Film and video camera operators work with film, video and digital media cameras and related equipment and technology. They record news, events, movies, television shows and other activities – including online productions. They often produce livestream videos, allowing people to watch events, meetings and other activities in real time online.
Watch the video below to learn what a typical day is like for a camera operator.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 400
N/A - Data not available
Film and video camera operators:
Film and video camera operators may work for television networks, stations and cable outlets delivering content across platforms, such as online, television and film. Corporate advertising and marketing agencies, video production houses, government and other organizations may have in-house camera operators. Also, online producers often create their own content for social media channels, such as YouTube and TikTok.
Camera operators may work for production houses on documentaries, television shows or movies. Some may own their business or work on contract or freelance.
Those who work for television and cable networks, advertising or marketing agencies, corporations or government usually work a 40-hour week. They may be required to work on weekends for specific projects or events. Other assignments may require camera operators to work long, irregular hours on short notice.
Some camera operators may work indoors in production/broadcast studios. They may also work outside depending on the location/set. Often, camera operators travel, either locally or to distant places, to set up and secure interviews and footage.
Many camera operators wait long hours in varying weather conditions for an event to take place and must stand or walk for long periods while carrying heavy equipment. Camera operators who cover news events may be required to work in uncomfortable or dangerous surroundings such as accidents, natural disasters and military conflicts. Camera operators who work on location must be able to get their work done efficiently and might not have easy access to internet, printers or other tools that are readily available in urban areas.
Source: 2016 Census
Film and video camera operators generally need to graduate from a college or technical program in broadcasting, audio-visual technology or a related field. Other requirements usually include:
It’s also important for film and video camera operators to:
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Advances in technology have provided opportunities for those interested in a career behind and in front of the camera. Social media start ups often do their own camera work and this gives them creative freedom. Specializing in certain technologies is common. For example, using smartphones to create content or providing expertise in drone operation for filming.
While some productions may use traditional film, for the most part it’s used in artistic work. Most production companies, news organizations and individual camera operators use digital forms of media for videos. Improved technology has allowed digital media to provide quality that is equal to more traditional forms and is easier to store, access and transfer.
There are new opportunities to freelance for media outlets. This is attractive for those who enjoy a fast-paced environment and like to think and produce quickly in challenging circumstances.
Film and video camera operators should have technical, business and people skills for this type of career. They need to keep up to date on what the audience expects. Also, it’s important to troubleshoot any equipment issues to avoid losing time with an interview subject or at an event.
With experience and training, camera operators may progress to supervisory roles or to director of photography positions. They may also start their own business or establish themselves as a senior news videographer or as the head of in-house video/digital production for a large corporation.