Camera Operator

What does a Camera Operator do?

A Camera Operator’s role is fairly self-explanatory – they are responsible for filming the production.

However, that’s a simplistic view of their role and it can be far more complex. On a day-to-day basis, they’ll work with the Assistant Director and Director of Photography to understand the shots they need to capture and any movements they need to perform.

At the start of the day, they’ll prepare the kit, test the cameras and lenses, plus they may assist in setting up monitors, cables and transmission systems. They’ll film the day’s scenes and pack away the equipment at the end of the day.

Some Camera Operators are fortunately to have Camera Trainees working with them. They’ll take on many of the basic tasks, while shadowing the operator to learn on the job.

What skills does a Camera Operator need?

Photography: A camera operator needs a good eye and understanding of all factors affecting a camera shot – composition, light, colour and focus.

Reliable: Camera Operators need to arrive on site early to ensure there are no delays to the day’s schedule.

Who does a Camera Operator work with?

They’ll work closely with the clapper loader, but also the focus puller and Director of Photography.

How to become a Camera Operator?

There are several routes into a Camera Operator position. One option is training at a media university or school, such as Ravensbourne. Else, you could start out in a equipment rental company where you should learn how the kit operates. A portfolio or showreel is crucial for Camera Operators and a good showreel should get you better opportunities and shows to work on.