Media / Digital Media
TV & Film Camera Operator
TV & film camera operators set up, position and operate equipment in studios or on location to produce photograph or recordings.
What does a TV & Film Camera Operator do?
TV & film camera operators set up, position and operate equipment in studios or on location to produce photograph or recordings. Camera operators record images for film, television, advertisements and corporate and music videos.
As a TV & film camera operator, you would:
- assemble, set up and position cameras and associated equipment such as tripods and monitors
- talk with directors, producers or floor managers about the visual impact of shots
- plan and rehearse shots, including the best camera angles and movements
- study and follow a camera script and take cues from the director, or floor manager if in a TV studio
- solve any practical or technical problems that arise during filming
- innovate and experiment with ideas
- work closely with other technical departments such as lighting and sound
- keep up to date with digital technologies and filming methods and equipment
- repair and maintain equipment
- work with digital, electronic and film cameras
- usually specialise in either film or TV work.
Key skills and interests
To become a television & film camera operator, you would need:
- creative visual skills
- good knowledge of camera equipment and technologies
- an interest in photography, film and digital video
- good communication skills
- the ability to carry out instructions accurately
- attention to detail
- good colour vision.
Working hours and conditions
In a full-time role in a TV studio, you would usually work a regular number of hours per week, which may include shift work and nights. If you work on news programs, you might need to be flexible and able to work at short notice.
As a film camera operator, your hours could often be long and irregular, depending on the production you are working on. You may also need to be flexible and work at short notice, particularly for news programmes.
You could work anywhere from studios to outside locations in all weather conditions. You may have to work at heights on cranes or scaffolding. News camera jobs may involve working under difficult or dangerous conditions.
A drivers licence is an advantage as camera operators are often required to drive to and from locations.
How to become an TV & Film Camera Operator?
Entry Level Education
To become a TV & film camera operator you usually have to complete a VET qualification such as a Diploma of Screen and Media. You may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work.
Alternatively, you can become a film and television camera operator by completing a degree in creative arts, media (film & sound), screen production, or film and television. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. You may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work.
You would usually start work as a camera trainee or camera assistant and learn on the job from experienced camera operators.
Employment of TV & film camera operators is projected to remain relatively neutral.
The consolidation of roles in broadcasting, such as reporters who can now shoot and edit their own work using new digital technologies, and the increasing reliance on amateur film footage, may lead to fewer jobs for camera operators at TV stations.
However, new content delivery methods in film and video production, such as mobile and online TV, may lead to more work for camera operators.