Pro Tip: What To Call Out Before "Action!"

Taught By:

Lauren Haroutunian


All the things that need to be called out before the director can call "Action!"

Lesson Plan

A lot of things have to come into place before "Action!" can be called on set. A lot of the time, it will vary from set to set, and sometimes scene to scene, depending on the needs of production. Here we show you the most common sequence of events used by the crew on RocketJump: The Show's last short, The Tip Jar.

Communication on set is key! Here's a quick breakdown:

This lets the entire crew know that you're about to get ready to shoot. If you are rehearsing, a common thing to call out is "Rehearsal's Up!" so everyone knows that it's not actually being filmed yet.

PA's are usually stationed around different parts of the set. When the hear the AD call out for picture, they repeat it in the area of set that they are stationed in. That way, crewmembers who are not nearby know that you are getting ready to film.

AD: "Roll Sound!"
This lets the sound mixer and boom operators know to begin recording sound. This also alerts everyone nearby that sound is being recorded, and to quiet down.

PA's: "Rolling!"
Again, this echo lets other crewmembers in different area know that sound is rolling and they need to be quiet and still for the shot.

SOUND GUY: "Sound speeds!"
This lets the AD and crew know that sound is officially rolling and ready to go.

1st ASSISTANT CAMERA (1st AC): "Camera speeds!"
This lets the crew know that camera has begun rolling. Sometimes the AD will call out "Roll Camera" before hand, but usually camera should be ready to go when sound is.

**Note:* The term "speeds" come from the early days of film, where once you started rolling actual film through a camera, it took a few seconds for the motion of the film to get "up to speed". The camera man would only call out "speed" when it was filming at the correct frame rate.*

2nd ASSISTANT CAMERA (2nd AC): Slating and "Mark!"
Once both sound and camera are rolling, the 2nd AC slates the shot so sound and camera can sync in post. Check out our tutorial here on How To Slate.

This lets the director and AD know that camera has the correct framing and focus and are ready to go. (Sometimes camera has to re-set from filming the slate, or the rig they are on has to be adjusted.)

That should speak for itself!