Most productions have specific shots that are important and need to be shot but often don’t require huge crews or actors. For example, establishing shots or areal shots or inserts. To make filming more efficient, productions will often hire a second unit director and a second unit crew to capture these shots. They don’t require the supervision of the director and other department heads, therefore they can shoot on their own schedule separate from principle photography. A second unit crew is also known as a splinter.
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