the blog

Rock Creek’s On-set Jargon

If you’re ever on set with Rock Creek, you might hear some strange or curious terms.  To alleviate any confusion, here are a few definitions you might enjoy.

Skōsh – a little bit; as in “move that light a skōsh to the right.”

Woof – stop; enough; as in, “move that light a skōsh to the right.  Woof!”

Apple Box – multipurpose wooden boxes, e.g. useful for sitting on, raising the plant in the background a bit, or making a shorter actor taller; e.g. “Put Tom Cruise on an apple box.”

Pancake – Apple boxes come in a variety of sizes:  full, one-half, one-quarter, and, yep, you guessed it….

Diva – a personal sized florescent lighting fixture, just right for an actress’s face.

Boy/Girl – an even mix of daylight and tungsten color balanced florescent tubes in a fixture.

Salt and Pepper to Taste – an uneven mixture of daylight and tungsten color balanced florescent tubes in a fixture; used to warm or cool a scene.

Stick-ups – small, battery-powered LED lighting fixtures that one can ‘stick up’ onto anything.

Floppy – a 4’ by 4’ black flag with extendable fabric used to block light.

C-47 – A wooden clothespin; used to secure diffusion and colored gels to lights (the name originates from its catalog designation)

Pigtail – a short bundle of audio signal and monitoring cables that attach to the camera ending in a quick release attachment

“Uno mas, por favor” – “one more take, please” (but not really just one, probably several; anyway, let’s go again….)

Grip – the name for a broad category of hardware and fixtures used to control light, or the person who deals with it

Gag – any device placed in front of a light and used to change or control the way light is striking an object, or to create shadows.

Schmutz – typically diffusion that we place in front of a light to soften it; or, alternately, dirt on the lens or on a monitor; as in, “Wipe that schmutz off the lens, man!”

C-Stand – a sturdy, multi-purpose stand to hold lighting and grip equipment; named for the Century company, an old Hollywood establishment.  C-stands come with arms and knuckles for attaching all manner of stuff.

Gary Coleman – a half-height C-stand.  Enough said.

Stingers – heavy-duty electrical extension cords

Crafty – Food!  Snacks, drinks, etc.  In our case typically coffee, juice, sodas, bagels, Odwalla protein drinks, granola bars, beef jerky, chocolate … and yes, fruit.

Martini Shot – the last shot of the day, right before Martini time.

“This has been another fine Rock Creek production” – that goes without saying…, but typically our Martini shot.

(As always, thanks to Donny Aros for keeping the verbiage lively on set.)

The Rock Creek Family is growing!

Our Rock Creek Family is growing!

2014 was an exciting year for us here at Rock Creek Productions. We were fortunate to have two new additions!

Editor, Jacob Mosholder, welcomed his second child, daughter Zoya Joan Mosholder.

Rock Creek Family


Birthday: September 16, 2014

Current Age: 4 months old

Favorite Activity: Laughing at everyone who makes eye contact.

New Skill: Standing on one foot (with support of her father)

Next Goal: Uneven bars … or maybe she’ll start with crawling first … hard to say

Producer and Editor, Aimie Burns, welcomed her second son – Alexander Louis Burns.


Birthday: October 13, 2014

Current Age: 3 months

Favorite Activity: Watching his big brother, Christopher be silly

New Skill: Making spit bubbles and laughing out loud

Next Goal: Figuring out how to crawl and walk – must explore now

Rock Creek Productions Launches Rock Creek Studios

It’s official! We’ve moved into new video production and still photography studio space in Herndon, VA. Rock Creek Studios offers nearly 5,000 square feet of space centered around a large and flexible studio with full amenities including make-up and green rooms, client work spaces, a kitchen and workshop. And when our build-out is complete we’ll have and a large 20′ wide cyc, too. Here’s our new layout!

rock creek studio

Give us a call or drop us a line to come see it!


Tim Phillips
Rock Creek Productions/Studios
1145 Herndon Parkway
Suite 500
Herndon, VA  20170

Rock Creek On the Move

Rock Creek’s been on the move a lot in the last three months shooting in Tennessee, Indiana, Alaska, Texas (everything’s bigger in Texas … except Alaska), and California and Pennsylvania which we visited twice, for clients including the Transportation Security Agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency … and more travel is expected in 2015!

But our BIG NEWS is that we’re about to move permanently into a large and flexible studio space! Rock Creek Studios will offer almost 5,000 sq. ft. of offices, editorial suites, and adaptable studio space. Our main studio is 45’x30’ with 16’ high ceilings – that’s 1350 square feet of open space large enough for nearly any application. In addition, there are spaces adjoining the main studio that effectively make it even larger and more versatile. And we’re fully outfitted with make-up and green rooms, a kitchen, and a workshop for making props and set pieces. And when our build-out is complete, we’ll have a large 20’ wide cyc for limbo or green screen shoots.

rock creek studio

This is a shot tucked into just a corner of our space. Paul Allvin being interviewed by his daughter Vivian Allvin.

We invite you to check us out online or in person.  Just drop us a line for a tour or to discuss a project.  Our address is 1145 Herndon Parkway, Suite 500, Herndon, VA 20170; you can reach us at 703.481.6590, online at or via email at

Flexible Studio Space

Creating a point-of-view shot of an employee sitting at an “bull pen” desk and looking out into the wider office space was easy in our flexible production studio. By constructing two half-walls, dressing the space to appear like a busy office, and populating it with extras, we created a look that pleased our client, CTEC, and achieved its goal.

studio set design

Here’s a shot of the set.

studio set design

Here’s a screen grab from the final shot.

Ashley Morrison delivers a package while Ashley Mushett fights with a printer, Linda Ross talks on the phone, and Susan Aglio works on the whiteboard. (Not seen are Lea Mulligan, Cale Harfoush, Chris Polito, and Chris Guarraia; Martin Spitznagle was CTEC’s director).

We’re in Alaska!

We are currently on location in beautiful Homer, Alaska – working on a project for Veteran Affairs.

These two views overlook Cook Inlet and the surrounding volcanic mountains and glaciers.

Veteran Affairs, Alaska

In the News

TSA, filming

Behind the scenes on the TSA Active Shooter training video

We are spending this week filming a TSA Active Shooter training video at the Indianapolis Airport – it has been making the news!

Below are some links to see some of the coverage and behind the scenes footage.

Flexible Studio Space

Rock Creek just wrapped another studio shoot in which we created a mock news report for a National Defense University security exercise.  Here you can see a couple of images of our film production studio — the first showing the space and crew during a rehearsal and the second a screen-shot from the program itself.  Our main studio floor is large, but it offers options that can extend the space even further, as you see here.

Here’s a shot of Carlyncia Peck in front of the camera (with Steve Ray in the background) during a rehearsal; the crew is Jake Mosholder, Steve Agnew, Jonathan Cohen, Donny Aros, and Barbara York (l -r).

And here’s a resulting screen shot with Carlyncia Peck ( and Steve Ray, Rebecca Hyde, and Albert Keys in the background).

CERT Training Impact

In 2009 Rock Creek produced several training programs for the Community Emergency Response Teams, or CERT.  It’s always gratifying to learn, even after all these years, that products we’ve produced still have impact.
Here’s the story:
An actor friend of ours, Ken Elston, is running for Manassas City Council (, and we’ve offered to shoot some video for him to help with his election.  Well, he participated in the CERT program back in 2009.  Here’s a recent note from Ken:
“…remember the CERT emergency response video we did some years ago? Yesterday was National Night Out, and the town was full of emergency and safety personnel. The CERT tent went crazy when I came up, because they had just watched the training video again as a team. And some of them vote in the city!

UNC-TV Picks up Peace Through Education: Stealing the Light

Rock Creek Productions’ independent documentary film Peace Through Education: Stealing the Light was recently picked up by North Carolina’s Center for Public Television this week.

A timely story about the challenges of illiteracy and building educational infrastructure in one of the most conflict-torn areas in Afghanistan, this film demonstrates the power of education in creating civil society. We will be sure to post an update once we know the broadcast schedule.

Documentary Filmmaking