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2nd Unit Camera Assisting


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#1 James Malamatinas

James Malamatinas
  • Basic Members
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  • 149 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • London

Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:04 AM

I've been a 2nd AC for a few years but would now like to try and move up into working on 2nd Unit shoots. I've always had a huge passion for cinema and filmmaking but in particular visual/practical effects and action cinematography, the main responsibilities of the 2nd Unit. 

I was wondering if anyone here has much experience working in 2nd Units, and if so whether they could tell me if there are any particular skills that you need as a 2nd Unit AC, or any specific knowledge that would be helpful in terms of working here rather than main unit. 

 

Also, if anyone has any articles or links to networks/forums when 2nd Unit crew meet or 2nd Unit work is discussed that would be very hepful, I'd really like to talk to someone to get a better idea of how 2nd Unit operates since personally I do not know anyone that has done it.

Thanks in advance,

James


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#2 Miguel Angel

Miguel Angel
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  • 831 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Spain / Ireland / South Africa

Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:06 AM

Hello James, 

 

I usually do 2nd Unit stuff in American action movies in Spain. 

 

I've found that 2nd unit shoots are way more difficult than 1st unit shoots in terms of pressure and speed.

You've to be very very knowledge of the different materials, cameras, aks and as a key 2nd Ac you've to organise the whole department every single day and know where every single camera is and what is doing. 

 

Definitely good memory and attention to detail are key but also the ability to know how to plan in advance with 2 or 3 backup plans, just in case the first one fails. 

 

Obviously, if you haven't worked with a cable cam, a russian arm and such tools before, you don't have to know how they work so what I do before shooting (in pre - production) is talk to the guys and let them know that I'd like to check the connections and the different things so I make sure that we have everything when placing the camera there. 

 

Backup cables, aks, etc are a must. 

 

I guess you know all of this already as you have done Guardians of the galaxy, haven't you? :) 

 

Anyway, I hope it helps a bit! 

 

Kindest regards.


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Paralinx LLC

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Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

The Slider

Visual Products