Cameraman Training Program Information
Cameramen, often referred to as camera operators, learn to use motion picture cameras to shoot film for television, studio productions, newscasts, sporting events and documentaries. Cameraman training is frequently accomplished through media arts or videography training programs at vocational schools, community colleges and universities.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
A cameraman must have an in-depth understanding of camera operations, digital media, computer technology and the artistic aspects of filmmaking. Cameraman training programs therefore include theoretical instruction on shooting angles, video editing and shot composition. Enrollees gain hands-on experience operating different types of cameras and video equipment through class assignments and real-world projects. Formal training is usually required to gain employment in the field; employers prefer to hire cameramen with at least a bachelor's degree.
Formal training programs in camera operation, cinematography, media arts and videography can be found at technical institutions, art schools, colleges and universities. Due to an industry shift towards the use of digital technology, cameraman training programs are increasingly incorporating courses in computer editing software and digital processing. Graduates who have completed a formal education program are typically able to compile the work they created during the course of the program into a creative portfolio. This is used to demonstrate professional competency to potential employers.
Associate of Applied Science in Video Production
Associate degree programs introduce students to the basics of video editing, lighting, camera operations, cinematography and postproduction processes in only two years. Other topics include scriptwriting, business fundamentals, digital video and audio equipment. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as cameramen, production assistants or editing assistants.
Bachelor's Degree in Film and Video Production
A bachelor's degree program provides students with technical skills in camera operation, shooting techniques and digital technology. Foundation courses span production preparation, art direction, documentary filmmaking and theoretical principles. Students must complete a variety of assignments, including a final project, which require them to conceptualize, write, plan, edit and produce video compositions. A bachelor's degree in this field usually requires four years to complete.
Aspiring camera operators can gain professional experience through internship opportunities at local video production studios, television stations and independent production companies. Students of training programs at colleges and universities are encouraged to volunteer at the school's public broadcast station to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Entry-level positions at smaller production houses and local television stations usually require little job experience while jobs at film studios and large cable and television networks typically require 5-10 years of experience.
Workshops and Seminars
A variety of workshops and seminars are offered throughout the year through professional organizations such as the Society of Camera Operators and the American Society of Cinematographers. One of the more popular events each year is the Createasphere EXPLORE exposition, conference and workshop. This 2-day event includes topic-driven panels, hands-on technology demonstrations and educational workshops.
Additional Professional Development
In addition to strong technical skills, camera operators need to be creative, imaginative and have a good eye for composition. Camera operators usually subscribe to a number of professional newsletters and magazines in order to stay up-to-date with trends in the industry and learn more about new camera techniques and technology.
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