What does a video assist trainee do?
Video assist trainees are an extra pair of eyes and hands for video assist operators (VAOs.) VAOs take the images generated by the film or digital cameras and display them on video monitors so the director and other crew members see exactly what’s been shot. These images are used to check continuity, provide an archive of the filming and show how visual effects might be used.
Trainees arrive at set early, help unload the vans, lay cables and set up the equipment. They help the VAO check the compatibility of the playback systems and test all the equipment.
They make sure batteries are charged and that the footage is backed up on a drive. They might take messages to other departments. They also take over the monitoring for short spells when the VAO is needed to edit the action or is called elsewhere.
What’s a video assist trainee good at?
- Concentration: be alert, have the stamina to pay attention to the shots on the video monitors through long filming days
- Knowledge of video: understand video playback equipment, video and audio cables, wireless video links and the basics of video signals and formats
- Watching film and TV drama: have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry
- Learning by watching and asking: be able to observe what’s happening and ask questions at the appropriate moments
- Reliability: get to set on time and do what’s asked
- Communication: take direction from the VAO and listen to and share information with other members of the team