David E. Elkins,

Camera Operator - Retired
First Assistant Cameraman - Retired




Retired Member of International Cinematographers Guild    

Retired Member of Society of Camera Operators    






Welcome, and thank you for visiting my web site.  This site is designed to give you an idea of my background and experience along with useful links and tools to help you as a filmmaker and cinematographer.   Included  are my professional resume along with a complete list of all of my professional production credits as a camera operator and assistant cameraman.  As the author of The Camera Assistant's Manual, I have included a page about the book and the many different editions and languages that it has been published in.  There is also a link to the companion web site for the book which includes many film camera threading diagrams along with all of the custom forms included in the book for you to download. Along with the book information there is a page with some of the articles that I have written or interviews that I have done for various professional publications.  A photo page includes many personal as well as production photos.

Included on the Links page is useful information for all filmmakers with over 300 cinematography and film related links to camera, grip & lighting rental companies, expendable supply companies, film stock suppliers, labs, filters, sites to post your resume and more.   The Download page contains many camera manuals and technical information on film stocks for those of you still shooting on film.

I hope you enjoy the web site.  If you find any errors or wish to make suggestions please click on the email link and send me a message.  Thanks again for visiting.

David E. Elkins, SOC
Retired Camera Operator


In 1968 at the age of 14, while editing the family 8mm home movies, I had no idea that I would one day have a successful career as an assistant cameraman and camera operator.  The thought of making filmmaking a career had never even entered my mind.

In 1976 I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Mathematics.  Originally my plans were to pursue a career teaching mathematics or possibly working in the computer field. These plans changed dramatically in 1980, while I was recovering from major surgery:  It was during that time that I decided it was time to do something new and different with my life. On June 16, 1980 I packed up my car and headed for Los Angeles.

During the first few years in LA I worked in the retail field while trying to decide what it was I really wanted to do. Living so close to Hollywood my interest in the film industry just got stronger. Having read scores of magazines and books on filmmaking I felt I would benefit from attending a film school. In September 1983 I enrolled in Columbia College-Hollywood, concentrating on the study of cinematography and graduated Cum Laude in 1985 with a degree in film production.

My first professional film job was working in craft services on a low budget feature film where many of my college classmates were crew members. Then I had the opportunity to 2nd AC on some second-unit shooting for the film. That job led to other jobs as a second assistant and my career was on its way. I continued to work as a second assistant for approximately two years.  In late 1986 I joined NABET Local 531, and started to work more as a first assistant around the same time.  In 1989 I became a member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 659 as a first assistant cameraman.  In 1996 I re-rated to Camera Operator in Local 600.

I have been a Camera Operator and First Assistant Cameraman for over 35 years, working with such exceptional cinematographers as John Schwartzman ASC, Victor Goss ASC, Eagle Egilsson ASC, Marvin Rush ASC, Randy Sellars, Mark Woods, Richard Clabaugh, Anthony Palmieri ASC and many others.  My more than 125 production credits includes  work on feature films, television series, commercials, music videos, and educational films.  In addition I have 30 years experience teaching cinematography classes and workshops throughout the United States.

As Camera Operator my work includes the feature film "American Yakuza" for DP Richard Clabaugh, along with the television movie "The Lighting Incident" and the music video "High Noon" for DP Victor Goss, A.S.C.   As a First Assistant Cameraman I have had the opportunity to work on a number of award winning shows for television, including “The Wonder Years” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” along with many other shows, including “Gabriel’s Fire”, “Dream On”, “Tales from the Darkside” and many more. In addition to television, I have worked on a number of television movies and theatrical feature films including "Claire of the Moon", "Prey of the Chameleon", "Red Surf", "Waxwork", "The Unholy" plus many others.

My work in commercials includes spots for McDonalds, Life Savers, Burger King and Minute Maid Orange Juice. I have also worked on a variety of music videos including “Under The Bridge” with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “County Line”, with Coolio, “Stop the Tears” with Air Supply, and “Pass the Mic” with the Beastie Boys.

I am the author of “The Camera Assistant’s Manual, Sixth Edition” published by Focal Press and a member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and the Society of Camera Operators.








Q & A Zoom Session Hosted by AC Caitlin Brown - March 2021


Q & A Zoom Session #2 Hosted by AC Caitlin Brown - September 2021


Discussion and demonstration at Northampton, MA film group - June 2013


Click on above photos to be directed to the YouTube video.)


Home Credits Resume Books Articles Links Download Camera Assistant Manual Website Photos



©2021 David E. Elkins
Last revised - September 2021