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Camera Operator

Operate cameras as part of a video production team to capture scenes for TV shows, motion pictures, or other film projects.

What does a Camera Operator do?

Camera operators use their technical skills to help directors fulfill their creative vision for projects. Camera operators capture the video images you see in TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, news, and sporting events. Camera operators may be cinematographers, videographers, or studio camera operators, and they utilize a variety of cameras to achieve different visual effects.

As a camera operator, you’re part of a video production team and it’s vital to show up prepared for busy days on location or on set. Before filming begins, you acquaint yourself with scripts and scenes, and you decide what cameras and equipment will be needed. You also provide advice to performers to achieve the desired shots. After you complete a film shoot, you may need to clean up shots using an editing program such as Final Cut Pro/ Studio or Avid Media Composer before handing them off to a video editor.

To prepare for this job, you need photography and videography experience. You can gain experience as a runner or assistant cameraperson, and learn about the industry and how to use cameras and related technology. You need to be able to watch and listen attentively and respond quickly while carrying out technical tasks and managing assistants.

The ability to quickly adapt to your surroundings is critical since your working environment, the types of people you work for and with, and your working hours will vary. While a bachelor’s degree in broadcast media or a similar field will provide you with the practical and theoretical knowledge of the industry, you will also need to build a network of industry connections to succeed. Camera technology changes rapidly, so it’s important to seek out continuing professional development.