The Camera Assistant's Manual / Edition 6

The Camera Assistant's Manual / Edition 6

by David E. Elkins, SOC
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis


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The Camera Assistant's Manual / Edition 6

Excel as a Camera Assistant (AC) in today’s evolving film industry with this updated classic. Learn what to do—and what NOT to do—during production and get the job done right the first time.

The Camera Assistant’s Manual, Sixth Edition covers the basics of cinematography and provides you with the multi-skill set needed to maintain and transport a camera, troubleshoot common problems on location, prepare for job interviews, and work with the latest film and video technologies. Illustrations, checklists, and tables accompany each chapter and highlight the daily workflow of an AC. The new edition has been updated to include:

  • All new sample reports and forms including AC time cards, resumé templates, a digital camera report, and a non-prep disclaimer

  • A fresh chapter on the entry level camera positions of Camera Trainee/Production Assistant

  • Instruction and custom forms to help freelance filmmakers keep track of daily expenses for tax purposes

  • Coverage of emerging iPhone apps that are used by filmmakers and ACs on set

  • An updated companion website offering online tutorials, clips, and techniques that ACs can easily access while on location (

The Camera Assistant’s Manual, Sixth Edition is an ACs bible for success and a must-have for anyone looking to prosper in this highly technical and ever-changing profession.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780240818689
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/28/2013
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 590,318
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

David E. Elkins is a working camera operator and first assistant cameraman with more than 25 years of professional experience working on feature films, television series, commercials, music videos, educational films, industrial films and much more. In addition to his production experience, he has taught numerous film production classes and workshops on both the east and west coasts of the United States. He is an active member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and Society of Camera Operators (SOC).

Table of Contents





Chapter 1 Basics of Cinematography

    1. Film Formats
    2. Videotape Formats
    3. Sync Speed
    4. Sync and MOS
    5. Film Stock
    6. Types of Film
    7. Reversal Film
    8. Film Speed
    9. Aspect Ratios
    10. F-Stops and T-Stops
    11. Exposure Time
    12. Exposure Meters
    13. Color Temperature and Color Balance
    14. The Camera
    15. Filters
    16. Camera Mounts

Chapter 2 The Camera Department

    1. Film Productions
    2. SD or HD Video Productions

Chapter 3 Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC)

    1. Preproduction
    2. Production
    3. Postproduction
    4. Working in SD/HD Video
    5. Review Checklist for Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC or Clapper/Loader)

Chapter 4 First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC)

    1. Preproduction
    2. Production
    3. Postproduction
    4. Working in SD or HD Video
    5. Review Checklist for First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC or Focus Puller)

Chapter 5 Problems and Troubleshooting

    1. Camera Will Not Run
    2. Camera Does Not Stop When Switched to "Off"
    3. Camera Starts and Stops Intermittently
    4. Camera Is Noisy
    5. Shutter Does Not Spin (No Flicker Through the Viewfinder)
    6. Unable to Thread Film into the Gate Area
    7. Film Does Not Take Up
    8. Camera Door Does Not Close
    9. Camera Stops While Filming
    10. Film Jams in Camera
    11. Camera Does Not Run at Sync Speed
    12. Viewing System Is Blacked Out
    13. A Fuse Blows When Connecting Electrical Accessories
    14. When Shooting a Television Monitor or Computer Screen, a Roll Bar Moves
      1. Through the Screen
    15. Magazine Is Noisy
    16. Film Rips or Has Torn Perforations
    17. Film Loses Loop
    18. There Are Scratches on the Film
    19. Lens Will Not Focus
    20. Image Is Fogged When Looking Through Viewfinder
    21. Zoom Lens Motor Runs Erratically
    22. Zoom Lens Does Not Zoom Throughout Its Entire Range of Focal Lengths
    23. Lens Flares Are Seen When Looking Through the Viewfinder
    24. Battery Loses Power
    25. Image on Video Monitor Is Out of Focus or Is Tilted to the Side
    26. Tripod Head Does Not Pan or Tilt
    27. Tripod Legs Do Not Slide Up or Down
    28. Shooting in Extreme Cold Weather
    29. Shooting in Extreme Heat
    30. Filming in or Around Salt Water and Camera and Magazine Fall into the Water
    31. Shooting Outside Using Tungsten Balanced Film Without an 85 Filter
    32. Shooting Inside with Tungsten Light Using Daylight Balanced Film Without an
      1. 80A Filter
    33. Projected Image Is Shaky or Unsteady
    34. Projected Image Is Out of Focus
    35. Projected Image Contains Spots or Lines
    36. Image Is Not Aligned During the Video Transfer
    37. Shooting in Other Countries
    38. Troubleshooting Tips

Chapter 6 Film Cameras

    1. Aaton A-Minima
    2. Aaton Xterà and XTR-Prod
    3. Aaton 35-III
    4. Arriflex 16BL
    5. Arriflex 16S/SB
    6. Arriflex 16 SR1, 16 SR2, and 16 SR3
    7. Arriflex 416
    8. Arriflex Arricam Lite (LT)
    9. Arriflex Arricam Studio (ST)
    10. Arriflex 235
    11. Arriflex 535A and 535B
    12. Arriflex 435
    13. Arriflex 35BL3 and 35BL4
    14. Arriflex 35-3
    15. Arriflex 765
    16. Bell & Howell Eyemo
    17. Moviecam Compact and Moviecam Super America
    18. Moviecam SL
    19. Panavision Panaflex 16
    20. Panavision Panaflex Golden and GII
    21. Panavision Panaflex Millennium and Millennium XL
    22. Panavision Panaflex Platinum
    23. Panavision Panaflex X
    24. Panavision Panastar I and Panastar II
    25. Panavision Panaflex 65
    26. Panavision 65mm High Speed
    27. Panavision 65mm Hand-Held
    28. Photo-Sonics Actionmaster 500
    29. Photo-Sonics 1VN
    30. Photo-Sonics 35-4B/4C
    31. Photo-Sonics 35-4E/ER
    32. Photo-Sonics 35-4ML

Chapter 7 Before, During, and After the Job

    1. Union or Nonunion
    2. Before the Job
    3. During the Job
    4. After the Job

Appendix A Film Stock

Appendix B Equipment

    1. Cameras
    2. Camera Lenses and Accessories
    3. Camera Filters
    4. Heads and Tripods

Appendix C Camera Department Checklists, Production Forms, and Labels

    1. Forms and Checklists
      1. Camera Equipment Checklist
      2. Filters Checklist
      3. Expendables Inventory and Checklist
      4. Camera Prep Checklist
      5. Equipment Received Log
      6. Returned Equipment Log
      7. Missing or Damaged Equipment Log
      8. Job Information Form
      9. Film Camera Report
      10. Film Developing Purchase Order
      11. Video Camera Report
      12. Daily Film Inventory Form #1
      13. Daily Film Inventory Form #2
      14. Short End Inventory Form
      15. Raw Stock Inventory Form
      16. Camera Department Log Sheet
      17. Film Stock Request Form
      18. Videotape Request Form
      19. Camera Department Weekly Time Sheet
      20. Personal Time Sheet and Invoice
      21. Camera Department Deal Memo
      22. Box/Equipment Rental Agreement
      23. Camera Department Contact List
    2. Labels
      1. Film Can Developing Label
      2. Short End Label
      3. Recan Label
      4. X-Ray Warning Label

Appendix D Tools and Accessories

    1. AC Tools and Accessories
    2. Expendables
    3. Miscellaneous Items

Appendix E Tables and Formulas

    1. Tables
      1. Film Speed Comparisons
      2. Standard Feet per Minute and Frames per Foot at 24 Frames per Second
      3. Intermediate F-Stop Values
      4. F-Stop Compensation When Using Filters
      5. F-Stop Compensation When Using Filters for Black and White
      6. F-Stop Compensation for Changes in Frames per Second
      7. F-Stop Compensation for Changes in Shutter Angle
      8. Hyperfocal Distances
      9. Feet per Second and Feet per Minute
      10. Running Time to Film Length and Film Length to Running Time
      11. Feet to Meters and Meters to Feet
    2. Formulas
      1. Depth of Field-Near
      2. Depth of Field-Far
      3. Hyperfocal Distance
      4. Electrical
      5. Exposure Time
      6. F-Stop
      7. Feet per Minute for 16mm
      8. Feet per Minute for 35mm 3-Perf Format
      9. Feet per Minute for 35mm 4-Perf Format
      10. Screen Time
      11. Feet and Inches to Meters
      12. Meters to Feet and Inches
      13. Millimeters to Inches

Appendix F Resources

    1. Camera Manufacturers, Rentals, and Sales
    2. Camera Support Equipment
    3. Expendables and Supplies
    4. Film Laboratories
    5. Film Raw Stock
    6. Filters
    7. Miscellaneous Equipment and Supplies
    8. Professional Organizations, Guilds, and Unions
    9. Miscellaneous Web Sites

Recommended Reading



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A very well done book on cameras and assisting and for any budding cinematographer or assistant."
-Ron Dexter, ASC

"The Camera Assistant's Manual is well written and easy to comprehend—an essential read for all interested in doing a camera job well done."
-Georgia Packard, SOC

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