A film cameraman records images for film, commercials, television, corporate productions to film work procedures, documentaries, educational films or music videos.
Nature of Work
A film cameraman operate a film camera while taking orders and receiving instructions from the movie director or its director of photography. They are in charge of setting up camera equipment and positioning them accordingly. They are also involved in the planning of shots and their rehearsals with the actors. Camera operators also choose the lens and camera angles required by the scene to be filmed. They are also expected to solve technical and practical problems including light and sound.
A film cameraman can be a single person using a single camera for a simple production or can be a part of a team for a TV studio or movie production outfit. Being part of a large crew, a cameraman/camera operator can function as the second assistant camera or clapper loader with duties such as film loading and unloading, counting the total number of takes for a scene, and generally helping the camera crew. He or she can also be the first assistant camera or focus puller tasked with adjusting the camera focus for each shot. He or she can also work as grip charged with operating camera cranes and pulleys that move the camera to follow the actors.
As the equipment and techniques differ in film and television, a cameraman/operator needs to specialize in either one of them.
Most employers look for practical experience and technical skills possessed by a film cameraman. Many camera operators have degrees in media technology, media production or photography, and have extensive knowledge of cameras, lenses, and lighting techniques. They take college or university courses designed to develop their needed technical skills in film and television production. Film cameramen should also have practical experience and many contacts in the film industry. This can best be obtained by finding work as a camera assistant or runner in a production company or being involved in a local community film project. Skills in basic electronics and stills photography could also help. There are also film schools that have courses for the artistic aspect of motion picture production.