How to Become a Camera Operator


Camera operators are some of the most important members of a film crew. They’re responsible for operating either a stationary or mobile camera to record scenes during filming. Those recordings are then passed on to film editors, who piece together the scenes to create the final product. Without camera operators, the film industry would be non-existent.

Responsibilities of the camera operator may include setting up camera equipment, adjusting the focus or angle of a specific shot and framing shots. A camera operator should also have an extensive knowledge of camera functions and how to select the appropriate lens for the job. Camera operators may find employment in several different places – big-budget and independent film-making as well as television news production are only a few of the many options open to prospective camera operators. Work may take place indoors on a set or in a news studio, or outdoors on location. The safety risks on the job as a camera operator are generally low, though may be elevated depending on the filming location.

The camera operator’s role isn’t just limited to aiming and shooting, however. A skilled camera operator should be knowledgeable about the entire film. A film degree, while not always required, is a very beneficial asset to have when seeking employment as a camera operator. Directors and producers want to hire employees with a film degree as it is a good indicator that they will more fully understand the industry and the multiple ways they can contribute.

Camera Operator Salary

Camera operators are responsible for setting up, operating and maintaining the cameras used to capture pictures and film for various media projects. They arrange each shot, applying their knowledge of light, filters, lenses and camera settings in order to obtain the highest quality footage. Camera operators work closely with directors in order to understand the filming sequence and desired visual effects. On average, camera operators earn $43,000 per year. *

*According to

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