Camera Operator

Camera operators work in the film industry to make industrial films documentaries educational films informative films and entertaining films. Film camera operators work for major and minor motion picture studios television stations production companies that make advertisements and commercials and corporate production companies.

They are well-versed in the use of film videotape and digital video cameras and they must be knowledgeable about photography cameras angles lenses and lighting. They may film documentary industrial educational or feature productions but they usually specialize in either motion picture or television work. Those employed in industrial settings may be in charge of sales or even job training films or videos. For larger jobs camera operators usually work on a team with a crew that is headed by a director of photography or cinematographer.

Camera operators do the actual shooting according to the cinematographers instructions. For these jobs they may have assistants to help them load film or move the camera and other equipment on dollies. For smaller-budget projects the camera operator is often charge of shooting lighting or even directing. Some camera operators work for a specific employer but others are freelance.

For this career ability and experience are more important than a formal degree although some vocational schools film schools and even colleges do offer courses. Most camera operators start out as assistants. The majority of jobs are in New York and Los Angeles although there are some opportunities in small studios in other parts of the country. Camera operators on big productions usually belong to a union though small jobs often employ nonunion filmmakers.

After several years of technical experience camera operators who also have an artful eye may become cinematographers. The median annual salary for camera operators is $37600.

Education Required: High School Diploma & Specialized Training
Avg Salary: $37600
High Salary: $47600
Low Salary: $27600
Tasks: Films various types of motion pictures.
Works in the entertainment, advertising or corporate industries.
Specializes in either television or motion picture work.
In charge of shooting, lighting, or even directing films.
Also Called: Camera Director
Movie Maker
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