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The Camera Assistant's Manual, 5th Edition

Book Description

The Fifth Edition of The Camera Assistant's Manual has been completely updated to reflect the technology of today, providing crucial guidance to student filmmakers as they prepare to enter the professional world and work as camera assistants.

David Elkins has the technical know-how to provide students with easy to follow advice about how to act on set, what a camera assistant is expected to do, and all the tips and tricks that will make a first or second camera assistant ready to advance to the next level. Readers will learn how the skill sets of a 1st or 2nd AC (Camera Assistant) in film and digital (HD) intertwine, how they differ, and all they need to know to do both jobs well. The advancements in HD and digital video are only adding to an already demanding job, and this fifth edition of The Camera Assistant's Manual provides Camera Assistant novices and experienced ACs alike with valuable knowledge that they need to work in both formats.

This nuts and bolts guide covers the basics of cinematography, how to maintain a camera, how to transport a camera, how to troubleshoot common problems that arise on set, and even advice about interviewing for the job. The new edition has also been updated to include new forms, checklists, tables, and illustrations that will be essential to the success of any camera assistant. Using problem solving skills, readers will hone proficiency both on the set and off, and they will find a vital tool for their toolkits in this book.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Preface
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Introduction
  10. 1. Basics of Cinematography
    1. Film Formats
    2. Videotape Formats
    3. Sync Speed
    4. Sync and MOS
    5. Film Stock
      1. Emulsion
      2. Base
      3. Anti-halation Backing
    6. Types of Film
      1. Negative Film
      2. Reversal Film
      3. Single Perf or Double Perf
    7. Film Speed
    8. Aspect Ratios
    9. F-Stops and T-Stops
    10. Exposure Time
    11. Exposure Meters
    12. Color Temperature and Color Balance
    13. The Camera
      1. Gate
        1. Intermittent Movement
          1. Pull Down Claw
          2. Registration Pin
          3. Aperture Plate
          4. Pressure Plate
      2. Shutter
        1. Shutter Angle
      3. Inching Knob
      4. Viewing System
        1. Diopter Adjustment
      5. Lens
        1. Primes and Zooms
      6. Magazine
      7. Motor
      8. Batteries
      9. Additional Camera Components
    14. Filters
      1. Conversion Filters
        1. 85 Filter
        2. 80A Filter
      2. Neutral Density Filters
      3. Polarizing Filters
      4. Combination Filters
      5. Optical Flat
      6. Diffusion Filters
      7. Fog and Double Fog Filters
      8. Low-Contrast Filters
      9. Soft-Contrast Filters
      10. Ultra-Contrast Filters
      11. Coral Filters
      12. Enhancing Filters
      13. Graduated Filters
      14. Diopters
      15. Filter Manufacturers
    15. Camera Mounts
      1. Tripods and Spreader
      2. High Hat/Low Hat
      3. Tripod Heads
        1. Fluid Head
        2. Gear Head
      4. Steadicam
      5. Dolly
  11. 2. The Camera Department
    1. Film Productions
      1. Director of Photography
      2. Camera Operator
      3. First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC or Focus Puller)
      4. Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC or Clapper/Loader)
      5. Loader
    2. SD or HD Video Productions
      1. Digital Imaging Technician (DIT)
      2. Video Controller
      3. Camera Utility
      4. Digital Utility
  12. 3. Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC)
    1. Preproduction
      1. Working with the Laboratory
      2. Obtaining Laboratory Supplies
      3. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
      4. Preparation of Camera Equipment
      5. Preparation of Camera Truck
      6. Preparation of Darkroom
    2. Production
      1. Start-of-the-Day Procedures
      2. Setting Up the Camera
      3. Film Stock Manufacturers
      4. Film Stock Packaging Sizes
      5. Camera Reports
      6. Recording Shot Information
      7. Magazines
      8. Loading Magazines
      9. Unloading Magazines
      10. Using a Changing Bag or Changing Tent
      11. Marking Actors
      12. Slates
      13. Slating Procedures
      14. Changing Lenses, Filters, and Magazines
      15. Using a Video Tap and Monitor
      16. Preparing Exposed Film for Delivery to the Lab
      17. Shipping Film (Exposed and Unexposed)
      18. Film, X-Rays, and Carrying Film on Planes
      19. Ordering Additional Film Stock
      20. Storage and Care of Motion Picture Film
      21. Film Inventory and Record of Film Shot
      22. Completing Film Inventory Forms
      23. Distribution of Reports
      24. Record Keeping and Filing of Paperwork
      25. Performing the Duties of First Assistant Cameraman
      26. Packing Equipment
      27. Tools and Accessories
      28. 2nd AC/Loader Tips
      29. Resources
    3. Postproduction
      1. Wrapping Equipment
    4. Working in SD/HD Video
      1. Preproduction
      2. Production
        1. Camera Reports
        2. Setting Up the Camera
        3. Marking Actors
        4. Slates and Slating Procedures
        5. Moving the Camera and Moving and Setting Up the Video Monitor
        6. Preparing Tapes and Reports
        7. Ordering Additional Tapes
        8. Storage and Care of Videotapes
        9. Videotape, X-Rays, and Magnetic Fields
        10. Tools and Accessories
      3. Postproduction
        1. Wrapping Equipment
    5. Review Checklist for Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC or Clapper/Loader)
  13. 4. First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC)
    1. Preproduction
      1. Choosing Camera Equipment
      2. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
      3. The Rental House
      4. Preparation of Camera Equipment
        1. Camera Prep Checklist
    2. Production
      1. Start-of-the-Day Procedures
      2. Loading and Unloading Film in the Camera
      3. Keeping the Camera Clean
      4. Oiling and Lubricating the Camera
      5. Setting the Viewfinder Eyepiece
      6. Lenses
        1. Prime Lenses and Zoom Lenses
      7. Checking for Lens Flares
      8. Depth of Field
      9. F-Stops and T-Stops
      10. Changing Lenses, Filters, and Accessories
      11. Focus Measurements and Following Focus
      12. Focusing Tips
      13. Zoom Lens Moves
      14. Footage Readings
      15. Checking the Gate
      16. Moving the Camera
      17. Performing the Duties of Second Assistant Cameraman
      18. Packing Equipment
      19. Tools and Accessories
      20. Using Computers
      21. 1st AC/Focus Puller Tips
      22. Resources
    3. Postproduction
      1. Wrapping Equipment
    4. Working in SD or HD Video
      1. Preproduction
        1. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
        2. The Rental House and Preparation of Camera Equipment
      2. Production
        1. Setting Up the Camera
        2. Loading and Unloading Tapes into the Video Camera
        3. Checking for Lens Flares
        4. Lenses (Primes and Zooms)
        5. Focusing and Depth of Field
        6. Moving the Camera
        7. White Balancing
        8. Tools and Accessories
      3. Postproduction
        1. Wrapping Equipment
    5. Review Checklist for First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC or Focus Puller)
  14. 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 Seen 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 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 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
  15. 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 65 mm High Speed
    27. Panavision 65 mm 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
  16. 7. Before, During, and After the Job
    1. Union or Nonunion
      1. IATSE and Local 600
      2. Joining the Union
    2. Before the Job
      1. The Résumé
      2. The Job Interview
    3. During the Job
    4. After the Job
      1. Invoicing and Filling in the Time Card
      2. Networking
  17. Appendix A: Film Stock
  18. Appendix B: Equipment
    1. Cameras
      1. 16 mm Cameras
      2. 35 mm Cameras
      3. 65 mm Cameras
      4. SD and HD Video Cameras
    2. Camera Lenses and Accessories
      1. Lenses and Lens Accessories
      2. Camera Accessories
      3. Specialized Camera Accessories
        1. Arriflex Remote Control Unit (RCU)
        2. Arriflex External Display (EXD-1)
        3. Arriflex Wireless Remote Control (WRC-2)
        4. Arriflex Iris Control Unit (ICU)
        5. Arriflex Lens Control System (LCS)
        6. Arriflex Wireless Lens Control System
        7. Arriflex Laptop Camera Controller (LCC)
        8. Arriflex Ramp Preview Controller (RPC)
        9. Panavision Focus, T-Stop, Zoom, Speed-Aperture Controller —FTZSAC
        10. Panavision Remote Digital Control (RDC)
    3. Camera Filters
      1. Filter Sizes
      2. Filters
      3. Filters for Black and White Cinematography
    4. Heads and Tripods
      1. Fluid Heads
      2. Gear Heads
      3. Tripods
    5. Miscellaneous Heads, Camera Mounts, and Mounting Platforms
  19. Appendix C: Camera Department Checklists, Production Forms, and Labels
    1. Forms and Checklists
      1. Film Camera Equipment Checklist
      2. Filters Checklist
      3. Expendables Inventory and Checklist
      4. Film Camera Prep Checklist
      5. Equipment Received Log
      6. Returned Equipment Log
      7. Missing or Damaged Equipment Log
      8. Job Information
      9. Film Camera Report
      10. Camera Department 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. Video Tape Request Form
      19. Camera Department Weekly Time Sheet
      20. Personal Time Sheet and Invoice
    2. Labels
      1. Camera Department Deal Memo
      2. Box/Equipment Rental Agreement
      3. Camera Department Contact List
      4. Film Can Developing Label
      5. Short End Label
      6. Recan Label
      7. X-Ray Warning Label
  20. Appendix D: Tools and Accessories
    1. AC Tools and Accessories
      1. Specialized Film Industry Items
      2. Arriflex Special Tools
    2. Expendables
    3. Miscellaneous Items
  21. 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 Film
      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 16 mm
      8. Feet per Minute for 35 mm 3-Perf Format
      9. Feet per Minute for 35 mm 4-Perf Format
      10. Screen Time
      11. Feet and Inches to Meters
      12. Meters to Feet and Inches
      13. Millimeters to Inches
  22. 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
  23. Recommended Reading
  24. Glossary
  25. Index