Last week, we discussed the importance of the 1st and 2nd Assistant Directors. Today, we'll be discussing a very similar topic. Like the director, the director of photography has two assistants. Can you guess what those assistants are called?...You're right! They're the 1st and 2nd Assistant Camerapersons.
The camera assistants' main responsibilities involve assisting the Director of Photography in camera operation and maintenance. They essentially help the DP with the execution of their (hopefully) well-planned shots. They assist. It's what they do. It's what they've always meant to do. It's their destiny.
More specifically, in helping the DP in camera operation and maintenance, the 1st Assistant Cameraperson's duties include:
-Operation of cameras
-Slating and loading
-Focus marking and pulling
-Preparation, maintenance and management of camera equipment
Where their responsibilities really differ from the 2nd AC is in the physical operation of the camera. A person may think, "Oh, they're just an assistant, what could they possibly be allowed to do?" Well, frankly, that's a very silly question. While 'assistant' is in their title, an AC is really anything but an assistant. They're practically part-time director of photography.
What about the 2nd AC? Where do they come into all of this madness? It turns out that the 2nd AC actually shares many of the responsibilities of the 1st AC. It'd be too much to do for one person, so the film industry thought it'd be good to get a second! The 2nd AC is responsible for:
-Slating and loading
-Preparation maintenance and management of camera equipment
-Maintenance, labeling, logging, and safekeeping of reels and tapes
The last point is where the 2nd AC stands out from other AC's. Basically, they work in coordination with the script supervisor to make sure all the reels and tapes are labeled and organized so those who work with them later know what they're messing with. The process of digitizing the film would be a much more grueling process without this step.
So who are AC's? What do they do? Why are they here on Earth with us? What is their purpose in life? In layman's terms, they do everything the DP has to do but doesn't have the time for. While the DP is setting up the perfect shot, the 1st and 2nd AC's are busy doing everything else camera related. Thank you, AC's!