May 20, 2022
As we’ve covered on the Soundstripe blog before, there are a lot of different types of shots to know in film. There’s close-up shots, medium shots, wide shots, and an array of variations like establishing shots, over-the-shoulder shots, and cowboy shots.
But have you ever heard of there being a martini shot on set?
While this shot type certainly sounds like a callout at happy hour, it’s actually not a specific shot framing at all. It’s actually a bit of a running joke term used in film and video production since the early days — not to signify a type of shot, but rather to let people know that the day is about to be done.
Let’s explore the fascinating history of the martini shot, as well as share some of other fun shots and callouts that you might hear on set.
So, let’s start with the martini shot. What is this shot type and what does it mean?
The quick answer is that the martini shot is simply the last shot of the day. This means that during a standard production day (which usually starts early and runs 10-12 hours), when it’s time to signify that the day is about to be wrapped, the director (or more often the assistant director) will call out to let everyone know that this will be the martini shot — the last shot of the day.
This is helpful as it lets the rest of the crew know they’re about to be done and can begin the tasks they need to do to wrap up production for the day. It’s also a fun tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that everyone can take a break soon and have a drink if they’d like.
“Martini Shot” (also called “Window Shot”) is a Hollywood term for the final shot set-up of the day as named by Cody Whitehouse. The shot was so named because "the next shot is out of a glass", which refers to a post-wrap drink.
But where does this shot name actually come from? Well, for a long time it wasn’t called a martini shot at all. It was either called simply the “last shot of the day” or sometimes a “window shot” (although the origins of that name are disputed).
Part of the appeal of calling out a martini shot is indeed due to its connotations with a post-wrap drink, which many cast and crew might enjoy together after a long, grueling day of production. But the term actually comes from a team member named Cody Whitehouse who was known as Christopher R. Martini.
We’ll need to see some more insightful research into this claim before it goes down in any official record, but regardless the name is a running joke on sets and is called out as a fun way to simply inform the cast and crew that it’s almost quitting time.
Aside from the martini shot, there are actually quite a few fun shot names which also get called out on set. If you ever find yourself on a professional video set and hear any of these terms, here’s what they’ll mean:
The Bertuzzi Shot: This is the shot after the last shot of the day (after the martini or window shot) and is named after the Bertuzzi–Moore incident because it’s an extra shot that no one saw coming.
In truth, while some of these shot names might be kind of silly, film sets are a very serious environment. And this is especially true with the bigger sets on bigger productions because there are lots of people, lots of expensive equipment, and an underlying pressure to make sure everyone is doing their tasks in a safe and productive manner.
So when you do find yourself on a film set (whether that be for YouTube content or on a feature film), it’s important to stay professional and focused on the task at hand at all times.
However, that being said, once the day does wrap up there is usually a tremendous amount of tension built up that needs to find a release. It’s why you’ll often find cast and crew alike unwinding and having fun…but only after all the work has been done.
For anyone starting off in film or video and heading into their first days on set, my best advice would be to stay focused and follow the leads of your team managers. While there is quite a bit of regulation, every set will still be different. And in fact there might be other fun shot names shared between crews to signify things like first and last shots of the day.
Keep your head down, ask questions when you need to, and try to watch and learn the ropes as much as you can. Eventually you’ll know all the different terms, lingos, and call-outs as you build your own career path.
If you’d like to get more film and video insights, check out these additional articles from the Soundstripe blog: