If you’re creative and have an eye for detail then a career as a Camera Operator could be for you.
Camera Operators are a central part of any Film or Television production. They are often employed by various production houses and through their camera lenses guide the story executed in front of the camera. Camera Operators operate different technical equipment that include different types of cameras.
This choice of career can be extremely exciting as you will have a large contribution to a creative project. You will have the opportunity to meet a lot of different and creative people and may travel to different places too. It can however be quite stressful and there is an expectation of great commitment and perseverance.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
- Visual Arts
- Dramatic Arts
The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in the arts:
- AFDA – No specific APS required
- City Varsity – No specific APS required
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – APS of 34+
- Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) – APS of 22+
- Rhodes University – APS of 38 – 44
There are various film courses you will be able to complete at one of the above-mentioned institutions. Alternatively, you could complete a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television or Dramatic Arts
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Camera Operator:
- Ability to translate script into action
- Interpersonal skills
- Good Time Management
- Eye for detail
Camera Operators can work in various spaces depending on the project. They can either be contracted to a specific production company and work as freelancers. Camera Operators can work on a range of productions from film sets, documentaries and television productions. Projects can often be on location and may include travelling to different locations.
The film and television industry often operates beyond the usual 9am – 5pm work hours. Working hours depend on each specific production and can vary from starting really early to ending quite late. Hours can be quite demanding though as you are often working when others aren’t.
An average Camera Operator in South Africa can earn around R146 939 per year. This also depends on the level of experience of the Camera Operator as well as the budget of the productions they work on.
A Camera Operator is vital in the creation of any film or television documentary. This job can entail setting up various film/camera equipment as well as well as working with the given script to plan and rehearse scenes and framing creatively. This role also requires you to engage with other members of the crew such as lighting and technical staff.