When you work as a stand-in, you may encounter situations in which the camera department asks you to stand on an apple box to adjust your height. You may be a regular stand-in standing in for a day-player who is taller than you or for an actress who is your height but is wearing high heels in the scene.

It can be difficult to maneuver an apple box when standing in, but working with an apple box is usually temporary. Here is some information about apple boxes and some tips to help you if you are asked to use one while standing in.

Apple Box Basics

Apple boxes are wooden boxes used on sets to raise furniture, props, and people. They are produced in the following sizes:

“Full Apple” = 8″ tall

“Half Apple” = 4″ tall

“Quarter Apple” = 2″ tall

“Pancake” or “Eighth Apple” = 1″ tall

Tips for Standing In with an Apple Box

Marks

1. If your marks have already been set on the floor, try to line up the front of the apple box with the top of the mark and center it so you can stand in the right place. The camera assistant may or may not give you another mark for your apple box, so be extra aware of your positions.

2. Your mark may be adjusted by the camera operator while you are standing in. If the camera assistant puts the new mark on the actual apple box, make sure the camera assistant has the opportunity to adjust the mark on the floor before you pick up the apple box when second team is dismissed.

3. If you have two marks that are close together in a scene, you may be able to place your apple box in one position that will cover both marks. For example, if your actor takes a small step forward in the scene, set your apple box so it extends in front of you the long way (or sideways for a small side-step adjustment).

Traveling with Your Apple Box

1. When the actor you are standing in for moves throughout the scene, it is usually your responsibility to move your apple box from place to place while you are setting up the shot with the crew.

2. You may have to walk forward in the scene or walk out of frame. It can be tricky to accomplish this with your apple box. If the camera operator is practicing the camera move when you are walking a few steps away from your mark, you will not be able to pick up the apple box without leaving the frame. The camera operator may need you to start on your apple box, step off, and walk on the tips of your toes to try to match the height as best you can. When the camera crew is finished looking at the move, you should have a chance to pick up your apple box and move it to the next mark.

3. While moving the apple box, you should bend down and pick it up rather than pushing it across the floor with your feet. You don’t want to risk bumping the apple box into furniture or light stands. Also, the apple box could accidentally pick up the actors’ marks from the floor as it slides across the tape.

4. If you are asked to step out for safety reasons while a light is being set or furniture is being moved, you should pick up the apple box and take it with you so the crew has room to work.

5. When second team is dismissed, ask an A.D. if you should keep the apple box with you for the next setup or return it to the person who gave it to you (usually someone from the props department).

Ben’s Tip:
When you have to crouch or kneel when you’re standing in in a scene, you may tax your knees.  Don’t be shy in requesting an apple box for this kind of work.  Politely ask an A.D. if you could have an apple box, or if you’re familiar with the props department, you might politely ask one of them.  You can use the apple box to support your crouched or kneeling position and spare your knees any stress.  Also, there are fitted seat cushions for apple boxes, so if you need something more comfortable, you might request a cushion, too.

Have you had any experiences standing in on an apple box? Any tips you’d like to share? Please comment below!