careers & outlook

Working as a camera operator is a great way to break into the entertainment industry. Operators can work almost anywhere videos are created, which means there can be several opportunities to find work in the field. You might enjoy a career as a camera operator if you're interested in working in entertainment and have experience with camera and video equipment.

A camera operator, historically known as a cameraman, is a photography professional who specializes in recording video images. Camera operators can work in several industries, such as film and television, news broadcasting, sports, music and more. This can give you the opportunity to work on creative projects and offer creative input into different aspects of filming, like camera angles or lighting. Aside from working on film or creative projects, camera operator are needed at almost any event where people intend to record video footage like weddings, graduation ceremonies or public performances.

Here are 15 Jobs You Can Get With a Film Degree

How to become a camera operator

Here's how you can start your career as a camera operator:

1. Earn a degree

Enroll in a bachelor's degree program at an accredited college or university. As a large portion of jobs for camera operators exist in the film and television industries, most aspiring camera operators major in film production or videography to ensure they receive training in the skills and equipment they need for their work in the field.

However, you might also choose a related major like photography or video production that can teach many of the same subjects. Having a bachelor's degree can help you start your career by giving you the basic knowledge required to succeed as a cameraman.

2. Complete an internship

The qualifications to get a job in sports video production vary, but most positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in film or a related field of study, plus at least one or two years of experience in video production, preferably in sports broadcasting.

You can sometimes enter the industry in an entry-level position under the supervision of a sports video producer or gain experience in an internship through your college or university. Camera operators do not need a degree but rather sufficient experience and knowledge of related equipment. Video editors, sound engineers, and producers need sports expertise, creative skills, and multi-tasking abilities.

3. Apply for jobs as a camera operator

Look for work as a professional camera operator. You might consider applying for jobs at the company where you complete your internship as you likely have a general understanding of their procedures and operations. However, you can also look for jobs as a camera operator with film or television production companies, news broadcasting networks, sports and events companies and more. It can be helpful to determine which industry you want to work in before looking for specific jobs as it might determine where you search for open positions.

Networking can also benefit you during this phase as you can reach out to professionals alread in the career field, there are many organizations that can bridge the gap in making such connections to provide valuable insights into the industry and job opportunities.

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