CREDIT IS DUE TO…
If you want to know where the Oscar favourite ‘The Favourite’ was filmed, you have to sit through over five minutes of credits to discover the locations (largely Hatfield House and Hampton Court, reports Education Department volunteer Brian Baker) who delves into a few of the more down-to-earth jobs in film production.
The use of closing credits in film to list complete cast, production crew and assorted hangers-on was not firmly established until the 1970s. F. W. Murnau’s 1922’s ‘Nosferatu’ only mentions 16 people in its minute and a half credit sequence.
Credit lists have grown over the years. ‘Star Wars,’ A New Hope, 1977, lists 151 credits, rising to the final Lord of the Rings’ ‘Return of the King” credits (over 2000) lasting for over nine minutes including ‘wrangler manager’ and a ‘compositing inferno artist.’
Many other movies have vied for the honour. ‘Titanic’ lists 2,048 names for its closing credits and ‘Avatar’ 3,108. ‘Iron Man 3’ catalogues 3,708. Many exotic titles mention “Romanian Army liaison aide and food stylist” (both in “Cold Mountain”).
Grips: Responsibility for all the equipment that supports cameras such as tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs.
Key grip: The boss or head of the grip department. A Best boy is key grip’s right-hand person. He or she will book crew and equipment rental.
Dolly grip: Tech department staff who move camera cranes and dollies, wheeled carts or similar device often raised onto a track to create smooth horizontal camera movements.
Gaffer: Film Production electrical department head responsible for keeping the lights on, laying cables and following the director of photography’s safety regulations. He/she will also have a Best boy as chief assistant and a Key grip in charge of the labour and non-electrical equipment used to support and modify the lighting.
Focus puller: Or first assistant camera, a member of a film crew’s camera department responsible to maintain image sharpness on a subject or action being filmed.
Clapper loader: Or second assistant camera loads the raw film stock into camera magazines, operating the clapperboard at the beginning of each take, marking the actors and maintaining records and paperwork for the camera department.
Wrangler: Controls, instructs and cares for animals used in filming and ensures that the production abides by laws relating to the protection of animals.
A child wrangler: performs a similar function for juvenile members of the cast, managing child actors on a set, coaching them in acting and keeping them entertained when not required.
A python wrangler: nothing to do with snakes, a jocular term for the utility sound technician who performs a variety of tasks in the Sound Department, most typically pulling cables!
The Foley Editor: works for the sound designer. Foley editors recreate the sounds that it wasn’t possible to pick up or create during filming. Among sound effects created off set: cellophane to create crackling fire effects, acorns, small apples and walnuts on wood for bone-breaking; canned dog food for alien pod embryo expulsions and monster vocalizations due to gushy sucking sounds!
ADR supervisor: reviews the dialogue in the film to decide whether lines need to be re-recorded. Tom Hardy, who portrayed Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, re-dubbed half of his own lines in this way for ease of viewer comprehension!
Boom operator: Or first assistant sound, responsible for utilising microphones on the end of boom poles held above actor’s heads during a scene to capture dialogue. To get microphone as close to the action as possible, without the equipment or its shadows showing up on camera.
Stinger (not a job role): A surprising, last-minute bit of dialogue or footage, running gag or plotline appears after the closing credits e.g. in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Matthew Broderick breaks the fourth wall and berates the audience: “You’re still here? It’s over! Go home. Go!” Is it worth sitting through interminable credits for the possibility of a stinger? Do I feel lucky? Well, do you?
Brian Baker is Education Department Team Member and cinema ticket-taker volunteer.