The Television Camera Operator
Television camera operators can be roughly divided into two categories:
- Studio & OB Operators
These operators are part of a team who together produce a program in real time. This usually involves multiple cameras and operators. Each operator will contribute a portion of the show through their shots.
More info: OB Camera Operations
- Field Operators
These operators take their camera to various locations and usually record footage for later editing. Sometimes the footage is used for live transmission (e.g. news items). The field operator may work alone or with a field presenter, sound operator, producer, etc.
In most production environments camera operators are expected to have the following skills:
- Knowledge of basic video terminology.
- The ability to use all camera functions manually, including iris, focus, shutter, etc.
- Knowledge of the common shot types and the ability to frame them quickly and accurately.
- The ability to use zoom, pan and tilt to adjust framing smoothly and with appropriate timing.
- An understanding of colour temperature and how this affects white balance and filter selection.
- A basic understanding of how editing works, at least as far as it affects the shots required.
- A basic understanding of how to look after camera equipment, including setting it up and packing it down safely.