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Second unit director

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Second unit director

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The Second Unit Director is the leader of the second unit, which is the smaller of the two units used on almost every modern large-scale film production. This director is often responsible for minor shots, such as establishing shots.

Occasionally, the Second Unit Director will direct more important sequences, especially in action movies, which often feature many shots with car chases, explosions, and special effects, but no dialogue. For this reason, many second unit directors are former stunt coordinators. Stunt coordinators turned second unit directors include Vic Armstrong (Bear Island, Mission: Impossible III), Simon Crane (Frankenstein (1994), X Men 3), and Terry J. Leonard (Big Wednesday, The Forgotten). One of the most notable career second unit directors is Michael D. Moore who has worked in that capacity on more than sixty films including a number of major hit films.

As well as action setpieces, the second unit may also shoot in locations that it would be too expensive or too dangerous to send the first unit to. For example, for The World is Not Enough, Vic Armstrong and a small second unit crew travelled to Istanbul to shoot footage with a double for Pierce Brosnan which was then matched by the editor with shots filmed on a replica set at Pinewood Studios.

A more mundane but frequently vital task for the second unit is to shoot inserts. Sometimes the editor will take charge of a second unit or even a third unit to film an insert as he will know what footage he is missing. A film's budget usually has a sum put aside to cover the costs of any inserts.

Second unit directors who have gone on to become fully-fledged film directors include John Glen (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and Ron Shelton (Bull Durham).


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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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