Set Education : Clear the Set
IT HAPPENS EVERY PRODUCTION
Without fail, a crew member, client, or visitor to the set 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, but it’s typically a rookie mistake. How do you know when it’s a rookie and not a veteran? Rookies always have the same response: “Sorry, Sorry! Jeez, I don’t no idea what the camera can see.”
Technically, the rookies are correct. You don’t know EXACTLY what’s in frame (edge-to-edge) unless you’re 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 in windows, glass surfaces, mirrors, shiny metals, and acrylic surfaces. I will not try to explain angle of reflectance and angle of incidence on this post, but the condensed solution to this issue is similar to above. Look at the reflections of these surfaces and if you see the camera lens in the reflections, then the camera can see you and your movements.
Be aware of your surroundings, keep your eyes on the camera, and listen for direction to move or “clear set.” Being asked to clear set is not a personal attack on your character; you’re simply visible to camera and need to move.