BTH

Information for Location Owners

If you are reading this, then most likely one of our students has asked you if they can use your home or place of business as a film set. We appreciate you taking the time to consider this request and sincerely hope you can help our students. We make nearly 200 films a year and without the generous support of people like yourself, we simply couldn’t do it.

Your gift to our students is important to us. We hold our students to the highest standards of professionalism, and stress the importance of working in a safe, courteous, and organized manner. We know how valuable your property is to you, and we understand that asking you to share it with us is a huge imposition. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we understand that any concerns about allowing students into your home or place of business are elevated right now. The protection of you and your property is our number one priority, and the school has developed strict safety protocols to mitigate risks posed by the pandemic.

WHAT TO EXPECT

How many people will be here?

It takes many people to make a film. A typical student crew consists of 12-15 students, plus actors and a couple of extra volunteers. Be sure to ask how many students, actors, and volunteers will be involved.

What will they bring?

It takes a lot of equipment to make a movie; cameras, sound, lights, stands, sand bags, rigging gear, generators, cables, camera dollies, and more. Our students are trained to operate this equipment safely and securely. Be sure to ask where this equipment will be “staged” when not in use, where the main cables will be run, and where trucks and cars will be parked.

How long will they be here?

Our students work by union rules, which stipulate the number of hours they are able to work. A typical work day is 12 hours, plus one hour for lunch. However, the crew will begin arriving approximately a half-hour before work and usually take a half-hour at the end of the day to pack up and clean. Be sure to ask what time the crew will begin to arrive and what time the last person will leave. In addition, the students will typically need to come to the location to plan and decorate in the days leading up to the shoot.

COVID-19 protocols

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Film School is operating under a set of heightened safety protocols based on new industry guidelines and practices. These protocols include seven overarching principles:

  1. Preparation
  2. Scope management
  3. A “zone” system
  4. Health monitoring
  5. Physical distancing
  6. Face covering
  7. Sanitization

In preparation for each production day, students have a series of logistics meetings with their instructors to ensure that all safety concerns are being thought through. This includes a “tech scout” to determine a specific plan for the safe use of your location — such as how the location will be sanitized at the start and end of production, how the physical space will be organized into different zones to protect personnel, how the location will be secured to prevent outside people from wandering onto set, and how the crew and location owners will keep each other safe.

For the shooting day itself, the students are required to follow a detailed daily production protocol that outlines all the extra safety precautions they need to take throughout the day to mitigate the risks posed by the pandemic. By following these protocols, students will enter each shooting day with sense of mindfulness and caution, and with specific, well-organized safety procedures for the production.

Location agreements

If you choose to donate the use of your property, be sure that the following happens:

  1. The student gives you a copy of the script and answers any questions you may have.
  2. The student completes with you a Location Shooting Plan Agreement that states in written form exactly where they may work, where they may park their vehicles, what times they have access and any other terms which you may wish to stipulate.
  3. The student presents you with a Location Agreement to sign. This allows us to use the location and waives your liability should one of our students get hurt.

1st AD Protocol (Cheat Sheet)

This is a streamlined “cheat sheet” for seasoned 1st ADs. Twirl open any callout and the complete description of that step will be displayed. Please remember that all GREEN CALLS are made over the radio and are repeated by the 2nd AD, while all BLUE CALLS are made to on-set crew only and are not repeated by the 2nd AD.

Daily Protocol

Morning Meeting

We are having the morning meeting
  • Precisely at call time, the 1D gathers the crew by the trucks for the morning meeting. The 1D goes over the logistics of the day and addresses safety concerns.
  • COVID: Due to the congregation of all crew members, the morning meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with physical distancing, the crew should be divided into smaller groups and the meeting should be repeated for each group.
Work safely, everyone
  • This concludes the morning meeting. 1D then gathers DR, DP, SS, 2C, and goes to set.

WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING

Clear the set for blocking
  • If DR is ready, the 1D asks 2D to escort the actors to set, so that DR and actors can work out the blocking. During this time, 1D manages crew staging, while periodically monitoring DR.
Are we ready to mark the blocking?
  • If DR is ready, 1D invites DP, SS, and 2C to set and oversees the determination of coverage.

WORKING OUT THE COVERAGE

Observe the crew working out the coverage
  • DR and DP watch the action that’s been worked out with the actors. Together they discuss any changes. 1D watches and checks that: DP watches the coverage through a viewfinder or lens; SS watches eyelines and notes coverage plan; 2C marks the actors’ stopped positions with colored tape.
  • COVID: Physical distancing must be maintained during the laying down of marks. Either the actors should step back while the 2C lays down the mark, or the actor should be provided tape to lay down their own mark.
Are we ready for the New Deal?
  • Only when the plan is agreed upon, 1D calls:

NEW DEAL

We have a New Deal
  • 1D confirms all department heads are present. DR shows the action.
  • COVID: If physical distancing is not possible due to space limitations, the New Deal should be repeated for smaller clusters of department heads.
Questions on the blocking?
  • DR fields queries, then shows/explains coverage.
Questions on the coverage?
  • DR fields questions on the plan. 1D facilitates, making sure every department is anticipating issues.
Is the plan good?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

BUILDING IT

OK, let's build it. Thank you, First Team.
  • 2D escorts First Team (DR and actors) to base camp. 1D quietly gets a setup time estimate from the DP. (Note: No one else but 1D and DR need ask about time or guess how long things will take.) From this point on, 1D is quietly monitoring progress and updating department time estimates.
  • Ways of being helpful throughout this process include: “Let’s get the frame” … “Let’s get focus” … “Let’s get a boom line” … “Work quietly”
  • COVID: Crew must maintain physical distancing at all times, except for where a technical operation makes it impossible. Such moments should be kept to a bare minimum and undertaken with extreme caution. If the space does not permit crew members to maintain physical distancing, 1D must organize the staggering and rotation of different departments’ work. This is something that should have been identified during the tech scout, so a plan should already have been discussed for this in advance of the production day.
  • COVID: Camera placement should be more than six feet away from any actor. Any exceptions to this need to have been approved during Director’s Prep.
  • COVID: Set up video village in a location to minimize crowding around the monitor. Only two, physically distancing crew members may be at video village at one time, with priority given to DR and SS.
  • COVID: SM gives a sanitized wireless lav to each actor and instructs them how to secure the mic. If necessary, SM may secure the mic themselves, but the physical proximity should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered, such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider.
Are we ready for camera rehearsal?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Camera Rehearsal

Camera rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 2D asks DR if they wish to be present. DR either comes to set or 2D informs 1D to proceed without DR. (If DR does not come to set, 1D calls “action” and “cut” instead.)
  • COVID: Do not use actors for the camera rehearsal, and keep minimal crew on set.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
We are going for camera rehearsal...
  • Action is called. Technical team runs shot.
...That's a cut on camera rehearsal
How was that for camera?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
How was that for sound?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

BAD FOR EITHER
Troubleshoot

GOOD FOR BOTH
Proceed

Camera ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Rehearsal

Essential personnel only, please.
  • COVID: The set is about to become a Zone A space, so 1D clears the set of all non-essential personnel.
First Team in, please
  • 2D brings DR and actors to set. Everything must be ready!
Everyone work quietly. First team is on set.
  • DR works with actors. (Note: Rehearsal moves directly into shooting. If any technical issue arise that cannot be solved immediately, 1D releases First Team until it is solved.)
  • COVID: Actors should ideally remain in masks during rehearsals. If masks need to be removed for any reason, consider deploying other protections, such as plexiglass barriers.
Rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 1D waits and confirms visually when DR is ready.
Quiet, please. We are going for rehearsal...
  • DR calls “action” and “cut.” This should be treated like it is a take by all set personnel. Make sure the set is locked up.
...That's a cut on rehearsal. Stand by.
  • While DR checks in with the actors, 1D checks in with camera and sound for feedback. 1D relays this information to DR, who chooses to rehearse again or proceed. Are we ready to shoot?
Are we ready to shoot?

NO
Call: “We are going again. Stand by.”

YES
Proceed

Last Looks

Picture is up. Last looks.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Director ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Going for picture

We are going for picture. Lock it up.
  • It’s GO time. Listen to ensure set is locked up. Be very sure EVERYONE is actually ready, especially DR and actors, before calling:
  • COVID: Slating should be at least six feet from any actors. If the lens or space does not allow for that, a pan over to the slate should be used instead.
  • COVID: Actors should remove their own masks. If the shot doesn’t permit them to keep the mask on their person, PD should provide a Ziploc bag with the actor’s name on it and PD should manage the Ziploc bags during takes.
  • COVID: If hair and makeup needs to make an adjustment due to the masks, this should occur swiftly.
  • COVID: If DR wants to go again quickly, and actors consent, masks can stay off between takes.
Roll sound...
  • If sound is being recorded on a dedicated field recorder, use Cadence for Dual-System Sound.
  • If sound is being recorded by the camera, use Cadence for Single-System Sound.
Cadence for dual-system sound

  • SM calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

Cadence for single-system sound

  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

That's a cut on picture. Stand by.
  • 1D checks in with camera and sound to see if the take was good or if a technical issue may require another take.
  • 1D relays this information to DR, and checks to see if the DR would like to go again or move on to the next set-up.
Ready to move on?

NO
Repeat

YES
Proceed

Moving on

Thank you, First Team
  • 2D escorts the actors (and DR if desired) off set and the crew comes in to execute the next set-up.
  • COVID: After the First Team has left the set, 1D allows crew to re-enter the space.
We are moving on to... (describe next set-up)
  • Move on to the next planned set-up as indicated previously during the New Deal. 1D restates shot as previously described.
  • Return to BUILDING IT and proceed until all scene coverage is complete.
  • When the scene is complete, return to WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING for next scene.
  • Continue this process for the rest of the day.
  • During the day, if the production falls behind schedule or if any problems arise, 1D should be proactive in conferring privately with DR and/or DP on how to solve the problems. This can be done quietly and discreetly on set or during breaks, such as lunch.
  • COVID: Departments should sanitize equipment throughout the day during free moments, especially anything to be handled by others in the department.

Important Time-Based Items

Start of Day

First shot is off at (state time)
  • Recording the time of the first shot of the day (and the first shot after lunch) is an important item that is reported to the studio on the DPR.

Midday

That's lunch
  • At exactly the 6-hour mark after first call time Lunch must be called. If the team has already rolled on a set-up you can go into “Grace,” which means work must then be completed within 12 minutes. You cannot shoot past this or you are in meal penalty.
  • During lunch, 1D talks to DR and the DP about the rest of the day’s work and participates in making any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule to help make the day.
  • COVID: Boxed lunches should be delivered to the team spaces for each department, so as to avoid having people congregating around a single lunch table.
  • COVID: Since masks need to be off for eating, extra precaution must be taken. Eating outside with maximum distance between people is recommended.
  • COVID: Staggering the start time for lunch for different departments is recommended, if the schedule permits. Staggering the start time for lunch is required if physical distancing is not possible at the location.
Ten Minutes
  • Ten minutes before the end of lunch the 1st AD announces this to everyone.
We're back
  • This call marks the official end of lunch. All crew is required to return to work. 1D should remind everyone what set-up is first up after lunch.
  • COVID: After lunch, PR makes sure that high-touch surfaces get a sanitizing wipe down and each department sanitizes heavily used items of equipment.

End of Day

This is the Abby Singer
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the second-to-last set up. (Be sure it actually is before announcing.) This is a morale boost as the day nears its end.
This is the martini
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the last set up of the day. (BE SURE it actually is before announcing.) This is a bigger morale boost as the day nears its end.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(actor's name)
  • Crew applauds to thank the talent for the day’s work or for their work over multiple days on the whole picture.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(production name)
  • Crew celebrates a hard day’s work. “Picture Wrap” can be an emotional call after weeks of work on a feature.
Company Wrap
  • 1D talks to the DR and the DP about the next day’s work and any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule.
  • 1D signs off on the Daily Production Report (DPR), which is sent back to production by the 2D.
  • COVID: 1D makes sure that camera wrap happens no less than 60 minutes before company wrap, to allow sufficient time for loading out and cleaning the location.
  • COVID: Actors change out of wardrobe, preferably in a single-person occupancy changing room. PD places any wardrobe supplied by the production in a secure bag to be laundered if used again. If actors need to remove their masks, the changing room becomes a Zone A space.
  • COVID: Equipment should be reloaded back into the truck in a prescribed sequence. Only one crew member is permitted in the back of the truck at a time. Physical distancing must be observed at all times. Each department should clean equipment during wrap.
  • COVID: Doors Down Meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with adequate physical distancing, the crew may divide up into departmental groups for separate, smaller doors down meetings.
  • COVID: 2D keeps access to location restricted until last crew member has left. The plan for sanitizing the location at company wrap must be completed before the 2D leaves the location.

Approval Process for Distant Locations

DOCUMENTARIES

Documentaries are permitted to shoot at distant locations within the contiguous United States. Permission to travel must be attained in advance from the Documentary development instructor.

BFA AND MFA THESIS FILMS

BFA and MFA thesis films may also request permission to shoot at a distant location outside of the studio zone. Due to the added complexity of shooting thesis films at distant locations and the added wear-and-tear on school equipment, approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Students will need to present a thorough case to faculty that addresses the following:

  1. Why this location is essential to the success of the film.
  2. A budget/plan for transporting, housing, and feeding the cast and crew for the duration of the distant shoot.
  3. A budget/plan for transporting, housing, and feeding a faculty member for the duration of the distant shoot.
  4. A budget/plan for transporting, parking, and securely managing school vehicles and equipment during the distant shoot.
  5. A back-up plan for if the camera or other mission-critical equipment go down.
  6. A schedule showing key deadlines for locking locations, securing accommodations, and any other critical plans. Permission for shooting at a distant location will be revoked if these deadlines are not hit, and the production will need to shoot locally.
  7. A schedule of travel days and drive times during the production week.
  8. A local back-up plan, in case permission is not granted and/or the distant location falls through.

The request to shoot at a distant location should be made as early as possible in the development/pre-production process, and no later than two weeks before the first day of production on the show. Approval must be received from the people:

  1. Director’s Prep Faculty
  2. Head of Set Operations (David Wiley)
  3. Head of Production (Tony Ciarlariello)
  4. Associate Dean (Andrew Syder)

Crew Drills (BTH) – Fall 2020

The purpose of the crew drills is to practice working in each of the crew positions. Don’t get too caught up on trying to make the “perfect” scene. Keep it really simple. BFA3 department heads mentor those in their department, as follows:

  • 1st AD mentors both 2nd ADs
  • 1st AC mentors both 2nd ACs
  • Key Grip mentors both BBGs

Food will not be provided, so make sure you plan accordingly. You have a 1-hour lunch break, so either bring your own lunch or plan to go out nearby. Just make sure you’re back in time.

Crew drills will take place on the set in Stage A.

Crewing

BFA3 will complete the Crew Drill grid together as a class. There are 8 BFA3 positions for each drill. This will give each of you an opportunity to mentor the BFA2 and get to know them better. This also gives you a chance to get your hands on the gear again to reignite that muscle memory.

BFA2 will work the 3 positions (2D, 2C, BG) in pairs. One of the 2Ds and one of the 2Cs will start off as Actors for the first half of the drill. Then they will swap, and the other 2D & 2C will be the Actors. The BGs will remain working in pairs during the entire drill.

Production

The production will have 3 hours to unload the van, block, rehearse, build, shoot, and wrap.

Plan on having 6 total setups. Once you have shot the first 3 setups with the first 2D/2C Actors, swap them with the other 2D/2C Actors. Have the Director modify the blocking, the 2C lay down new marks, and then reshoot the scene with the other 3 setups.

  • 1st New Deal 0:10
  • Camera on set 0:30
  • Lighting complete 0:40
  • Start Shooting 0:45
  • Swap Actors with other 2D/2C pair 1:30
  • 2nd New Deal 1:40
  • Camera Wrap 2:30
  • Company Wrap 3:00

Crew responsibilities

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Director

Before the Drill

  • You will use a scene (or part of a scene) from your BTH script for this crew drill. The script must meet the following criteria (make up a crew drill version if necessary):
    • Must be no less than 1 full page, and no more than 1 4/8 pages in length
    • Must only have 2 characters (no more, no less)
    • Must have dialog (so the Sound Mixer can practice recording it)
    • Keep it simple (no stunts, close proximity, weapons, complicated SFX, etc.)
  • The cast will consist of one of the 2D and 2C pairs, then they’ll swap half way through.
  • Discuss the shot design with the DP.

During the Drill

  • At the beginning of the shift, briefly block with the Actors on the set (keep it really simple).
  • During the New Deal, have the Actors demonstrate the blocking for the crew.
  • Direct the Actors in the scene.
  • Once you have shot the first 3 setups with the first 2D/2C Actors, swap them with the other 2D/2C Actors. Modify the blocking with them, then reshoot the scene with the other 3 setups.
Production Designer

Before the Drill

  • Discuss the production design with the Director (keep it simple).
  • Acquire props, wardrobe, etc (only if absolutely necessary).

During the Drill

  • Dress the set, provide props & wardrobe only if necessary.
Director of Photography

Before the Drill

  • Discuss the shot design with the Director.
  • Create a simple Setup Schedule with 3 setups for each of the 2D/2C Actor pairs, for a total of 6 setups. For example:
    • 1st 2D/2C Actor Pair: 3 setups (1 master + 2 singles)
    • 2nd 2D/2C Actor Pair: 3 setups (1 master + 2 singles)

During the Drill

  • Communicate the setups to the crew.
  • Manage the Camera, Grip & Electric Departments.
  • Once you have shot the first 3 setups with the first 2D/2C Actors, swap them with the other 2D/2C Actors. Have the Director modify the blocking, the 2C lay down new marks, and then reshoot the scene with the other 3 setups.
1st Assistant Director

Before the Drill

  • Get a copy of the Setup Schedule from the DP.

During the Drill

  • At call time, have a Safety Meeting with the entire crew to communicate an emergency plan, location hazards and any production safety concerns. Complete the Safety Meeting Report
  • Get the DR to quickly show the Actors the blocking, while the 2C lays down marks, then call a New Deal.
  • Run the set, making sure the crew is working safely and efficiently.
  • Keep track of your time using the Setup Schedule.
  • Once you have shot the first 3 setups with the first 2D/2C Actors, swap them with the other 2D/2C Actors. Have the Director modify the blocking, the 2C lay down new marks, then call a New Deal
  • Reshoot the scene with the remaining 3 setups.
2nd Assistant Director

During the Drill

  • At the beginning of the shift:
    • Take forehead temperature of each crew member.
    • Have crew sign in using the iPad timeclock.
    • Hand out walkies to department heads.
  • During the shift:
    • Remain in Green Room with the Actors, except to escort them to/from set at 1st AD’s request.
    • During a setup, remain outside the stage doors to make sure no one enters during a take.
  • At the end of the shift:
    • Complete the Performers Production Time Report. Have the Actors sign it.
    • Have crew sign out using the iPad timeclock.
    • Collect walkies and put them back on charger.
All Other BTL

During the Drill

  • Work with BFA3 mentors in your assigned positions.
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Post Guidelines for Mixed Media

If you are utilizing media from a variety of different sources — such as video captured from different types of cameras or titles/graphics created outside of Premiere Pro — we need to make sure that the media is compatible with the post workflow. The basic rule of thumb is to match the specs for the Premiere Pro sequence settings as closely as possible for all of your media.

Premiere Pro sequence settings

The Premiere Pro sequence settings should be set to 1920×1080 24p Apple ProRes 422 with Square Pixels and Progressive Scan:

Mixed-media settings

Try to match the above sequence settings as closely as possible with your original media. If you’re unable to match the settings exactly, you should speak with the post hall staff in advance to confirm that your media will be compatible with the post workflow. As a general guide:

Frame rates:

  • 24.00 – Best
  • 23.98 – Good
  • 29.97 – OK, but not optimal (possibility of dropped frames)
  • 30.00 – OK, but not optimal (possibility of dropped frames)
  • 25.00 – Not good

Sound:

  • 24 bit 48k – Best
  • 16 bit 44k – OK, but not optimal
  • Note: .mp3 files are not your friend. Try and use .wav or .aiff files or convert your audio whenever possible to .wav or .aiff.

Aspect ratio:

  • 1.85.1, 2.40:1, or 1.37:1 are acceptable, but please check with instructors first and let them know of your intended ratio.
  • There are matte’s located in the extras folder on frame.io.

Titles and motion graphics:

  • If you create titles or motion graphics from another software program, render out with these settings: 1920 x 1080 24p ProRes 4444 (which includes an alpha channel).

Public Domain & Creative Commons Resources

The Internet is a wonderful place for finding videos, images, motion graphics, clip art, music, and sound effects that can be used in your films. Below is a list of resources to help with finding stuff that’s either in the Public Domain (belongs to all of us) or Creative Commons (licensed by the author for others to use).

Beware, however, that the Internet is also a terribly unreliable place and the burden of proof will fall on you to document that you actually have the rights to use any of the stuff you dig up, so that you have a clear chain of title on your film.

For works in the Public Domain, this can sometimes take a fair amount of research, as there is often unclear and unreliable information circulating about works that are supposedly in the public domain. Any works published in 1924 or earlier are now in the public domain. Any works published after 1924 should be assumed to be under copyright, unless otherwise confirmed. Also be aware that new versions of works public domain — e.g., the New York Symphony Orchestra’s recent recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony are copyrighted. In other words, you could perform the composition yourself and be okay, but you couldn’t use the New York Symphony Orchestra’s recording without clearing it first.

For Creative Commons work, some license types (such as “NoDerivs” and “ShareAlike”) are not compatible with the work we do, so you would not be able to use that work in your film. Generally speaking, you’ll need to look for works that are licensed either as “Attribution” or “Attribution-NonCommercial”. (Note, however, that many authors who’ve opted for a NoDerivs or ShareAlike license may be open to giving you permission to use their work if you contact them directly. If they are willing, you’ll need to follow the usual process of acquiring a licensing agreement for a copyrighted work.)

Videos

Images

Motion Graphics

Clip art

Music

  • Muse Open – classical music
  • Free Music Archive – interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America.
  • Free music public domain
  • Freesound – a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds.
  • Anthony Kozar – Composer and open-source programmer
  • Audionautix – The music on this site is the creation of Jason Shaw.
  • Bensound.com – Download royalty free stock music for YouTube and your multimedia projects.
  • Brett Van Donsel provides affordable music options for filmmakers, YouTubers, gamers, podcasters, advertisers and more. Most of the music is royalty free. 
  • Filmmusic.io – Over 600 tracks, free even for commercial use, primarily with cinematic music by Sascha Ende.
  • Gravity Sound – Free Music and Sound Effects for Personal and Commercial Use
  • Incompetech – Royalty free music by Kevin MacLeod
  • Josh Woodward – Acoustic indie rock singer/songwriter. Creative Commons Music.
  • King James – Royalty free music
  • Kongano.com – This site contains royalty-free mp3s for you to listen, download and do whatever you want with.
  • Natentine – Download the right royalty free music for YouTube videos, film, corporate videos, games and more.
  • Silverman Sound Studios – Background music for YouTube, videos, games, films, adverts, podcasts, anything! All totally free to download!
  • TechnoAXE – Royalty Free Music for your commercial/non-commercial videos or projects. This website has Techno, Dubstep, Metal, Rock or Soundtrack.
  • Tim Beek – Music for media
  • Twin Musicom – Innovative audio production
  • WOWA – Free music

Sound effects

Safety Bulletins

Safety Bulletins are researched, written, and distributed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee for use by the motion picture and television industry. The Safety Committee is composed of guild, union, and management representatives active in industry safety and health programs.

Safety Bulletins are guidelines recommended by the Safety Committee. They are not binding laws or regulations. State, federal, and/or local regulations, where applicable, override these guidelines. Modifications in these guidelines should be made, as circumstances warrant, to ensure the safety of the cast and crew.

A PDF of all relevant Safety Bulletins must be attached to Call Sheets or otherwise distributed to affected employees. All crew are required to read distributed Safety Bulletins prior to commencing the work day. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, including immediate dismissal from the school.

General Safety

Animals

Artificial Haze

Chemicals and Flammable Materials

Electrical Safety

Environmental Concerns

Filming Equipment and Vehicles

Stunts and Special Effects

Water Hazards

Weapons

Weather

Caption

1st AD Protocol

Overview

This document is intended to serve as a guide to help 1st Assistant Directors understand the role, as well as to supply set-specific jargon and the proper sequence of “callouts,” which are only a small part of the 1st AD’s job.

The role of the 1st AD is an important and multi-faceted one, involving organization, anticipation, communication, problem-solving, leadership, support, morale-building, time-budgeting, and resource allocation. It is a role that is critical in planning and scheduling a film during prep, and one that is vital for smooth set operation during production. The 1st AD runs the set and works just as hard as either the DP or the Director.

It is the responsibility of the 1st AD to know where everyone is, so crew must inform the AD department if they briefly leave set (e.g., “I’m 10-1”). The 1st AD always remains by camera; if the show has a base camp away from set, the 1st AD should communicate with the 2nd AD by radio. The 1st AD tracks the time but does not harass people about it. Good ADs need never raise their voice because they have not allowed things to reach that point. Above all else, it is the 1st AD’s job to watch, facilitate, and anticipate problems for the betterment of the film, not simply to “make the day.”

GREEN CALLS
ARE MADE OVER THE RADIO AND REPEATED BY 2ND AD

BLUE CALLS
ARE MADE ONLY TO ON-SET CREW AND NOT REPEATED BY 2ND AD

Daily Protocol

Having already been instrumental in helping to schedule the order of shots and estimating the time for each, a typical day for the 1st AD on set goes as follows. Note: On shows with smaller crews – such as F1s and F2s – some of the crew positions listed in this protocol may not have a dedicated crew member performing the role. If there is not a dedicated 2nd AD, the 1st AD should either assume those responsibilities or delegate them to another person. If there is not a dedicated Script Supervisor or 2nd AC, the Producer is responsible for making sure that other crew members cover the relevant tasks described in this protocol.

Morning Meeting

We are having the morning meeting
  • Precisely at call time, the 1D gathers the crew by the trucks for the morning meeting. The 1D goes over the logistics of the day and addresses safety concerns.
  • COVID: Due to the congregation of all crew members, the morning meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with physical distancing, the crew should be divided into smaller groups and the meeting should be repeated for each group.
Work safely, everyone
  • This concludes the morning meeting. 1D then gathers DR, DP, SS, 2C, and goes to set.

WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING

Clear the set for blocking
  • If DR is ready, the 1D asks 2D to escort the actors to set, so that DR and actors can work out the blocking. During this time, 1D manages crew staging, while periodically monitoring DR.
Are we ready to mark the blocking?
  • If DR is ready, 1D invites DP, SS, and 2C to set and oversees the determination of coverage.

WORKING OUT THE COVERAGE

Observe the crew working out the coverage
  • DR and DP watch the action that’s been worked out with the actors. Together they discuss any changes. 1D watches and checks that: DP watches the coverage through a viewfinder or lens; SS watches eyelines and notes coverage plan; 2C marks the actors’ stopped positions with colored tape.
  • COVID: Physical distancing must be maintained during the laying down of marks. Either the actors should step back while the 2C lays down the mark, or the actor should be provided tape to lay down their own mark.
Are we ready for the New Deal?
  • Only when the plan is agreed upon, 1D calls:

NEW DEAL

We have a New Deal
  • 1D confirms all department heads are present. DR shows the action.
  • COVID: If physical distancing is not possible due to space limitations, the New Deal should be repeated for smaller clusters of department heads.
Questions on the blocking?
  • DR fields queries, then shows/explains coverage.
Questions on the coverage?
  • DR fields questions on the plan. 1D facilitates, making sure every department is anticipating issues.
Is the plan good?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

BUILDING IT

OK, let's build it. Thank you, First Team.
  • 2D escorts First Team (DR and actors) to base camp. 1D quietly gets a setup time estimate from the DP. (Note: No one else but 1D and DR need ask about time or guess how long things will take.) From this point on, 1D is quietly monitoring progress and updating department time estimates.
  • Ways of being helpful throughout this process include: “Let’s get the frame” … “Let’s get focus” … “Let’s get a boom line” … “Work quietly”
  • COVID: Crew must maintain physical distancing at all times, except for where a technical operation makes it impossible. Such moments should be kept to a bare minimum and undertaken with extreme caution. If the space does not permit crew members to maintain physical distancing, 1D must organize the staggering and rotation of different departments’ work. This is something that should have been identified during the tech scout, so a plan should already have been discussed for this in advance of the production day.
  • COVID: Camera placement should be more than six feet away from any actor. Any exceptions to this need to have been approved during Director’s Prep.
  • COVID: Set up video village in a location to minimize crowding around the monitor. Only two, physically distancing crew members may be at video village at one time, with priority given to DR and SS.
  • COVID: SM gives a sanitized wireless lav to each actor and instructs them how to secure the mic. If necessary, SM may secure the mic themselves, but the physical proximity should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered, such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider.
Are we ready for camera rehearsal?

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Camera Rehearsal

Camera rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 2D asks DR if they wish to be present. DR either comes to set or 2D informs 1D to proceed without DR. (If DR does not come to set, 1D calls “action” and “cut” instead.)
  • COVID: Do not use actors for the camera rehearsal, and keep minimal crew on set.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
We are going for camera rehearsal...
  • Action is called. Technical team runs shot.
...That's a cut on camera rehearsal
How was that for camera?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
How was that for sound?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

BAD FOR EITHER
Troubleshoot

GOOD FOR BOTH
Proceed

Camera ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Rehearsal

Essential personnel only, please.
  • COVID: The set is about to become a Zone A space, so 1D clears the set of all non-essential personnel.
First Team in, please
  • 2D brings DR and actors to set. Everything must be ready!
Everyone work quietly. First team is on set.
  • DR works with actors. (Note: Rehearsal moves directly into shooting. If any technical issue arise that cannot be solved immediately, 1D releases First Team until it is solved.)
  • COVID: Actors should ideally remain in masks during rehearsals. If masks need to be removed for any reason, consider deploying other protections, such as plexiglass barriers.
Rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 1D waits and confirms visually when DR is ready.
Quiet, please. We are going for rehearsal...
  • DR calls “action” and “cut.” This should be treated like it is a take by all set personnel. Make sure the set is locked up.
...That's a cut on rehearsal. Stand by.
  • While DR checks in with the actors, 1D checks in with camera and sound for feedback. 1D relays this information to DR, who chooses to rehearse again or proceed.
Are we ready to shoot?

NO
Call: “We are going again.
Stand by.”

YES
Proceed

Last Looks

Picture is up. Last looks.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Director ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.

NO
Troubleshoot

YES
Proceed

Going for picture

We are going for picture. Lock it up.
  • It’s GO time. Listen to ensure set is locked up. Be very sure EVERYONE is actually ready, especially DR and actors, before calling:
  • COVID: Slating should be at least six feet from any actors. If the lens or space does not allow for that, a pan over to the slate should be used instead.
  • COVID: Actors should remove their own masks. If the shot doesn’t permit them to keep the mask on their person, PD should provide a Ziploc bag with the actor’s name on it and PD should manage the Ziploc bags during takes.
  • COVID: If hair and makeup needs to make an adjustment due to the masks, this should occur swiftly.
  • COVID: If DR wants to go again quickly, and actors consent, masks can stay off between takes.
Roll sound...
  • If sound is being recorded on a dedicated field recorder, use Cadence for Dual-System Sound.
  • If sound is being recorded by the camera, use Cadence for Single-System Sound.
Cadence for dual-system sound

  • SM calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

Cadence for single-system sound

  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C VOICE SLATES
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

That's a cut on picture. Stand by.
  • 1D checks in with camera and sound to see if the take was good or if a technical issue may require another take.
  • 1D relays this information to DR, and checks to see if the DR would like to go again or move on to the next set-up.
Ready to move on?

NO
Repeat

YES
Proceed

Moving on

Thank you, First Team
  • 2D escorts the actors (and DR if desired) off set and the crew comes in to execute the next set-up.
  • COVID: After the First Team has left the set, 1D allows crew to re-enter the space.
We are moving on to... (describe next set-up)
  • Move on to the next planned set-up as indicated previously during the New Deal. 1D restates shot as previously described.
  • Return to BUILDING IT and proceed until all scene coverage is complete.
  • When the scene is complete, return to WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING for next scene.
  • Continue this process for the rest of the day.
  • During the day, if the production falls behind schedule or if any problems arise, 1D should be proactive in conferring privately with DR and/or DP on how to solve the problems. This can be done quietly and discreetly on set or during breaks, such as lunch.
  • COVID: Departments should sanitize equipment throughout the day during free moments, especially anything to be handled by others in the department.

Important Time-Based Items

Start of Day

First shot is off at (state time)
  • Recording the time of the first shot of the day (and the first shot after lunch) is an important item that is reported to the studio on the DPR.

Midday

That's lunch
  • At exactly the 6-hour mark after first call time Lunch must be called. If the team has already rolled on a set-up you can go into “Grace,” which means work must then be completed within 12 minutes. You cannot shoot past this or you are in meal penalty.
  • During lunch, 1D talks to DR and the DP about the rest of the day’s work and participates in making any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule to help make the day.
  • COVID: Boxed lunches should be delivered to the team spaces for each department, so as to avoid having people congregating around a single lunch table.
  • COVID: Since masks need to be off for eating, extra precaution must be taken. Eating outside with maximum distance between people is recommended.
  • COVID: Staggering the start time for lunch for different departments is recommended, if the schedule permits. Staggering the start time for lunch is required if physical distancing is not possible at the location.
Ten Minutes
  • Ten minutes before the end of lunch the 1st AD announces this to everyone.
We're back
  • This call marks the official end of lunch. All crew is required to return to work. 1D should remind everyone what set-up is first up after lunch.
  • COVID: After lunch, PR makes sure that high-touch surfaces get a sanitizing wipe down and each department sanitizes heavily used items of equipment.

End of Day

This is the Abby Singer
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the second-to-last set up. (Be sure it actually is before announcing.) This is a morale boost as the day nears its end.
This is the martini
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the last set up of the day. (BE SURE it actually is before announcing.) This is a bigger morale boost as the day nears its end.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(actor's name)
  • Crew applauds to thank the talent for the day’s work or for their work over multiple days on the whole picture.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(production name)
  • Crew celebrates a hard day’s work. “Picture Wrap” can be an emotional call after weeks of work on a feature.
Company Wrap
  • 1D talks to the DR and the DP about the next day’s work and any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule.
  • 1D signs off on the Daily Production Report (DPR), which is sent back to production by the 2D.
  • COVID: 1D makes sure that camera wrap happens no less than 60 minutes before company wrap, to allow sufficient time for loading out and cleaning the location.
  • COVID: Actors change out of wardrobe, preferably in a single-person occupancy changing room. PD places any wardrobe supplied by the production in a secure bag to be laundered if used again. If actors need to remove their masks, the changing room becomes a Zone A space.
  • COVID: Equipment should be reloaded back into the truck in a prescribed sequence. Only one crew member is permitted in the back of the truck at a time. Physical distancing must be observed at all times. Each department should clean equipment during wrap.
  • COVID: Doors Down Meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with adequate physical distancing, the crew may divide up into departmental groups for separate, smaller doors down meetings.
  • COVID: 2D keeps access to location restricted until last crew member has left. The plan for sanitizing the location at company wrap must be completed before the 2D leaves the location.

VFX Scope Checks

During the development process of the F3, BTH and MTH cycles, there are a series of VFX scope checks, to make sure that shows are not writing checks that cannot be cashed. The Head of Visual Effects sends out a survey near the start of development to assess how many shows are considering visual effects. In-person meetings follow for shows that are considering visual effects. Near the end of the development phase, as shows enter pre-production, proof-of-concept meetings take place, wherein students show tests to demonstrate how they plan to execute any planned visual effects.

Director’s Prep (BTH)

Before the prep day:

No later than noon on the day before the prep, the Producer is responsible for sending a clean copy of the script (with scene numbers) in PDF format to each member of the faculty thesis committee.

On the prep day:

In order to go as paperless as possible, everything except the screenplay will be presented digitally on the classroom monitor. Be sure to download any materials to the desktop computer for presentation.

Hard copies of the screenplay — with title page, scene numbers and lined script — will be handed out at the beginning of prep to each member of the faculty thesis committee.

If there are any VFX shots or if a camera other than the primary assigned thesis camera is planned to be employed in the production then the hard copy signed VFX approval forms must be shown to the Thesis supervisor.

The presentation will include:

  1. The Producer’s visual presentation file
  2. The Director’s visual presentation file
  3. The Director of Photography’s visual presentation file
  4. The Production Designers’ visual presentation file
  5. The screenplay with scene numbers and the beat-by-beat breakdown
  6. The UPM breakdown script
  7. The production board (header board and a strip for each scene in shooting order)
  8. The shooting schedule

In addition to the above requirements the Cinematography, Editing and Production Design faculty may require additional items in either electronic or hard copy form. Please see those faculty members for additional requirements.

Be sure that all above requirements are ready and provided to the appropriate faculty members at the time the prep is scheduled to begin.

Director’s Prep will occur in four separate sections and in the following order:

  1. Presentation of the movie.
  2. Faculty Q&A.
  3. Presentation and discussion of storyboards.
  4. Creation of an action plan.

The producer, director, production designer, cinematographer and 1st A.D. must attend the prep. (The production team may determine that the attendance of other crewmembers is necessary, and may invite them to prep as needed.)

Section I — Presentation of the Movie

The purpose of this section is to give the thesis film’s producer, director, production designer and cinematographer an opportunity to present the film to the faculty – uninterrupted. We will start the prep with the director addressing any notes addressed or not addressed after concept prep. After that, both cinematographer and production designer will do their presentations.

Let images speak for themselves in both cases.

Address the Cassavetes experience, and also if any information regarding the crew drills exercises: please share with us any findings, what you learned.

Producer will do the final presentation, showing the temp strip board and a brief resume of it.

Students will make presentations to the faculty in the following order:

1. The Producer will introduce the title of the film, and the crew positions held by every student in Director’s Prep. This should be done quickly, and without formality; it’s intended to give the faculty an orientation to who is doing what.

2. The Director will present a outcomes of concept prep, and what has changed/has been achieved. Then a quick visual pitch of the story to the faculty. The Pitch should be in story order and be supported by visual slide, which illustrate the essence of the directors vision for each moment of the pitch. The director will also present their casting choices, with audition videos ideally, exercise and only as last resource with stills.

Remember that these are images that you have found and or created for visually illustrating your pitch of the story. The images are meant be representational of “key story beats” to illustrate and evoke the feeling of the moment in your story.

The most important thing is that you TELL the story as a storytelling, using the images as background support for your PITCH.

3. The Production Designer will continue to present a brief visual illustration of the major design aspects as it relates to the world and characters of the film.

The presentation will begin with the world in which the story takes place. The presentation should include:

  • Photos representing the locale of the story.
  • Photos of every actual location the action will occur.
  • Photos of any key elements (such as picture vehicles).

After locations, the Production Designer will present photos and/or actual examples of key props/set dressings and the wardrobe for the main characters, with a focus on how the wardrobe helps illustrate the history, emotional construction and objectives of each main character. The presentation should include:

  • Photos or illustrations of the characters wardrobe/hair/makeup.
  • Any particularly relevant props and/or set dressing.

The Production Designer’s presentation should emphasize how the design of the world will illustrate – or serve – the overall expression of the story and its main characters (who they are and what they want).

4. The Cinematographer will present a three-to-four minute illustration of the “Cinematographic Plan” of the film. To show found and/or created photos and videos (including the Cassavetes workshop scene), the Cinematographer will demonstrate how color, light, shadow and visual language will illustrate the story. The presentation should include:

  • Visual References: Present an illustration of the visual plan for the film. You may also include movie clips (website link), paintings, stills, artwork, AC articles, anything that visually echoes the story’s look/visual mood. These references should reflect lighting ideas, contrast ratios, color, camera movement and shot design.
  • Mood: In writing, identify the emotional intent of the film and be prepared to explain the visual elements you plan on incorporating in your cinematography that support the emotional intent of the director. Describe any changes in mood and how you plan to support, enhance, underscore visually.
  • Format: Please describe your format choice/s. Please delineate your reasons behind each format choice. This applies to both framing formats (16×9(spherical), 2.4:1(widescreen) and digital capture formats (4k, 2k, DSLR, RED Lake, Etc.). Note any camera systems utilized other than RED should be a colored storyboard to indicate VFX and be prepared to discuss the story-based reasonings of this additional camera system.
  • Color Temperature Plan: Describe all the different lighting environments and the scene(s) that are set within that environment. For each of these major environments, write a brief description of how you plan to balance the scene/sequence’s color temperature.
  • Exposure/Filtration Plan: Outline a general exposure plan for each major lighting environment within you story. Note proposed shooting stops, expected footcandle readings at middle grey, expected ISO setting and contrast ratios you are aiming for associated with each environment. Also indicate any filtration you intend to use and the reasons why.
  • Specific Production Challenges: Describe any major lighting, rigging, power, location and/or camera challenges that need larger development and be prepared to explain how you propose to overcome these challenges.

5. The Producer will return with a three-minute presentation going through the Production board scene by scene in shooting order with the planned CALL and WRAP times for each shooting day including the plan for the use of any overtime.

As the producer goes through each day they should discuss all pre- production accomplishments and challenges related to each scene, with a plan for how the team will meet each challenge.

The Producer should focus on all concerns that any objective person would have about the production (e.g., a difficult location, an exotic animal, a dangerous activity, etc.). The goal is to anticipate the faculty’s concerns and address them before the Q&A begins.

Section II – Faculty Q&A

Faculty will ask students questions related to the presentation of the film in Section I. Students must be prepared to address in detail every story, script and production concern the faculty may have. The First Assistant Director will take notes during this section, making certain to document every faculty concern and related resolutions. It is important that the 1st A.D. has a complete understanding of any and all topics of discussion (the production team will rely on the 1st AD’s notes to address concerns after Director’s Prep). So the 1st AD should be prepared to stop the Q&A at any time for clarification.

This section will take as long as necessary for the faculty to have a complete understanding of the story, screenplay and production. (The directing faculty member will watch time and make certain to end this session with enough time to accomplish the next section.)

Section III – Presentation and Discussion of Storyboards

The purpose of this section is to give the director an opportunity to present the film to the faculty – frame-by-frame. Storyboards will be presented as a visual representation of how the film will play when it’s completed (e.g., the first storyboard should be the first image in the completed film), and SHOULD NOT be presented as a representation of coverage.

Directors will present storyboards one scene at a time – uninterrupted – describing the action and dialogue that happens in each frame. After each scene, faculty will ask questions and raise concerns. All other production members should be prepared to participate in the answers to the faculty’s questions. Directors will continue to the next scene only after all of the faculty’s questions/concerns have been addressed.

Any storyboard that depicts a camera angle that is intended to be shot as a visual effect, or is intended to be shot with a camera that is different from the primary thesis camera issued, must be either scanned from a yellow page or paper or have a large yellow banner applied under it in the Prezi.

The First Assistant Director will take notes during this section, making certain to document every faculty concern and related resolutions. It is important that the 1st A.D. has a complete understanding of any and all topics of discussion (the production team will rely on the 1st AD’s notes to address concerns after Director’s Prep). So the 1st AD should be prepared to stop the Q&A at any time for clarification.

Section IV – Creation of an Action Plan

The 1st Assistant Director will review with faculty and students every problem identified during prep. Together, faculty and students will determine who will be responsible for solving each problem before production begins. The 1st AD will create a list of these problems and responsible persons, which will become the “Action Plan.” Before the end of the day, the 1st AD will email the film’s Action Plan to each member of the faculty participating in the Director’s Prep. In the days following Director’s Prep, everyone will work to complete the Action Plan.

Prior to the first day of production, the 1st AD will email the completed Action Plan to the faculty, with a description of the resolution(s) for each problem identified.

If the action plan is not complete and submitted 12 hours before the first shooting day’s call time then the show will be penalized by the reduction of some or all of the shows overtime/PU days/special equipment privileges to be determined by the faculty production supervisor.