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Check the gate!

Posted by Bob on October 17, 2003

In Reply to: Check the gate! posted by ESC on October 16, 2003

: : I worked as an extra on the movie Fight Club, and whenever the director felt he'd finally got the shot he liked, he'd yell, "Check the gate!" (not "That's a wrap!")and everyone would celebrate that we were done with the scene. I'd asked what this phrase meant. I was told that it meant the camera operators were to check the film gate to make sure the film was ok and had not become jammed. Since then, I've heard this phrase used in the stead of that's a wrap.

: Interesting.

Well, almost the same. When everything seems to be going smoothly, and you've finished shooting, there's one precautionary step left: to check for a hair in the gate. It's undetectable until you make that last check, where the camera operator visually inspects the film gate. It has happened that a human hair will get into the gate, and everything up to that point may need to be reshot. So before the director calls it a wrap (which releases the cast and crew, and the union clock stops) there's a tense moment or two. No hair in the gate? That is (finally) a wrap.