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Video Production Terms Translated

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To those of us in the video production industry, terms like “kill the baby” are common. But for the newbies and curious cats, such slang can be alarming. In this list, we’ve translated some of the oddest, top production terms you’re likely to hear around a video set.

  • Hot Set – A hot set refers to a video set in which there are furniture and props positioned in a precise way for an imminent shot. To keep the set in perfect condition to be filmed, it is labeled a hot set to avoid ruining the shot.
  • Kill the Baby – Lets break this down starting with baby. Babies are 1k or larger and often a small version of lights with just as much luminance. When a director calls “kill the baby” he or she is simply alerting the grip to turn off the 1k light. It is advised to be most aware of your surroundings and setting before calling out such alarming grip slang.
  • C-47 – Although C-47 sounds fancy, or perhaps electrical like a certain light, a C-47 is a term representing a wooden clothespin. It is also known as 47’s, CP47′, bullets and ammo. There a bunch of back stories on how C-47’s got their name. One in particular was because a C-47 refers to an extremely versatile type of military plan used during World War II. In the video production industry, these little tools are also versatile.Our favorite version of the story, is that back in the early Hollywood days, studio higher ups would audit equipment requests from other departments like the lighting department, who would go wild over the idea of spending big amounts of money on tools that simpler tools like a clothespin could take care of. Hence, clothespin was quietly changed to a more impressive sounding C-47 and all requests were immediately approved by clueless studio heads.
  • Pigeon plate on a pancake – This is one of our favorites to hear and say, just because it sounds like a ridiculous and long winded dinner order. Instead, this is something you can find in most grip kits. A 750 pigeon is a low stand used for a light on the floor or an Apple Box (wooden box) or on top of a shelf. The pancake part is a simply a piece of wood that the plate is attached to.
  • Juicer – a Juicer is simply a term meaning a lighting technician, or one who gives power to the video set. These juicers are also called lamp operators or sparks. In other countries like Europe, the electricians carry out much of the work that falls to the grip department in the US, where the lighting work is split into the electrician group ‘juicers’ and the grip group.
  • Mickey Rooney – Yes the old actor is where this name stems from. No offense against Mr. Rooney, but this term means a slow creep with the dolly. Apparently many believe Mickey Rooney is a little creep with a dolly…
  • Stingers – As a juicer or sparks refer to the electrical technician on set, a stinger refers to an electrical cord/extension cords.
  • Best Boy – Best boys in video terminology, are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the lighting or grip department. They are the best for the job and responsible for getting the equipment, returning it, loading and unloading the production trucks and planning and implementing the lighting or rigging of locations and stages.
  • Abby Singer – Abby Singer is a term meaning second-to-final shot of the day. This phrase was named after an actual crew member by the name of Abby Singer would always alert his people of this particular shot setup, scene or the day.
  • Spike that spot – A grip will spike a spot, or mark a certain spot called out by the director so that the talent know exactly where to hit their mark on set.

10 of the strangest video production terms

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