2.7 The filming procedure

There is a long established system that casts and crews use on the film set to capture each shot. When everybody is in position and ready to start filming the procedure is as follows:

Step 1

The director tells the assistant director (AD) that he is ready to film. The AD shouts: “Quiet on set!” loud enough for everybody to hear. There is silence as everybody gets ready to start filming.

Step 2

The director says: “Camera?”. The camera operator presses record, checks that the camera is recording and, if so, responds: “Camera rolling.”

Step 3

The director says: “Sound?” If the sound engineer is recording into a separate sound unit he/she presses record, ensures that the unit is recording properly and, if so, responds: “Sound rolling.” If the sound is being recorded directly into the camera he/she will give this response after listening into the headphones to ensure that sound is being recorded.

Step 4

The director says: “Mark the shot.” A crew member will hold up a board in front of the camera which has details of the shot written on it and call out those details – for example, if it is the second scene of the film and you are recording the fourth take: “scene 2, take 4”. Traditionally this board is a ‘clapperboard’ with a hinged section on top that can be lifted and slammed down to make a sharp noise. This noise is used if to synchronise the sound with the picture if they are not both being recorded into the camera or to synchronise the shots if more than one camera is being used.

Step 5

The director says: “Action!” and the actors begin the scene.

Step 6

When the scene is finished – or at any time the director wishes to stop the scene – the director says: “Cut!” Both the camera operator and the sound engineer stop recording.

Unless the director specifies otherwise, he/ she should be the only one to say “cut”. Even, for example, if the sound engineer thinks that the sound has been ruined for some reason, the director may be getting something visually that he/she can use so for the sound engineer to say “cut” would be inappropriate.

The director should take, or have someone take, notes about each shot to help with decisions in the edit.

It is also a good idea to let people on and around the set know when you are in between takes so that they do anything they need to do which might make noise.

Practical and Written Assignment

When filming your project, adhere to the correct filming procedure.

Ensure that adequate shot notes are taken.