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A is for Apple box

I am often asked questions about different film terminology, so I thought it might be useful and interesting to start a regular blog exploring the different terms, what they mean and some of the history behind them.


To start us off we have the humble apple box. But what's an apple box I hear you ask ! Well if you’ve ever watched a movie or television show, you’ve probably seen an apple box in action. An apple box is a lightweight, versatile piece of equipment used in film and television production. It can be used to elevate actors, props, and equipment, provide a platform for filming, and even serve as an emergency step ladder.


Apple boxes come in a variety of sizes and shapes and have been used in film and television production for decades. There are four main types of apple boxes: full, half, quarter, and pancake.


Full apple boxes are the largest of the four and are usually used to elevate actors and equipment. They are also often used as a platform for filming, either for a camera stand or for the camera operator to sit on.


Half apple boxes are half the size of full apple boxes and also used to raise actors or props to a comfortable height. They can also be used as a platform for filming, although they are less stable than full apple boxes.


Quarter apple boxes are one-quarter the size of full apple boxes and are primarily used to raise actors or props to a comfortable height. They are also used to create different levels in a scene and to add extra stability when filming.


Pancake apple boxes are the smallest of the four and are used to raise actors or props to a comfortable height, create different levels in a scene and to add extra stability when filming.


When an apple box is being placed other members of the crew are often lifting something heavy to put on top of it at speed. Because of this the need for terms describing what position the apple box should be placed in (i.e - which side of the apple box should be placed face-down) became very important. These term usually refer to a full apple box only. The terms originated in America but local variations are very common. At BN Media we have our own Suffolk take on these that you will hear us call on set.


New York or "A" (Ipswich): Positioned so the apple box is tallest, like the tall buildings in New York. Texas/Chicago or "B" (Woodbridge): Positioned so the apple box is resting on its longest narrow side. LA or "C" (Wickham Market): Positioned so the apple box is flattest.


If you enjoyed this be sure to check out our other A to Z of film terminology blogs.

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