What is it like working in the film industry?
Working in the film industry is incredibly competitive, demanding but ( hopefully ) very enjoyable. It relies very heavily on teamwork perseverance and communication. In order to work effectively and productively on a film you must have the patience to work well with others in a stressful and busy enviroment. Everyone relies on one another to create both the picture and sound desired. This is due to the way a film set is structured, each person is given a task both very general and very precise ranging from Set Designer to Director. However, each job is equally important as one another because they are all vital to the creation of a film. Without a Gaffer the lights would not be set up and without a DOP the Gaffer wouldn’t know where to set them up in the first place. Therefore, every job is reliant on one another, and as a result if you do your job well it makes everyone else’s job much easier, and vice versa.
There are a variety of roles when it comes to working on a film set.
- Director – The Director is the head of the entire film production, they have the final say on all matters.
2. Director of Photography DOP – They are in charge of cinematography. Therefore, they work closely with the director to create images and lighting that produce the desired effect.
3. Gaffer – The Gaffer is in charge of setting up the lights for the DOP, a good Gaffer will be efficient and also mindful of what effect the DOP is trying to create.
4. Focus Puller – They must work together with the Camera operator to keep the shot in focus and produce sharp images, this can be particularly challenging when there is a lot of Camera or Subject movement
5. Camera Operator – There job is to move and position the Camera accordingly to the DOP’s and Director’s instruction. A good Camera operator will be able to quickly offer up a shot that is desirable.
6. 1st AD – The first AD runs the set. This means that they have to manage all teams working on the shoot to make sure they meet Director expectations and are all working to schedule. A good AD will motivate their team and communicate well with the director to make the atmosphere on set productive and enthusiastic. It is important to find a balance between authority and creating a calm enviroment.
7. Clapper Loader – The clapper loader logs all the shots. It shows the editors what shot is what slate and what take, this makes the organisation of shots in post production more organised and manageable. A good clapper loader will always have the clapper board ready for the next take, and will make sure the clapper is always in frame. This is to ensure that the sound is easily synced with the shot.
8. Production Manager – A production manager will control the films budget. They will organise the films finance and how the budget is spent.
9. Still Photographer – The still photographer will take behind the scenes photos of the crew. This is useful for DVD releases and the crews portfolio work. A good stills photographer will be able to take engaging shots without obstructing the films production.
10. Sound Mixer – A sound mixer controls the levels of sound picked up by the boom mic. This is important for maintaining the level of sounds throughout the shoot so that the sound is balanced and appealing to the ear. A good sound mixer will know when the levels of sound increase on set so they can adjust them accordingly.
Why is time management important in the film industry?
Time management on set is vital. This is due to the fact that essentially time is money. The longer you take to shoot your film the longer hours you have to pay for your workers and your location. The longer your lights are on and the more batteries you have to charge the more expensive your electricity bill. Time is still vital even when money is not an issue, for example, if you are using natural lighting then you must keep your shoot within a specific time frame to avoid the lighting changing drastically in your scene. In addition to this, it is likely your time on location is limited so most shoots will likely have a time limit.
One example of good time management is not shooting in chronological order. This is because a good way of saving time is to avoid changing camera set ups as much as possible. Re-arranging the set takes up valuable time, therefore it is good to shoot your shots in an order that is ecological. For example, if you have a mid shot and an extreme close up of an actor in the same position, it is better to film these using the same set up rather than moving on to the next shot on the story board and having to rearrange the whole set multiple times.
Another good example of time management is making sure the staff are as organised as possible before shooting. On one of the shoots I was 1st AD and to ensure we were able to wrap up quickly I made a strict but also flexible schedule. Having a schedule allowed everyone on set to know what the goal number of shots were in a certain amount of time, and made transitions between camera set ups smooth as everyone knew exactly what shot we were doing when.
Furthermore, a third example of good time management is to make sure everyone is clear about their roll on set. Everyone should be prepared as quickly as possible to do the next take. Therefore, it is important to have effective and co-operative communication between crew. If crew members are aware of the rest of their team it is easier to solve issues methodically and efficiently.
Describe the key aspects of health and safety when working on film productions
One key health and safety aspect is to ensure everyone is aware of all fire exits and has easy access to them at all time. It is also important to ensure all crew members now how to proceed safely out of the building in the event of a fire. In addition to this, it is important that there are no fire hazards on set. For example, having liquids near electrical wires and equipment, having flammable material near set lights, and having equipment incorrectly wired. Another key health and safety aspect is to make sure all cables are out of the way as much as possible to avoid crew members falling over them.
A main risk in our film ‘ The Worst Kind of People’ was the use of the smoke machine. Since we smoked the room to create a moody atmosphere a lot of the time it could be difficult to see past the fog. It was important to ensure that there were no cables or trip hazards while using the fog machine to avoid anyone falling over equipment. Furthermore, it was important to note down if anyone on set had asthma and to be sure that it wasn’t a hazard for them to breathe in the fog. Another risk was at times the area near the monitor was quite crowded as there were many people gathered in a small area. Therefore, it was important to ensure that the crew were reminded to spread out more and make sure only people who needed to see the monitor were standing by it. This was to avoid people falling over each-other or other accident. A third risk was the light. We had one single light bulb above our actors hanging from the ceiling. However, the light had to be attached to an extension cable on the ground and lead up to the ceiling. It was important that everyone was aware of the light to avoid the boom swinging into the bulb and breaking it and also to make sure no one accidentally tugged on the wire causing the bulb to fall.
1.4 & 1.5
Why does copyright law exist?
Copyright protects an author’s work from plagerism and theft. It gives the author the sole right to copy and distribute their work. This makes copyright vitally important for publishing author’s livelihood. Copyright is even in the American constitution said to be created to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited time to author’s and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”
What kind of work is covered by copyright?
Copyright protects original works of author’s. Including musical, literature, film, computer software and architecture. However, it does not cover facts, ideas, systems or methods.
What might happen if you were to use copyrighted material in your film?
Copyright infringement has a series of consequences. It is even possible to go to jail. However, it is more likely that the owner of the copyrighted material will sue you and take you to court. If you lost the case you would have to pay the amount of damages and any profits made to the copyright holder. In addition to this you would pay all the attorney fees and court costs. Lastly the court would issue an injunction and stop you from your infringement.
How can you make sure not to infringe copyright law in your film?
Make sure that you have all the rights and appropriate permissions to everything in your film. This is particularly important when your film includes brands and music. It is possible to use Royalty free music and create your own brands for your films. Another infringement to look out for is paintings, make sure there are no copyrighted pieces of art in the background of your films.
How has copyright law affected your film production?
The film I edited ” Spaghetti” includes the soundtrack from a song called ” I don’t want to set the world on fire” which is a copyrighted piece of music. Therefore I could not use the original. I had to use an instrumental cover version of the song with all musical elements created by a separate person who had given permission for their version of the song to be use freely. Furthermore it is important to leave the London Film Academy copyright statement at the end of the film to ensure that the film is covered by LFAs copyright law.