What do Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Do?
A camera operator for television, video and motion picture production is in charge of recording images and scenes for various uses. This position could be inside at a studio, or outside in the field. It’s possible to work directly for a company, or as a freelance operator.This is a steadily growing position with a 6% growth rate nationwide; but ranges from 31% to no change at all, in some states. Over 20,000 workers are employed with this title currently.
Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Skills and Abilities
Camera operators need skills predominately in the areas of looking, listening and communicating. You’ll need a good eye for visual composition to best put together cinematic shots of interest and appeal. This will also require critical thinking skills and the dedication to repeat certain shots until the product is perfect. Being able to understand and communicate instructions effectively is also very important, because you will be working with supervisors, peers and subordinates on many projects. Additionally, knowledge of telecommunications, visual media and technology are a plus.
Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Duties
Camera operators work from the initial setup all the way to the editing floor. You’ll need to prepare scripts for planned action, and also set up shots for live broadcast. During setup, you could be adjusting multiple camera mounts and microphones, and modifying lighting conditions. During production, you’ll be giving cues for filming sequences, monitoring special effects related equipment, and resolving problems as they occur. After filming is done, you’ll still be needed for edits, analysis and general maintenance. Between shoots, it’s expected that you’ll keep current on new technologies and practices, communicate about any new equipment needs, and plan the next shoot.
Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Tools and Technology
You’ll be working with cameras a lot with the expectation of being able to perform simple repairs and adjustments. You should know how to use a wide variety of cameras and camcorders, as well as mounting equipment and processors. You should also be familiar with various computer software programs. This list is a good starting point.General office suiteVideo creation and editingGraphic imagingEmail
Education and Training for Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture
To be considered for this position, a Bachelor’s degree is necessary. While no experience is needed, any you do have will make your application more appealing to employers and raise your starting salary. If you’re just starting your education, look for academic programs in the following areas:Audiovisual Communications TechnologiesCinematography and Video ProductionDocumentary ProductionRadio and Television Broadcasting TechnologyIt is also possible to apprentice yourself for a few years to gain on-the-job training which will be valuable in moving up the video world hierarchy.
Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Salary
There is a wide range of salaries in this field, based on your experience, education and state of employ. The national, median salary is $48,100 with the top 10% earning $95,200. Starting out with little to no experience should net you $22,500, but that can more than double over time. The highest median salaries are in the District of Columbia, Georgia and New York.
Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture Jobs by Geography
There are just over 1,000 new positions expected to become available in the next 10 years. The top three employers are California, New York and Texas with the highest growth rate found in Colorado and Washington. The television broadcasting industry is where many of these positions are filled, though the federal government and cable companies also hire for this skill set.