IT HAPPENS EVERY PRODUCTION
Without fail, a crew member, client, or gawker will get caught in the shot. D’OH! The guilty party will be verbally reprimanded for their interference in the production and is left with the horrible feeling knowing that they were the sole reason the production had to come to a screeching halt.
This happens to the veteran crew members on occasion, but it is typically a rookie infraction. How do I know when it’s a rookie and not a veteran? Because rookies always have the same whiney response:
“Sorry, jeez! I have no idea what the camera can see.”
Technically, the rookies ARE correct. You cannot know EXACTLY what is in frame edge to edge without being behind the camera or viewing playback.
So how can you stay out of frame? The super simplified answer is:
IF YOU SEE GLASS, THE CAMERA CAN SEE YOU!
The the glass is a camera’s optic lens and functions like your eye. If you can see the glass lens then the camera can potentially see you. A camera lens’ focal length can narrow or compress viewing range and give you more space flanking the set, but you don’t know the exact crop without being behind the camera . You will always be out of frame by doing the glass check; IF YOU SEE GLASS, MOVE YOUR ASS!
Other in camera interference to consider are your reflections off of windows, glass, mirrors, and super shiny surfaces. I do not dare try to explain angle of reflectance and angle of incidence on this post (or my blog for that matter). Just remember to be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes on the camera for any direction to clear the set or move.
The next time you witness this on set, give a rookie a little set education!