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Clapper loading


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#1 stoop

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 01:12 PM

In an attempt to get out of "corporate' video and low quality crappy productions and into film, drama and general high quality broadcast, I decided to set out as a 1st and 2nd AC.

I recently completed a short 4-day 16mm film as a clapper loader....and it sucked. The pressures of loading mags all day, the heart stopping moments when you think you might have screwed up. Having to log every shot, fill out neg report sheets, man it's boring!! The worst thing is having to watch someone else operate a lovely SR while u have you hands in a changing bag all day.

I don't mind focus pulling as much, it's more hands on and at least you get to sit next to a camera and be on the action. I don't regret doing it, and I learnt loads. But never again!!

It's just as well that I?m having more success going straight to camera operator and DOP. I have a few 16mm projects coming up and have completed a few really good projects. I'm still doing the corporate stuff for the good money and will continue to focus pull so I can learn more from some top Dp's but my clapper board is going on ebay LOL!!!

I spoke to some guy who has been loading for like 7 years - I have no idea how he does it!!

Cheers
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#2 Alex Haspel

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 03:02 PM

well, first and second ac are very important jobs connected with enormous amounts of responsibility and zero prestige.
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#3 stoop

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 03:06 PM

well, first and second ac are very important jobs connected with enormous amounts of responsibility and zero prestige.



I'm not saying there not, just that clapper loading for me was just the worst most boring job ever!!
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#4 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 04:26 PM

I'm not saying there not, just that clapper loading for me was just the worst most boring job ever!!


You obviously haven't done that many boring jobs, try: waiting, cleaning, stock takes, data entry, audits, night security, car valeting and so many more...

I've done each and every one of them and i'd gladly Clapper/load any day.
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#5 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 04:27 PM

I'm not saying there not, just that clapper loading for me was just the worst most boring job ever!!


well, maybe it's because you're a DP, a camera operator AND a Camera assistant. Usually loading magazines is the first paid job available in the camera department, and although some are happy with it and stick to it, most of them move on and become 1st ACs.

It depends on what you want to do: I know loaders who have been doing it for years and don't want to change, and others who just want to become 1st ACs as soon as possible. I guess it's the same for 1st ACs becoming Camera Operators and eventually DPs.
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#6 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:02 PM

As an AC, I can appreciate what you are saying about it being stressful and not "in the heat of the action" (on set, in the scene), but just so you can appreciate where we AC's are coming from:

1. It's necessary. Try shooting a film without a clapper/loader and you will see exactly what I mean.
2. If I told my DP that I thought loading was a poop job, I'd be fired. Conversely, if I was a DP and my loader told me that, I would have my 1st going thru his/her rolodex to find our next loader.
3. I tend to have more respect for the DP's who have gone thru loading/clapping/lugging gear/pulling focus, than those who are only in the game to DP. Those that have done it seem to have an appreciation for the jobs that need to be done more than those who have not.

If you feel that you are above loading, bully for you sir, and I suggest going for the gusto. As someone who is trying to work his way up thru the ranks, I suggest not dropping negative commentary about an established and required position on a forum dedicated to those working what you consider a boring job.

Edited by Rory Hanrahan, 05 November 2006 - 08:03 PM.

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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:08 PM

Hi,

The problem I have with this sort of thing is not so much the "tons of responsibility for no recognition" aspect; a lot of jobs, even most jobs, are like that. This sort of thing only becomes a problem when you have lots of responsibility and no authority to fix problems, and if that sort of situation is allowed to develop it can become very stressful - and not just unpleasant stressful, really quite psychologically damaging stressful.

Phil
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#8 Jon Kukla

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:54 PM

Perhaps you should have read up on the topic first... :)
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#9 Bill Totolo

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 01:46 AM

Clapper/Loader=The lowest guy on the totem pole responsible for loading film for that million dollar scene. First guy on set loading mags and taking inventory, last guy home after dropping exposed neg. off to the lab.
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#10 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 01:55 AM

Clapper/Loader=The lowest guy on the totem pole responsible for loading film for that million dollar scene. First guy on set loading mags and taking inventory, last guy home after dropping exposed neg. off to the lab.


yeah, or that intern will drop off film. Either way, being an assistant be it a 1st, or the intern is a job full of responsibility, very important jobs. It's a lot of work either way you slice it.

All the Best,
Allen Achterberg
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#11 Adam White

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 04:56 AM

Ive worked for some right $%&£'s as a loader and I have sometimes wished to be anywhere but on a film set, then again Ive also worked with some inspiring people for whom passing on knowlege is a responsibility they take seriously. In fairness, all "starting" positions in film are gonna suck compared to HoD but pretty much everyone goes through it.

If you think Clapper/Loading comes with pressure, what about the daily concerns of the focus puller? or the DoP? I think that too many loaders have to price themselves short just to get jobs these days but there are many people who are passionate about doing it.
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#12 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 07:35 AM

Clapper loader is a very important role. A general (DP) is nobody without their infantry.
Frankly I was not the best 2nd AC (or 1st AC I might add!) out there but it was a valuable experience and instilled in me the importance of every cog in the machine.
Be thankful that you are able to work in what can be a really amazing profession.
Try to find ways of being more efficient and all will go much smoother with experience.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:29 PM

Hi,

> pretty much everyone goes through it

Actually in the UK you're much more likely to keep doing it until the end of eternity, irrespective of whether you want to or not.

Phil
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#14 Bill Totolo

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:59 PM

Frankly I was not the best 2nd AC (or 1st AC I might add!) out there but it was a valuable experience and instilled in me the importance of every cog in the machine.


I was the exact same way. For whatever reason I am much more employable and confident as a shooter.
I guess it's because I genuinely enjoy it.

Posted Image
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#15 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:03 PM

I've been loading mags before I "grow" as a focus puller.

Sure it's stressfull, just as focus pulling or operating or lighting, as somebody mentionned.

But I never foud it boring.

I wonder if english and american clapper loaders don't feel worse about the job just because they have to clap and write the reports...

I can understand that that would really bother me if I had to be a 2nd AC again.

When you work as a 1st AC you sometimes have to load mags yourself, that ain't such a pain in the back. But clapping and reporting at the same time ?... The hell !

You feel like you are the cinema lumpen proletaria !

In France, the grip does the clapping board and the continuity girl (script girl) does the reporting sheet. :)
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:43 PM

Oh, I most certainly am lumpen and proletariat.

Phil
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#17 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 11:25 PM

Well, if you think clapper loading sucks, you'll have a hell of a time getting work on anything decent in this industry because it's the only way you start...you don't start out operating or being a DP. Maybe in some special cases, people have been able to go that route, but it's very rare.
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 12:28 AM

In France, the grip does the clapping board and the continuity girl (script girl) does the reporting sheet. :)


What luxury! :lol:
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#19 stoop

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:30 AM

Let me first say that I do not under-estimate the importance of the clapper loader and never have. It's incredibly critical the clapper doesn?t screw up. All I was saying is that I hated the job, I hate paper work and writing - always have. I found the whole experience miserable. So I respect anyone who either puts up with it or loves it. It was indeed valuable experience though.

However I do love the stressful-ness of lighting and operating. It's what I'm best at - not filling in numerous report sheets.


Well, if you think clapper loading sucks, you'll have a hell of a time getting work on anything decent in this industry because it's the only way you start...you don't start out operating or being a DP. Maybe in some special cases, people have been able to go that route, but it's very rare.



I have already had more success being a DOP then clapper loading. I have another 16mm project coming up. I guess a few years of video work have really helped.

Anyway, Interesting comments everyone

Cheers
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#20 Annie Wengenroth

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 10:06 AM

I do agree with you about the paperwork! It's amazing how so many of those film inventory forms could totally screw you over with the way they're designed.
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