The people assisting the director
Most frequently, the director appoints a woman (Girl Friday) to serve as his right hand called a Production Assistant. Her script contains all the cues, timings, and notes because she will be acting as the director’s eyes, ears, and memory.
Skilled Technical Assistants
These are the people circling the director and they have different roles to play:
- Vision Mixer – cuts, fades, or mixes according to the instructions of the director.
- Music and Sound Crew – ready to feed in their naturalistic effects and/or atmospheric music at the right volume at the right time.
- The Electrician – operates the lighting console—a complicated electronic keyboard that controls and adjusts all the lighting of the studio.
- The Telecine Operator – makes ready the film titles, graphics, and other inserts—all carefully timed to run exactly as the director wishes.
The Floor Manager
The floor manager runs the entire studio when they move in and out and he is the link between the director and all those working on the floor. He is responsible for ensuring the director’s instructions are carried out whether it is a change in make-up disapproved of by a temperamental leading lady, the return to rehearsal after a coffee break, or the provision of a small property like a match-box. He may have an assistant called a stage manager.
The work of the continuity girl is to ensure that no detail is overlooked when the action returns to a scene. The clock must tell the right time, the candle have burned down the right amount, the girl-friend be wearing the same flower, etc.
The Camera Operator
The camera operator receives the instruction of the director over his headphones. There may be four or five cameras allocated to a production and they each have their own team of pushers, pullers, and sliders whose job it is to move the camera (which may be on a small platform or dolly, or huge crane) as the cameraman tells them by means of his special silent code of gestures.
They work in a similar way “fishing” for sound and always trying to keep their mike (and its boom) out of camera.
The picture from each camera and the sound from each microphone are fed into the technical control room where they are checked for technical quality and balanced against one another. They are then fed into the director’s control room where they form the ingredients he mixes to create and send out the program composed of one set of sounds and images at a time.