A cameraman operates a variety of cameras to record video film for motion pictures, television shows and commercials. He may also shoot film for sportscasts, ceremonial events or concerts. As part of camera crew, he typically works with a team of directors, technicians, and performers to consult on the technical and creative aspects of the production.
Depending on his expertise and the visual demands of the project at hand, a cameraman may work with traditional film cameras as well as digital and electronic versions. He may use one type of camera for the entire job or use multiple types to accommodate certain settings and create different illusions. He often works closely with the lighting crew to enhance a shot or scene.
A successful cameraman traditionally has expertise in using different camera features to generate a wide range of images. He may suggest these inventive shots, as can the director and cinematographer. Zoom lenses, filters, and other photographic manipulation features are typically used to increase the intensity or change the mood of a shot or scene. His range of creativity is also boosted by integrating the capabilities of mobile track and crane-mounted cameras with those of stationary ones.
The three most common environments in which a camera professional works include on location, in a studio or outdoors. These venues are normally dictated by the nature of the film and the vision of the director. All three settings are frequently part of one film project.
If a cameraman works on location, he and the rest of the crew are generally more involved in the creative process than outdoors or in a studio as there are typically more available visual options than normal. Many commercials, music videos, and documentaries are shot on location. Feature films normally shoot at least part of their project on location.
A studio camera operator’s focus is generally on following a precise order of shots decided upon by the director and practiced beforehand. In this scenario, he is considerably less involved in the artistic side of his craft. Instead, his ability to work in unison with the director and communicate well is highlighted. Studio shoots are commonly used for television and movie productions.
Outdoor shoots are often considered the most prone to surprises. Besides the unpredictability of weather, other variables like local people and animals often disrupt the filming. Occasions like concerts and sporting events typically require shooting outdoors.
A two-year associate’s degree or a comparable certificate in video production is normally required to be a cameraman. To advance into the field of editing generally requires a bachelor’s degree. Familiarity with a wide range of cameras and video equipment is considered a plus.