The Filmmakers

Film 101: Until human cloning is perfected, you'll need one of these on every film set

In this lesson from The Filmmakers, see why "two units are better than one."

In this lesson from The Filmmakers, see why 'two units are better than one'

In this lesson of Film 101, see why "two units are better than one." 0:52

Jurassic Park, Blade RunnerMultiplicity. For better or worse, Hollywood loves cloning. Maybe it's because of how crazy busy a film schedule can be. There's only so much one person can do, after all, so what director wouldn't dream of having a double?

That's partly why you'll see something called the Second Unit Director listed in your favourite movie's credits. Scheduling a movie shoot can be tight, so a production will often shoot more than one scene at the same time. To pull it off, they need to assemble another team, or unit, and the second unit director is in charge of that crew, though they follow the director's lead to ensure everything blends together perfectly.

In this week's lesson of Film 101, Amanda Parris explains how it all works.

Previously covered on Film 101:

Film 101: The art director

Film 101: The steadicam operator

Film 101: The foley artist

Film 101: The props master

Film 101: The best boy

Film 101: The gaffer

Film 101: The boom mic operator

Watch The Filmmakers this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT) on CBC Television, or stream it at After the episode, stick around to see this week's feature presentation, Water.​


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.