A film crew is a group of people which works on the production aspect of a film. Film crews are differentiated from actors in that they support the production of a piece without actually appearing on screen (except by accident), and the members of the crew are also separate from the producers, who handle the intellectual property and distribution aspects of production. There are a number of positions on a film crew, ranging from the prestigious roles to scut work, and a good film crew is key to producing a high quality film, commercial, television show, or any other sort of filmed piece.
There are a number of broad departments within a film crew, each with specific responsibilities and players. As a general rule, these departments work closely with one another to ensure that the film has a polished, consistent, professional look and to create a piece which matches with the vision of the producer and director.
The production department on a film crew consists of the producers, director, and their support staff, including second units, stunt coordinators, continuity supervisors, and choreographers. This department handles the creative aspect of the film, working together to create and realize a vision, and they also handle the day to day needs of production, through production assistants who organize everything from facilities rental to catering services. Also included on the production team is the front office staff.
Many people in the production department of a film crew have worked in other departments, to gain a thorough knowledge of all of the positions on a film crew. This deeper understanding of the way other positions on the crew work can be extremely helpful when they issue orders and directives.
The art department is responsible for the look and feel of the film, realized through sets, props, landscaping, and so forth. A production designer typically supervises this department, working closely with the director. For the look of the actors, the hair and makeup and wardrobe departments work on costumes and physical appearances, typically consulting with the lighting and design teams to make sure that the actors look their best.
The production sound division of the film crew handles the sound recording during production, while the sound crew works on incidental music and post-production sound. Camera crews are responsible for the physical filming, along with lighting, assisted by the grips, riggers, and gaffers who actually position and manipulate the lighting on set while meeting other electrical needs. In post-production, editors and visual effects crews put the finishing touches on the piece, ensuring that it looks perfect before distribution.