Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, video production, or motion pictures.
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Keen competition for jobs is expected due to the large number of people who wish to enter the broadcasting and motion picture industries, in which many camera operators and editors are employed. Those with the most experience and the most advanced computer skills will have the best job opportunities. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment of camera operators and editors is expected to grow 11 percent over the 2008–18 decade, which is as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018. As the motion picture industry expands, demand for camera operators and editors will expand also. Camera operators will be needed to film made-for-Internet broadcasts, such as music videos, digital movies, sports features, and general entertainment programming. As the market for professional Internet video grows, camera operators may see increases in employment. Growth will be tempered, however, by the increased offshore production of motion pictures. Job growth for studio camera operators in television broadcasting will be slowed by the use of automated cameras under the control of a single person working either on the studio floor or in a director's booth. For ENG camera operators and editors, growth may be tempered by the combination of roles and other cost-cutting measures at broadcast stations. For videographers, computer and Internet services will provide new outlets for interactive productions.
Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors can expect keen competition for job openings because of the large number of people who wish to enter the broadcasting and motion picture industries, in which many of these workers are employed. The number of individuals interested in positions as videographers and movie camera operators usually is much greater than the number of openings. Those who succeed in landing a salaried job or attracting enough work to earn a living by freelancing are likely to be the most creative and highly motivated people, able to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and adept at operating a business. The change to digital cameras has increased the importance of strong computer skills. Those with the most experience and the most advanced computer skills will have the best job opportunities.
Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors held about 51,900 jobs in 2008. About 26,300 were camera operators, and film and video editors held about 25,500 jobs.
Many are employed by independent television stations, local affiliate stations of television networks or broadcast groups, large cable and television networks, or smaller, independent production companies. There also are a large number of self employed camera operators and film editors. Some self-employed camera operators contract with television networks, documentary or independent filmmakers, advertising agencies, or trade show or convention sponsors to work on individual projects for a set fee, often at a daily rate.
Most of the salaried camera operators and editors were employed by television broadcasting stations or motion picture studios. 37 percent of the salaried camera operators and editors worked for motion picture and video industry while 18 percent worked in television broadcasting. Most camera operators and editors worked in large metropolitan areas.
Job Zone 3 - Medium preparation
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have gone through an apprenticeship program or several years of vocational training to perform the job.
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related job experience, or an associate's degree. Some may require a bachelor's degree.
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training, including both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers.
Dental assistants, electricians, fish and game wardens, legal secretaries, personnel recruiters and recreational workers.
These occupations often involve using communication and organization skills to manage and train others.
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For information about careers as a camera operator, contact:
- International Cinematographer's Guild, 80 Eighth Ave., 14th Floor, New York, NY 10011.
- National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, 501 Third St. NW., 6th floor, Washington, DC 20001. Internet: http://www.nabetcwa.org
Information about career and employment opportunities for camera operators and film and video editors also is available from local offices of State employment service agencies, local offices of the relevant trade unions, and local television and film production companies that employ these workers.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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