How to be a Second Assistant Camera

Posted on August 20, 2007


The Good Joe

  • Eat before you arrive. As soon as the grip truck arrives your main priority is to unload the camera equipment, load the mags for the day, and help build camera. Once all that’s done, you can maybe grab a bite to eat if they’re still setting up the shot.
  • Learn how to load mags quickly but carefully. You’re the only person that physically touches the film. Everyone’s hard work is in your hands.
  • Make sure a fresh mag is always on standby. Do this when you have some down time. Production should not have to stop for ten minutes when they run out of film because you have to load a new mag.
  • Wear cargo pants or get an AC pouch. You’ll be stuffing lens and mag covers in them as well as pens and a tape measure. You’ll also need some tools. For the bare minimum, I’d get a D-Ring and dry erase marker with eraser.
  • Get the slate ready for each shot. When slating use a word for the letter, so it’s clear what you’re saying. So for scene 2B, say “Two-Bravo.” You can also get creative and come up with slating themes. Just make sure it’s okay with the director and doesn’t throw the actors off by making them laugh. Apparently scene “Thirteen Admiral Ackbar” can do this.
  • Keep pre-torn pieces of red tape on your pants. You’ll need to access these quickly to give the actors foot marks.
  • Live near the camera. Someone always has to be by the camera, and that will either be you or the 1 AC.
  • You’re the 1 AC’s arms and legs. Keep the lenses nearby since that’s what you’ll most likely be running to get.
  • At the end of the day, download the film, possibly load a new roll for the next day, and help break down the camera.

Get the latest news, tips, and insight in the world of video and marketing

Get Media Signals sent straight to your inbox - our weekly email for entrepreneurs, marketers, and creators focused on using video to grow their brand.

Related Posts

On Camera Angles and Debates

The MOU between the two campaigns was released last night with regard to the rules of the debate. It's an attempt to script the unknown and leave nothing to chance. There's been a lot of hoopla about tonight with regards to the role of the moderator, or 'moderator,'...

The Final Cut Pro Dilemma

Never before has a piece of software put me in such an existential dilemma - the evolution (or de-evolution) of Final Cut Pro, the new software that's so revolutionary it skipped two versions and went from 7 to 10. "Everything's changed in post." Yeah, people are...

Never Miss a Thing in Video Marketing

Join Media Signals, our free weekly email packed with the latest news and tips in the world of video marketing