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Keeping up with the technology, suggestions?


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#1 willminsky

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:28 PM

Hey there fellas,

I'm just getting into this AC game and I haven't found a regular DP to mentor me or anything, so I've been hussling up work anywhere I can. With really no idea what I'm doing. I'm learning on the fly, so far lucky enough to work with people that understand I'm just getting going.

But I'm finding it hard to really keep with the gear. Mostly I end up shooting on HD and trying to learn a new camera in a day from a manual written by some technician. Is there somewhere I can find practical information on a lot of the new cameras coming out that are being prefered? I'm thinking mostly the trouble shooting stuff.

And also, what would anyone suggest I do to really understand what I'm expected to do when I can't access any source of specific AC training in my city?

Thanks

Will Minsky
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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 05:55 PM

Well, one thing that professional AC's do when they're not working is spend a lot of that free time doing research and staying up to speed on the latest technical developments. To a certain degree you can do a lot of this through reading books or specific sites on the internet (including this one). I would also hazard to guess that you can download manuals or other related documentation to many of these cameras, so try to find out which ones are the most popular for your line of work. However, the most important thing that you can do is to find a camera rental facility nearby you and explain your situation - ask them if you can run through some of their gear and become more familiar with it. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions, too. There's nothing better than getting hands-on, and if you don't have time to do that during an equipment checkout, then you're going to have to try to do it when you're not working. Manuals will only take you so far.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 03:06 AM

All good advice by Jon. Also maybe try to find a 1st AC that is more experienced and offer to help on tests and check outs.
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#4 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 01:19 AM

resources that have helped me a lot, especially if you start doing film stuff: The Camera Assistant's Manual by David Elkins, all the Arriflex Books by Jon Fauer, and The Camera Assistant by Doug Hart
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#5 Luke Allein

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 02:38 AM

Im not sure what city you live in, but if you live near any big urban area, check the "film" section of your city's craigslist. Lots of times you can get on as 1st, a 2nd or a camera PA and just really shadow the hell out of the 1st AC all day when you're there. 9 times out of 10 they're more than willing to show you anything and everything.

The only bummer is, this usually requires working for free. Learning camera is tough, especially if you're living on your own or something and trying to pick things up by experience because most of the time starting out, nobody wants to pay you. But sooner or later you get good, you get your name out there and start getting some decent paying gigs.


*I dont know if you live in Los Angeles, but if you do PM me because I'm directing a very small scale 35mm shoot coming up the first weekend in Nov. I primarily work in camera as a 2nd/PA, but I'm trying my hand at directing and my DP is really nice, she showed me a lot of stuff and would be more than willing to have you hang out or help out.
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Tai Audio

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Opal

CineLab

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Willys Widgets