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Cristian Dragos - focus puller | first assistant camera | motion control operator

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   In cinematography, a focus puller or first assistant camera (1st AC) is a member of a film crew's camera department who is responsible for keeping the camera properly focused during a shoot.

   The role of the 1st AC (until recently known as Focus Puller) is one of the most skilled jobs on a film crew. 1st ACs are responsible for focusing and refocusing the camera lens as actors move within the frame of each shot, but they do not look through the lens to do this; they pull focus according to a set of complex marks (which are placed on the set, on the floor, on props, etc., during the Director's on-set rehearsal time with the cast), and by using their instincts and experience of judging focal lengths. As it is impossible to see whether the focus is sharp until the dailies are screened, 1st ACs rely on experience and instinct for each focal adjustment. Because re-shooting scenes is expensive, and actors may be unable to re-create their best take, 1st ACs must be extremely reliable and good at their work, and should be able to cope effectively in stressful situations.

   1st ACs are also responsible for camera equipment such as lenses, filters and matte boxes, and for assembling the camera and its accessories for different shots. 1st ACs arrive on set or in the studio before the Director, Director of Photography and Camera Operator, and ensure that the camera and all required lenses are prepared for the day's shoot. If the Director or DoP wants to try out a specific lens, the 1st AC assembles the camera so that they can look through the eyepiece to assess the shot. At the end of each shooting day, 1st ACs clean the equipment and pack it up in preparation for the next day. If there is a problem with the rushes (such as a scratch on the film), Focus Pullers liaise with the Film Lab to rectify any faults with the camera or stock.

First Assistant Camera Duties
As the head camera assistant, the 1st AC is also responsible for the maintenance and organization of all camera equipment, applying or removing any accessories (lenses, filters, matte boxes and external viewing monitors), and reloading the camera with fresh recording media. The 1st AC reports to the director of photography, works alongside the camera operator, and oversees the 2nd assistant camera (also known as the "clapper loader") and any other members of the camera department.

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