Cameraman: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements

A cameraman or camera operator uses a variety of electronic media to record and produce images for various media and technological outlets. Learn about the training requirements, get predictions on job growth and find out what the salary expectations are for a career as a cameraman. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What does a Cameraman Do?

A cameraman, or woman, captures or produces images for use on TV, video, film or sometimes on computer. They can use their skills to film television series, movies, sporting events, music videos, online video and news broadcasts. Camera operators hand their filmed material off to an editor who splices it into a finished product. Some are trained to edit their own recordings. Camera operators who work for news agencies generally work under tight deadlines and often must film recordings in short periods of time.

Camera operators are either independently employed or work for small companies, large networks or production studios. Operators may work with a team if the production is especially large. Some cameramen use their skills to film private events, such as weddings. Regardless of subject matter, operators should have a good grasp on cinematography techniques, such as sound, lighting and color schemes. They should also understand satellite technologies, as a camera operator may transmit live video via satellite feed.

What are the Training Requirements to Become a Cameraman?

Pursuing a formal education or gaining knowledge through training and experience are both options toward becoming a professional cameraman. Multimedia and media arts coursework are often part of a bachelor degree program in something like film and media production or in more focused certificate programs, such as in cinematography. Many camera operators begin training by shadowing an expert in the field and building their references and connections through hands-on experience. Working as an intern at a news station or filming for a college television network are also first work experiences.

What is the Job Outlook and Salary?

The job field for camera operators is very competitive. Growth has been predicted to be 11% from 2008-2018 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS (www.bls.gov). An increase in productions and broadcasts for the Internet will provide additional employment opportunities for camera operators. The BLS reported a mean salary of $48,450, as of May 2010, for this profession.

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