Reel Opportunities

2nd Assistant Camera

Also known as: 2nd AC

What does a 2nd Assistant Camera do?

The 2nd Assistant Camera is an important role on the camera team. They are responsible for the accessories for the cameras, including changing memory cards and charging batteries.

The 2nd Assistant Camera works mainly with the “clapboard” or “slate”– the black and white board that’s become iconic for the beginning and end of film takes. A traditional way to sync audio with each take, the 2nd AC uses the slate to indicate for an Editor when the camera has started and stopped recording. The 2nd AC will mark on the slate what scene, take, and camera memory card the production is on. Modern clapboards or slates are digital and include a timecode generator on an LED display. The 2nd AC clearly lists out the information on the slate before clapping the sticks at the beginning (or sometimes the end, known as tail-slate) of the take. This helps keep all the shots organized for the post-production team and allows the picture and audio to be synched together.

The 2nd Assistant Camera will also keep track of all of the camera data for each shot. They fill in reports called “camera logs”; that mark the focal length, the scene, the take, and some small notes. They will also mark which take is the director’s favourite, so the editor has an easier job looking through the footage.

In addition, they will assist the 1st Assistant Camera in marking spots for focus and helping in the organization of the equipment.

What's a 2nd Assistant Camera good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have a good understanding of the latest motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, filters monitors, and lights

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked accurately, stay calm under pressure, pay close attention to detail

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, onscreen contributors, presenters and production staff, be responsive

  • Handling cameras

    Be well-coordinated, prepared to lift and move heavy camera equipment frequently throughout a shoot

Who does a 2nd Assistant Camera work with?

The 2nd Assistant Camera will work directly under the camera operator of the production or the operator of the camera unit. They will be close with the 1st Assistant Camera and the Camera Operator. The 2nd AC will work in tandem with the 1st AC to make sure everything is set up for the camera department to thrive. The 2nd Assistant Camera will also work with the DOP (Director of Photography). They may also work with the Assistant Editor in sharing the information of the camera logs.

How do I become a 2nd Assistant Camera?

Like many other departments on a set, it is possible to learn on the job by starting out in the lowest tier as a Production Assistant and working your way up. Another way to gain an intimate knowledge of the gear is to work at a camera rental house. Many equipment rental companies encourage their employees to learn about the equipment that they offer, and it can be a great way to gain experience that you will later use on set. You can also look into the local camera unions in your area and try to gain experience from them. They can provide qualifications to help acquire entry-level positions on sets.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

1st Assistant Camera

Also known as: AC, Focus Puller

What does a 1st Assistant Camera do?

The 1st Assistant Camera (1st AC) is responsible for maintenance of the camera, such as keeping it clean or adjusting the focus. Often, an AC whose main job is to maintain the camera lens’ focus during each scene is called the “Focus Puller”.

Pulling focus is not an easy job onset and is very important for production. The 1st Assistant Camera will sit next to the camera operator and use a dial to bring the picture in and out of focus. The 1st Assistant Camera will need to know exactly where the actor, or the object, that needs to be in focus is, so they can correctly mark the dial and pull to it.

They also manage the camera equipment and make sure it is organized on set. They will help with preparing the equipment, cleaning the lenses, and even setting up and tearing down the camera rig each day.

What's a 1st Assistant Camera good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have a good understanding of the latest motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, filters monitors, and lights

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked accurately, stay calm under pressure, pay close attention to detail

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, onscreen contributors, presenters and production staff, be responsive

  • Handling cameras

    Be well-coordinated, prepared to lift and move heavy camera equipment frequently throughout a shoot

Who does a 1st Assistant Camera work with?

The 1st Assistant Camera will work directly under the Camera Operator of the production or the operator of the camera unit. They will work closely with the Camera Operator and be by their side for most of the production. They will also work closely with the 2nd Assistant Camera as they both will help in the daily functions of the camera department. The 1st Assistant Camera will also work with the DOP (Director of Photography).

How do I become a 1st Assistant Camera?

Like many other departments on a set, it is possible to learn on the job by starting out in the lowest tier of the Camera Department and working your way up. Another way to gain an intimate knowledge of the gear is to work at a camera rental house. Many equipment rental companies encourage their employees to learn about the equipment that they offer, and it can be a great way to gain experience that you will later use on set. You can also look into the local camera unions such as IATSE and try to gain experience from them. They can provide qualifications to acquire entry-level positions on sets.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Assistant to Producers

What does an Assistant to Producers do?

Assistant to Producers is an administrative role in the filmmaking process, similar to that of an Executive Assistant in business. The Assistant to Producers works closely with the Producer from pre-production through production, post-production, and is even involved in the distribution of the film. The tasks vary with each production and Producer. The Assistant to Producers will have a good overview of the entire production process and be one of the hands of the Producer.

The tasks may vary but there are many tasks an Assistant to Producers is responsible for. Some involve writing coverage on scripts, draft letters, making and managing phone calls, assisting with any on-set duties, and being a liaison between the producers and the post-production team. You have to be a jack of all trades to support the Producers and address the needs of the production.

What’s an Assistant to Producers good at?
  • Organization

    Managing a Producer’s schedule, meetings, tasks, contacts and duties during all stages of production

  • Administration

    Good with computers and software such as MS Office, Movie Magic and other film-related programs

  • Communication

    Able to communicate the needs of the Producer to key creatives and the rest of the crew, and vice versa

Who does an Assistant to Producers work with?

Assistant to Producers work closely with the Producer throughout the entire production. They also work with a multitude of the crew from pre-production to post-production. They will be communicating with the crew on the behalf of the Producer.

How do I become an Assistant to Producers?

Assistant to Producers need to have a fundamental understanding of the needs of a production. They can begin as Production Assistants and then become a personal assistant to one of the crew members. They will perform the same duties for the one individual. You can establish yourself as a good assistant and, with the understanding of the production process, be able to offer your services to Producers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Post-Production Supervisor

What does a Post-Production Supervisor do?

Post-Production Supervisors help a Producer achieve as much as is possible in the edit process without going over budget. Post-production Supervisors are the main line of communication between the Producers, Director, Editors, Sound Editors, 3rd party facilities, and the Production Accountant. Though it’s not a creative role, the Post-production Supervisor is integral to the delivery of the film or television series.

On films that involve using complex CGI (computer-generated images), they make sure the Producer’s aware of all the creative and financial considerations of post-production before work on the film even begins.

Post-Production Supervisors help hire staff for the edit, like Sound Editors and Titles Designers. They work closely with the Production Accountant, supplying accurate information for the cost reports.

They usually continue to work on the production until all the elements needed for the completion of the film are delivered. This includes the music and effects version, which allows the dialogue track to be replaced with different languages.

What’s a Post-Production Supervisor good at?
  • Understanding post-production

    Know the process in detail, stay up-to-date with the effects that can be achieved through constantly changing technology

  • Budgeting

    Plan, use film budgeting software, keep track of spending

  • Multi-tasking

    Prioritize conflicting demands

  • Problem-solving

    Find solutions to creative and practical dilemmas

  • Communication

    Persuade producers of the creative possibilities and limitations of post, keep a team working happily

Who does a Post-Production Supervisor work with?

The Post-Production Supervisor works very closely with the picture and sound teams, especially the Editor, Assistant Editor or Sound Editor. They also work with the Post-production coordinator and Production Assistants.

How do I become a Post-Production Supervisor?

Most Post-Production Supervisors have worked in the industry for at least four years, either in an editing, sound or management role. It’s essential to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the highly complex processes of post. Most Post-production Supervisors come in as Production Assistants.

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in art, design, photography, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology and computing science are useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD)

Also known as: Thirds

What does a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) do?

Thirds are the 1st AD’s right-hand on set. They are responsible for coordinating extras, preparing and cueing them, as well as sometimes directing them in any required background action. They may have to keep members of the public out of shot, or off the set and/or the location, and will liaise with the Location Manager regarding the security and tidying up of studios and locations after filming.

The 3rd AD reports directly to the 2nd AD. The 3rd AD’s key responsibilities include moving actors from point A to point B, organizing extras, and supervising Production Assistants. The individual may also serve as the set messenger, conveying information between cast and crew members – usually by radio.

Because the responsibilities of 2nd and 3rd AD overlap, the specific function on-set may vary from film to film. However, it will most likely include things like keeping the public out of the Director’s shots so that they don’t disrupt the expensive production schedule, locking up a studio, and securing a location when filming is completed. There may even be some directing involved – cueing extras and drivers of on-set vehicles and generally coordinating the background action.

What’s a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) good at?
  • Multi-tasking

    Pay close attention to what is happening in one shot while getting ready for the next one

  • Attention to detail

    Ensure everything is on screen as it should be - cueing extras and even directing

  • Communication

    Able to let a wide range of people know exactly what is required of them and get them to work together, ability to listen to the director

  • Organization

    Plan, multi-task, work calmly under pressure

Who does a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) work with?

The 3rd AD reports directly to the 2nd AD and on set works closely with the 1st AD.

How do I become a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD)?

Like many roles in film and TV, there are many routes to becoming a 3rd AD. From getting degrees, diplomas, certificates, internships, apprenticeships, or even freelancing and volunteer work, there is no standard recipe. Training on-set is also a great route, and there are lots of ways to do it, both extended and short-term.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)

What is a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?
What does a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) do?

The 2nd Assistant Director is the right-hand man of the First Assistant Director (1st AD). The main responsibility of the 2nd AD is to ensure that all of the 1st AD’s orders and directions are followed. Under the supervision of the 1st, the 2nd AD’s prepare and draw up the ‘call sheet,’ which is the document that details daily filming logistics and is distributed to all cast and crew; they supervise all cast movements, ensuring that the principal actors are in makeup, wardrobe, or standing by on the set at the appropriate times.

The 2nd AD may also be in charge of finding and looking after background artists (extras) on smaller productions without a Third Assistant Director. The majority of 2nd ADs also assist the 1st AD in liaising between the set or location and the production office, keeping key personnel up to date on the shoot’s timings and progress.

The film’s 2nd Assistant Director reports directly to the 1st Assistant Director. The 2nd AD will typically use a headset and/or walkie-talkie to communicate with the film’s 1st Assistant Director at all times.

What’s a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) good at?
  • Planning

    Co-ordinate the schedules of various departments including camera, make-up, hair, costume, design, and visual effects, think ahead and create call-sheets

  • Time-management

    Coordinate logistics, make arrangements, and draw up detailed plans for the 1st AD's review

  • Innovation

    Think of creative solutions under pressure when the unexpected happens

  • Communication

    Able to let a wide range of people know exactly what is required of them and get them to work together, ability to listen to the director

Who does a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) work with?

The 2nd Assistant Director works directly with the 1st Assistant Director. They also manage the movements of the actors and work closely with the hair/makeup and wardrobe departments.

How do I become a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?

Like many roles in film and TV, there are many routes to becoming a 2nd Assistant Director. From getting degrees, diplomas, certificates, internships, apprenticeships, or even freelancing and volunteer work, there is no standard recipe. Training on-set is also a great route, and there are lots of ways to do it, both extended and short-term.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Production Coordinator

What does a Production Coordinator do?

Production Coordinators help ensure a film or television project runs smoothly. Working under the Production Manager or Producer, they help to arrange the day-to-day running of the production office and the team to make sure everyone has the information they need to work effectively.

Production Coordinators can also be the key travel coordinators on small to mid-sized productions. They organize travel plans, book flights and hotel rooms, and they also acquire necessary travel visas for the cast and crew. Production Coordinators are also the main contact at the production office and usually are responsible for communications and document deliveries such as sending out schedules, scripts, script revisions, and call sheets.

Production Coordinators need to communicate well with everyone. They liaise with production and post-production. It’s their job to help to keep everyone informed and on target so the project is finished on time and on budget.

What’s a Production Coordinator good at?
  • Communication

    Work within a team towards a shared goal, be able to communicate clearly with all team members

  • Organization

    Be good at managing projects and working to deadlines, be organized, show attention to detail, be able to multitask and prioritize

  • Software knowledge

    Be able to use database and scheduling software, be good at learning new software, understand common file formats and resolutions

  • Resilience

    Remain calm and confident under pressure, cope well with fast-paced environments and short deadlines, be adaptable, use initiative, have a positive attitude

Who does a Production Coordinator work with?

Production Coordinators work closely with office staff throughout production and post-production. They usually report to the Production Manager.

How do I become a Production Coordinator?

There are a few routes into becoming a Production Coordinator. You need to show you have very strong teamwork and organizational skills as well as a good understanding of the way a film is made. Entry level as a Production Assistant in the office is a great way to work your way up to Production Coordinator.

Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: You can take courses in business studies, film studies, media studies, English, math, and economics.

Get an Internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. You might be able to get an internship as an Assistant Production Manager or project manager.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Assistant Production Accountant

Also known as: Junior Production Accountant, 1st Assistant Accountant, Cashier, Key Assistant Accountant

What does an Assistant Production Accountant do?

Assistant Production Accountants (APA) help Production Accountants keep accurate records of how the money on a film or TV production is spent.

They primarily deal with expense claims, comparing what people have claimed with the receipts they have submitted. A major responsibility of the APA is to log timesheets given by crew members for the Payroll Accountant to process. They alsotrack money that’s been given to the crew (floats), and make sure this money is available to the relevant crew members (and returned at the end of a shoot).

They also perform petty cash reconciliations, where the cash on the site is counted and cross-referenced with outgoing spending. They photocopy, input data, and back up data. They might help ensure the production isn’t over-spending by providing comparisons between the budget and the actual spending.

What’s an Assistant Production Accountant good at?
  • Math and Computer Skills

    Enjoys crunching numbers , preparing spreadsheets and logging/computing data

  • Taking instruction

    Listen to the Production Accountant and do what’s asked

  • Discretion

    Able to keep confidential information to yourself

  • Communication

    Be social and work well with the accounts department, be able to chat to people in each department and learn what is going on in the production

  • Working long hours

    Work the same hours as the crew who will be working longer than 9 to 5 to make the most of the shooting day

Who does an Assistant Production Accountant work with?

APAs work with Production Accountants and Payroll Accountants, as well as Production Managers and heads of departments.

How do I become an Assistant Production Accountant?

There isn’t a single route to become an Assistant Production Accountant, you have to be interested and skilled in budget mathematics. You should try to sharpen your skills in this area and look for similar jobs in accounting and project management.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: You might find going into a university program that has a focus in accounting, business or business studies and math useful. It will also look good on a resume when applying for different jobs.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Try reaching out to different organizations and production companies and inquiring about possible internships.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Production Accountant

What does a Production Accountant do?

Production Accountants do all the things accountants do, but they do it on film and television productions amidst the buzz and creativity of making a movie. They calculate finances, work out the cost of a production, talk to the completion guarantor (an insurance policy to make sure the film is delivered on time and on budget) and control the cash flow, or spending.

In pre-production, Production Accountants help the Producers and Production Managers prepare budgets and estimated final cost reports. During production, they oversee all payments, manage payroll and provide daily or weekly cost reports. They also produce cost forecasts to evaluate the impact of any production changes.

Production Accountants prepare a statement of account showing all income and expenditure for the Producer or production company and the financiers. They may also have to arrange an independent audit. Depending on how the film is financed, they may also have to deal with bank finance and completion guarantors.

On larger productions, Production Accountants may work with Finance Controllers, who are often permanently employed by studios and broadcasters. Production Accountants are usually freelancers.

What’s a Production Accountant good at?
  • Accountancy

    Keeps records meticulously, knows and understands Canadian revenue regulations and insurance. Using finance software: be able to use Movie Magic Budgeting or other budgeting packages

  • Knowledge of film production

    Have a thorough understanding of how film dramas are made and a love of the industry

  • Communication

    Be able to listen to and be understood by everyone from producers, financiers, finance controllers and cashiers

  • Discretion

    Be trustworthy with personal and production information

Who does a Production Accountant work with?

If the production has a Finance Controller, the Production Accountant works closely with them. If it doesn’t, then the Production Accountant heads up a team that may comprise an Assistant Production Accountant, and an Accounts Trainee. They may also work closely with the Production Manager and Assistant Production Managers.

How do I become a Production Accountant?

Some Production Accountants have a degree in accounting but by no means all. Some get into the accounts department having worked in other roles in the industry. A good route is to start as a Cashier and work your way up to an Assistant Production Accountant role before becoming the Production Accountant.

Get a degree: A degree in accountancy will be immensely beneficial, but it is not essential. Some people get qualified as bookkeepers then work their way up without a degree.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Script Supervisor

Also known as: Continuity Supervisor

What does a Script Supervisor do?

If you’ve ever seen a film and noticed that in one shot, an actor’s glass of juice is empty, and suddenly in the next shot it is full again – you’ve spotted a “continuity error”. This happens because shooting is organized according to the practicalities of location and availability of cast rather than the unfolding of the story. It’s the job of the Script Supervisor to ensure that those errors (and many other continuity issues) don’t happen! They also help organize the footage for the editor (who is not usually on set during filming).

During pre-production, Script Supervisors prepare a continuity breakdown. This is a document that analyzes the script in terms of cast, actions, wardrobe and props in scenes and story days. Then they time the script, which is quite a skill in itself.

Once filming starts, they closely monitor what’s happening to check no dialogue is overlooked and the actions and eye-lines of the actors match. They keep detailed written and photographic records of dialogue, action, costumes and props. All camera and lens details are noted along with the slate and scene number information.

They keep a progress report of each day’s filming which goes to production and the Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor in the case of VFX shots. These records are invaluable. They help Directors and Editors find what’s been shot and what the options are for each scene. They also ensure that when different takes are edited together, the film is consistent and makes sense.

What’s a Script Supervisor good at?
  • Analysis

    Break down, time and itemize scenes in terms of set, costumes, make-up, props and dialogue according to where they are in the story

  • Filmmaking

    Understand the art of storytelling through a lens, know what this means in terms of required shots and crossing the line

  • Observation

    Have an eagle eye and good memory, have the stamina to remain observant during long filming days

  • Attention to detail

    Be meticulous and methodical in taking precise notes quickly and efficiently

  • Communication

    Let the director, actors, crew, hair, make-up and production know about continuity issues

Who does a Script Supervisor work with?

Script Supervisors work closely with the Director and are the primary liaison between them. They also communicate with actors, hair and make-up departments and production.

How do I become a Script Supervisor?

You don’t need a formal qualification to become a Script Supervisor but you do need a very good understanding of film production, particularly of editing and how scenes are constructed out of individual shots.

A common route is to spend a few years working in the industry at a junior level like a Production Assistant or Assistant Production Coordinator in a production company. From there you can build contacts, get to know the industry and step up to assist an experienced script supervisor.

Become a PA: Apply to be a Production Assistant. This can give you valuable on-set work experience that you can then apply to film and TV drama later on.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Prop Master

Also known as: Property Master, Prop Person

What does a Prop Master do?

A prop is any moveable item that can be seen on a film. It could be a hat, gun, cushion, wine glass, lightsaber, carpet, kitchen unit, tree or aircraft. Prop Masters run the property department which makes, stores and transports the props as well as preps the props for each day’s shoot.

Prop Masters usually start work a few weeks before shooting begins. They work with Production Designer, Set Decorators and Art Director to work out what props are needed. They do research and then draw up properties lists, deciding which are to be hired and which are to be made. They create a ‘set and strike’ schedule to share with location and construction departments.

Where props are to be made, Prop Masters recruit the Carpenters and prop makers and manage the schedule for production. Where they are hired, they work with the Production Buyers to source them.

When shooting is finished, they return all hired props and organize the sale or safe disposal of everything else.

What's a Prop Master good at?
  • Understanding film

    Pick up the Director’s vision, break a script down for props requirements take account of the need for continuity

  • Historical knowledge

    Research different eras, dress a set authentically

  • Craftsmanship

    Work with a wide variety of materials, craft and repair items

  • Moving items

    Handle large, heavy but fragile items

  • Communication

    Work closely with the Production Designer and other departments, share the vision with the props team

  • Organization

    Manage staff, budgets, complex schedules, transport and storage

Who does a Prop Master work with?

Prop Masters report to Production Designer and Set Decorators as part of the art department. They work closely with the Director, Art Director, Production Buyers, Location Manager and Construction Manager. They also might work with the Script Supervisor to maintain set continuity (keeping track of whether a glass is full or empty, where a particular item is placed at the start or end of a take, how objects move, and so on).

How do I become a Prop Master?

This is a senior level role, so college-level technical education in art and design, along with several years of experience in the art department, are required. Apprenticeships or on the job training are also possible. This position requires the ability to work well with your hands and construct materials to form props when needed, as well as organizational skills and an interest in the historical accuracy of items and scenes on a film set.

Here are some more tips:

Learn how to drive a van or a truck: Being a Prop Master can often involve moving heavy props and travelling around different locations. Learning to drive is essential for this, as is learning how to move large, heavy but fragile items safely.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Set Decorator

Also known as: Set Dec, Set Dresser, Stylist (commercials)

What does a Set Decorator do?

Set Decorators are storytellers. They create the background of the action, explaining the context, adding mood and visual interest as the drama unfolds. While Prop Masters deal with the placing of objects an actor holds, Set Decorators are concerned with the walls, floors, vehicles and furniture.

Before filming begins, Set Decorators work with the Director, Art Director, Props Master and Production Buyers to go through the script and work out what sets are needed. They make a list and a plan for the Props Master to follow. Then they buy or hire the items and get in Props Makers to make furniture.

The day before shooting, Set Decorators arrive early to begin dressing the set. After the Director and Director of Photography have checked it, the Set Decorators move on to the next scene. Once a scene has been shot, they are responsible for striking (taking apart) each set.

What's a Set Decorator good at?
  • Understanding film

    Be able to pick up the director’s vision, know how a background can tell a story

  • Style

    Have a good eye for decoration, a sense of colour and form, precise attention to detail

  • Historical knowledge

    Research different eras and dress a set authentically

  • Communication

    Work closely with the production designer and other departments, share the vision with the team

  • Organisation

    Break down a script for set requirements, manage staff, budgets, complex schedules and transport

Who does a Set Decorator work with?

In larger productions, Set Decorators will have a team made up of Assistant Set Decorators, Buyers, Set Dressers, painters, drapers, cabinet makers, sculptors and so on. They report to the Production Designer and work closely with the Art Director and Props Master.

How do I become a Set Decorator?

There is no standard career path to be a Set Decorator. Often, they will have experience working as a Production Buyer or an Assistant Set Decorator. They have usually worked in the art department for several years or in set design in the theatre.

Here are some tips:

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in art and design, architecture, photography, theatre, graphic design or graphic communication are useful.

Get experience: Volunteer to do set decorating for student videos. Or decorate stage sets in amateur theatre productions.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

1st Assistant Director

Also known as: 1st AD, First, First AD, Assistant director, AD

What does a 1st Assistant Director do?

The 1st Assistant Director (AD) is the director’s right hand. They are directly responsible for running the set during production, and most of the main crew report to the 1st AD. 1st ADs plan the filming schedule, working with the Director, Production Manager, Director of Photography and other heads of department to ensure an efficient shoot.

In pre-production, 1st ADs break down the script, analysing it for what will be needed in terms of cast, locations, equipment and crew. Along with the Director, the 1st AD prepares the shooting script which identifies all the specific shots that will be taken during the shoot. Then they input the scripts into computer programs such as Movie Magic software, which helps them work out what to film and when, depending on the availability of cast and locations. They write the shooting schedule and work out how long each scene will take to film. Along with the 2nd AD, the 1st AD helps to prepare the daily “call sheet” and makes sure everyone stays on a schedule in accordance.

On many sets, at crew call, the 1st AD will prepare a safety and logistics meeting with the main crew. During filming 1st ADs manage the set, which leaves the Director free to focus on the actors and framing the shots. A 1st AD must have general knowledge of every department on a production and know how to delegate tasks to each department on behalf of the Director. Another task of the 1st AD during filming is to “call roll” which is when the 1st AD cues the heads of departments to ready themselves for filming. In many cases, the 1st AD may even call “action!” for the Director.

What’s a 1st Assistant Director good at?
  • Visualizing the script

    Read the script and know what this means in terms of cameras, locations and cast, understand the Director’s vision

  • Planning and Organization

    Analyze what is needed for a shoot, and co-ordinate the schedules of various departments including camera, make-up, hair, costume, design and visual effects, think ahead

  • Multi-tasking

    Pay close attention to what is happening in one shot while getting ready for the next one

  • Innovation

    Think of creative solutions under pressure when the unexpected happens

  • Communication

    Able to let a wide range of people know exactly what is required of them and get them to work together, ability to listen to the Director

Who does a 1st Assistant Director work with?

1st Assistant Directors work closely with the Production Manager, who supervises the production expenditures and arrangements as a whole. They also work closely with the 2nd Assistant Director, who is the main off-set contact with other departments and prepares the call sheet, as well as the 3rd Assistant Director, who is the 1st Assistant Director’s right-hand on set.

How do I become a 1st Assistant Director?

This is a senior role that requires many years of experience. Most 1st Assistant Directors start out as PA’s and work their way up. Here are some more tips:

Network online: Create a LinkedIn profile. See if there are Facebook pages or other social media groups for people making films or TV in your area. There might even be groups for Production Assistants and other entry-level roles.. Join them. Find a film office near you and get connected. If you do sign up to paid sites, make sure they specialize in the areas in which you’re interested.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Camera Operator

Also known as: Cameraperson, Studio Camera Operator, Steadicam Operator, Cameraman

What does a Camera Operator do?

Camera Operators are responsible for capturing the action on a film or television production. They play an integral role in the film and television production process, working closely with the Director of Photography, ensuring that the shots produced are in line with the visual style and tone of the project. They know how to choose which cameras to use in certain conditions and consider the composition, framing, and movement of a shot. They can also shoot what’s happening live, whether that’s on location for a news programme, documentary, or a large multi-camera studio show.

On larger productions there may be more than one Camera Operator, known as Camera A and Camera B. This allows for simultaneous coverage of a scene from various shots and set-ups. Each Camera Operator would have several Assistant Camera and Grips working as part of a cohort or mini-team in order to achieve each shot. On smaller productions, one Camera Operator would be responsible to cover all shots, and scenes may be played out several times in order to get a variety of angles and framing choices.

When shooting on location, such as on documentaries, they might be the only Camera Operator working in all kinds of conditions — underwater, in a snowstorm, or in a desert. They often operate a variety of different cameras, including handheld cameras mounted on a body frame (Steadicam) or a drone. They are responsible for taking care of the kit wherever they are shooting, and on smaller productions often own their equipment. They are also skilled at lighting composition.

What's a Camera Operator good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing. You may specialise in certain genres, but you must also be able to adapt to different shooting styles

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have an in-depth understanding of the latest motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, monitors, and lights

  • Communication

    Listen, do what’s asked by the producer, director and work as a team with other crew and production staff

  • Multi-task

    Watch, listen, think quickly, and problem solve on the go, all whilst carrying out complex technical tasks, adapt to requirements of different shoots

  • Concentration

    Be patient, maintain focus over long programme shoots, stay calm under pressure

Who does a Camera Operator work with?

Camera Operators report directly to the Director of Photography and the 1st AD. Sometimes they may even take direction directly from the Director. Camera Operators work with the Grips to move and set up camera equipment and talk to the Gaffers about lighting too. They often have a Camera Assistant or two working with them. Lastly, they work directly with the Digital Imaging Technician on preserving data from memory cards.

How do I become a Camera Operator?

Camera Operator is a senior and experienced position. Most work their way up into this role from a position like Camera Assistant.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: You may find courses in a combination of subjects that include art, art and design, graphic communication or photography, along with maths and physics.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. If you can’t get an internship with a broadcaster, it might be worth trying to find one outside the TV industry, where you can develop your skills and your craft. You can then move into TV at a later point. Before taking any internship , check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will give you the skills you want.

Work for an equipment company: Contact an equipment rental company. Ask if you can become a kit room assistant for them. That way you will get to learn more about the kit and build up contacts.

Get a degree: It’s not essential to have a degree in order to become a Camera Operator. There are, however, degree courses that specialize in television production and photography that you might consider.
Get work experience: Try to get work experience by writing to local production companies and asking if they offer any.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Digital Imaging Technician

Also known as: DIT, Data Management Technician (DMT)

What does a Digital Imaging Technician do?

The Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) is a relatively new crew position in the film and television industry. Previously thought of as nothing more than a “data wrangler” the DIT is now widely considered one of the most integral members of the camera crew, bridging the gap between production and post-production, and working closely with the Director of Photography to achieve the optimal look for the project. The reason for this is that what used to be reels of exposed film is now “data” – digitally recorded images stored on cards or drives.

The DIT is almost an extension of the DoP. Helping with digital image manipulations such as aspect ratio, camera settings, resolution, codecs, frame rates and even LUTs (color grading). One of the primary functions of the DIT is to indeed wrangle data—offloading, copying data and keeping data secure in at least three locations. He or she works closely with the Video Assist Operator to get the raw footage ready for dailies—reviewed by the Director, and other members of the production team. As raw footage seldom looks right, the DIT manipulates the footage, applying color grading and other techniques to prepare it for viewing.

Lastly, the DIT is also in the middle of the workflow between production and the post-production team, liaising with the Editor or Assistant Editors and transferring data. The workflow focuses on secure and efficient handoff of data, making sure no prize footage is lost or corrupted during the process.

What's a Digital Imaging Technician good at?
  • Digital cameras and computers

    Have expert knowledge of cameras, file formats, storage media, and computer systems to get the smoothest workflow

  • Digital photography

    Understand contrast, focus, lighting, cinematography, and color. Have a good eye for grading raw footage

  • Problem-solving

    Be able to fix kit, tech, and cable connections

  • Communication

    Advise the director of photography on the benefits or limitations of particular set-ups, be the liaison between the set and the post-production team, create the best possible workflow between the two

  • Film production

    Understand how a film set works, the roles within it, and the production process

  • Staying calm under pressure

    Stay alert in a live environment, adjust picture accurately

  • Attention to detail

    Label files, wrangle the data without loss, notice corruptions

Who does a Digital Imaging Technician work with?

DITs work most closely with the camera department. On some shoots, they are needed at the Director of Photography’s side. They also need a good relationship with the 2nd AC, who gives the footage to the DIT when needed. (On larger sets they’re assisted by a Data Wrangler). DITs will often have to make reference notes for different departments like hair and make-up, costume department, and the Script Supervisor.

How do I become a Digital Imaging Technician?

Typically, Digital Imaging Technicians work their way up through the camera department. One good route into this is through becoming a Camera Trainee.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Video Assist Operator

Also known as: Playback, Video Playback Operator, Video Split Operator, VTR

What does a Video Assist Operator do?

Video Assist Operators (VAOs) take the images generated by digital cameras and display them on video monitors so the Director and other crew members can see exactly what’s been shot.

These images are also recorded for playback, so the action can be reviewed after each take. They are a reference through which continuity can be checked. The playback is stored to form a complete archive of the shots taken throughout the production.

VAO’s use dedicated software for the recording and instant playback. The software also gives the VAO the ability to simulate visual effects on set as filming is happening. The Director and Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor can evaluate these shots immediately rather than wait until the raw footage is processed and manipulated.

The VAO can also edit the scenes on set for continuity and timing purposes. This helps ensure that no shots have been missed.

What's a Video Assist Operator good at?
  • Concentration

    Be alert, ready to respond immediately when called to record or playback, pay attention to the shots on the video monitors, spot problems and advise

  • Knowledge of video

    Understand video playback equipment, video and audio cables, wireless video links and the basics of video signals and formats

  • Knowledge of film production

    Understand digital cameras and lighting, appreciate the role and responsibilities of all the members of the crew

  • Communication

    Be able to work as part of a team and to liaise with other departments

  • Problem-solving

    Be able to diagnose faults and work out how to correct them

Who does a Video Assist Operator work with?

Video Assist Operators are primarily there to assist the Director and Script Supervisor but they also work closely with 1st Assistant Directors, camera and visual effects crews. On bigger shoots, they have a Video Assist Assistant to help.

How do I become a Video Assist Operator?

The most common route to becoming a VAO is through working at a junior level for camera rental companies or video playback companies. This helps you to understand the equipment and to get contacts in the industry. Trainees spend time getting to know the role before becoming Video Assist Assistants and, in time, Video Assist Operators.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Camera Trainee

Also known as: 3rd Camera Assistant

What does a Camera Trainee do?

Camera Trainees work with all members of the camera crew, but they usually work most closely with the 2nd AC or Clapper Loader.
They help prepare the equipment at the beginning of the job and may be involved with camera and lens tests. They might mark actors’ positions during rehearsals and keep records, camera logs and other paperwork ready for the edit.

Monitoring can be a big part of the role; setting up the monitors, cables and wireless. If there isn’t a dedicated monitor operator, it becomes the role of the Trainee. Experienced Trainees may also be asked to take on the responsibility of using the clapperboard, changing camera batteries and helping the Focus Puller (1st AC).

The scope of the job changes depending on the size of the production. They might start out making tea and coffee and getting the sides (printouts of the scenes to be shot that day) from the production office to the camera department. On bigger productions, they might help with the second unit camera, a camera set up to do secondary shoots while the main action is taking place elsewhere.

What's a Camera Trainee good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus and story-telling

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe the Clapper Loader and Focus Puller and ask questions at the appropriate moments

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked, stay calm under pressure

  • Reliability

    Arrive to set on time and also be focused on set

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, write accurate and detailed camera reports

Who does a Camera Trainee work with?

Camera Trainees mainly work with the Clapper Loader (2nd AC) but they also come into contact with the Focus Puller, Camera Operator, Director of Photography (DoP) and the wider camera department.

How do I become a Camera Trainee?

IATSE has an excellent apprenticeship training programme that is the most direct way into this field. You can also learn a lot about cameras and other equipment in a film production programme in college, university, or independent training programmes. Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, take courses that let you explore different subjects, ideally with some combination of art, art and design or graphic communication with math and physics.

Get work experience: Contact video making companies and ask if you can do work experience with them.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Descriptive Video Transcriber

Also known as: Audio Describer, DVT

What does a Descriptive Video Transcriber do?

Descriptive video transcribing, otherwise known as audio describing, is the process of narrating descriptions of nonverbal elements on the screen, such as characters’ surroundings, artworks, costumes, and body language, with the goal of making visual media more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

A media professional who translates visual imagery into verbal information for the benefit of people is known as an audio describer. Audio Description facilitates access to video content for visually impaired viewers by providing a carefully crafted spoken audio commentary that corresponds to what is on screen. Descriptive Video Transcribers begin by writing a project script, narrating and recording content, and then creating the necessary files for integration into the rest of the production.

Audio descriptions can be created for film, television, plays, musicals, operas, dance performances, parks, national monuments, museums, galleries, public service announcements, transportation – the list is endless. In general, audio description can improve the experience and understanding of any visual information. Professional Descriptive Video Transcribers are frequently hired by major film and television productions to write and voice the descriptions for their videos.

What's a Descriptive Video Transcriber good at?
  • Writing

    Write in such a way that when the text is read it seems as if the words come spontaneously and are not at all scripted. Explain concepts and ideas in a clear and simple manner

  • Communication

    Work well with the members of the project, understand the vision of the content and communicate what's happening on-screen effectively for individuals who are blind or otherwise visually impaired

  • Attention to detail

    Listen and watch actively, perform tasks conscientiously and effectively, taking into account all their aspects and convey all the necessary details via the audio descriptions

  • Pronunciation

    Be able to properly and understandably pronounce words

Who does a Descriptive Video Transcriber work with?

It’s not uncommon for Descriptive Video Transcribers to work with Directors, Producers, Sound Editors, and other team members during post-production.

How do I become a Descriptive Video Transcriber?

There is no direct educational path to transcribing descriptive video, but a background in writing and post-production or audio engineering production is useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Director of Photography

Also known as: Cinematographer, DP, DoP

What does a Director of Photography do?

The DoP is the head of both the lighting and camera departments. They are responsible for artistic and technical decisions related to the images captured by the camera.

They read the screenplay and work closely with the Director to discuss the look and feel of a film. They then research how to create the look through lighting, framing, and camera movement and what they will need in terms of equipment and crew to achieve this. The DoP works with other departments, like sound and the director’s unit, to coordinate production needs.

During production, the DoP coordinates the camera crew and works with the Director to make sure each scene is set up and shot to match the overall vision. A DoP can have a lot of creative input on the look and feel of the film. For each scene, the Director of Photography decides on the best combination of cameras, filters, and lenses, as well as camera placement, camera moves, and lighting best suited for the scene.

It’s the job of DoPs to make sure every shot satisfies the Director’s vision and fits with the aesthetic of the film. They view the dailies with the Director and work closely with the Colourist in post-production. On smaller productions, they sometimes double as the Camera Operator.

The DoP is considered one of the key creatives on a film set. The position is both highly technical and artistic, requiring extensive experience and training.

What's a Director of Photography good at?
  • Photography

    Have an eye for composition and color, know how to tell a story through a shot, understand camera and lighting techniques, know how to use them to evoke an emotional response




  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have an in-depth understanding of all motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, monitors, and lights

  • Editing knowledge

    Understand the post-production workflow, and how shots fit together to tell a coherent story

  • Making decisions

    Think quickly, often under pressure

  • Organization

    Plan, know how to do things and how long it will take, get the right kit and crew, think about logistical, artistic, and budgetary considerations at the same time

  • Communication

    Ensure everyone in the team knows what’s expected, work closely with the grips and the gaffer, lead the team and resolve conflicts in situations that can sometimes be stressful

Who does a Director of Photography work with?

The Director of Photography works closely with, and oversees the Camera Department which consists of the Camera Operator who looks through the camera and is the DoP’s eyes, the 1st Assistant Camera who makes sure the shots are in focus, the 2nd Assistant Camera, who prepares the equipment and keeps records of the shots, and the Camera Trainee who assists the whole department. The DoP also works closely with the Digital Imaging Technician who makes sure that all the digital settings on the cameras are set to bring the DoP’s vision to life, as well as the Video Assist Operator who makes sure that the director can see what is being shot.

How do I become a Director of Photography?

This is a senior role and people come into it through a variety of routes. Some start as Camera Trainees and work their way up through the roles outlined above. Others come up through the lighting department. IATSE has an excellent apprenticeship training programme that is the most direct way into this field. You can also learn a lot about cameras and other equipment in a film production programme in college, university, or independent training programmes. Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: Many film schools offer courses in cinematography, touching on lighting, shot design, and how to tell visual stories. You can also start out as an entry-level assistant in the camera department, learn on the job, and work your way up.

Work for an equipment company: Contact an equipment rental company like Panavision, Provision, or ARRI Rentals. Ask if you can become an intern or driver for them. That way you will learn more about the equipment and build up contacts

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Assistant Editor

What does an Assistant Editor do?

Assistant Editors are the ones that keep the flow of post-production smooth and do the busy work so the Editor can focus on the edit. The role of the Assistant Editor is to communicate with the production departments such as the camera, sound, and Digital Imaging Technician. They must bring in the daily footage, and make sure it is organized and named properly for the Editor to access.

They have to make sure all the footage is organized in a way so the Editor can easily find the shots they are looking for. The names of the files need to be named specifically so the Editor knows what the shot entails. They will also implant metadata to the shots so the Editor can search for it with a tag and find it. Once the picture is “locked” (final edit of the film) the Assistant Editor’s job is still not over, they have to conform and transfer the files correctly for the sound team.

On large budget films, there is sometimes a team of Assistant Editors to work on the flow of the post-production pipeline. On lower-budget films or television, there is typically one Assistant Editor to the Editor.

What's an Assistant Editor good at?
  • Using edit software

    Be adept with tools like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, and Lightworks

  • Communication

    Work well with the editor, and production team in getting all the correct files and information

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, show attention to detail and good organizational skills, often under pressure

  • Organization

    Must have great organization skills to keep the files in order, properly named, placed, and streamlined for the Editor

Who does an Assistant Editor work with?

Assistant Editors work directly under the Editor and will be doing anything the Editor directs them to do. They will also be working closely with the production team as the daily footage comes in. They will work with the 2nd Assistant Camera by gaining the camera logs and data from the shoot. They will also work with the Sound Recordist and gain the sound logs from them. Finally, they will work with a Digital Imaging Technician, in gaining the footage from the hard drives on set.

How do I become an Assistant Editor?

You can start as a Production Assistant (PA) for editing houses or Editors. You will build connections and create a reputation for yourself in the post-production field. You will need to be well-versed in editing software such as Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro. If you have experience in editing already or have been in a school program focused on film and media production, create a reel of your work.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.