A camera operator must have an in-depth understanding of camera operations, digital media, computer technology and the artistic aspects of filmmaking. Because of an industry shift toward the use of digital technology, education programs are increasingly incorporating courses in computer editing software and digital processing. Formal education is usually required to gain employment in the field; employers prefer to hire camera operators with at least a bachelor's degree. Students will find relevant programs offered at the associate's (2 years) and bachelor's (4 years) degree levels. Applicants usually need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to be admitted.
Graduates are typically able to compile the work they created during the course of the program into a creative portfolio to demonstrate professional competency to potential employers. Most programs culminate in the completion of a final capstone project.
Associate of Applied Science in Video Production
Associate degree programs introduce students to the basics of video editing, lighting, camera operations, cinematography and postproduction processes. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as camera operators, production assistants or editing assistants. Typical courses include:
- Business fundamentals
- Digital video and audio equipment
Bachelor's Degree in Film and Video Production
A bachelor's degree program provides students with technical skills in camera operation, shooting techniques and digital technology. Students must complete a variety of assignments, including a final project, which require them to conceptualize, write, plan, edit and produce video compositions. Foundation courses include:
- Production preparation
- Art direction
- Documentary filmmaking
- Theoretical principles
Continuing Education Information
A variety of workshops and seminars are offered throughout the year by professional organizations, such as the Society of Camera Operators and the American Society of Cinematographers. One of the more popular annual events is the Createasphere EXPLORE exposition, conference and workshop. This 2-day event includes topic-driven panels, hands-on technology demonstrations and educational workshops. Camera operators also can subscribe to a number of professional newsletters and magazines in order to stay up-to-date with trends in the industry and learn more about new camera techniques and technology.
Students interested in camera operation can find related programs offered at the associate's and bachelor's level that provide hands-on experience to prepare students for work in the field. Workshops and continuing education seminars on camera operation are also available through organizations such as the Society of Camera Operators and the American Society of Cinematographers.