Find out more about being a camera operator
Working in television, film or video. They usually specialise in certain kinds of cameras or film. The job includes direction of photography, controlling the camera crane, setting camera focus and lighting. They study the scripts, practise shots trying out different angles, taking instruction from directors. They have to keep up to date with any new equipment and be aware of health and safety issues.
£11,500 - £40,000+ a year.
Camera operators often work unsociable hours, including evenings/nights and weekends. A standard day of shooting however lasts about 10 hours.
Some good GCSEs (A-C) including English, Maths and Physics - following this many people take a full time course (e.g. NVQ, degree). The best way to advance in the camera operating world is to gain experience and make contacts. This can be done by starting as a trainee and doing "runner" jobs, and being prepared to work your way up the ladder as you gain skills and reputation.
Interest in photography and film/video, technical ability, artistic, patience, understanding of electronics/optics. Patience is a must. There are long waits between shots and you may have to do several takes of the same shot. Technical ability is key as is the ability to work as part of a team. Equipment can be heavy to lug around so you need good physical strength. Finally, creativity and innovation is essential to make you stand out above the rest.
Progression is a steady process and is graded as follows: second assistant camera (or clapper loader) to first assistant camera (focus puller), to camera operator, to director of photography.