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AC ---> Camera Operator


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#1 Alan Certeza

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 07:48 PM

Hey Guys,

So I've been recently hired as a Camera Operator on a Feature and I was curious what is the preproduction procedures?

I've been so stuck on practicing industry standard camera prep as a camera assistant but never as a Camera Operator...

What does a Camera Operator usually do for prep?


Thanks in advance.
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#2 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 12:35 PM

Hey Guys,

So I've been recently hired as a Camera Operator on a Feature and I was curious what is the preproduction procedures?

I've been so stuck on practicing industry standard camera prep as a camera assistant but never as a Camera Operator...

What does a Camera Operator usually do for prep?


Thanks in advance.



In my experience, camera operators do not normally get prep. Only Steadicam operators get maybe a day of prep with the AC in order to ensure that his/her rig is in operational order with the camera.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:53 AM

My experience is the same as Greg's. Whether I get a prep day or not, I generally go in for a couple hours with my rig and build everything and make sure all is well and working. Especially with cameras like the Red, there are different configurations, so it's nice to work with the 1st and figure out the config that will work best for both of us. It's also a good time to calibrate the lenses into my Preston if they're not already in there.
Some conventional operators like their ground glass marked a certain way, or other little things, so they'll stop in and say hello and work that stuff out. Other than that there isn't much for an operator to do. But if they want to give you a prep day, take it! It can't hurt.
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#4 Shelly Johnson ASC

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:00 AM

Hey Guys,

So I've been recently hired as a Camera Operator on a Feature and I was curious what is the preproduction procedures?

I've been so stuck on practicing industry standard camera prep as a camera assistant but never as a Camera Operator...

What does a Camera Operator usually do for prep?


Thanks in advance.


Hi Alan,

Well, making the move from AC to Operator is a great opportunity. The previous responses are correct... there is not allot of paid prep for an Operator in the states. This, however, does not mean you should not prep. A great thing to do would be to go in and make sure the camera is comfortable for you. Get a feel for the heads, the ground glass, the viewing system, and make adjustments where appropriate (of course any adjustments to the package should be OK'ed by the DP). Make sure the framing leaders are shot correctly and acquaint the AC's on the job as to how you might want the truck set-up and any working preferences you, the DP & Director may have.

You can also go into the office and sit down with the DP for a few minutes and get caught up on the group dynamic of the production, and ask about his relationship with the Director... and the areas where he may be looking for help. If there is an opportunity to be present at make-up tests, etc. (production will often try to shoot these without an operator, but show up anyway) that is a great way to get introduced to the actors, Director, AD and Producers. It also establishes your place behind the camera.

These are the types of things you can be looking at. They help the DP... but also you. As anybody knows, the most difficult thing about making a move upwards is staying there consistently after that first job. Donating your time and interest will help solidify all that.

Good luck!
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