It’s rare that any behind-the-scenes video gives an honest look at a film crew.
That’s fine for the general public who, in general, could care less about a dolly grip or a camera assistant, but it irks those of us who would prefer people understand the true happenings of the film industry with a glimpse below-the-line.
Luckily, the video embedded above does just that courtesy of The Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak.
Keep in mind that this video covers independent filmmaking specifically, so the crew is smaller and the gear they’re using appropriate for the budget.
But even with that caveat, Puschak does a great job of covering each department and their crew accurately and concisely. And at 3:45 in the video, Puschak turns his focus to the camera department and the noble profession of the assistant camera:
Next we have the assistant camera people — those quiet warriors who serve as the third, fourth, fifth and sixth hands of the DP. The camera department must assemble the camera, attach it to whatever tripod or rig will be used for the shot in question and perform that daunting and also under-appreciated task known as focus pulling.
See, a camera lens can only focus on one cross-section of space away from the camera, it being a large or small cross-section depending on the lens and the light. If either the actors or the camera is moving during the shot, the noble focus puller must, by soft adjustments of the lens, make sure the talent stays within the given cross-section or “depth of field.”
It’s like a game — the most infuriating game, ever created.
For those with heavy experience in the film industry, the video is a nice reflection of what you encounter everyday, though I also found it interesting to learn how an outsider would describe a film crew and do so in non-technical terms.
For those new to the film industry, this video is a brief, concise crash course in the basics of how a film crew operates. If you are still looking for answers about how the Hollywood machine works, this video is a good start.
Either way, I’m just happy the video covered those of us working below-the-line and gave the camera assistants some love. Thanks for that Evan! (Great name, by the way.)