Film and Television Camera Operator


Film and television camera operators set up, position and operate equipment in studios or on location to photograph or record people, events and scenes. Film camera operators use 16 mm and 35 mm film cameras or digital video for motion pictures, whereas television and video camera operators use cine-electronic television or digital video and video cameras for direct telecast and recording.

Duties & Tasks

Film and television camera operators may perform the following tasks:

  • discuss with the director the types of film, video and lenses to be used, as well as focus and distance settings and camera angles
  • select and set up equipment and accessories
  • check that lighting has been organised or set up lights as required
  • view scenes through viewfinders, make final adjustments and photograph scenes
  • monitor equipment during operation
  • move cameras and adjust controls to follow the action of scenes being photographed
  • consult with other technical workers such as light or sound technicians to obtain required results
  • supervise assistants during the production phase.


Director of Photography

A director of photography oversees the lighting and camera crew in the film production unit. They instruct camera operators on camera set-up, angles, distance and movement, then signal cues to start and stop filming. After each day's filming, the director of photography checks the 'rushes' (the scenes shot that day) and decides whether re-filming is necessary.

Working Conditions

Film and television camera operators work as part of a team and are often required to work long and irregular hours, including nights and weekends. They may need to travel to remote areas. Work can take place indoors and outdoors.

Personal Requirements

  • able to accept direction
  • highly organised
  • attention to detail
  • patient
  • able to work under pressure
  • good communication skills
  • creativity
  • able to work as part of a team.
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