In Part 1 of this three-part series, I described some of the more generic terms and slang used by everyone on movie sets.
With each department, however, there is a large subset of lingo thrown about between the crew. This is especially true for camera assistants, loaders and cinematographers who not only have to know every piece of a camera, but come up with nicknames or abbreviations for them as well.
Camera Department Slang
1 & 2 – usually used as short-hand by the director of photography (DP) to mean the first mark and the second mark of a camera move
Air – compressed canned air
AKS – an abbreviation used to refer to a miscellaneous collection of tools or equipment. Stands for “all kinds of stuff” or “all kinds of s***”
Babies – small tripod legs; also baby sticks, baby legs
Chammy – an eyepiece chamois used to cover the eye-cup of the viewfinder; made of cloth or animal skin.
Crossing – phrase used to inform the camera operator when you walk in front of the lens
Dirt – a sand bag
Ditty Bag – refers to a toolbag used to store the essentials for a camera assistant that is often carried around with the camera or lenses
Dumb Side – looking in the same direction as the lens, the right side of the camera
Dutch – to tilt the camera diagonally at a canted angle
EVF – Electronic View Finder
Gaff – gaffer’s tape
Hard Tape – a metal tape measure
Jam – to sync, usually timecode
M.O.S. – to shoot without any sound being recorded; refers to Minus Optical Strip or Minus Optical Sound
Portcap – the cover for the lens hole on a camera
QRP – quick release plate
Sand – a sand bag
Second Sticks – a call made by/to inform the 2nd assistant camera (AC) that the clap of the slate sticks was not properly captured the first time and is needed again
Shammy – an eyepiece chamois. See “chamois”
Sharps – focus, used as a noun.
Smart Side – looking in the same direction as the lens, the left side of the camera
Softie – the first AC or focus puller
Soft Tape – a cloth tape measure
Tap – the monitor or viewing system connected to the camera
T-Stops – similar to f-stops, t-stops are the measurement of light coming into the lens while compensating the amount of light lost within the lens
Like any job, there is short-hand and slang thrown about on sets, but the difference in this profession is how prevalent it truly is. Part of being successful in the camera department is being able to use these terms to communicate effectively with everyone from the loader to the director of photography.