What Does an AC Do on A Film Set?

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What Does an AC Do on A Film Set?

The film production’s camera crew is incredibly focused and efficient when working a shoot. Every individual on the crew has a specifically defined role and unique responsibilities on the set. That help the entire production to remain efficient and effective. Since the camera is definitely the most important tool on the set. Anyone that is directly involved with the use of cameras. Or making sure that the cameras are operating exactly as the Director intends them has an important role, too. Like, the focus puller. The focus puller has a major role on the set, actively working alongside several other members of the camera crew, but what does an AC do on a film set?


Who is the AC?

First, let’s take a look at who the “AC” is. The abbreviation AC is used to describe the First Assistant Camera position, also known as the focus puller or the assistant cameraman. The AC is in charge of the camera department and they’ve got a lot of responsibility that comes along with being in charge.

Focus pullers, or the 1st AC, are frequently found working the film set taking on long hours and overseeing some of the most important details of the shoot.

What Does an AC Do on a Film Set?

What’s the AC do while they’re working on the film set? An awful lot! The first assistant camera is responsible for making sure that the camera is in focus.

While the name focus puller comes more from the cameras that were once traditional on set and required a multi-person crew in order to make adjustments to ensure the camera was in focus at all times on the desired objects or elements of the set. 

Since advancements in technology have altered the role of the focus puller on the set, the 1st AC is now responsible for slightly different tasks on the set.

So, what does an AC do on a film set? They will:

  • Build the camera to the appropriate specifications for the shoot.
  • Change lenses during the shoot and in preparation for additional shoots.
  • Perform or schedule maintenance on the camera systems.
  • Move the camera from shot to shot.
  • Make updates to the camera reporting, dope sheet, which tracks scenes that have been shot.
  • Adjust camera lens to keep it in focus simply by paying close attention to the distance between the camera and the desired subject. The focus puller or fist AC does not look through the camera lens the way you or I would in order to focus in on a shot, they’re much more technical and knowledgeable about pulling focus based purely on distance.

What does an AC do on a film set? Only one of the most difficult jobs on the set, they keep each shot in focus and ensure the desired outcome for the Director without ever even looking through the camera lens!

Want more details into what ACs do across different film sets? Flick digs deeper into it!