How to Become a Camera Operator

Written by

College Mouse


August 14, 2014


Camera operation is an essential part of the entertainment industry. Camera operators are trained professionals that produce a variety of images for television, video, and motion pictures.

What does a camera operator do?

Camera operators shoot images that record an event, tell a story, or entertain and inform a targeted audience. They use a variety of camera equipment to shoot a large range of material such as news and sporting events, television programs, commercials, music videos, training sessions, documentaries, and motion pictures. They thread the camera, select the appropriate lenses, set the focus, adjust all of the equipments, and move cameras using tracks and cranes. Camera operators are responsible for operating the camera equipment throughout the entire production. They often collaborate with the director, photographers, crew, and actors to make creative and technical decisions. They also often travel to a variety of locations to shoot images. Camera operators are often classified by their work such as studio camera operators and news camera operators.

What kind of training does a camera operator need?

Camera operators need to complete formal post secondary training. Many colleges, universities, photography schools, and vocational and technical schools offer programs in camera operation. Many camera operators have a bachelor degree in camera operation, film editing, or other related field. They learn of the processes, equipment, and techniques of camera operation. Many aspiring camera operators join audio-video clubs and pursue internships and part-time employment with motion picture studies, cable and television networks, or camera and video stores to gain practical experience.

What are the prospects for a career as a camera operator?

Employment of camera operators is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 12% through 2016 (1). The rapid growth of the entertainment industry will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition due to the numerous amounts of people wishing to enter the field. Camera operators with advanced computer skills and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.

How much do camera operators make?

As of this year, the middle 50% of camera operators earn annual salaries between $29,220 and $43,279. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $50,267 (2).

A career as a camera operator is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in the entertainment industry and operating camera equipment. Camera operators must have sound technical understanding of how cameras work and be able to effectively shoot a wide range of footage. Good eyesight, creativity, artistic ability, and eye-hand coordination are essential. They must also be detail oriented, accurate, patient, and be able to hold a camera for long periods of time. Camera operators must have good communication and interpersonal skills and be able to effectively work as part of a team. They must be able to follow instructions and have a steady hand to make sure the camera moves naturally and smoothly.

Becoming a Camera Operator Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a camera operator? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Course Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  College Mouse

College Mouse helps prospective students find information on careers and college opportunities. With hundreds of career profiles, and resources on college selection, application and funding, College Mouse is your number one resource.

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