Load camera film, keep track of shots, and use the iconic black clapper.
What does a Second Assistant Cameraman do?
The job of a Second Assistant Cameraman is to be another set of arms, legs, and eyes for the First Assistant Cameraman. Specifically this means that, as Second Assistant Cameraman, you load the camera, making sure fresh film is ready so as soon as one roll finishes another can be loaded. You also take care of the shot log, which lists all shots taken during the day, along with any information about them. Finally, you hold the clapper at the beginning of each scene as you shout TAKE TEN!
Although these tasks of a Second Assistant Cameraman may seem small, they come with pretty serious responsibility: You’re the only person to actually touch the film and so are responsible for the safety of it. And if film is incorrectly loaded, stored, or dropped after it’s used it becomes useless and lots of time and money get wasted. Additionally, your log is important for post production editing, as it contains a detailed account of all that happens with the camera shots.
This position is a stepping-stone up to First Assistant Camera and beyond. And though not a final career goal, knowing how to load film will serve you well when you’re a Director and you can tell from across the lot that film is being loaded backward and won’t pick up any of your hard work. Plus this job puts you in contact with a lot of different people, from Camera Operators to Directors and Producers, giving you a lot of chances to make contacts with people who you’ll later be able to network with for jobs and future projects.