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    #21
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    Kick. Ass.


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    #22
    Senior Member Alan Certeza's Avatar
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    I just want to say thank you to everyone who has added information on this thread. I thank you all who has contribute information, it's because of you that I was able to get more work as an AC

    -Softy
    Last edited by Alan Certeza; 08-21-2011 at 09:51 PM.


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    #23
    Senior Member Allan Black's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finchy View Post
    I am by no means a pro-AC but from what i have picked up from being on set / research i would also include in your kit bag....

    a tape measure
    small screwdrivers
    canned air/lens rocket
    'Leatherman'
    Cable ties
    'Sausages'/markers


    Im sure others will be able to pitch in a load more!

    Cheers

    Tom
    Great thread. Doesn't red or pink neon gaff tape denote, Warning! something's been changed on this rig''

    Cheers.
    35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.


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    #24
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    I worked my way up through the ranks from a Camera PA to a 1st AC in a matter of 5 years and then had to walk away from that job for health reasons, but it was some of the most fun I ever had working in my life. I couldn't believe they were paying me for doing it. Only problem was that i would lose sleep until the first dailies came back so I knew my focus was all good.

    Much of what I've read here is spot on regarding the supplies. And yes, the most important thing is to listen. The more you can anticipate what the DP and the Director want the better. Mind you, I worked back in the film days, so for every lens change you needed a matte, rods, and a lens. Once you heard a lens mentioned your 2nd should have it pulled and ready before you call for it. Every job will be different though and every DP or Operator will want things done a certain way. I had a 1st AC yell at me once for not folding his space blanket properly.

    OK. Onto some things which I think are key that I haven't seen mentioned.

    - All Weather Space Blanket (the ones shiny on one side and colored on the other) preferably have two of these. I always had one taped into a slip cover sized for a panavision camera. Whenever you have to leave the camera alone, you cover it.

    - Small Grip clips. For clipping the space blanket closed and wires to the dolly or where ever they need to go.

    - Allan key set. (you'll use it all the time)

    - One of those rubber hand squeeze blowers. Canned air is good, but you don't always want to use that on lenses, it can fog up the lens if held improperly and it can be too much air blowing things into the edges of the lens.

    - Small note pad. Someone needs to be taking camera notes for every set up. Might as well be you. These notes have saved my life. Inevitably the director will lose sleep over a shot ad want to redo it the next day. Your notes will make setting it up super easy. (You want to log: Camera Height, Focus to subject, Fstop, lens, filters, ISO, and any thing else like dutch angle or shutter adjustments)

    - BNC t-connector & BNC barrel connector (always need these - and remember to put some colored tape on it to signify that its yours, these always walk)

    - Depth of Field calculator

    - Card board covered in black gaff or paper tape. (sometimes you need a quick flag to clip onto the matt-box)

    - Clothes pins. (for clipping on that flag or sometimes even using as a clapper for XCU or macro shots)

    - Chalk

    - cut a rubber matte into t-markers. Also, poke a hole in them and get yourself some long nails. This will help keep markers in place on grass or dirt.

    Finally what I call a cheat sheet. I always carried a laminated card on which was written the hyperfocal distance formula, the list of fstops including the hits in between (when a DP calls out a fstop you've never heard before you can easily see what they're talking about) the Tstops of the lenses we're using on the gig, the stop adjustments for the major filters we use (ND, chocolate, polarizer, soft effects, etc) and several other formulas and information I tended to need on set. Thing is, you might know this stuff in conversation, but sometimes you get tired or your milti-tasking, or you just brain fart and need to double check your information.

    Another major factor is organization. Keep yourself organized, you want to be able to grab things and know they're there even in the dark, or describe to someone else exactly where it is.

    Remember, you're job is not only to pull focus, mark, and manage the camera, but you are also the helper for the DP or Operator. Is you put a filter on, you need to know what the iris adjustment is which is also going to affect your depth of field.

    One anecdote regarding some of the things I mentioned above. One of my first 1st AC jobs was for a company making a move from NY to Los Angeles. We were setting up a shot that was supposed to mimic the look of one they shot in NY. The DP handed me his NY AC's notes and I set up the camera, then he said, "OK, in NY we had this much distance to the actor, but we don't have that her on this stage, what lens do I have to use to mimic the shot?" and he went off to do his lighting. I had to pull out my American Cinematographers Manual, find the formula, and put the appropriate lens on the camera. That formula made it onto my laminated cheat sheet.

    Hope this helps. And remember, have fun.


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    #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by finchy View Post
    I am by no means a pro-AC but from what i have picked up from being on set / research i would also include in your kit bag....

    a tape measure
    small screwdrivers
    canned air/lens rocket
    'Leatherman'
    Cable ties
    'Sausages'/markers


    Im sure others will be able to pitch in a load more!

    Cheers

    Tom
    Make sure you buy the good canned air that doesn't use fluid as propellent. Some of the cheaper stuff can really damage sensors and lenses. I'd recommend buying kim wipes and panchro lens cleaning fluid as well. Also, Thule makes an awesome car bag tote that is super durable easy to clean and much cheaper than say a cine bag


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    #26
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    Which torches would you recommend...? I have learnt that a good torch is essential for an AC.. Whether it is lighting up your clapperboard in the dark or just hunting through the camera van.
    A DP that i know well who has had a lot of experience as a loader and 1st AC uses a Surefire torch which seems great... they are pretty expensive though. I don't mind spending the cash if it'll last a long time but i am wondering if anyone has any other good alternatives?

    http://www.panavision.co.uk/panastore/#pdct379

    Cheers!


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    #27
    Senior Member Alan Certeza's Avatar
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    Finchy: I have a Mag lite that's 120lumens which works perfect. Sometimes it's scorchs the clapper and I have to dim it down by closing my palm.


    So I figure since my first post here I didn't know anything. Thank you to all the info from you guys and manuals that I read and all the observation on set, watching my 1st and later applying for my own method.

    When entering the field, I was asked if I had a particular item in my kit and my immediate response was "No". After the end of the day I would go out and buy those requested items. Since that first shoot and every time I had to tell the DP, I'm sorry I don't have that. He lost all trust in me. I felt like I was working at an empty desk with only pen and paper!!! So, since seeing that relationship lose trust fast, I made it point to have almost everything expected from a DP to ask, even down to Ibuprofen and floss.

    Since I just cleaned my kit from a rough 7 day shoot and I was training someone who doesn't even own a utility belt. I figure it would be a good idea to breakdown my kit for those who are curious and would like to be prepared for day one on their first or better their next AC gig.

    MY KIT:

    CineBag - The bag that stays on the cart
    Set Bag - The bag that always next to your 1st AC, ALWAYS!
    AC Pouch Large
    AC Pouch Small
    Sr. Magliner Converted Cart
    Rubbermaid Utility Cart


    CINEBAG PRODUCTION BAG: (Bag on filmtools thats been on clearance for the past year)

    (1) KleenSlate marker BLK
    (1) KleenSlate marker BLU *Incase a heavy work load, using the blu marker to write on the slate under "TAKE" the focal length for scripty.
    (1) KleenSlate Fine tip
    (2) Sharpie (bold point)
    (2) Sharpie (Fine Point) * I carry multiples because a sharpie is like passing out Altoids
    (1) Altoids
    (2) Pen (Bold Point)
    (2) Pen (Fine Point)
    (1) China Marker BLK w/ velcro attach to the end
    (1) China Marker WHT w/ velcro attach to the end
    (4) Stanford Wet Erase Marker
    (1) Sharpie Magnum Marker
    (1) Dry Erase Eraser (Cleans up permanent marker stains) I haven't used it but I know if I take it out I might need it. *Using your dry erase trick works perfect.
    (1) Box of dust-less chalk
    (1) Scissors
    (1) Blade w/ extra package of blades. * I find myself mainly using my blade for cleaning up gaff tape off the cases during prep/load in
    (1) Torpedo (Leveler w/ magnetic sides)
    (1) Precision Tool kit
    (1) Mon-Fri Pill Holder (Holds all my 1/4 20 and 3/8 screws)
    (1) Bag of washers, nuts, a bolts
    (1) Kimtech Wipes
    (1) Pancro Lens Cleaning Solution *Totally worth the $15!
    (1) Dulling Spray *For knocking down the reflections* Most of the time the grips would use their own but we all know AC's are responding to it before the sentence is finish.
    (1) DustOff w/ Alum Nozzle *I recommend getting the nozzle for the canned air. Less of a worry when your on the rooftop, windy and that stupid red tip flies away.
    (2) Bungee cord *I use it mainly to secure the camera cart on hills and rough terrains
    (2) Thick rubber tie downs *I mainly use it for securing the hi-hat on the cart when moving the camera to the next location.
    (1) Racket Strap Tie Down *I use it when the there's no production monitor and I have to strap down a table top monitor on my home made monitor stand. (Combo stand w/ a pigeon plate on a pancake)
    (1) Bongo cable ties
    (1) Random velcro cable ties *I mainly use the velcro for the camera and the bongo for electric cables and bnc
    (1) Bag of Zip ties BLK
    (10) Camera Wedges
    (1) Space Blanket *Always use on the camera during lunch.
    (1) 2" Black Gaff
    (1) 2" White Gaff
    (1) 1/2" Black Gaff
    (1) 1/2" Neon Green Spike Gaff
    (1) 1/2" Red Spike Gaff
    (1) 1/2" Pink Spike Gaff
    (1) 1" White Paper Tape
    (1) 1" Scotch Tape *Reason why I have Scotch, because I was on this Feature and the dolly grip was always asking me to use some of my paper tape. Realizing he was running down my expensive tape with his fancy dolly marks, I bought scotch tape! So now when a dolly grips ask me for some tape , I hand them the scotch tape w/ the marking "CAM" on the inside
    (1) 1/2" Photo Tape
    (1) 2" Velcro (3ft) *I mainly use it on fluid heads or Fisher dolly/Chapman dolly *I always make sure theres something for my hard tape.
    (1) 1" Velcro (3ft) * Mainly use this incase I need to dress the Matte box
    (1) 1/2" Velcro (3ft) (All still ready to be applied anywhere) * I mainly use for my pens, markers, china pencil.
    (1) Bag of 10" Cuts of sashcord rope, rubberbands, and hair ties.
    (1) Bag of audio connectors, headphone splitters, 1/8" to 1/4" adapter, *In the case of a low budget film and someone just doesn't have another adapter or what.
    (10) Small packs of Alcohol wipes
    (2) Duvetyne 12"x 3" * I always use it for back spill if Donut is not available.
    (1) Small Clip board for camera reports
    (1) USB desktop lamp * Just like the Iris Rod lite but for the RED One/MX
    (2) Small Eye piece cushion
    (2) Large Eye Piece cushion
    (1) Visqueen Medium Camera Cover 3mil
    (1) Visqueen Large/Cart cover 3mil
    (1) Garden Kneeing pad *for the DP's butt cushion when operating from the apple box.
    (1) 3' x 4' Carpet *I got all fashionable with my shaggy carpet, its always a joke on set.

    One thing that I heard and I will have on set once Winter rolls around again is that if you're shooting in cold climate that may fog up the lens and the lens is not acclimated fast enough. Have a hair dryer in your kit. I personally would test it before I stick a hair dyer on some S4s.


    SET BAG

    (1) Precision Tool Set
    (1) Allen Set
    (2) Pens
    (2) Sharpie
    (1) 1/4" WHT Paper tape *Marking damage equipment
    (1) Small C-Wrench
    (1) Cheapo Flashlight
    (2) Yellow Sausages T-Marker *If there's EXT shots
    (2) Red Sausages T-Marker * Same as above
    (2) Black Sausages Marker *Depending on situation( EXT. dolly marks, Dolly Grip will love you )
    (2) White Sausages Marker * Same as above

    Items transfered to the set bag:

    Canned Air
    Paper Tape w/ sling
    Gaff Tape
    and other necessary supplies.

    Also another great piece of equipment to have handy if you're riding the Fisher or Chapman that I learned from other AC's and Key grips. The Crab Triple Cup holder. Break this out and your DP and your Dolly Grip will love you even more.

    LARGE AC POUCH

    (1) KleenSlate Marker
    (1) KleenSlate Fine Tip Marker
    (1) BLK Wet Erase Marker
    (1) WHT China Marker
    (1) Bold-Point Pen
    (1) Eraser Pen Shaped * To take off the marks on the lens
    (1) Twin Tip Sharpie
    (1) Chalk Marker Pen
    (1) Flashlight
    (1) Letterman
    (1) Allen Set
    (1) Stubby screw driver
    (1) Microfiber cloth
    (1) Polishing cloth
    (1) Lens Brush
    (1) Insert Slate
    (1) BNC Barrel taped on the inside flop of my pouch

    Also attached to my utility belt:

    Small pouch for my Keson 50' measuring tape (Soft Tape) *Small pouch was bought at the Surplus stores for only $2.99 no need buying the $30.00 pouch
    Small pouch for my Fat Max measuring tape (Hard Tape) * Again bought at the Surplus store. Also as mentioned above, I usually just stick to the dolly, make it close to the 1st AC for quick measurements.
    Small Pouch for my Laser Distance Finder * $200 distance finder from Home Depot to quickly get measurements for camera logs or quick atmosphere measurements.
    D Ring belt strap * I use it to strap my paper tape on my caribiner sling

    Attached to my caribiner sling for marking:

    1" Color Paper Tape - Depending on the amount talents involve is the amount of color tape I go for. I usually have: Orange, Red, Blue, Green, and to my new addition of paper color, Purple.

    A Method that works for me and the talent. I figure out what color they prefer, so there's never any confusion. I would keep the same color for the same talent and never change it up unless requested.

    In the case you only have one color on you, Let the talents know and use your sharpie to make swirls, circles, zig zag lines to distinguish from each other.

    I came across this once when working with a child actress. I asked her what's her favorite color and found out it was already taken from the adult talent I just asked 2 mins ago. Now I make it a point if the child actress is on day one, I'll ask them first. If not, let them choose available colors. This is more for the fun of the game and relationship building.

    Before I remove a mark, I always politely tell them I'm removing their mark. What I notice when I do that, they would walk to their mark while saying their lines which makes your focus puller's life easy.



    SMALL AC POUCH

    (1) KleenSlate Marker
    (1) Sharpie
    (1) WHT China Marker
    (1) BLK Wet Erase
    (1) Microfiber cloth
    (1) Letterman
    * Items between the two pouches transfer from each other depending if I'm 1st'ing or 2nd'ing .

    Recently I was just on my first 35mm shoot which encourage me to get the rubbermaid. The Rubbermaid was for the the Mags, AKS, and long Primes. The Magliner was for the Camera on the high-hat and Lens.

    My kit may seem way too much. I know other AC that I've seen around me, don't carry as much supplies with them but I would like to go to set knowing that I may have what it takes to solve a problem fast.

    Since my first post on here about AC'ing, I have taken the position and treated it like an Art form. I took many mental notes by watching other AC's, read a lot, search the internet for cool little tips and tricks. I applied that and came up with a method that works perfect for me.

    I am still learning more and more and always applying.

    Also, with my recent discovery and long and long brainstorming, I'm going to try to produce my own Slate/Clapper Quick-Draw Belt Holder. For Standard and Smart slates.

    Key, Key, Key! Before you buy the pens, markers, tape and all the small stuff that could cost your over $200 fast. Find out from your Producer what's your limit for the expendables. I've been on a features and the budget for expendables for camera is ~$200. ~100 for short films.

    I stay away from using my own expendables unless its a passion project or a music video.

    Sorry for the long post. I'm not crazy. I'm just a geek for Camera Assisting.


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    #28
    Senior Member Allan Black's Avatar
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    Wonderful post Alan .. guys I don't want to ace this thread but if you haven't seen this http://www.theblackandblue.com/ there's some other nice stuff at the bottom of the home page.

    I'll add .. a GPS, in case one day you have to find your way to Buttcrack Kansas.

    Cheers.
    35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.


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    #29
    Senior Member Allan Black's Avatar
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    Then there's this ..

    1. What’s the heaviest thing a camera assistant has to carry?
    The operator.

    2. How many camera assistants does it take to change a light bulb?
    Never Mind. It’s already done.

    3. How many camera assistants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    Five — one to do it and four to tell you how they did it on the last job.

    4. How many old cameramen does it take to change a light bulb?
    Three – one to change the bulb, and two to reminisce about how much better they were back in the good old days of film.

    5. How many videographers does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. What do you think the gain is for?

    6. How many DP’s does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    Just one, if he’s got a good crew to do it.

    7. Why don’t DP’s smoke?
    Because it takes them 6 hours to light it.

    8. What is the difference between a DP & God?
    God doesn’t think he’s a DP

    9. During a re-lighting the DP and the Camera Operator end up arguing. The DP says sex is 90% work and only 10% pleasure. The Operator argues the opposite: 70% work and 30% pleasure. They can’t agree, so seek a 3rd party to arbitrate. The only person around is the Loader doing coffee rounds. They ask him his opinion. He gets their permission to speak freely. And so he says: “Well, if you really ask my opinion, I’d say it’s all pleasure, for if there was any work connected with it, you’d have me doing it!”

    10. In the beginning God created the DP.
    God saw the DP and said he was good.
    The DP saw God and said: “Turn your head, IŽd rather have it back-lit.”
    God said:”But I am God!”
    The DP said:”I don’t care who you are. Front-lighting is no good.”
    And God turned his head.

    Cheers.
    35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.


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    #30
    Senior Member Kwan's Avatar
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    Great Thread
    Kwan
    Green Screen - www.finalfootage.com

    RED# 2897, Nikon 17-35mm, 50mm, 80-200mm, Redrock MB, Pancro Budget Kit, ViewFactor FF, Panasonic 17"
    HVX200, Brevis35mm, Letus EX, BT-LH80, FS-100, Zacuto Base, Indi-Slider, Reflecmedia Chroma Flex and SEGWAY.
    Green Screen Studio at Time Square, Kino Flo 8'4/4'4/2'4' Kit, Lite Panel, Varizoom Remote Head, EZ JIB, Indie-Dolly kit, Glidecam Smooth Shooter,

    Mac Book Pro , Mac Pro, Final Cut Studio 2, Shake.

    Can be rented any where in NYC


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