Your Production Crew
Filmmaking is a collaborative activity — a team sport! Here is a list of the primary roles you can play on a video shoot. It is possible for one person to play more than one role, or for multiple people to rotate roles between projects.
- Producer: This role manages the entire process of getting the idea onto the page and through pre-production, production, post-production and to the screen. Think of them as the foreman on a construction site. They keep everyone on schedule and serve as the main point of contact between all the crew members. Basically they keep the logistics organized so that the creative process can occur as smoothly as possible. If the director were a painter, the producer would be the one who sets up the canvas, the paints and the brushes so the director can paint the picture.
- Director: This role manages bringing the script to life. They are in charge of the creative elements of the video production process. They have a clear vision in their head of the entire video and are able to communicate that vision to their collaborators. If they were making a narrative film, the director would be working with the actors to shape their performances. If they were making a documentary, the director would be the one asking the subject the questions. The director collaborates with all other roles to bring their creative vision to life.
- Writer/Screenwriter: This role is responsible for writing the script including developing the characters, dialogue, actions, setting and the plot. A script can have more than one writer. A screenwriter usually collaborates with the director or producer who act as a sounding board for ideas. But the screenwriter is the one with their hands on the pen or keyboard transforming their ideas into words and creating the blueprint the production and post-production crews will follow to make the video.
- Cinematographer/Director of Photography: This role is in charge of the camera and capturing the performances and images needed to tell the story. Their role includes the technical aspects of making sure the camera has enough power and digital storage space, the tripod is correctly set up, and that the camera is placed in the correct position on set. They also focus on knowing what the camera is capturing creatively in terms of how the actors’ performances are being captured and working together with the director to ensure they are getting all of the footage needed to tell the story. With 360° filmmaking you need to ensure that all video equipment and crew members are out of sight as they can distract from the performances.
- Production Designer: Everything you see in a video that is not the actors themselves is the domain of the production designer role. They make the location look a certain way that makes the setting believable within the context of the story. The room itself, the walls, desks, props and costumes can all be manipulated to look the way the director wants and the script dictates. In professional film this role is sometimes delegated to multiple people (e.g costume designer, props master, etc.) but on smaller projects, one person can usually handle all of these aspects of the production. With 360°, keep in mind that the camera can see the surrounding walls as well as the ceiling and the floor. Be creative with how the setting looks so that the audience has interesting things to look at no matter where they look and that they feel like they are inhabiting the world of the story.
- Audio Engineer: Everything you hear in a video (other than music) is captured by an audio engineer either during production or post production. On larger film and video projects, there is a separate audio recording system that records audio. On a 360° video shoot you can either use a small audio recorder or use the audio off of the camera. If you use an audio recorder you have to make sure that the microphone is either out of sight or blends into the scene. Just as the cinematographer is charged with ensuring the images are properly captured, the audio engineer is charged with making sure the sound is properly captured. Sounds can also be captured during post-production and matched up with the footage captured during production.
- Editor: Imagine that a video is a jigsaw puzzle. If the screenwriter is the one that draws a picture of what the finished puzzle will look like, pre-preproduction is the process of planning how each piece will be created and the production crew endeavors to build each piece, then the editor is the role that fits the pieces together. They take each shot, action, piece of dialog, plot moment and music clip and shape them to fit within the final story. They collaborate with the director to use all of the pieces captured to bring the vision that was in the director’s head to the editing system and export it for the world to see. The editor primarily works on a computer and post-production usually takes much longer than the production process.