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TV or film camera operator

Alternative titles for this job include

Camera operators record images for film, television, commercials and online.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a TV or film camera operator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards the role
  • volunteering
  • industry training

University

You can take a university course to develop your camera skills before looking for work. Relevant courses include degrees in media production, media technology or photography.

It may give you an advantage if you can find a course that offers practical and work experience opportunities like shadowing, internships or a year placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

You can take a college course like:

  • Level 3 Diploma In Creative Media Production and Technology
  • Level 3 Diploma in Film and Television Production
  • Level 3 Diploma in Photography
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could learn some of the skills and knowledge needed from related apprenticeships like a photographic assistant or a camera prep technician advanced apprenticeship.

You may be able to transfer the skills you learn to the TV or film industry when you have experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start out as a camera assistant and learn while you work from an experienced camera operator.

Volunteering

You can get practical experience and build up your contacts through:

  • community film projects
  • working for a camera equipment hire company
  • finding work experience as a runner or camera assistant with a production company

Other Routes

You may be able to apply for the Guild of British Camera Technicians' Trainee Scheme which offers training and mentoring by experienced people working in the industry. The application process is very competitive.

You could search for trainee opportunities with leading TV and film production companies through Screenskills Trainee Finder Scheme.

You can also do short courses through the National Film and Television School.

More Information

Further information

You can get more advice about how to become a camera operator from ScreenSkills.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you might:

  • set up camera equipment
  • choose the most suitable lenses and camera angles
  • plan and rehearse shots
  • follow a camera script
  • work closely with other technical departments
  • repair and maintain camera equipment

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be at height, outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a camera supervisor, cinematographer or director of photography.

You could specialise in a particular field, like underwater filming, aerial photography or wildlife work.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Photographic Assistant Level 3 Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £187.50 Weekly
  • Location: London

Courses In England

National Diploma in Film and Television Production

  • Provider: ST WILFRID'S CATHOLIC COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL, CRAWLEY
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Crawley

Level 2 Film and Television Production

  • Provider: BIG CREATIVE TRAINING LTD
  • Start date: 12 September 2022
  • Location: LONDON

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