Being 2nd AC
Working as a 2nd AC is very straightforward. It was especially simple on this shoot. You have three main jobs-
- Setting up the camera (batteries, ssd, tripods, ect.)
- Using the slate (writing slate info and marking the scene appropriately)
- Working close with the camera team (especially 1st AC)
I took some influence from a grip on my short film Writer's Block, Peter Saffa. He would always ask everybody if they needed any water or if he could help them. I always appreciated him doing this, so I decided to do this myself.
Thankfully this wasn't a SAG set, so I could talk to everyone around me (at the appropriate time), which I took time to go up to most of the actors and most of the crew that looked tired if they needed anything, mostly water. I think this is a huge part of being a 2nd AC.
Working with the 1st AC
Moon is his name. He was a rather quiet man in the beginning. But as we continued with the shoot we really got to know him. He is very funny and awesome. He was the 1st AC on this shoot, and I had the pleasure of working next to him.
Another part of your job as a 2nd AC is to make sure your partner (1st AC) is comfortable and ready to pull focus, move the camera, and hold the huge camera rigs for the DP. YOu need to be there to assist him, whether you get him water, help him with gear, or stand in so he can find focus.
You are his wing man and he's depending on you, so don't let him down. You and the 1st AC should end up having a good time. It's very funny to watch Moon.
Now, Moon as a 1st AC is very funny. Whether the director is yelling that "it looks soft" or the DP is asking for the 18-35mm last minute, it is awesome being able to see it all happen first hand.
Just because your a 2nd AC doesn't mean your job is not awesome....
To end PART I of this series I would like to talk briefly about Fire Watch.
Fire Watch is very important and a main part of being an AC. You must not let anybody (outside of the camera team) touch the camera. If someone accidentally messes with the color temp, or changes the format the camera is recording to, or FORMAT THE ENTIRE DAYS WORTH OF SHOOTING!!! The stress level would be at an alltime high and production would be set back. So watch the freaking camera!
It is your job to be helpful, not to distract. SO be as helpful as possible. Try to help bring the stress level down from 100%. Sadly, on this shoot, the stress level was always 100% so it was more of not letting it go over 100%
But more about that in the next part....
Writer, Director, Editor