Many of you're probably unaware but most films have a first and second unit when they're being filmed. The second unit is a team that shoots secondary or minor scenes for a film. The second unit is dissimilar to first unit since they shoots the scenes involving the lead actors. Second unit typically film inserts, cutaways, establishing shots and close-ups. Large productions tend to have several second units which are never referred to as third or fourth unit, but are know as “additional second units." The second unit has its own director and cinematographer.
Second units allow a film's director and lead actors to work efficiently and more cost effectively, by filming only what is required of them. In addition to inserts, cutaways, establishing shots and close-ups, second units also shoot in locations that are too expensive or dangerous to send the first unit. Many times this also involves stunts and scenes with body doubles, and makes continuity between the two units' work challenging. Sometimes the editor overseas the second unit when they're filming inserts because he knows exactly what shots are need for continuity.
In action films, the job of stunt coordinator is sometimes combined with second unit director as second units oversee many dialogue-free scenes with stunts and special effects. Some second unit directors make it their careers. An excellent example is Michael D. Moore, who shot the desert chase sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark and has worked on more than sixty films, including The Man Who Would Be King, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
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