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How to become a Camera Operator

Camera Operators set up and operate cameras and other recording equipment to record material for film, television, news, live events, music videos, advertising, and more. They work in a variety of environments, from indoor studios and locations, to almost any outdoor location imaginable.

If you have a passion for screen and the arts and want to know all about what goes on behind the scenes, becoming a Camera Operator could be ideal.

 

About you:

 

  • Excellent communicator
  • Good time management skills
  • Great team worker
  • Can work on your feet
  • Flexible and resilient
  • Keen eye and steady hand
  • Able to take direction
  • Reliable and hardworking

 

The job:

 

  • Operating cameras, tripods, and microphones
  • Choosing appropriate equipment for a scene
  • Collaborating with producers and directors
  • Helping to set up scenes and equipment
  • Making adjustments during filming
  • Maintaining and looking after equipment
  • Packing down sets and equipment

 

Lifestyle Impact: Low

 

  • Part Time opportunities: High – around 41% of Camera Operators work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 45 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Camera Operators’ salary (average) $65,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Moderate (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Shoots can often go on for many hours, and depending on scheduling and time constraints, you might need to work on weekends and holidays.

 

Camera Operators are most in demand in these locations:

 

This is a small occupation, with around 2,100 people working as Camera Operators in Australia in 2021 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). There is greatest demand for Camera Operators in New South Wales, with most jobs available in capital cities. Most Camera Operators work in the Information Media and Telecommunications industry.

 

How to become a Camera Operator in Australia

 

You don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a Camera Operator, but VET or university training can improve your prospects.

 

Step 1 – Complete Year 10 with a strong focus on English and Maths.

 

Step 2 – Consider enrolling in a relevant VET course, such as a Diploma of Screen and Media or Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services.

 

Step 3 – Start working as a Camera Operator and get relevant industry experience.

 

Step 4 – If you’d like, consider upskilling with a university-level qualification, such as a Bachelor of Arts or Screen and Media.

 

Step 5 – Consider moving into roles in Directing or Production.

 

Find out more here –

https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/

https://www.meaa.org/

 

Similar Careers to Camera Operator

 

Photographer

Stage Director

Sound Engineer

Costume Designer

Director

Producer

Lighting Technician

Prop Maker

 

Find out more about alternative careers.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

What do Camera Operators do?

 

Camera Operators are the people behind the equipment that capture both moving and still pictures for movies, television, live events, and more.

 

Which industries employ Camera Operators?

 

Camera Operators are mostly employed in the Information Media and Telecommunications industry.

 

What options are there for career progression?

 

While you will usually start doing basic camera work, you might then take on more complex technical duties as you gain more experience. You might even supervise and direct other camera operators, or become part of a larger directing and production team.

 

Do I need to go to university to become a Camera Operator?

 

No, there are no formal qualifications necessary to become a Camera Operator. However, having a VET qualification can boost your skills and employability.

 

Where do Camera Operators work?

 

Camera Operators work nearly everywhere – from stadiums filming sports games, in the studio for a news broadcast, out in nature for a documentary, or following an interviewee in their home or place of work.

 

What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Camera Operator?

 

If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Camera Operator is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Get your hands on a camera or phone and start working on your videography skills. Offer to take video for important events, like a sibling’s graduation or speeches at a wedding.
  2. See if you can find work experience in film or the arts. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
  3. Talk to a Camera Operator to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career as a Camera Operator.
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