A picture is worth a thousand words -- and moving pictures can tell the
whole story! In television and movies, the person taking the pictures is called
a camera operator.
Camera operators rely on many of the same skills as traditional photographers.
Composing a picture includes choosing a subject and selecting equipment to
accomplish the desired goal.
For example, camera operators may enhance the subject's appearance with
lighting. Or they may draw attention to a particular visual aspect by blurring
By creatively using lighting, lenses, film, filters and camera settings,
camera operators produce pictures that capture a mood or tell a story.
Those involved with film and video use their skills to record news and
live events, and film videos and television broadcasts. Many camera operators
are employed by independent television stations, local affiliates or networks.
They often cover news events as part of a reporting team.
Other camera operators are employed in the entertainment field. They use
motion picture cameras to film movies, television programs, commercials, cartoons
or other special effects. A few become teachers and provide instruction in
their own area of expertise. Some are self-employed.
Camera operators may start out as camera assistants, floor directors or
lighting technicians, and work their way up to director of photography. Freelance
operator Naomi Wise says she started as a trainee on a feature film, loading
Operator Lance Carlson says it may take several years to advance from a
camera assistant to a camera operator or a photographic director in movie,
television and commercial productions.