Monday, August 30, 2010

Who says we can't control the weather?

Take five while I teach you about the new vocab I'm learning on set. Some is straightforward, some is pretty interesting, and the rest is just downright wacky.

The other day, we shot "day for night," which is fancy movie-speak for hanging black sheets over the windows so it looks dark out when it's really not. Then this morning, we filmed a scene that turned out to be "NG for sound," No Good because of a loud-mouthed lawnmower across the street (what can we do? We can't control the neighbor's chores!).

When we needed a static shot of Laduree's tree, the 1st Assistant Director told the Sound Technician that this would be "MOS." As with a lot of film set lingo, this term has its roots in 35mm film, which had a visual (or optical) representation (or signature) of sound waves printed along the frames. So, when they say a take is "Minus Optical Signature (or MOS)," that's just another way to tell Shawn the sound guy to turn his mics off and take it easy.

After that, the Director of Photography asked his Assistant Cameraman to "give some environment," and the AC immediately walked into the frame until the DP could focus the camera and establish the depth-of-field. Then later today, the Art Department was organizing Laduree's science classroom, doing their best to greek out the labels, or in normal english, cover everything up so they just look like plain ol' books.

Instead of a food table, we call it "crafty"; we shout "points!" if we need to carry sharp objects through a crowd; our "sides" are copies of that day's shooting script (not onion rings or mashed potatoes); and for goodness sake, when the camera guys ask you to hand them some "babies," please understand they just need some small tripods. It's a funky language but we understand it. Now walk it back, we're going to pick it up at one. Annnd...we're rolling.

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