untitled.pngClapper Loader
Basic Summary:
A clapper loader, (also known as the second assistant camera) is part of a film crew, whose main jobs are the loading of the raw film stock into the camera magazines, operating the clapperboard at the beginning of each take and maintaining all records and paperwork for the camera department.

Basic Duties:
A basic description of the job duties includes the following:
  • generally assisting the rest of the camera crew
  • keeping inventory of all equipment, film, and expendables
  • requesting film stock as needed
  • securing the equipment
  • cleaning and keeping clean the magazines and the loading environment
  • organizing and cleaning the equipment space
  • maintaining and cleaning the equipment
  • loading and unloading of film stock from and to the magazines
  • labelling of equipment, boxes, magazines, and storage spaces
  • marking and operating the clapperboard properly
  • keeping accurate camera notes
  • charging of batteries for camera and accessories
  • preparation of film to be sent to the lab
  • keeping records of time and expenses for the entire camera crew
  • liaising regularly with production, rental houses, editing, laboratories, and unions
  • recordkeeping of all camera-related paperwork, including negative reports, daily stock reports, film inventory reports, lab orders, rental contracts, and expendable orders
  • ensuring that all instructions from the director of photography are passed along properly to labs and post houses
  • relaying reports from the lab about the rushes to the director of photography
  • It is expected that a decent assistant will be able to anticipate a good part of those demands before they become demands.

The clapper loader has a very high responsibility level on any given set, because they are the only person on set who directly and physically oversees the state of the undeveloped film. The loader is the only person who actually handles the raw film between the manufacturer and the laboratory, and can easily make an entire day's work useless if the film is handled improperly. The loader is usually in charge of keeping all records with regard to the film stock from when it is received until when it is sent out to the lab.

Essential knowledge and skills:
Clapper loaders must have a vast knowledge of all camera equipment, film stocks and processing techniques. They also need a much understanding of how to manage and maintain all camera department paperwork and administration.

Key Skills include:
  • excellent organisational skills;
  • agility and speed;
  • effective communication skills;
  • precise attention to detail;
  • ability to collaborate and to work as part of a team;
  • diplomacy and sensitivity when working with artists and crew;
  • physical stamina and strength;
  • knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and safety legislation and procedures;

Training and qualifications:
Although the most important training for clapper loaders is hands-on experience. Training in stills photography provides a good all round understanding of composition and light.
There are many short courses that are available in the UK and the USA but here is a link to a short course in Victoria:

And here are some courses in Erope: