A 2nd Unit Director, also known as Unit Production Manager, is a production role that handles logistics for a film’s second unit (or “B-Unit”) — the crew responsible for shooting scenes in which actors aren’t required.


What is a second unit director

What is a second unit director?

A second unit director is a film production position that doesn’t have the same responsibilities as a primary unit director. In fact, a second unit director often doesn’t work directly with the main cast of characters at all.

The job title “second unit director” is used in television and film production for a variety of different types of assistant directors.

For example, the second unit director may be in charge of filming special effects or footage that will be added to the movie later on.

The second unit director may also be in charge of filming scenes that take place at an entirely different time or place from the main story. These scenes are often referred to as “stunts.” This can include anything from car chases to a fight scene on top of a moving train.

In some cases, the second unit director may even be in charge of filming background shots like crowd scenes, establishing shots and other minor details.



The job title “second unit director” is most commonly used in major Hollywood productions.

There are several people whose job is to assist the main director with filming certain segments of the movie or TV show. A second unit director is usually responsible.

2nd Unit Director Definition

A 2nd Unit Director is in charge of all aspects of the B-Unit shoot, including scouting locations and hiring support staff; scheduling and organizing the shoot; and overseeing equipment and props.

In a large-scale production, the 2nd Unit Director may also oversee A-Unit filming while the 1st Unit Director handles other tasks.

In overall charge of a film’s production on the set, a 2nd Unit Director is typically employed by the producer or production company overseeing production to work alongside the director or producer to meet their vision.

2nd Unit Director Overview

While the Director of Photography (DP) is responsible for all aspects of the camera crew, often a 2nd Unit DP will specialize in one particular area.

These include Aerial Photography (Aerial DP) , Underwater Photography (Underwater DP), and High Speed (High Speed DP).


These DPs are specially trained in their respective fields and may have additional certification/licensure to operate within those areas.

The 2nd Unit Director of Photography is responsible for the photography related to second unit production, which is any sequence or shot that does not involve the principal actors and actresses. For example, 2nd unit photography would typically include establishing shots, cutaways, insert shots, stunts, location photography and other special effects.

The 2nd unit DP can work independently from the principle crew and report directly to the A or B unit director or executive producer depending on what is required.

They also have some limited authority over the other crew members assigned to them by the unit production manager (UPM), although they work closely with the UPM during planning, scouting and execution of any given shot.

What’s Happening To Second Unit Directors?

A second unit director is the person responsible for filming action sequences and other scenes that are shot outside the primary locations. This person might also be in charge of overseeing various location shoots, such as establishing shots, establishing shots of a city skyline, or establishing shots of a large building or complex.

Tasks and Responsibilities of a Second Unit Director

The specific responsibilities of a second unit director depend on the project and the needs of the film’s producers. In some cases, the second unit director may simply be in charge of supervising other crew members while they’re shooting footage.

For example, he might hire additional camera operators or cinematographers to get what he needs. In other cases, he might oversee all aspects of filming, including selecting locations and hiring extras.

The second unit director might also have to handle any logistics that come up during filming. If the production moves to a new location and needs to move equipment from one place to another, for example, it’s the second unit director’s job to organize this process. Other logistics tasks might include arranging for transportation for cast members or providing food for them when they’re working late into the night.

Is This Due To A Greater Number Of Films Without Second Units?

Is This Due To A Greater Number Of Films Without Second Units?

Yes, it is possible that the lack of a second unit may account for some of the decrease in shots. However, I think that it is also possible that films are being released which don’t have as many visual effects shots these days.

The only way to test this would be to look at films over a period of years and see if there has been an actual decrease in the number of visual effects shots. However, I think the most likely explanation (from my point of view) is that films today are being released without as many visual effects shots.

If you look at films released around or before 2000, they all had a lot of visual effects: The Matrix, Mission Impossible 2, X-Men, Star Wars Episode 1: Phantom Menace, Gladiator, etc.

The films that are being released now are much more realistic looking and don’t need as much CGI work before release. In other words, if a film is released today which doesn’t have very many visual effects shots in it then we shouldn’t necessarily conclude that there were fewer visual effects used than in say 1999 when films like The Matrix had so many visual effects shots. It’s just an observation about the films released in recent


In Which Genres Are Second Unit Directors More Prevalent?

There are many different types of second unit directors, from second-unit cinematographers to second-unit assistant directors. There are even second-unit producers (there’s a joke in there somewhere). Here is a list of the most common positions for the title of “second unit director.”

In Which Genres Are Second Unit Directors More Prevalent?

Action and adventure movies almost always require second unit directing. Many times, the main director will oversee the action sequences while another director handles everything else. This makes sense because shooting action sequences is one of the most difficult things to do in film.

Fantasy movies often have multiple units as well because they feature extensive special effects. The director usually oversees all of these effects, but it’s not uncommon for a separate director to handle important ones like CGI or green screen shots.

Horror movies tend to use second units as well, especially if they’re making a movie with lots of special effects. Since horror movies are often shot during the night, this also allows the main unit to get some rest during that time and be ready for filming when it’s dark again.

Second units are also used for musicals and period pieces. This is because choreographed dance sequences and historical reenactments aren’t something you

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Define Second Unit Director

A second unit director is the assistant to the Director of Photography, and helps that DP with all things camera. The second unit director is in charge of the camera team on a movie set

Major Responsibilities:

As assistant to the director of photography, the second unit director is responsible for overseeing the camera and assisting with lighting. On larger film sets, there are usually two second unit directors, one for each side of the camera. They are also in charge of scouting locations, hiring extras and handling any other production tasks assigned by the first or main unit director.

Expert Insight:

“The main duty of a Second Unit Director is to help the DP light actors well so they can get coverage,” says Scott Ebenkamp, ASC, who has worked as both a Second Unit Director and an additional photographer on films like “Cast Away,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “The Bourne Identity.” “The Second Unit DP on a feature film will also be responsible for shooting some pick-up shots when needed. On smaller features or low budget films with no second unit, we may also be asked to shoot third team shots (or even fourth team) if time permits.”** One thing that most people don’t realize about being a Second Unit Director is that you

Why Are Second Units Necessary?

Many consumers and small business owners are turning to second units to get the benefit of solar power without the expense of a large system.


A second unit is simply an additional photovoltaic (PV) array that is not connected to the grid, but instead powers a stand-alone load such as a cabin, office or school. These systems range in size from just under 1 kW to several hundred kW. The added cost of installing a second unit can be less than $10 per watt.

A second unit can:

Increase energy independence by providing backup power when the grid goes down, thus avoiding costly repairs and lost revenue during power outages

Provide a source of electricity for appliances and tools that require continuous power such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners

Serve as a backup power source in case of utility blackouts or brownouts due to insufficient capacity on the grid or transmission lines

Reduce peak electrical demand on the grid, thus helping utilities avoid expensive new power plants or transmission lines

Provide clean energy for remote locations where it isn’t economical for utilities to build new transmission lines

And numerous other uses!

Second units provide an effective means of participating in net metering.

What Does A Second Unit Director Do?

What does a second unit director do?

A second unit director directs and oversees all aspects of the filming of scenes or sequences that are not being directed by the film’s main director. For example, if a film is being shot in two parts, then there will be two separate units— the first unit will be under the main director’s command, while the second unit will be led by the second director.

If you’re watching a football game in which one team scores a touchdown and kicks the extra point, and then the other team scores another touchdown and kicks the extra point of its own, you can say that both teams were scored on by the same player. In this analogy, “player” is synonymous with “director.” A player who scores against one team is also known as a player against whom that team has lost points.

Thus, when we say that each unit is scored on by its own director, it means that each unit is headed by its own director —the first unit is directed by the main director while the second unit is directed by his or her assistant, who fills in as second unit director.

As you might expect, a second unit director is responsible for shooting certain scenes and sequences that aren’t being handled by the main director.

How To Get Involved In A Second Unit

If you’re thinking about how to get involved in a second unit, you’ve probably already done the hard part: deciding to go independent contractor. You’ve mentally prepared yourself for the lifestyle changes that come with contracting, and you’ve made a start on lining up clients.

Trouble is, when you’re just starting out, it can be tough to find good gigs. And with all of your precious free time going into your first gig, there isn’t much time left over to build your business. So what do you do?

The answer: get involved in a second unit.

I talk to people every day who are struggling to get traction with their own independent contracting businesses. And I’m always surprised at how many of them have decided not to be an independent contractor at all! Instead, they signed on with another company as an employee or vendor — thus giving themselves instant access to a steady stream of work. And it’s good work, too!

So if you’re having trouble getting started as an independent contractor, here’s one way to help break into the market. Take a look at these five tips and see which is right for you:

Internship If a company has been around for awhile, they’ll often have an internship program in

How To Become A Director

Being a director is a very rewarding career. However, the life of a director is one that is filled with challenges, hard work and long hours. But if you are willing to work hard and are always looking for new ways to improve yourself as an artist then becoming a director can be a very enjoyable career.

To become a director you must first have passion for telling stories. It is imperative to have an understanding of the story you want to tell. This could be anything from a simple love story or action adventure, but it must come from your heart.

Telling the story of another person’s life is not an easy task. You must find ways to connect with those involved in the project so they will trust in your vision and work with you to make it come alive on screen. If you have shyness or personal problems that will hinder you from communicating effectively with others then directing may not be for you. A director has many roles in their production team. They are the boss and leader of this team, but at the same time they are also servant to his/her team members.

The team members are dependent upon the director in order for them to feel like they can do their job properly and confident in their ability to succeed in doing their job successfully.

Second Unit Directors Capture Various Supplementary Footage

A second unit director is the person in charge of capturing the supplementary footage for a film, television show, or commercial. They are often given a high degree of creative freedom to direct their own shots and create footage that complements or enhances the primary content. Though they are separate from the main production crew, second unit directors may be asked to complete specific sequences in addition to filming other scenes.


The director of photography is responsible for capturing all of the footage needed to complete a project. Depending on how much footage is required, this may involve several different tasks that vary in importance and size. Second unit directors are usually tasked with completing the following:

Additional Dialogue Recording (ADR) – Recording dialogue that was not captured during filming

B-Roll – Unsorted footage used to complement A-roll scenes; it may include exterior shots, crowd reactions, etc.

Deleted Scenes – Footage that did not make it into final cut of a film

Extras Casting – Recruiting actors for roles or walk-on parts

Location Scouting – Finding suitable locations for filming and obtaining permission from private owners or businesses

Steadicam Shots – Capturing unique shots using a stabilizer instead of a handheld camera for smoother movement

Miniature & Special Effects

Second Unit Directors Must Be Good Leaders

Being a second unit director on a film can be a dream job. You have to do a lot of the same things as the main unit director, but you don’t have to worry about actors or getting the lighting right or anything like that. You get to bring the camera crew into exciting places and then just show up at the end of the day with a truckload of film and hand it over to the editor and go home. Right?

This isn’t exactly how it works. In fact, one of your main jobs is to be a good leader. If you’ve never been in charge before and you’re suddenly responsible for 50 people, it’s going to be very hard for you to do your job effectively. That’s why there are so many young DPs who want this job, because being a second unit director looks like an easy way out. They figure they can show up late, leave early and not worry about anything except the camera work. This attitude won’t work for long, however.

The second unit director is responsible for everything that happens on set during his shift. This includes getting lights ready, figuring out shooting angles, talking with the ADs and all the other subsidiary production department heads and making sure they’re ready when they’re needed.