best boy

Finnish translation: Valomies

English term or phrase:best boy
Finnish translation:Valomies

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14:02 Mar 5, 2010
English to Finnish translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Cinema, Film, TV, Drama
Additional field(s): Media / Multimedia
English term or phrase: best boy
Definition from
Best Boy means chief assistant. The best boy can be the second in charge of any team, but the term usually applies to the lighting/electrical and grip departments on a film set.

Example sentence(s):
  • The Gaffer could also be named "chief lighting technician" and a Best Boy is his next in command. Gothamist LLC
  • The job is not a glamorous one, and usually the only recognition you get for your hard efforts is when the audience sees the term 'Best Boy' in the credits and laughs. Helium, Inc.
  • On films with very small crews, the electric (lighting) department often consists of only a gaffer, a best boy, and a few electricians. The grip department may include only a key grip, a best boy, and a few grips. Wapedia
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From the book Elävän Kuvan Sanasto (Max Juntunen, EDITA)

Valomies (best boy, best boy grip): valaisijan avustaja. Hollywoodin elokuvatuotannossa "best boy" on "gafferin" eli valaisijan apulaisesta käytettävä nimitys.
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dmitry tolonen
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4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Summary of translations provided
5 +1Valomies
dmitry tolonen
4 -1kakkosmies
Tom Pesch

Discussion entries: 1


Translations offered

746 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1

Definition from Elokuvan taju -oppimateriaali:
Best Boy on päävalaisijan, eli pääsähkömiehen, tai key gripin kakkosmies.

Example sentence(s):
Best Boy is most widely used in Finland and elsewhere, but kakkosmies is the most accurate translation of it.
Tom Pesch
Local time: 09:40
Native speaker of: Native in FinnishFinnish
Notes to answerer
dmitry tolonen No problemo, I wouldn't want to force your hand! As often is the case in lieu of accurate native terms, English terms are used in lieu of translation (especially in practice). I'm afraid 'kakkosmies' is a description rather than a term, as I mentioned, and there isn't a native term for best boy electric (between the gaffer and spark/electrician), therefore 'valomies' is the - most - suitable as far as Im concerned, as it addresses the Lx side of things and not the grip side of things, like the term best boy grip does. But each to his own. Regards, Dmitry

Votes in favor of/against selecting this as the best translation of the term asked
No  dmitry tolonen: Please see note added to original translation. Regards, Dmitry
2 days 13 hrs
  -> I still disagree, as translating best boy as valomies does not accurately represent the role of the best boy. I would have offered the term "best boy" in the first place, as it's generally used, but I don't know if it's allowed here.
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1 day 22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1

Definition from own experience or research:
From the book Elävän Kuvan Sanasto (Max Juntunen, EDITA)

Valomies (best boy, best boy grip): valaisijan avustaja. Hollywoodin elokuvatuotannossa "best boy" on "gafferin" eli valaisijan apulaisesta käytettävä nimitys.

Example sentence(s):
  • Pelihousujen repimiseen ei ole aikaa, joten valomies Anssi Lautamo tekee roolin lennosta. - Kaleva  

Elokuva-ala nojaa pitkälti vakiintuneisiin, usein englanninkielisiin termeihin. Täten 'valomiehen' lisäksi kuullaan usein puhuttavan 'best boysta' jne.

Note added at 749 days (2012-03-23 16:23:52 GMT) Post-grading

Hi all,

(Quite a long response to Tom, but I will write in English for the benefit of other readers)

These are good points and I see where you're coming from, however 'valomies' is still the most suitable translation. In short, the BEST BOY (or, less frequently, the best boy electric) is the valomies, whilst the key grip's 'best boy' is specifically called the BEST BOY GRIP, i.e. a separate term. Therefore, best boy = valomies, unless you go with the English term. 'Kakkosmies' is a generic description, not a term, and slightly misleading at that. Please see below for why this is the case.

The full answer:

As with all specialist terms, film production terms are tricky; they depend on the production culture in question (US/ UK/ Finland etc.) and tend to change over time. Job specifications may overlap and blur the boundaries between e.g. the 1st assistant director/ production manager/ line producer, who may on smaller productions be given similar responsibilities with different job titles. This is also the case when moving from one part of the industry to another, while staying with a similar job title (e.g. compare the backgrounds and responsibilities of writer/producers and show runners on tv series to those of feature film producers). Also, the use of preferred terminology may vary geographically (e.g. the use of runners + production assistants in Britain, the tendency to call said workers PAs in the US and the recent use of 'runneri' in Finland, where this was never the case before).

Re: your comment above, the key grip's 'best boy' is specifically called best boy grip, and the gaffer's is simply called best boy (or, alternatively best boy electric) - and s/he will have the spark (or electrician) below him or her.

In lieu of proper translations, people in the industry will understandably use English terminology, or make up some kind of slang. 'Kakkosmies' is not a term/translation, and whilst it may describe the relative position of member of crew, it is slightly vague and misleading as it may be applied to anyone in such a secondary position and is therefore only a generic description.

I myself have worked on set and location as 'apulaisohjaaja' (1st AD) and 'kakkonen' (or 2. apulaisohjaaja, the 2nd AD) and this kind of generic term could be applied to camera assistants or assistant editors etc., so it is really not all that specific.

I suspect the word 'kakkosmies', quoted in your comment, may have been derived from either of the below links. These academic documents only describe the best boy as 'being second-in-command' under the gaffer (again, slighlty confusing: in actuality, they all answer to the Director of Photography) and as such, the texts do not offer 'kakkosmies' as an actual term:

On page 5:

The second of these texts, the useful but slightly outdated Elokuvantaju, also offers the catchy term 'kymppi' but again that term serves only as a general translation for 'best boy' and does not differentiate between /grip and /electric, as you have highlighted above. Although it sounds catchy, I have not come across 'kymppi' on a current production. It is worth noting that the hierarchy of best boys is also not always applicable to the Finnish production environment, as budgets and crew sizes tend to be smaller and thus you will have a lot of 'valaisija' + 'valomies'-crew members in stead.

If you search the Internet Movie Database, or more suitably, a Finnish equivalent, ELONET (, click on 'erikoishaku' and then 'henkilö: tekijä, tehtävä', and finally type in 'kakkosmies' (or 'valomies', 'best boy', 'best boy grip'), you will get a better picture of contemporary Finnish production credits / job titles. Note that English job titles are also very prevalent.

The most up-to-date published Finnish-English film terminology, Max Juntunen's book Elävän Kuvan Sanasto (though in need of some corrections and revision itself), lumps both best boy and best boy grip under 'valomies'. Note, however, that he differentiates the term 'best boy grip'. Whilst 'best boy grip' is left slightly in the dark, without its own description, 'best boy' is described as "valomies - valaisijan eli gafferin avustaja tai apulainen".

I hope this clarifies the matter somewhat.

With kind regards,
Dmitry Tolonen
dmitry tolonen
Local time: 09:40
Native speaker of: Native in FinnishFinnish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Votes in favor of/against selecting this as the best translation of the term asked
Yes  Alfa Trans (X)
1 day 6 hrs
  -> Kiitos, Marju!

Yes  Asta Haarasilta
3 days 19 hrs
  -> Kiitos, telle16!

No  Tom Pesch: Valaisijalla ja key gripillä on usein monta avustajaa, joista vastuullisin on best boy, eli kakkosmies. Kaikki valomiehet eivät ole best boyta, eivätkä kaikki best boyt ole valomiehiä.
744 days
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