1. part of a film crew, whose main functions are that of loading the raw film stock into camera magazines, operating the clapperboard (slate) at the beginning of each take, marking the actors as necessary, and maintaining all records and paperwork for the camera department. The name “clapper loader” tends to be used in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, while “second assistant camera” tends to be favored in the United States, but the job is essentially the same whichever title is used. The specific responsibilities and division of labor within the department will almost always vary depending on the circumstances of the shoot.
The clapper loader typically has a very high responsibility level on any given set, because they are more or less the only person on set who directly and physically oversees the state of the undeveloped negative. The loader is the only person who actually handles the negative between the manufacturer and the laboratory, and thus can easily render an entire day’s work useless if the film is handled improperly. Additionally, the loader usually is 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; if this information is miscommunicated or missing, this too can destroy an expensive shoot. Furthermore, the loader usually has much more to do in addition to these tasks.