Digital – 2 Film – 0

Posted on December 10, 2007

New show. I’m now First Assistant Camera (1AC). Above in the photo is Matt, my second. The first day is done and we have one roll to download, Matt’s first full on downloading experience.

Of course I’ve told him all about my previous experience, and tried to give every pointer to avoid spooling, but I must bring bad spooling karma.

“Joey, I think I might need your help.” I hear the crinkle of a pile of film in the tent. I tried to talk him through it but he couldn’t get the center back in. He wanted me to go in.

So I threw a sound blanket over our hands and made the swap. It was the same exact problem, though maybe slightly better. A pile of film had spooled out the center. I tried to wind it back in the center, but this time I discovered a trick. Slowly, but surely, I was able to wind all the film back in.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I seem to be getting better at this.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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  1. modifoo


    Though I would very much avoid putting the changing tent on the floor. Get some empty case to put the tent up on — that way the chances of getting nasty things inside are slimmer. (And it is better for your back, as well.)

    Good luck with the shoot!

  2. C47

    Thanks! I agree with propping the tent up, but I think putting it on the ground is the least serious offense some 2nd ACs do. I don’t think anyone shakes it out when they build it, or checks inside for tape or other random bits. When I went in I found some pieces of tape on the wall of the bag, and I know that was hooking onto the film and giving the 2nd some more problems, on top of the spooling.

    I like to put all tape on the can, so I can easily remove it and know I have everything.

  3. modifoo

    Yup, one of the first things (after the must-have Leatherman™) to buy was my own tent. You are only as good as your tools, and the tent you _really_ have to trust. If a whole week’s shoot gets exposed just because you didn’t check your rentet Tent just will not save your career.

    Well… if anyone needs a 35mm sized tent, give me a ring. Glad to be finished with ACing.

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