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Every thing a good AC should know!


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#1 grahamstanly

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:21 PM

Hey guys I recently started looking into different film jobs for after college I always wanted to be a D0P but I would like to have a back job that I am confident with so I am looking into the equipment, and tasks of other jobs.


First If you could tell me the task of an AC I would love a rundown of an AC on the set of a film feature, and or digital Tv broadcast.

second what equipment should an AC own, or be comfortable using? on the shoot for a film, or digital Tv broadcast.

and third, what is the average pay of an AC, on a feature film, or a tv broadcast?

o and one more small thing If someday I wanted to move my way up to a Director of photography, whats a better job to start with AC, or a grip, and which one generally pays enough to live off of?

Thank you for all you help!
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#2 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:17 AM

ACs have various responsibilities on a film set, related to camera. Focus pulling, lens handling, mag loading and film loading, batteries, moving camera, cleaning camera or lenses, measuring focus, slate, matte box & mattes, and setting up and breaking down camera.

Some good tools I carry around when I AC are, blower brush, lens cloth, lens tissue, measuring tape, small allen wrenches (metric & english), camera tape ( like paper ) , light meter ( you never know when you need to take a quick reading for the DP, NOT necessary though), MAG-Lite ( the small one ), Leatherman, Scissors, Sharpie, that little magnifying glass flashlight thingy they sell at Studio Depot, Dry-Erase marker.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:25 PM

Buy this and read it:

http://www.amazon.co...m...TF8&s=books
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:49 PM

Buy this and read it:

http://www.amazon.co...m...TF8&s=books


If you read that book and know everything in it by heart, you'll be a fine fine AC
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#5 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:09 PM

Its hard to say what an "average" AC makes and if you could live off of the job or not. Ultimately that really depends on you, and if you are good, hard working, tenacious and pleasant to work with then you very well may climb up to bigger shows and be successful. You may also end up working on no-budget student films while scrounging change from between the couch cushions to pay your rent and posting on Cine.com all winter because production is slow...

Some folks complain that working in film is all about networking, its who you know... but really its who knows you! Your rep precedes yourself. Its a personality-driven field, for the most part, and your success is ultimately dependent on yourself... But I'm sure you know this already.

As for a definition of the job: Kenny pretty much nailed many of the various responsibilities, but to make a broader statement, the AC is 100% responsible for everything that happens with the camera + cam gear (except, of course, for operating, which will fall on the Camera Operator or DP). You need an in-depth knowledge of your gear and how its used in order to set-up, maintain and troubleshoot on set, and keep production flowing and ensure that the DP's choices are put into effect (within the boundaries of your role, obviously).

In terms of gear, look on the AC Supplies page of the Film Tools site and pick up one of everything (Kidding. Sort of.)! You'll find that the tools you need may change with each job, but eventually you'll build a decent kit and be prepared for any situation.

If your final goal is to be a DP, then camera dept. is the place to start. I have to say though, doing G+E work alongside being an AC is beneficial. The more you know about other jobs and responsibilities the more you'll be able to gel and work well with others on set.

Oh, and don't tell people, "I'm really a DP, but I just AC on the side." Its really annoying and endears you to no one. Best of luck!
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#6 grahamstanly

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 06:17 PM

thank you for all of the help, I am probably going to order that book on the weekend it looks like its packed with helpful tips. Also one more question. Do the Ac's jobs change when shooting digital or Hd video? or is it generally the same.
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#7 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 10:43 PM

There's a slightly different set of concerns when shooting HD rather than film, but the responsibility is the same. You don't have to worry about checking the gate, for instance, but now backfocus becomes an issue. There's no film to load, but now you may have to coordinate with a DIT. If none of this makes sense... it'll come eventually. Its all too much to go into detail about here, but I suggest browsing through old threads to pick up as much info as you can. There's no better learning experience than being on set though, so start where you can and work up from there.
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#8 grahamstanly

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 06:55 PM

No It makes plenty of sense I have been in film classes for about 3 years now. and i figure it was time to start learning more about the industry. And thank you all again for the help.
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Wooden Camera

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Opal

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc