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Camera Assistant Training programs in LA


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#1 Jake Dunkelberger

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 10:15 PM

Are there any training programs in LA that anyone knows about. More geared towards 35mm. I know about the Panavision Hollywood two year but they are not hiring. Does Panavision in the Valley offer it.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:38 AM

Are there any training programs in LA that anyone knows about. More geared towards 35mm. I know about the Panavision Hollywood two year but they are not hiring. Does Panavision in the Valley offer it.


2nd AC work.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 01:56 AM

2nd AC work.


Camera Intern/PA work as well :)
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#4 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:04 PM

2nd AC work.


Suggesting that the 2 AC position is simply nothing but a stepping stone on the way up and does not require a learned set of skills is erroneous. It certainly is not the "training" type of job. The 2nd Assistant Cameraman must be one of the most responsible and well trained within our department. Our friend is asking about training programs. Suggesting that he walks into a camera crew as an inexperienced 2nd AC would be disastrous especially if he was working for an experienced 1st AC.

I have been lucky enough to have had the same 2nd AC for the past 17 years. Not only is he very successful and great at his job, he allows me to concentrate on what is important to me such as fully involving myself in the filmmaking process without having to worry about the day to day business of our camera department. He is the conduit for keeping the process of running our department efficiently whether it involves the information flow between myself and the rest of the crew or to what equipment is coming in or going out for that particular shooting day or week. He receives the information from me that we need additional crew in the near future and he makes sure that we are covered. In short, he executes the daily business of our camera department so I can concentrate on other matters. The slating and the writing of camera reports is the probably the most banal part of the job, although necessary.

As a 1st AC, I cannot emphasize enough the value in having a 2nd AC who understands the overall process of filmmaking and knows how to facilitate his area of it seamlessly. It can be a delicate balance of knowing how to get what you need without stepping on other toes. Experience and a full understanding of the filmmaking process and the politics of a movie set is the only way to achieve our necessary goals. On our camera crew, our film loader is also expected to understand all of the above while applying his/her skills to that specialty. The film loader is just as responsible of a job for other reasons and certainly not to be taken lightly.

I understand that what I have written about above is more of a description on what happens on larger scale productions. On many small sized projects the job requirements are simpler. This is where our friend who is asking about training should try to connect with these camera assistants and learn from that level. The smaller productions are sometimes easier to access.

It's interesting to note here that not everyone is destined to become a DP. There are many of us who have had very satisfying careers specializing in the other camera crew positions such as camera operator or 1st and 2nd AC's. A great focus puller will not automatically become a great camera operator and just because one is a great camera operator does not mean he will be a successful DP. These are all different skills and different mind sets. Ok, enough...

Best,
Greg
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:09 PM

Wow, I didn't know I said enough to be argued with so thoroughly.;) I also never said or hinted that that anyone can just step into working as a 2nd AC. I guess since the OP listed their profession as 1st AC that I assumed the real question was about training to work as a 1st.

I do know that I learned a lot about working as a 1st from working as a second. Did I learn everything? Of course not. Did I learn more and better than any training program I have ever heard of? Yeah.

I completely agree with your assessment that everyone in a camera crew is important and have different responsibilities, etc. I also think that learning by doing is best. I learned to pull focus by having the first I was working under have me pull some easy shots. Then he had me pull a few tougher shots. He gave me advice and tips, stuff you would never learn in a class. I think a training program could get you ready to load and to second smaller jobs. Beyond that, you need the experience of doing.

Edited by Chris Keth, 07 February 2009 - 10:12 PM.

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#6 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 12:08 AM

Hi Chris,
Please don't take it as "arguing". This is simply a discussion. You have many valid points. Learning from experience is a great way to go if one has the chance.

Best,
Greg
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:04 AM

Hi Chris,
Please don't take it as "arguing". This is simply a discussion. You have many valid points. Learning from experience is a great way to go if one has the chance.

Best,
Greg


Ah, I called it argument in jest. I thought it was pretty funny that you wrote 5 paragraphs in response to my 3 word incomplete sentence. :lol:
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#8 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 10:45 PM

Ah, I called it argument in jest. I thought it was pretty funny that you wrote 5 paragraphs in response to my 3 word incomplete sentence. :lol:

Ha, Ha! You're right! We need to get this SAG situation settled and go back to work. I've got way too much time on my hands right now. :lol:
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:17 AM

Ha, Ha! You're right! We need to get this SAG situation settled and go back to work. I've got way too much time on my hands right now. :lol:


Yeah, I know a lot of people with too much time right now. I fail to see why nobody in SAG realizes that a serious economic recession is not the best time to ask for more money.

While I have your ear, I have a question for you since it sounds like you have firsthand experience with it. I'm all ready to join local 600. I have done the paperwork. I'm on the roster, I've even done the safety courses. The hang up is money, namely the $5900 they want from me plus dues. I've only been in LA for a couple of years and haven't ever been offered a lot of union work. I have had to turn down a couple of things because I'm not union. Of course everyone I asked at their orientation meeting told me that joining would be a great step, etc, etc. Do you think it would just be a waste of money at this point? Would being a member open me up to ways of finding work that would help me build union contacts? Is the available list worth anything?

Maybe PM me so we don't hijack this thread any more than we have already.

Edited by Chris Keth, 09 February 2009 - 01:18 AM.

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Metropolis Post

Opal

The Slider

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

CineLab