Upcoming Event

ShotClass | 1st Assistant Camera/Focus Puller Masterclass | 2024

Date: April 15th - 19th, 2024
Duration: 5 x 8.5 hr days
Cost: From $2990 (includes GST). *Tertiary Film School Students, get in contact with ShotClass for a further, limited discount.
Location: Monster & Bear Studios, 13 - 19 Leslie St, Brunswick VIC 3056
Class Size: 12
Suitability: Emerging Camera Assistants | 2nd AC's wanting to move to 1st AC | 1st AC's looking for more expert skills | Film Crew wanting to move into the Camera Dept | Students
HotShot Qualifier?: Yes

This course is now completed

The role of the 1st AC is arguably one of the toughest jobs on set:

  • Camera Department Manager
  • Master Focus Puller, keeping it all sharp no matter the challenges
  • Tech guru, knows all the gear inside-out
  • People-person
  • Mentor
  • Organisational genius
  • Quality Control leader
  • Prepared for the inevitable and expecting the unexpected

It’s no wonder when a DP finds a great 1st AC, they want them alongside on every project they do.

So, to take on a role that is very demanding requires expertise. There’s no room for errors or delays, and the pace can be brutal. From moment-to-moment there are different tasks asking for their attention and the 1st AC must be ready. The camera department is a very visible team on set and the 1st AC keeps it functioning for the DP.

If you aim to take yourself to that top-level of 1st AC’s, and be in-demand, you need to have the training and skillset to achieve that goal. ShotClass can help with this 5-day masterclass. Every aspect of the course is designed to offer the participants the best opportunity to reach their full potential – quickly. And the methods and processes we teach are industry best-practice, so that means that what you take away at the end of the week, will be in line with the most professional camera departments out there.

The ‘ShotClass 1st Assistant Camera/Focus Puller Masterclass’ is a specialised masterclass. Unlike some more generic camera assistant short courses, this one is dedicated to teaching the tasks and duties of the 1st AC/Focus Puller only, so no time is wasted covering topics that may fall to the role of the 2nd AC or Video Split Operator. We have other courses for those roles.

What can you expect from this masterclass?

  • The masterclass will be taught and crewed by industry leading 1st AC’s. These legends are working in the industry right now and are highly sought after. That guarantees that everything shown, explained and demonstrated to you will be current, and industry-proven. When you try things for yourself, the guidance you receive will be based on the years of experience of the instructors. Their knowledge has sustained their careers. It can make yours. You just know their methods will work and you get to take the shortcut to success. No trial and error. No YouTube pretenders.
  • The class size is small, and the working groups even smaller, meaning each participant will have plenty of access to the truck load of equipment. There will be a lot of hands-on time for everyone so you can quickly get your new skills up to speed.
  • Each day will include tutorials with discussions about methods and processes dealing with 1st AC responsibilities in pre-production and on set: gear checks, gear compatibility, technical aspects of equipment/software/firmware, tricks and tips, collaborating with your crew and other department crew/technicians, plus the important DP/1st AC relationship. Practically, we will cover all aspects of working with the cameras, lenses and accessories, perform expert camera builds, become familiar with all the main camera types and accessories, as well as troubleshooting the inevitable gear failure and other issues to keep the shoot running without delay.
  • Each afternoon will be focussed on…FOCUS. They will be full-on, hands-on focus pulling practice sessions that cover every type of shot you may encounter. A-B pulls, follow focus, snaps, racks, dialog driven, you-name-it. From tripods, dollies, Steadicam/Gimbals and hand-held. Static subjects, moving subjects. We will show how to properly use focus pulling aids and tools. We will talk about pulling focus using only the monitor… and how that will ultimately fail you (and make soft dailies). We will also look at FIZ controllers and doing all that at once! Bring your third hand along. By week’s end, we hope you are both exhausted (in a rewarding way) and a crack focus puller. This is the most intense, ‘focus-pulling-skills’ course you could find, taught by experts.
  • Equipment and teaching will be using high-end professional digital cinema camera systems, such as ARRI, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, RED, Blackmagic, etc. Film cameras may be discussed for comparative reasons. The approach is based on working mainly on narrative type productions where you would expect a crew consisting of DP, Camera Operator, 1st Ac & 2nd AC, as a minimum. The scale of productions that 1st AC’s will work on will vary greatly, and the differences will be covered over the week. All the gear will be high-end equipment that you would see on any big budget feature film set or TV series. No toys, no copies.


  • ARRI is offering a very special discount to all participants attending the full 5-Day masterclass. This alone may save you the cost of the course if you are planning to invest in your future through equipment from ARRI.
  • Participants successfully completing the masterclass will be presented with a signed Certificate of Competency by ShotClass.
  • Fees are Tax Deductible for Australian citizens as self-education that leads to earning income may be claimed by the participants in most cases. Check your own eligibility with the ATO. This will substantially reduce your actual outlay.

Apply Now

Participants will need to complete the application form to attend this 5-day masterclass.

ShotClass prides itself on presenting the highest quality classes of their type. To achieve that, we pay good fees to instructors so we can secure the best people to teach you. We hire in the highest quality equipment – just like the gear on big sets right now, not old retired stuff from a decade ago or poor quality ‘knock-offs’.. We allow enough time for you to really learn. And we do it in the right venues. All this leads to success for you and return for your investment. Our events are for those who are serious about advancing their careers and winning the top jobs. Is that you?

  • ACS Members or *Full-Time Students or HotShots: $2990 inc GST (limit of 4 in total**)
  • Standard Fee: $3290 inc GST

*Tertiary Film School Students, get in contact with ShotClass for a further, limited discount.

**First 4 ACS/Students/HotShots in total to submit the application form and be offered a place, will receive the discount. BE FIRST TO BOOK! – this will fill fast.

Payment option is 50% due on acceptance into the masterclass and the balance two weeks prior to the start date. Or you may pay in full upon acceptance if you wish. Options include: Direct Bank Transfer (no fees), Credit/Debit Card, ApplePay or PayPal (fees apply).

Please be sure to read our Privacy Policy here and Disclaimer here.

**IF you change your mind or pick up a job and need to cancel up to 2 weeks before the course, you get full a refund, no questions asked.

If the 5 Day Masterclass is not for you, consider the 4 hour Focus Puller Bootcamp Sessions instead. They run on the afternoons of each of the 5 Day masterclass days. They teach advanced focus pulling only, can be attended on the days you prefer only, and are a lower investment. Learn More

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ShotClass_1st AC Instructors

1st AC Masterclass Instructors

This team will blow you away with their knowledge, talent, aptitude, technical abilities, set-savvy and real-world film set experience.

Led by industry legend, 1st AC Angelo Sartore, who has been instrumental in helping put this masterclass together. Ange has been a 1st AC for ‘quite a while’ and has an incredibly deep knowledge of the craft. He began with film cameras and embraced digital cinema cameras when they hit their strides. He has worked across feature films TV drama and commercials. He is also an expert technician specialising in repair and maintenance of fluid and geared tripod heads and he makes the best cables you can get your hands on.

Alongside Angelo, will be Kitty May Allwood, Keir Suggett and Lisa Cushing. All of them have their own ways of working, all of them brilliant at their jobs, all of them plenty to teach you.

Kitty May Allwood (Ricky Stanicky, Woody Wood Pecker, La Brea, BlueBack, Jack Irish) is one of Australia’s most in demand 1st AC’s and came up through the ranks becoming expert at everything she took on. Kitty’s reputation has allowed her the opportunity to work with a large number of DP’s on a variety of different genres. The result is broad knowledge and fun anecdotes.

Keir Suggett (Better Man, Foe, Shantaram, Blacklight, Bloom, Halifax Retribution) has over 20 years experience working as a Focus Puller in Australia, the UK and the USA. Keir is regarded as one of the most capable and versatile 1st AC’s for long form as well as TVC’s etc. There are a lot of DP’s who have him at the top of their list. His equipment knowledge is incredible. And he loves to share.

Lisa Cushing (The Clearing, 2030 – Regenerate, Newsreader, Wentworth). Lisa is the next gen of 1st AC’s having achieved a stellar rise since moving on from 2AC’ing. She is also a Steadicam Operator and Gimbal Operator. Proudly I can say Lisa is one of the alumni from the first ever 2nd AC course we ran and an example of the success that can be achieved with proper training, drive, determination, hard work (and ShotClass…) 🙂

This team is subject to change based on availability. At time of publishing, all these instructors are on board. Any changes will include equally amazing crew