shot, but rather a swelling musical cue for the shot.

In any case the term "MOS" is often said to originate from the wave of German directors that worked in the early days of Hollywood. They couldn't pronounce "with" very easily, so they instead would say "Mit out sound." The legend has stuck , and to this day, we refer to a shot with out sound as "MOS."

amateriat
04-17-2010, 20:04
It's too late in the night, but I remember the Sun Gun. Got to be next to one of those as it was being fired up on a set at night. All I could do was grin and say "Hollywoooood!" It lived up to its name.

Knowing a few guys who were grips of various sorts clued me into much of the other jargon. Nearly got roped into being a Unit Photog for a film, but that fell through.


- Barrett

nikon_sam
04-17-2010, 21:07
I remember watching a scene being shot for a 1 hour drama show...these people were probably there all day...I was watching maybe a few hours...the actual scene used on the show was just a few seconds long...a lot of standing around waiting...

LADP
04-17-2010, 23:11
I remember watching a scene being shot for a 1 hour drama show...these people were probably there all day...I was watching maybe a few hours...the actual scene used on the show was just a few seconds long...a lot of standing around waiting...

It seems that way, but really, an awful lot of work is being accomplished during the time between actual rolling of cameras.

1 hour dramatic Episodic TV is shot at quite a fast pace, compared to features. Typically, 1 hour episodic dramas will often shoot 7+ pages a day on average. That translates to roughly 7+ minutes of screen time (1 page/minute). A feature film is often closer to two and a half pages per day on average.

LADP
04-19-2010, 19:56
"Hammer" = regular member of the grip crew (not a Key Grip, Best Boy or Dolly Grip)
Example:
"We gotta bring on two extra hammers in order to get through tomorrow's schedule."

"C-47" = Clothes Pin
Example:
"Hand a me a couple of C-47's so I can clip this 1/4 CTS to the barn doors of this 4K par."

One legend about the origin of this name "C-47," comes from a story about a big movie shot years ago, in which one of the departments of the crew allegedly had a line item for "C-47's" that was submitted to production billing $100's of dollars a week, or maybe it was thousands/week for this mysterious item. When the Studio's accountants looked into the matter, and tracked it down, after much hemming and hawing, it turned out that "C-47's" were clothes pins. Obviously no production could go through that many clothes pins a week, so the Studio put an end to that. The name, however, stuck. Who knows if it's true, but it's a damn fine story, and I'm sticking to it.

And just for fun... Film Industry Light bulb jokes. Some of these might not make a lot of sense unless you've spent some time on a film set. Others are self explanatory.

Q: How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 100: One to do it and ninety-nine to say "I could've done that."


Q: How many grips does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: That's electric's job


Q: How many Union Lighting Technicians does it take to screw in a
lightbulb?
A: It's not a bulb, it's a globe.


Q: How many Director's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Just one more, guys, I promise.


Q: How many DP's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One. No, two. No... How many do we have on the truck?


Q: How many Superstar Actor's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One: They just hold it and the whole world revolves around them.


Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Does it have to be a light bulb? I've got this neat candle
holder...


Q: How many Audio Mixers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: WHAT?


Q: How many 2nd AD's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Standby, I'll check on that.


Q: How many UPM's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None! They're busy trying to fix the one that's already in there.


Q: How many fire marshals does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A One-but it's an 8 hour minimum.


Q: How many editors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: If we change the light bulb, we'll have to change everything.


Q: How many Camera Assistants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Five: One to do it and four to tell you how they did it on the
last job.


Q: How many Wardrobe people does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: "Nobody said I needed doubles on that!"


Q: How many PA's does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Nine........one to do it and eight others to wish they'd been
asked.


Q: How many over eager PA's does it take to screw in a li...
A: Done!


Q: How many Studio Executives does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: No one knows. Light bulbs last longer than studio executives.


Q: How many Screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: "The old one is supposed to be like that! Don't you get it?"

amateriat
04-19-2010, 21:01
LADP: Loved this! But I thought #1 started with still photographers! :(

(My own answer: "One...but what I really want to do is direct.")


- Barrett

Arjay
04-20-2010, 00:47
What a hilarious thread!

I spend much of my work time as a professional translator, and threads like these (for me as a non-native speaker) are a better resource than any dictionary!!