A Camera Operator will usually work under a Director or a Director of Photography. They will need to set up their equipment, decide on the best angles for shots, offer advice and the best way to shoot for a film, television, commercials or online and also deal with any technical or other problems.
You can get into this job through:
You can take a college course like:
- Level 2 Diploma In Creative Media Production
- Level 3 Certificate in Media
- Film Studies
You'll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
The following local colleges offer courses in Creative Media Production/Film Studies:
- City College Norwich
- East Coast College
- One Sixth Form College
- Suffolk New College
- The College of West Anglia
- West Suffolk College
Or your local 6th form may offer a relevant course.
You may be able to get into this career through an advanced apprenticeship in creative and digital media.
You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship.
Click here to search for an apprenticeship.
You can take a university course to develop your camera skills before looking for work. Relevant courses include degrees in media production, media technology or photography.
It may give you an advantage if you can find a course that offers practical experience and possibly a work placement.
You'll usually need 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree.
Click here to search for a suitable course.
You could start out as a camera assistant and learn while you work from an experienced camera operator.
You may be able to apply for the Guild of British Camera Technicians' Trainee Scheme which offers training and mentoring by experienced people working in the industry. The application process is very competitive.
You can also do short courses through the National Film and Television School.
You can get practical experience and build up your contacts through:
- community film projects
- working for a camera equipment hire company
- finding work experience as a runner or camera assistant with a production company
You can get more advice about how to become a camera operator from ScreenSkills.
Career Path and Progression
With experience, you could become a camera supervisor, cinematographer or director of photography.
You could specialise in a particular field, like underwater filming, aerial photography or wildlife work.
Related careers you may be interested in:
- Broadcast engineer
- Lighting technician
- An aptitude for photography
- technical knowledge of cameras
- interpersonal and communication skills
- tact and diplomacy
- attention to detail
- able to take direction from others
- the ability see a good shot