Camera Assistant (2nd)

What do Camera Assistant (2nd)s do?

2nd Assistant Cameras (ACs) are key members of the camera crew, and are responsible for the smooth running of the entire camera department. Audiences watching a finished film are not conscious of the camera — a complex piece of machinery, powered by batteries which must be charged and reloaded. Nor are they thinking of the difficult job of anticipating when a magazine (the sealed container that feeds the unexposed film into the camera) is about to run out, and what a pressurized job it is to reload quickly so that the flow of filming is not disrupted. These are some of the responsibilities of the 2nd Assistant Camera. Most 2nd AC's are requested by a camera operator or 1st AC, and work on a freelance basis. They often work on a combination of commercials, promos and features.

What is the job?
2nd ACs assist the camera operator in positioning and moving the camera, and are responsible for loading and unloading film magazines, changing and charging camera batteries, changing lenses, operating the clapper board, filling out and filing all camera sheets, liaising with film labs, and ordering the correct amount and type of film stock. 2nd ACs work closely with 1st ACs (focus pullers), and supervise any camera trainees.

Depending on the size of the feature film, 2nd ACs start work two or three weeks before the first day of principal photography, assisting the director of photography (DoP) and camera operator with any tests required on film stock or/and with artists. During the shoot, 2nd ACs begin work early in the mornings, unloading, organizing and preparing all the camera equipment for each day's work. During rehearsals, they mark up the actors' positions, enabling the 1st AC to calculate any changes in focus. When the camera starts to roll, 2nd ACs mark each take with a clapperboard (which identifies the take and enables the assistant editor to synchronize the sound and picture in preparation for editing). 2nd ACs position themselves next to the camera, where they can anticipate all camera movements, and monitor how much film stock is being used. They must know when a new film magazine should be prepared. At the end of each shooting day, 2nd ACs pack away all the equipment, label up film cans, and dispatch them to the labs with detailed camera sheets.

Typical career routes:
The majority of 2nd AC's serve an apprenticeship as a camera trainee before progressing through the ranks of the camera department. Because the job involves an in depth knowledge of, and feel for the camera, actual experience of handling camera equipment and stock is vital. Working in a camera rental facilities house such as ARRI or Panavision can also provide a good route to an apprenticeship.

Essential knowledge and skills:
2nd ACs must have an exhaustive knowledge of all camera equipment, film stocks and processing techniques. They also need a thorough understanding of how to manage and maintain all camera department paperwork and administration.

Key Skills include:
excellent organizational skills
agility and speed
effective communication skills
precise attention to detail
ability to collaborate and to work as part of a team
diplomacy and sensitivity when working with artists and crew
physical stamina and strength
knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

There are 1627 members with the job title Camera Assistant (2nd) on Media Match

Camera Assistant (2nd) jobs which have appeared on the Media Match jobs board:

Assistant Camera
Grenada, MS
Media Manager
Los Angeles, CA
Media Manager
Los Angeles, CA
Assistant Camera
Los Angeles, CA

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Job description sources include (but are not limited to), and wikipedia.