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Become A Cameraman

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Working As A Cameraman

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Stressful

  • $43,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cameraman Do

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.

Duties

Film and video editors and camera operators typically do the following:

  • Shoot and record television programs, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events
  • Organize digital footage with video editing software
  • Collaborate with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Select the appropriate equipment, such as the type of lens or lighting
  • Shoot or edit a scene based on the director’s vision

Many camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for its storage and care. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus.

Likewise, editors often have one or more assistants. The assistants support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks.

The increased use of digital filming has changed the work of a large number of editors and camera operators. Many operators prefer using digital cameras because these smaller, more inexpensive instruments give them more flexibility in shooting angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of some camera assistants: instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera.

Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.

The following are examples of types of camera operators:

Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment’s notice and follow the instructions of the show’s director.

Cinematographers film motion pictures. They usually have a team of camera operators and assistants working under them. They determine the angles and types of equipment that will best capture a shot. They also adjust the lighting in a shot, because that is an important part of how the image looks.

Cinematographers may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them, or they may use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some cinematographers sit on cranes to film and action scene; others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action.

Some cinematographers specialize in filming cartoons or special effects.

Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post their work on video-sharing websites for prospective clients. Most videographers edit their own material.

Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public. They also get copyright protection for their work and keep financial records.

Many editors and camera operators, particularly videographers, put their creative work online. If it becomes popular, they gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance opportunities.

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How To Become A Cameraman

Film and video editors and camera operators typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting.

Education

Most editor and camera operator positions require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting, such as communications. Many colleges offer courses in cinematography or video-editing software. Coursework involves a mix of film theory with practical training.

Film and video editors and camera operators must have an understanding of digital cameras and editing software because both are now used on film sets.

Training

Editors may complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers may offer new employees training in the type of specialized editing software they use. Most editors eventually specialize in one type of software, but beginners should be familiar with as many types as possible.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is a way for editors to demonstrate competence in various types of editing software. To earn certification, video editors must pass a comprehensive exam. Candidates can prepare for the exam on their own, through online tutorials, or through classroom instruction.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must communicate with other members of a production team, including producers and directors, to ensure that the project goes smoothly.

Computer skills. Film and video editors must use sophisticated editing software.

Creativity. Film and video editors and camera operators should be able to imagine what the result of their filming or editing will look like to an audience.

Detail oriented. Editors look at every frame of film and decide what should be kept and what should be cut in order to maintain the best content.

Hand–eye coordination. Camera operators need to be able to move about the action while holding a camera steady.

Physical stamina. Camera operators may need to carry heavy equipment for long periods of time, particularly when they are filming on location.

Visual skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must be able to see clearly what they are filming or editing in the postproduction process.

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Top Skills for A Cameraman

  1. Video Production
  2. Camera Equipment
  3. Final Cut Pro
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Wrapped cables, set up lights, checked audio levels, and carried camera equipment.
  • Edited with Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro.
  • Focused on all aspects of Broadcasting/Film such as Editing, Camera Operation, Audio etc.
  • Composed & framed each shot, applying the technical aspects of light, lenses, & camera settings as per director.
  • Operated a TV camera to film horse races, TV shows, and interviews.

Cameraman Demographics

Gender

Male

81.0%

Unknown

13.1%

Female

5.9%
Ethnicity

White

55.8%

Hispanic or Latino

20.6%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.7%

Chinese

8.2%

Mandarin

7.1%

French

5.9%

Italian

4.7%

German

4.7%

Arabic

4.7%

Portuguese

3.5%

Turkish

2.4%

Cantonese

2.4%

Icelandic

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Dutch

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Norwegian

1.2%

Russian

1.2%

Uyghur

1.2%

Finnish

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%
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Cameraman Education

Schools

Temple University

9.9%

Columbia College Chicago

8.5%

Full Sail University

8.5%

School of Visual Arts

7.1%

San Francisco State University

5.7%

The Academy

5.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.3%

University of Central Florida

4.3%

Emerson College

4.3%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

4.3%

Northern Illinois University

4.3%

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

4.3%

Ohio University -

3.5%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.5%

Brigham Young University

3.5%

University of North Texas

3.5%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

3.5%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.5%

New York Film Academy

3.5%
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Majors

Photography

25.7%

Communication

22.2%

Journalism

9.0%

Digital Media

6.6%

Business

4.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

4.1%

Fine Arts

3.5%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Graphic Design

2.9%

Computer Science

2.4%

Computer Networking

2.0%

English

1.9%

General Studies

1.8%

Kinesiology

1.6%

Entertainment Business

1.5%

History

1.5%

Theatre

1.4%

Music

1.4%

Education

1.3%

Accounting

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.3%

Other

25.0%

Associate

9.0%

Masters

7.0%

Certificate

3.0%

Diploma

2.2%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Top Cameraman Employers

Jobs From Top Cameraman Employers

Cameraman Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Lighting Cameraman by Seamus M (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming a Writer, Director and Cameraman by Dishad H (Full Version)

One Shot at a Time: The Art of the Hollywood Camera Operator

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