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HomeCamera GearThe Civilian Information to Digicam Assistant Items - Lens Notes

The Civilian Information to Digicam Assistant Items – Lens Notes

So you could have that very particular digicam geek in your life, and also you wish to get them one thing helpful? You’ve come to the correct place! Whether or not it’s a vacation present, a secret santa alternate or a birthday shock, it’s at all times good if you hear “How do you know I wanted that?!” after the wrapping is torn. With the vacation season looming upon us, get your family members one thing helpful good and early to keep away from last-minute panic.

Digicam assistants are a peculiar bunch, if I could say so being one. It takes a particular mixture of ardour for filmmaking, innate curiosity about all issues technical and a tiny little bit of masochism to make a profitable digicam assistant. These are normally folks that hold abreast of any and all technical improvements inside the imaging area, whereas additionally preserving tabs on the most recent in brewing and hydroponics.

That, sadly, makes them significantly troublesome to purchase items for. If you wish to get them one thing actually helpful, you’ll must your analysis and dip your toes within the magnificent world of digicam geekness. If you’re prepared to take action, step away from the present card and allow us to information you!

The analysis

To make your present of alternative actually hit the bullseye, you’ll want to start out with a little bit of analysis. Digicam nerds (aka digicam assistants) are likely to accumulate plenty of gear, so with out good analysis, you threat getting them one thing they don’t really want or have already got. Fret not, for we’re right here to assist!

Clapper loader slating the beginning of a take
Clapper loader slating the start of a take

What’s with all of the assistants?

Very first thing to to is to determine what it’s precisely that the individual does. You retain listening to about that one digicam assistant that forgot the cap when black shading, and that different AC that obtained a magliner up the steps alone, however it all feels like gibberish? For those who’re not within the industy, the entire job and what it entails could also be a bit complicated. You’ve most likely grasped that by now, however a digicam assistant is sometimes called simply an AC. No, it’s obtained nothing to do with air con, simply the abreviation. Why is it not CA then, you ask? No-one-knows! It’s simply a type of cine anachronisms.

Proper, so, your pal identifies as a digicam assistant, however do you know there’s truly two completely different jobs underneath that title? Yep. Principally, what each digicam (in a characteristic movie or larger TV productions) must run is a minimal of three folks – an operator, 1st digicam assistant and 2nd digicam assistant. The primary digicam assistant might also be known as a 1st AC or focus puller. The second digicam assistant is often known as a 2nd AC or a clapper loader. These are two distinct and somewhat completely different jobs, and to select the proper present it’s good to know which one it’s. We’re not gonna bore you with the main points, however if you wish to study extra about movie jobs click on right here!

To make issues extra sophisticated, along with these two positions, there’s additionally a 3rd choice. In case your pal is simply beginning out, chances are high they may nonetheless be what’s often known as a digicam trainee or digicam utility. These are entry degree positions inside the digicam division, normally with the concept of gaining expertise earlier than transferring on to digicam aiding.

Focus puller keeping the shot sharp
Focus puller preserving the shot sharp

What’s the distinction?

So to reiterate, there’s three doable jobs when your pal refers to themselves as a digicam assistant. Naturally, the simplest and most sure-fire method is to only ask. Digicam assistants die to inform battlefield tales, so that you’ll quickly obtain far more info than you bargained for. If, for some motive you gained’t or can’t ask, you’ll must extract a bit extra from the context.

For those who hear loads about focus pulling, peaking, missed marks, one thing being smooth or that f***er taking pictures large open all day lengthy, chances are high your pal is a first digicam assistant aka 1st AC or focus puller. Focus pullers have one of the crucial hectic positions on set, as they’re in control of preserving the digicam in focus by each shot, which is usually not as straightforward because it sounds. If the main target puller messes up the shot, everybody has to go once more. As well as, focus pullers are tasked with preserving the digicam set and operating, fixing any points on the fly.

Alternatively, should you hold listening to about slates, clapperboards, sticks or digicam stories, you’re most likely coping with a second digicam assistant2nd AC or clapper loader. Clapper loaders’ most seen process is the namesake clapping – clicking that board with the director’s title in entrance of the actors initially of a take. Aside from that, they bear a lot of the brunt of the digicam division’s work – monitoring and altering digicam batteries and playing cards (or movie magazines), preserving digicam logs, schlepping large circumstances of substances round and preserving observe of each little oscenely priced gizmo.

Final however not least, in case your pal claims to be a digicam assistant however gained’t shut up about coffees, sandwiches, batteries and heavy stuff, they’re most likely working a digicam trainee place. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if that’s the case, just about anybody price their salt in filmmaking has began as a trainee. Trainees help the work of the principle division members, on this case the primary and second assistants and the digicam operator.

Lastly, it’s additionally necessary to know that though these are discrete positions, there may be plenty of overlap between each the work and the instruments and tools they use. The pure development inside the digicam division is digicam trainee > second assistant > focus puller. You begin as a trainee, with minimal expertise and package, and also you steadily accumulate the mandatory information, instruments and provides to advance. Consequentially, it’s a lot simpler to get a present for a trainee than it’s for a spotlight puller.

Get to the items already!

So, now that you simply’ve an thought what your pal’s job is, we are able to delve into some present recommendations. As we mentioned, ACs use instruments on a regular basis, so chances are high they have already got a lot of what they want. Due to this, your finest wager is to get them one thing that can assist them advance to the following step of their profession. Our present suggestions replicate this, however, as with something, attempt to extract as a lot info as you may from the folks themselves to make an knowledgeable alternative. With out additional ado, let’s bounce some present concepts for digicam division professionals.

Digicam trainee present concepts

Beginning with arguably the simplest state of affairs, selecting a present for the digicam trainee-cum-assistant in your life needs to be straightforward. They’re simply starting their journey into the fantastic world of digicam instruments and provides, so you could have an opportunity of getting them one thing that they are going to be utilizing day by day for the remainder of their profession.

The Setwear Pro Leather gloves are a perfect gift for a camera trainee
The Setwear Professional Leather-based gloves are an ideal present for a digicam trainee


Trainees are routinely tasked with the dirtiest, heaviest duties inside the digicam division. Reorganizing circumstances, sweeping the truck, recoiling that mess of a BNC, you title it. Make their first few days on set a bit simpler with a pleasant pair of labor gloves. The Setwear Professional Leather-based gloves are one thing of an {industry} normal, and are certain to avoid wasting them from just a few calluses and pinches whereas presenting knowledgeable look.

The Leatherman Surge Multi-tool is a great camera trainee gift
The Leatherman Surge Multi-tool is a good digicam trainee present


Digicam trainees usually don’t want many instruments of their day by day work. If they’re tasked with a technical obligation, typically it’s pure to borrow instruments from the first of 2nd ACs. Nevertheless, traineeship is the time by which you construct up a toolkit earlier than you graduate to a second assistant. A strong basis of any digicam assistant package, a high quality multitool just like the Leatherman Surge pictured above is certain to assist them get by a troublesome spot on set. For one thing extra specialised and finances pleasant, the Smallrig multitool is a crowd pleaser.

If a multitool is over your finances, or they have already got one, you can too go for single instruments. Having a devoted, industry-standard instrument is certain to assist them get issues performed whereas wanting skilled. A sensible choice is a pleasant T-handle screwdriver just like the Facom Agt or the PB Swiss movie {industry} instrument, you’d be onerous pressed to discover a digicam assistant on set with out one or the opposite. For extra concepts try our 15 Digicam Assistant package necessities gear information.

The Cinebags CB07 and the Conterra Tool Chest are both excellent gifts for camera assistants and trainees alike
The Cinebags CB07 and the Conterra Instrument Chest are each glorious items

Instrument Pouches

If you recognize they have already got a primary toolkit, one other good thought is perhaps to get them a pleasant, skilled pouch through which to retailer their instruments. As mentioned above, trainees should not anticipated to hold plenty of instruments, however a pouch like this may each present folks they imply enterprise and be helpful of their transition to a second assistant. A telltale signal of a beginner AC is a generic bum bag in lieu of a correct instrument pouch.

There’s two fashionable approaches to instrument pouches – waist pouches on a belt or a chest pouch. It’s a private desire whether or not you go for one or the opposite, so should you can, dig a bit into the desire of the individual you’re shopping for for. The Cinebags CB07 or the smaller and cheaper CB03 are each glorious selections for waist pouches, particularly mixed with a good padded belt.


For somebody simply staring out within the {industry}, a handbook on the subject might show immensely helpful. The Digicam Assistant’s Handbook by David Elkins is a well-liked learn, as is Douglas C. Hart’s The Digicam Assistant: A Full Skilled Handbook.

Staying inside the e book format, a good pocket journal is one other good thought for a digicam trainee present. The primary few days on a movie set will drive just about anybody to an info overload. From the best way you might be purported to stack batteries within the caddy to how everybody takes their espresso, you’re misplaced with out taking notes. As smartphone use could also be frowned upon on sure units, a pleasant notepad is at all times useful. As well as, it gives a long-lasting report of these first steps, which will come helpful for his or her memoirs down the road.

Clapper loader present concepts

A selection of common camera assistant tools laid on a wooden table
Some widespread AC instruments


Shopping for instruments for somebody already working as a 2nd AC is a bit trickier than getting one thing for a trainee. Moreover, digicam assistant toolkits are a really private affair, and folks work out their preferences by expertise, trial and error. Nevertheless, there are some {industry} normal instruments which you’ll’t go improper with. If know the receipent of your present has not too long ago stepped as much as a second assistant place, they nonetheless most likely have some holes to fill of their toolkit.

To minimise the danger of getting one thing the individual you’re shopping for for already has, your finest wager is to go for extra unique or newer instruments. For instance, the child dimension Knipex Plier Wrench at all times will get the crew’s consideration, because it’s one thing not typically seen however immensely helpful. Try our The Subsequent 15 Issues for Your Digicam Assistant Package gear information for extra concepts for much less widespread 2nd AC instruments.

Neos Adventurer (non-insulated) or Neos Explorer (insulated) overshoes make for terrific digicam assistant items


Relying on the place you might be based mostly and the kind of productions your pal works, they could discover themselves uncovered to some fairly harsh situations for weeks on finish. Getting them one thing to ease their struggling outdoors is perhaps good, and they’ll thanks repeatedly. Seasoned professionals have devoted adversarial climate luggage, but when your pal is a youthful addition to the digicam division they won’t have their absolutely kitted out but.

Overshoes are a very fashionable addition to the out of doors package of many assistants, and for an excellent motive. You place them over your common footwear, and instantly you’re invincibe to mud, slush, snow and dirt. Give them an excellent rinse on the finish of the day, and go house with completely happy, dry ft. For those who stay in a hotter local weather, the place your pal is extra prone to encounter mud than the rest, a non-insulated mannequin just like the Neos Adventurer is an acceptable choice. If, however, snow and sleet is a daily occurance in your locale, you would possibly go for an insulated mannequin just like the Explorer.

Black Robocups with the add-on holster and plus caddy
Black Robocups with the add-on holster and plus caddy


Digicam assistants have a love/hate relationship with espresso, coke and just about some other drink that doesn’t are available in a bottle. The love bit is kind of self-explanatory, with all of the early mornings and the late nights. The hate, nonetheless, comes from the unnatural alure of the digicam cart to anybody with a espresso cup. Protecting an open high drink on the identical (not all that steady) floor because the somewhat costly digicam tools is a recipe for catastrophe.

This has led to the recognition of clamp-on cupholders, and the Robocups are the most effective. Along with coming in quite a lot of colours, in addition they provide add-ons for additional cups or storage. Ensure that, nonetheless, that whoever you’re shopping for for doesn’t have already got them, as it’s a fashionable accent.

Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer
Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

3D Printer

If the individual in query is a type of relentless tinkerers which are all too widespread within the digicam assistant circles, chances are high 3D printing is one thing that’s already on their radar. Increasingly more 3D printed equipment are making their method onto digicam rigs, and for the correct individual, a printer can unlock a treasure trove of potentialities.

3D printing technollogy is transferring quickly, and really succesful desktop fashions just like the Creality Ender 3 v2 are very inexpensive. Do take into account that a 3D printer is a little more concerned than our different digicam assistant present concepts, so proceed with this solely if you’re sure they’ve the area and the inclination to make use of it.

Focus puller present concepts

In case your pal has informed you that they’re pulling focus (otherwise you’ve deducted so in your investigation) you could have a troublesome process forward of you. An skilled focus puller has most likely seen just about each digicam associated gadget and gizmo on the market. Additionally they most definitely have a fairly full set of tried and examined instruments that they’re comfy with. Subsequently, the prospect of you selecting out a instrument that can shock them are somewhat slim.

The American Cinematographer magazine would be a welcome present for any camera department professional
The American Cinematographer journal could be a welcome current for any digicam division skilled

American Cinematographer subsrciption

If whoever you might be selecting a present for has made it as much as a spotlight puller place, that normally means they’re fairly deep into this complete filmmaking factor. So why not get them a subscription to the {industry}’s main journal? A paper journal subscription may appear bizarre this present day, however consider me, they may recognize it.

Alan Gordon Enterprises Mark Vb Director's Viewfinder
Alan Gordon Enterprises Mark Vb Director’s Viewfinder

Director’s viewfinder

If you recognize you’re coping with a seasoned professional focus puller that has been doing the job for just a few years, you most likely know that the following step of their movie profession is to turn out to be a digicam operator. Granted, not each focus puller needs to make the step, however many do. If you recognize that the individual you might be shopping for for has such aspirations, getting them one thing for the challenges that lay forward is perhaps good.

A director’s viewfinder is one such factor. Don’t be fooled by the title, the instrument is utilized by administrators and DOPs (director of images) alike to preview pictures and plan forward. The Alan Gordon Enterprises Mark Vb, pictured above, is the present mannequin of the {industry} normal though it’s a bit pricy. If you need one thing a bit extra finances pleasant, there the a extremely rated Opteka 11x mannequin.

Alan Gordon Blue Ring Gaffer’s Glass
Alan Gordon Blue Ring Gaffer’s Glass

Gaffer’s glass

One other a type of instruments that will likely be helpful in a trasition to working, the gaffer’s glass is a pleasant little contact. It’s a filter used to take a look at the solar to examine cloud protection and motion or to regulate very brilliant lights with out affecting your imaginative and prescient. You’re unlikely to search out it in a spotlight puller’s package, so it’s a safer choice should you don’t wish to threat doubling on one thing they have already got. A gaffer glass is a type of instruments you see around the neck of most badass administrators of images.

Alan Gordon’ blue ringed mannequin is a well-liked alternative, as is the newer Tiffen VVF Variable Viewing Filter. Like sun shades, that is one thing you depend on to guard your imaginative and prescient, so it’s finest to not compromise on high quality.



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