Television, video, and motion picture camera operators produce images that tell a story, inform or entertain an audience, or record an event. Film and video editors edit soundtracks, film, and video for the motion picture, cable, and broadcast television industries. Some camera operators do their own editing.
Camera operators use television, video, or motion picture cameras to shoot a wide range of material, including television series, studio programs, news and sporting events, music videos, motion pictures, documentaries, and training sessions. This material is constructed from many different shots by film and video editors. With the increase in digital technology, the editing work is now done on a computer. Many camera operators and editors are employed by independent television stations; local affiliate stations of television networks; large cable and television networks; or smaller, independent production companies.
Making commercial-quality movies and video programs requires technical expertise and creativity. Producing successful images requires choosing and presenting interesting material, selecting appropriate equipment, and applying a steady hand to ensure smooth, natural movement of the camera.
Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies and special events, such as weddings. Some record and post short videos on Web sites for businesses. Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and usually videotape their subjects from a fixed position. News camera operators, also called electronic news-gathering (ENG) operators, work as part of a reporting team, following newsworthy events as they unfold. To capture live events, they must anticipate the action and act quickly. ENG operators sometimes edit raw footage on the spot for relay to a television affiliate for broadcast.
Camera operators employed in the entertainment field use motion picture cameras to film movies, television programs, and commercials. Those who film motion pictures also are known as cinematographers. Some specialize in filming cartoons or special effects. Cinematographers may be an integral part of the action, using cameras in any of several different mounts. For example, the camera can be stationary and shoot whatever passes in front of the lens, or it can be mounted on a track, with the camera operator responsible for shooting the scene from different angles or directions. Wider use of digital cameras has enhanced the number of angles and the clarity that a camera operator can provide. Other camera operators sit on cranes and follow the action while crane operators move them into position. Steadicam operators mount a harness and carry the camera on their shoulders to provide a clear picture while they move about the action. Camera operators who work in the entertainment field often meet with a director of photography to discuss ways of filming, editing, and improving scenes.
ENG operators and those who cover major events, such as conventions or sporting events, frequently travel locally and stay overnight or travel to distant places for longer periods. Camera operators filming television programs or motion pictures may travel to film on location.
Some camera operators—especially ENG operators covering accidents, natural disasters, civil unrest, or military conflicts—work in uncomfortable or even dangerous surroundings; however the occupation as a whole does not tend to suffer more work related injuries than other occupations. Many camera operators must wait long hours in all kinds of weather for an event to take place and must stand or walk for long periods while carrying heavy equipment. ENG operators often work under strict deadlines.
Hours of work and working schedules for camera operators and editors vary considerably. Those employed by television and cable networks or advertising agencies may work long hours to meet production schedules. ENG operators often work long, irregular hours and must be available to work on short notice. Camera operators and editors working in motion picture production also may work long, irregular hours.
|1.||Operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.|
|2.||Compose and frame each shot, applying the technical aspects of light, lenses, film, filters, and camera settings to achieve the effects sought by directors.|
|3.||Edit video for broadcast productions, including non-linear editing.|
|4.||Adjust positions and controls of cameras, printers, and related equipment to change focus, exposure, and lighting.|
|5.||Confer with directors, sound and lighting technicians, electricians, and other crew members to discuss assignments and determine filming sequences, desired effects, camera movements, and lighting requirements.|
|6.||Set up and perform live shots for broadcast.|
|7.||Set up cameras, optical printers, and related equipment to produce photographs and special effects.|
|8.||Assemble studio sets, and select and arrange cameras, film stock, audio, or lighting equipment to be used during filming.|
|9.||Test, clean, maintain, and repair broadcast equipment, including testing microphones, to ensure proper working condition.|
|10.||Use cameras in any of several different camera mounts such as stationary, track-mounted, or crane-mounted.|
|11.||Observe sets or locations for potential problems and to determine filming and lighting requirements.|
|12.||View films to resolve problems of exposure control, subject and camera movement, changes in subject distance, and related variables.|
|13.||Stay current with new technologies in the field by reading trade magazines.|
|14.||Operate zoom lenses, changing images according to specifications and rehearsal instructions.|
|15.||Download exposed film for shipment to processing labs.|
|16.||Reload camera magazines with fresh raw film stock.|
|17.||Set up and operate electric news gathering (ENG) microwave vehicles to gather and edit raw footage on location to send to television affiliates for broadcast.|
|18.||Instruct camera operators regarding camera setups, angles, distances, movement, and variables and cues for starting and stopping filming.|
|19.||Label and record contents of exposed film, and note details on report forms.|
|20.||Direct studio productions.|
|21.||Receive raw film stock, and maintain film inventories.|
|22.||Read and analyze work orders and specifications to determine locations of subject material, work procedures, sequences of operations, and machine setups.|
|23.||Read charts and compute ratios to determine variables such as lighting, shutter angles, filter factors, and camera distances.|
|24.||Prepare slates that describe the scenes being filmed.|
|25.||Design graphics for studio productions.|
|26.||Write new scripts for broadcasts.|
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