How Do I Become a Camera Operator?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

Many people want to work in the exciting world of television and movie production, either in front of or behind the camera. For those who want to become a camera operator, there are some important steps to follow, such as acquiring the right type of education, getting valuable experience, and choosing the right job arenas to begin a career. Camera operators are needed in a variety of different media projects, such as newscasts, commercial filming, movies, and a host of other audio and visual productions. Even with perfect credentials and experience, many companies choose to hire camera operators based on talent, so it is important to hone the necessary skills in addition to building a stellar resume.

Camera operators are needed in a variety of industries.
Camera operators are needed in a variety of industries.

Like many other professions, education is a key element to become a camera operator. Education and job market experts recommend acquiring at least an associates' degree in film production, videography, or video journalism. If possible, a bachelor's degree would be even better for your resume and increase the chances of landing a camera operator position. Your education should focus on traditional business classes as well as specific courses such as computer video editing, lighting, and techniques. In some schools, these classes are taught by people in the business and are designed with the latest techniques and equipment.

To become a camera operator, you should first study film production.
To become a camera operator, you should first study film production.

Experience is also important to become a camera operator, and it is recommended that serious candidates undertake projects to increase their skills. You may choose to operate the video camera for community projects, accept an internship, or work with wedding planners to build up your video clip portfolio and gain valuable experience. Local cable companies and other businesses often use camera operator students for internships and on a project-by-project basis for all kinds of video projects. Some of the projects may be on a volunteer basis, but they are very important for acquiring skills in a variety of different scenarios.

Once you have acquired the proper education and experience, you will have to select the right places to apply and submit your resume to become a camera operator. It is not unusual for camera operators to start their careers as production assistants until an operator position becomes available. In this capacity, you will learn lighting, the use of lenses, and what it is like to be a camera operator on a day-to-day basis. Many successful camera operators also start their careers with smaller, local television stations and move up the production ladder.

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