How to train to be a television cameraman

Updated June 19, 2018

Working in the television industry may be easier than you think, especially if you desire to work behind the camera instead of in front of it. The Guild of Television Cameramen, an international organisation of television camera operators, provides links to ongoing training for television camera operators as technology advances. But to the beginner just starting out, a good place to embark upon your journey is with a local community or art college, an internship at the local television station or both.

Start your training by obtaining an Associate of Applied Science degree at the local community college, art technical institute or art school that offers such training. Learn the basics of lighting, camera operations, video editing, digital video and more. Ensure your coursework is transferable to a four-year college if you wish to study further. This degree prepares you for an entry-level position as a camera operator.

Further your training by continuing degree work toward a bachelor's degree. With the shift in the industry to digital, today's camera operators must have knowledge of digital camera operation, digital technology and shooting techniques. Students also learn digital processing and computer editing. Upon completion of this degree, a graduate will have completed a final project--a complete video composition, which involves the concept, story, script writing, planning, shooting and final editing of the video.

Continue advanced training as technology develops, such as that seen in the film "Avatar," which merged digital computer technology and created images along with the movements and expressions of human actors to create a completely new film technology using 3D, The technology is making its way into television production, according to an article in the UK-based "The Telegraph." Stay abreast of new technology and ongoing training by joining a cameraman's trade organisation.

Obtain a digital video camera and begin to work with it immediately. Learn the ins and outs of using a camera and look for everyday opportunities to hone your craft. Offer to record birthday parties, weddings, graduations, anniversaries and other special occasions to develop and practice your skills. As your skills improve, charge for your services to purchase better and more advanced equipment.

Look for part-time or freelance work as a camera operator wherever you can find it and apply. Hunt the local newspapers, job boards and visit the unemployment agency offices for more information.

Apply as a camera operator's assistant or offer to intern (this is usually without pay) at the local television station. Cable television programs also offer many freelance opportunities for camera operators as well. Search your area for local television studios that rent out facilities to independent video producers, contact the receptionist and find out company names and apply to them.

Find where the local television camera crews spend time and go there to develop contacts. Join a local film crew organisation or group to develop further contacts. Check with the local chamber of commerce membership list to locate independent agencies.

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About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.