Managing Extras Effectively

Extras are the people in a scene who do not have speaking roles and are not considered to be minor actors. Their job is to fill a set with life, often in large numbers, as passers-by on a street or as guests in a café. Their number depends on the requirements of the story, the location and the coverage. They are chosen by the assistant director from a pool or booked through an agency. Depending on your budget, your casting may be more complex if you are looking for extras with special abilities or attributes, such as riders, musicians, or historical re-enactment groups, who would need to bring their horses, instruments, or historical costumes with them. The viewer should accept the extras as a natural part of the social world depicted, without raising questions of credibility. It is not only in historical productions that extras have their own costume and make-up rehearsals, it depends on whether this is necessary for the visual impression of any project.

During filming, extras are arranged by the assistant director. The task is to arrange the extras in accordance with the needs of the direction for the coverage of the scene. In most cases, the extras have to act mute so that the language of the actors in the foreground of the shot can be recorded without background noise. At the end of the filming, an atmospheric sound recording takes place, during which the actions and the conversations of the extras are repeated again with sound. In the sound post-processing, the images are then combined with this atmosphere, creating the desired impression of a living scenery.