Dissecting A Film Crew – From the Camera to the Property Departments

Dissecting A Film Crew – From the Camera to the Property Departments

It’s hard to imagine a film crew without a cameraman.

As with all the other moving parts of a well-oiled organisation, the camera department is an integral part of a film production. Generally speaking, the camera department has 5 other parts.

Director of photography – also called a D.P. , heads all the technical departments of the film crew and works to make sure the script transitions into images on the screen

Camera operator – the C.O.’s primary task is to work in conjunction with the DP to how to go about each shot in fine details. This ensures every action is within frame lines with each camera movement as it keeps focused on the subjects.

First assistant cameraman – known as the first AC and the focus puller, should possess a thorough working knowledge of professional camera systems, lenses, and accessories that are currently in use in the industry. The 1st AC must be able to make recommendations on what camera equipment, lenses, and accessories are to be used in each scene. Camera maintenance and overall care should also be carried out by the 1st AC.

Second assistant cameraman – the 2nd AC and the clapper or loader maintains stock  of empty cans, black bags, lab cores ( all applies to projects using film cameras). As an assistant to the 1st AC, he helps prepare camera packages, and submits a report to the 1st AC highlighting a list of non-essential items in the production.

The Make-up department

Make-up artist –  plays a crucial role in creating the character looks required by the production team and the director. It is also important the make-up artist knows how to shield the talents from the potentially damaging effects of camera lighting.

A professional make-up artist preparing a model for a photoshoot


Hair department

Hair stylist – readies not only the talent’s hair, but the skin and scalp as well to make sure hairstyles are suited for the production.

The Location department 

The location scout – done in the pre-prod phase of filming, including commercial photography, location scouting is essential, and scouts search for venues as specified by the director to satisfy the creative and budgetary requirements of the movie that studio simply can’t fill.

Location manager – makes the necessary arrangements for the whole film crew when filming on location including entering into location contracts, creating a parking plan for all working vehicles. The location manager is also responsible arranging for water and power resources, working with property owners and businesses affected by the location shooting.

Property department

Property master – takes charge of all prop maintenance, procurement, inventory and care. The property master must ensure that props are available in a timely manner. It is also a must that selected props are appropriate for the overall design and style of the film, keeping in line with the productions setting and time period.

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