Can I please be the one to throw the dummy off the balcony? I have a little experience. The first film I made at college was titled Watermelon Babies. I can't even remember what it was supposed to be about, but the fun scene involved us dropping whole watermelons from the top floor of the Science building onto the set, populated by a nuclear family of crash-test dummies sitting on a couch watching TV.
As promised, c_b, I asked a technician on a shoot and he confirmed my definition. He'd never heard your version. Perhaps it's simply geo-positional. Yours is far more romantic so, given that no-one seems to use it much here, I'm promoting yours.
Thanks for that input, c_b. It's certainly more interesting than the description I have, which I've simply taken from an old list I found on file, the contents of which I am transferring to the list filmscript. Mostly verbatim and without further comment.
This is also a term I've never heard on a set, so I know less than you about it. I'm assuming it's the person who you see measuring and marking the distance between the camera and the actor's mark with a tape measure.
Hmm. We always used this to mean the person or thing that attracts the attention (focus) of the audience or, on a shoot, the camera. E.g., if you're doing a play and someone's falling off a balcony, you'd throw something off the balcony first (like a dummy) to pull focus so that people actually *see* the person doing the high fall. On a film shoot, it's the person who stands there so the camera person can get it adjusted properly, before the scene shoots, or even a rehearsal starts.
I would interpret this definition, though, to mean the person who focuses the camera, which is not quite the same thing. Is that what you meant?