The Television Cable Puller
There are two types of cable-puller:
- Someone who installs cable for permanent or temporary use through walls, under floors, over ground, etc.
- Someone who is assigned to a roving television camera to help keep the cable tidy and safe.
This page covers the second type.
A junior/entry level position, the cable-puller's job is to look after one or more of the many cables in a production environment.
The main responsibility is to follow behind a roving camera which is connected to the control room by a cable. The cable-puller carries the cable and prevents it from becoming tangled, caught on obstacles, or creating a hazard. As the camera operator moves around, the cable-puller holds a section of the cable tidily rolled in one hand and feeds the cable with the other. Enough slack is maintained to allow the camera operator room to move freely. More cable can be unwound quickly if needed.
The cable-puller may also be asked to assist in other simple tasks. For example, if the camera operator wants to shoot while walking backwards, the cable-puller places their hand in the middle of their back and guides them.
There are no required qualifications or experience levels to get a cable-pulling job — the main skill is knowing how to wind a cable correctly. Although this is not as easy as most people assume, it is easy enough to learn in a short training session.
As a very junior position, cable-pulling does not pay well. Often this position is filled by interns or volunteers. On the plus side, this is a very good way to get a foot in the door of a production unit.