Television, Video, and Film Camera Operators

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Also known as:
Cinematographer, Electronic News Gathering Camera Operator, Motion Picture Camera Operator, Movie Shot Camera Operator, News Camera Operator, News Videographer, Television Camera Operator, Video Camera Operator

ABOUT TELEVISION, VIDEO, AND FILM CAMERA OPERATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

There are many kind of camera work. Camera operators capture the excitement of breaking news and sports, work in studios on television broadcasts, and create exciting visual images for motion pictures and commercials. This is a field with a wide range of opportunities that share common requirements - the ability to capture an image that conveys meaning and the technical skill to record that image reliably.

Field and TV studio camera operators work with video. Usually, they find salaried positions at production companies or television stations and networks. Some prefer to work as freelancers, hiring themselves out for the day, week, or project.

You can learn to become a video camera operator in technical school, in college, or even on the job. Motion picture camera operators shoot film. They too, can start learning their craft in school. But because film tends to require more detailed technical knowledge than videotape, a film camera operator needs to move up through many levels of apprenticeship.

Advancement may take years and typically comes through recommendations by producers or directors of photography. And long hours are the norm for all kinds of video and film production work. With the increase in outlets for visual images, employment opportunities for camera operators are projected to increase in the years ahead. But while competition in this exciting and attractive field will increase, so will job opportunities.

SNAPSHOT
Operate television, video, or film camera to record images or scenes for television, video, or film productions.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Test, clean, maintain, and repair broadcast equipment, including testing microphones, to ensure proper working condition.

Set up and perform live shots for broadcast.

Observe sets or locations for potential problems and to determine filming and lighting requirements.

Use cameras in any of several different camera mounts, such as stationary, track-mounted, or crane-mounted.

Adjust positions and controls of cameras, printers, and related equipment to change focus, exposure, and lighting.

Operate zoom lenses, changing images according to specifications and rehearsal instructions.

Operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.

Confer with directors, sound and lighting technicians, electricians, and other crew members to discuss assignments and determine filming sequences, desired effects, camera movements, and lighting requirements.

Compose and frame each shot, applying the technical aspects of light, lenses, film, filters, and camera settings to achieve the effects sought by directors.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.