Associate's degree programs provide students with hands-on experience operating cameras and making short films. Students also learn about the video production process and take courses in film directing, film styles, video editing, set design and sound. Graduates will be prepared for entry-level positions as a camera assistant or camera operator. Bachelor's programs include more advanced courses in film and video production, including directing theory, screenwriting and cinematography. In addition to a high school diploma or GED and SAT or ACT scores, a portfolio or work may also be required for admission.
Associate's Degree in Film and Video Production
Associate's degree film and video production programs train students in camera operation, as well as related skills including editing, sound, set design and directing. Students generally complete multiple short films or projects, gaining extensive hands-on experience with camera operation. Some programs also include coursework in various film styles, such as horror and science fiction.
Associate's degree programs in film and video production are typically offered at 2-year community and technical colleges. Most programs do not require prior coursework in camera operation or film, though experience with cameras is helpful.
Courses in film and video production associate's degree programs typically cover the process of filmmaking from start to finish, including significant time devoted to camera operation and technique. Courses may include:
- Video production
- Documentary filmmaking
- Art direction
- Digital camera operation
- Film directing
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Bachelor's Degree in Film and Video Production
Bachelor's degree programs in film and video production prepare students for careers in camera operation, directing, writing and producing. Students gain a strong knowledge in the craft of filmmaking. Additionally, most programs offer education in the history and various forms of film, including motion pictures, television, advertising and Internet-based film.
Film and video production bachelor's degree programs are typically offered at 4-year colleges and universities. Some programs, most often Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, require applicants to submit a video portfolio demonstrating their skill and interest in filmmaking.
Coursework in film and video production bachelor's programs includes broad training in the many aspects of filmmaking. Courses may include:
- Video production
- Filmmaking aesthetics
- Directing theory
- Post-production and editing
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate's degree programs in film and video production can pursue careers as camera operators in a variety of contexts. Specific careers may include:
- Camera Assistant
- Television studio camera operator
- Motion picture camera operator
- Freelance cameraman
- Field cameraman
- Documentary cameraman
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that camera operators held a projected 25,400 jobs in 2014. This figure includes those working at television stations, motion picture companies and independent production companies, as well as many who were self-employed. Jobs for camera operators were expected to grow by 2% from 2014 to 2024 in the television, video and motion picture industries, but a variety of factors will mitigate growth. The mean annual salary for camera operators was $59,360 in May 2015, according to BLS figures. In the motion picture and video industry the average was $64,810, while in radio and television it was $51,970.
Students interested in a career as a camera operator may earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in film and video production. These programs combine hands-on experience with cameras and video production with courses like art direction, film directing, and screenwriting.