Take the camera and Run

visibility563 Views comment0 comments person Posted By: Fabio Giolitti - Focus Puller list In: Film camera BLog | Camaleón Rental ™

As happened to me quiet a few times lately (and I have the feeling it will keep on happening) I found myself in one of the shooting situation I dislike the most, which is when more or less suddenly the 1st AD tells me :”Put in that van everything you’re gonna need for the rest of the day, we’re moving to a new location which is an hour drive from here. Don’t forget anything, be fast and please… keep it simple!”. Of course I’m not speaking about situation where this was in the callsheet, in that case it is pretty easy to be prepared. I’m speaking of those times when a sudden change comes up (rain on location, new shooting plan, talent’s agenda variations and an awful long etc.) and we need to improvise, which is from my point of view one of the most important skills of a good AC.

I’m pretty sure that some of you came up quickly with an answer like :”Ask the DoP!” and even though it is logic, if life was so easy everybody could be a top notch assistant cameraman. Normally, when this kind of situations happens, there has been an important change in the order of the shots, so is pretty likely that the DoP has his hands full speaking with the gaffer and/or the best boy about the new situation, discussing with the director all kind of lighting issues etc. Of course the camera crew also will need confirmation from him, but is gonna be much more fast if we do all the thinking and then we just ask for a confirmation of the equipment list. Plus, making sure there is everything is needed for the shooting camera wise is one of the duties of the first assistant.

Of course there are a lot of ways to do this, each one as good as another. My way is to create a list going from the most essential to the less, so if anything gets forgotten is most likely something that will not stop the shooting. Probably you will think that the first point is a bit silly and obvious, but if you have been in a shooting you should know that sometimes with the stress, the rush and the pressure we can forget the most important things, so my advise is to be obsessive and double (or triple) check everything.


1- Camera, lenses, memory cards and batteries. These elements are the core, without any of them we can’t shoot so make sure that they go in the van first thing. I would had a battery charger (specially if the new location has a lower temperature than the previous) a laptop and a card reader. When we add those things, we need to make sure that power supply will be available by asking the lighting crew. If this is not the case, once we have the gear loaded, we need to inform the DoP and the 1st AD about the shooting time available, both in therms of batteries and memory cards. About the lenses, if we have more than one set, we need to confirm which one are we bringing along, but if you want my two cents, if possible I would bring them all so we can be prepared to another sudden change.

2- Follow focus, mattebox (regular and clip on), filters. If the new location is an exterior, we’re most likely gonna need all our NDs set and IRs. If we are going to bring along different matte boxes, it is important to make sure that we have the filters of the corrects sizes. If we are using effects filters such as diffusion, promist etc. we’ll need to make sure we have them too in all size and intensity we need. Same goes for the flags and the frames. If we are using a manual follow focus it will be probably already mounted on camera and we will just need to make sure all the acs are there, or in our bag. If we have a wireless unit, we will need spare batteries for the handset and if the brain is not powered directly by the camera, alternative power sources such as v-lock batteries with D-Tap socket.

3- On which kind of rig is going to be the camera? If we’re going on legs, fluid head, standard, baby and hi hat are going to be needed. Depending on the kind of floor we are going to be on, a spreader will be needed. IF possible I would bring along both the standard and the baby legs, even though the DoP says we only need one of them, cause it often happen to need 20 cm more or 20 cm less than one of the legs. If the camera is going to be on a dolly, crane or any other kind of moving device, we need to confirm with the key grip what kind of support do they have or need (Mitchell or Ronford).

Finally if we are going hand held, a shoulder set and a spare shoulder support, plus a steady bag so we can rest the camera when is not on the operator’s shoulder.

4- Monitoring: how many monitors are we going to need? Aside of the on board monitor, which is probably already mounted on camera (and for which we should bring spare bnc and power cables) are we going to need more monitors? How many? And how are we going to transmit the signal? If we are going to use wireless devices such as Teradek, let’s keep in mind the power source both for the receiver and the transmitter. If we are going to use cable, it’s important to ask the AD which will be the longest distance between the camera and the monitors and be prepared to cover that distance at least two times.

5- Acs: finally, we are going to need a cover (specially for exteriors), a rain cover, our AC bag, tapes, measuring devices, tools etc.

6- Last but not least, we will go through the equipment list once again, first with the 2nd assistant and the DIT and finally with DoP. With him we will also confirm:

 · Lenses

 · Filters

 · Camera configurations

 · Power supply on the next set





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