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Starting out: essential floorbag kit - advice please


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#1 James Malamatinas

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:00 PM

Hi guys,

This year I've finally managed to move from running into camera assisting and now, having seen that I am getting regular work, feel it's time to invest in my own kit.

Up until now I've been using items provided on the shoot by either the 1st AC or DOP (not ideal I know!) but I'm determined to do this full-time so wish to start investing myself so I'm properly prepared for each shoot. I'm basically looking for advice on what you guys think are the essential kit items I should get to begin, I've listed a few below which I think are absolutely necessary from my (limited) experience.

- various tape (1 inch, 1 '1/2 inch etc)
- tape measure
- clapperboard (I've found a lot of my shoots don't have one and they expect the 2nd AC to have his own)
- D ring
- Sharpies, pens, markers
- Torch

Also, until I have more kit I thought a full floor bag may not be necessary and instead was looking at something like the Portabrace AC Pouch (mentioned a few topics before this), I would wear this while actually shooting and have essential gear to hand. This make sense?

What else do you guys find yourself using everyday?

Cheers in advance,
James
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#2 Artyom Zakharenko

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:50 PM

http://www.filmtools...acjupokiso.html

i got myself one of those
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#3 Rob Webster

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:50 PM

There are a million things that you will end up using as an AC, most of which have no specific practical use on set, but are just general household objects that will find use occasionally. For example, I would much rather carry a pocket knife around with me than the hirschman puller (in my pouch, i mean).

Your kit list also depends on whether you are working with film or digital, and depending on whether you need to be portable (for location work and if you won't have access to a camera cart) or not-so-portable (i.e. studio). Weather is also a consideration, as a camera cover (any kind of see through pvc) and shower caps might be the most important thing you ever need as an AC.

A good toolkit is essential as you will probably need a t-bar screwdriver or stubbie, as well as allen keys (hex keys) on pretty much every job. You never know when you might need a wrench or hammer as well. A decent leatherman should cover most of the essential tools you need but it's good to have some heavy duty back ups just in case.
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#4 Evan Luzi

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:04 PM

Hi James,

It's hard to describe what would be in the "perfect" kit because each AC uses slightly different tools or does things in their own way. A good place to start for a list of items would be in David Elkins' "The Camera Assistant's Manual." In one of the appendices of the book he has a list of tools that you can pick and choose from what you will absolutely need. You could also go to Filmtools and browse around their Camera section and try to remember some of the tools the 1st and DP had that you had used.

If you don't want to be carrying around everything in a pouch, you can always buy a smaller/cheaper toolbag at a Home Depot or Lowe's until your tools outgrow it and you can afford a more sturdy production bag.

With that said, here are some items that I use on EVERY job: Allen Keys, Screwdrivers, Tape (cloth and paper), Space Blanket (to protect the camera during lunch and breaks), Camera wedges, flashlight, Dust Off Plus, Kimwipes, Pancro, Sharpies, Staedler Marking Pens, Dry Erase Markers, Fatmax tape measure (if you expect to first), Soft tape (again if you plan on 1st AC-ing) and much more.

There are a bunch of other small things I have in my kit that I can't think of right now. My initial investment of my kit was somewhere between $300 and $500. As Rob said, a good toolkit is essential and likely will be personalized to suit your working conditions.
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#5 James Malamatinas

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:38 AM

Sorry for the late reply guys, just wanted to say thanks for all the advice, its appreciated. Will be looking to pick up some kit in the next couple of weeks and just get the very basic items, after that I'll pick things up as I go along and learn more and more what suites the way I work.
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