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Responsibilities of an Assistant Camera [ AC ]

Updated: Jan 22

An Assistant Camera (AC), also known as a Camera Assistant or Focus Puller, plays a crucial role in the camera department of film and video production. Their primary responsibilities involve supporting the Director of Photography (DP) and ensuring the smooth operation of the camera during shoots. Here are the key duties and responsibilities of an Assistant Camera:

an asian man who is an assistant camera is holding a follow focus wheel and pulling focus while looking at the monitor

  1. Camera Setup: Assistants Camera are responsible for setting up and preparing the camera equipment before a shoot. This includes assembling the camera, attaching lenses, and configuring any additional accessories required for the specific shot.

  2. Lens Changes: ACs handle the changing of lenses based on the DP's instructions. They need to be quick and precise to minimize downtime during shoots and ensure that the correct focal length is used for each shot.

  3. Focus Pulling: One of the primary responsibilities of an AC is pulling focus during a shoot. They ensure that the subject or object being filmed remains in sharp focus as the camera and/or subject moves. This requires skill and coordination, especially in situations with shallow depth of field. This is primarily because on bigger productions the lenses we tend to use don't have autofocus capabilities.

  4. Marking Shots: ACs use focus marks to pre-determine points in a scene where the focus needs to be adjusted. This involves measuring distances and marking the floor or other surfaces to guide focus adjustments during the shoot.

  5. Monitoring Camera Operations: ACs monitor the camera's status, checking for any technical issues or malfunctions. They collaborate with the camera operator to address and troubleshoot any problems that may arise during a shoot. Also changing batteries.

  6. Assisting with Camera Changes: During a shoot, ACs may need to switch between different cameras or configurations. They assist in making these changes efficiently to avoid disruptions to the filming process.

  7. Managing Camera Accessories: ACs are responsible for managing and organizing camera accessories, including filters, matte boxes, and follow focus systems. They ensure that the necessary tools are readily available for different shots.

  8. Communication with the DP: ACs maintain clear communication with the DP to understand their vision for each shot. They receive instructions on focus points, framing, and any specific requirements for the camera operation.

  9. Clapperboard Operation: ACs often assist with the use of a clapperboard or slate at the beginning of each take. This helps synchronize sound and picture, provides information for post-production, and aids in organizing footage.

In summary, an Assistant Camera plays a vital role in supporting the camera team and ensuring the technical aspects of filming run smoothly. Their focus on camera setup, focusing, and overall coordination contributes to the successful execution of the DP's vision on set.

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