Film/Television Camera Operator Kaitango Whakaahua Whitiāhua/Pouaka Whakaata

Film and television camera operators use digital and film cameras to record events and scenes for television, movies and videos.

Film/television camera operators may do some or all of the following:

  • carry and set up cameras and equipment such as lighting rigs and kits
  • work with and follow the instructions of the director
  • operate cameras to film or record the action
  • keep the camera in focus.

Directors of photography may do some or all of the following:

  • study scripts and interpret how scenes should look
  • select suitable cameras and equipment
  • decide on the location of cameras and lights
  • direct camera and lighting crew during filming
  • work with the director and editor during editing.

Physical Requirements

Film/television camera operators need to have a good level of fitness as they stand for extended periods and carry heavy camera equipment. They also need to have good hearing and normal colour vision.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for film/television camera operators includes:

  • photography
  • working for a production company
  • filmmaking
  • video or television work.

Personal Qualities

Film/television camera operators need to be:

  • able to work well under pressure
  • good at problem solving
  • patient
  • efficient and reliable
  • good communicators with strong people skills.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for film/television camera operators includes:

  • photography
  • working for a production company
  • filmmaking
  • video or television work.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a film or television camera operator. However, English, maths, media studies, digital technologies, drama and photography are useful.

Film/Television Camera Operators can earn around $30-$50 per hour per year.

Film/television camera operators usually specialise in working in either film or television in a number of roles, including:

Second Assistant
Second assistants process the shot footage or data and carry and set up gear such as lighting rigs.
First Assistant/Focus Puller
First assistants or focus pullers are in charge of the camera equipment and making sure the focus is correct.
Digital Imaging Technician
Digital imaging technicians are responsible for image quality control, on-set colour correction, and workflow (making sure footage is processed and gets where it needs to be) when a production uses digital cameras.
Director of Photography
Directors of photography organise production camera crews and make artistic and technical decisions about how scenes are shot.
Film/Television Camera Operator

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