Camera operators will typically be expected to have demonstrable competency with both traditional film and digital camera equipment. The camera operator will be expected to be able to set up basic shots and film sequences, as well as being able to understand direction offered by a director or cinematographer. The camera operator is primarily concerned with the regular operation and maintenance of the cameras he or she uses. While some operators will specialize on either the digital or film side of the equation, most operators maintain some facility with both to ensure their own versatility for upcoming jobs. In any event, camera operators must know how to set up cameras in varying conditions and lighting and obtain useful footage. They may work in television, private commercial production, or the movie industry.
Operators will also be expected to understand basic conventions and filming techniques. The unit director or cinematographer on a shoot may issue camera commands related to focusing and shot angles during production. The camera operator will be expected to execute these operations with expertise. Because shooting can be expensive, operators able to follow the direction of creative personnel can be a vital element in controlling shooting costs.
Camera operators for television, video, or motion picture applications will typically learn their vocation at a technical school or university. Operators typically begin their careers in private companies that shoot commercials or other pre-packaged productions. Operators typically work varying hours. Those employed in television or private production work may see regular hours with some field work. Those in the movie industry will find studio work, field work, and even travel to be a required element of the profession.
Camera Operator, Television, Video, or Motion Picture Tasks
Operate the film or digital camera that records the television, movie, or live event.
Assemble, prepare, set up, and disassemble equipment before and after shooting.