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Cameraman Training Program Information

Camera operators use video cameras to shoot film for TV, studio productions, newscasts, sporting events and documentaries. Education programs include hands-on instruction on shooting angles, video editing and shot composition through class assignments and real-world projects. Education programs in camera operation, cinematography, media arts and videography can be found at technical institutions, art schools, colleges and universities.

Essential Information

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. 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. Formal education is usually required to gain employment in the field; employers prefer to hire camera operators with at least a bachelor's degree.

  • Program Levels in Video Production: Associate's degree, bachelor's degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Program Length: Four years for bachelor's degree
  • Additional Requirements: Hands-on experience

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 in only two years. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as camera operators, production assistants or editing assistants. Typical courses include:

  • Scriptwriting
  • 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

Job Experience

Aspiring camera operators can gain professional experience through internship opportunities at local video production studios, television stations and independent production companies. Students of training programs at colleges and universities are encouraged to volunteer at the school's public broadcast station to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Entry-level positions at smaller production houses and local television stations usually require little job experience, and jobs at film studios and large cable and television networks typically require 5-10 years of experience.

Continuing Education

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.

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