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Optical Effects Camera Operator

Set up and operate optical printers to produce optical effects.

What does an Optical Effects Camera Operator do?

Sets up and operates optical printers and related equipment to produce fades, dissolves, superimpositions, and other optical effects required in motion pictures, applying knowledge of optical effects printing and photography: Reads work order and count sheet to ascertain optical effects specifications and location of subject material on original photography film. Analyzes specifications to determine work procedures, sequence of operations, and machine setup, using knowledge of optical effects techniques and procedures. Loads camera of optical effects printer with magazine of unexposed film stock. Mounts original photography film in transport and masking mechanism of optical-printer projector and moves film into designated position for optical effect, using counter and film markings to determine placement. Adjusts camera position, lens position, mask opening, lens aperture, focus, shutter angle, film transport speed, and related controls, using precision measuring instruments and knowledge of optical effects techniques to determine settings. Selects designated color and neutral density filters and mounts in filter holder to control light and intensity. Sets controls in automatic or manual mode, moves control to start camera, and observes printer operation and footage counter during filming. Adjusts controls during filming operation when operating in manual mode, and stops camera when designated counter reading is observed. Moves controls to rewind camera film and original photography film and repeats select portions or entire operation number of times necessary to produce designated effect. Sets up and operates animation and matte cameras and related equipment to photograph artwork, such as titles and painted mattes. Sets up and operates single pass optical printers when enlarging or reducing film or performing related operations. Sets up and operates subtitle camera and related equipment to photograph film subtitles. Examines frames of film exposed with different combinations of color filters to select optimum color balance based on experience and judgment.