Whether it’s the silver screen of 1950s Hollywood or the computer screen and YouTube of today, Americans have long carried a torch for moving pictures. When the director yells “Action” the camera operator’s eyes are glued to the camera’s lens, making sure to catch everything. There are three main types of camera operators. Studio camera operators work in broadcasting and follow directions as part of an ensemble production. They film their subjects from a fixed position. Cinematographers film motion pictures. They determine the angles, lighting, and types of equipment that will best capture a shot. Videographers may shoot special events, such as weddings, or work with companies to make corporate documentaries. They typically edit their footage for clients. Many videographers run their own businesses or do freelance work. Most camera operators work full-time schedules, but may have long, irregular hours while filming. Like anyone in the movie industry, once filming wraps there’s no guarantee when the next opportunity will come along. Camera operators may have to stand for long periods, and they may carry heavy equipment wherever production happens, which could be an office or a remote setting. Camera operators must be creative, detail-oriented, and effective communicators. Camera operators typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting, such as communications.
What they do:
Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to record images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, video production, or motion pictures.
On the job, you would:
Operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
Compose and frame each shot, applying the technical aspects of light, lenses, film, filters, and camera settings to achieve the effects sought by directors.
Edit video for broadcast productions, including non-linear editing.
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
product and service development
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
create new and original ideas
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Video creation and editing software
Apple Final Cut Pro
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.