Camera Operator

Camera Operators perform a vital role within the camera department on feature films. The work of camera operator includes the control of video camera and other video equipment. The seamless ease with which the camera moves is key to the narrative flow of feature films, and is the Camera Operators' responsibility. They support the Director of Photography (DoP or DP) and the Director, who are the persons in charge for giving instructions in terms of shot composition and development, by accurately carrying out their instructions regarding shot composition and development. The camera operator is usually the head technical person on set with the sound and lighting people deferring to her/him. Camera Operators usually begin work at the end of pre-production. 

As it is now common for DoPs to also operate the camera on smaller films, many Camera Operators specialise in the operation of other precision equipment, such as Remote Heads or Steadicam, and most also work on commercials, promos and television drama. On bigger budget films, the role of the Camera Operator remains a crucial link between the creative ambitions of the Director, the DoP, and other major departments, including Art, Hair and Make-Up and Costume.

Job/task description

  • Responsible for all aspects of camera operation and other technical issues such as what lenses and supporting equipment to use etc.
  • Oversee the preparation and checking of camera equipment
  • Select optimal lighting and other conditions for best picture
  • Ensure that the camera and associated equipment are prepared for the required set-ups, always keeping alert for any last-minute changes
  • Work closely with the Director of Photography (DoP), Director and Grip
  • Liaise closely with the Director, fine-tuning the exact details of each shot, which often involves suggesting creative improvements or alternatives
  • Enabling the DoP to concentrate intensively on lighting and overall visual style
  • Supervise the logistics of moving the camera
  • Responsibility for the 1st Assistant Camera (AC), 2nd Assistant Camera (AC) and the Camera Trainee
  • Oversee the Camera maintenance work carried out by the Focus Puller and the 2nd AC.
  • Work closely with actors, giving them technical advice regarding on what should be seen by the camera
  • Liaise with the Grip and other Heads of Department, and keep them informed about how the position and movement of the camera might impact on their work load
  • Work closely with performers, guiding them on what can and cannot be seen by the camera