The Camera Ass.

Okay it’s been a while since I actually wrote anything but I’m having so much fun just lobbing up images that I just couldn’t be bothered. That and because I was a bit busy with work of various kinds.

For instance, yesterday, I found myself in Worcestershire with a days camera assistant work (filling in for a friend who had double-booked himself) for a First Light funded short film set in the Malvern Hills. This is where some serendipity comes in because I was in more or less the same part of the world just a few weeks ago doing a bit of walking. Which is just as well because if there’s one thing that doesn’t go down well with professional film-makers is people not being in the right place at the right time – so having unintentionally reconnoitred the place last month I got there on time and without my usual stress-filled in-car map-reading misadventures.

The job of a camera assistant is, unsurprisingly, to assist the cameraman. This usually means setting up the camera and tripod and attaching monitor cables between said cameras and monitors. Also, making lenses, filters, tapes. etc., availiable to the cameraman as and when required (I suspect that this is the reason why bulging cargo pants are much in evidence on most film sets). And if you’re keen and the cameraman trusts you, you may be allowed to take a few shots, (cutaways, background stuff, etc). I’m not that keen so I didn’t but there is a well worn path from camera assitant to cameraman.

The Malvern Hills are a beautiful range of small gently sloping hills in Worcestershire but they felt like a mountain range to me yesterday. Why?– Ahhh! I forgot to mention that the camera assistant also carries the tripods, monitors and lens boxes to location. The location was quite close to the top of ‘Black hill’ and there’s just a footpath from the car park to the top… you see where I’m going with this don’t you. I consoled myself, at the end of the day, as I carried what felt like a television studio back down to the car park, that all that fresh air must have done me a world of good as I sucked it into my smouldering lungs.

Actually, I’m whinging melodramatically here, truth be told the director, cameraman, other crew and even one of the actors helped considerably with the lugging about of equipment. However, that still doesn’t diminish my overiding impression that a good camera assistant should be a cross between an ambitious mule and a filing cabinet.

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