The Versatility of an Apple Box on a Film Set


Video Production needs specialized tools and equipment in order to be successful.  This equipment provides the tools and foundation for any video. While this equipment is specialized, that doesn’t mean all of it is very complex. For example, the piece of equipment known as the apple box is a very simple, yet useful and common tool.

What is an Apple Box?

We mentioned apple boxes in our article VIDEO PRODUCTION TERMS AND LINGO but will go in more depth about it here. It states that “an apple box is actually not used for apples on set. It is simply a wooden box used to prop up and support other equipment.”

You can see a common apple box set up above. This set up uses full and half sized boxes.

As you can see, it is just like the box you stood on for elementary school picture day. In fact, actors stand on apple boxes quite often to help them get an extra bit of height needed for a scene.


How is it Used?

Apple Boxes are one of the most useful pieces of equipment on a film set. As a matter of fact, these can prop up any piece of equipment and provide it support. Some of its uses include to:

  • Add height to actors, cameras, or props
  • Support equipment
  • Create a Dolly
  • A chair for a camera operators
  • A step ladder

Often the need arises to make an actor appear taller, either because of their height or to fit with the composition of a particular shot. People on sets sometimes call Apple boxes “man makers.”

Also, Apple boxes actually were originally used for storage. They have a forward opening and sometimes sets use double storage devices for small tools on set.


There’s actually a lot to Apple Boxes, more than you think. Let’s explore the reason why sizes are important.

Apple Box Sizes

Apple Boxes have 4 standard sizes. Some even call a full Apple Box a “Tom Cruise,” since, for obvious reasons, Tom Cruise is a short dude and often needed an apple box to stand on. Here are the actual sizes, as well as their dimensions.

  • Full: 20″×12″×8″
  • Half: 20″×12″×4″
  • Quarter: 20″×12″×2″
  • Pancake: 20″×12″×1″

Apple Box Positions

Different production companies and studios might use other names for the Apple Box positions, such as “first floor,” “second flood,” and “third floor”. Here at BW, we tend to use the association made by Evan Luzi from the Black and Blue. Below is a graphic using the same exact box. Let’s pretend it is a full-size apple box.

  • The New York position is when the box is standing on the smallest platform, the 12″x 8″ side.
  • When in the Chicago or Texas position, the box is resting on the 20″ x 8″ side.
  • The L.A. position places the box on the 20″ x 12″ side.

Conclusion

Apple boxes can be used for pretty much anything, especially if you’re creative and tend to “think outside the box.” (Get that pun there?)

In conclusion, apple boxes are a great tool for their versatility and inexpensive price. In Addition, you can usually buy a full set of them for around $150. Or if you’re crafty, you can make your own. What are some creative ways you’ve used apple boxes on set?


For more information on the type of work BW Productions does click HERE.