The role of a cameraman is to do more than just silently stand behind the camera and record things for posterity. Cameramen provide expertise and knowledge that enable directors, editors and producers to present "stories" visually. Cameramen are also known as camera operators or videographers, depending on the work context and job duties. Camerapersons work with the director, actors and other professionals to get the best creative shots.
In any kind of news story, visual presentation is what makes an impact on the audience. The cameraperson is responsible for everything that must be visually presented on screen. Beginning with setting up the equipment at the best vantage points to framing and lighting to choosing the right lenses and filters -- all are part of the cameraperson's responsibilities. To do this all successfully takes exceptional skill.
Beginning with the preparation and set-up of the equipment prior to filming, a studio cameraman ensures that all the equipment, including cameras, tripods, monitors, cables, lighting and headphones, are operational. During the filming process, the cameraperson operates the camera while maintaining a dialogue with the director to ensure smooth filming. The cameraperson is familiar with the timing of the segments and cues in order to make camera switches and take commercial breaks.
Television News Cameraman
A television news cameraman has a job that combines practical and creative responsibilities. This type of cameraperson works mostly on location, and the individual has greater opportunities for creative input. The cameraperson gets familiar with the location and selects the best places for filming. Framing interesting shots that add visual presentation to the story to make it more appealing is part of the role. The cameraperson transports all the necessary equipment to each location.
The film cameraman, or cinematographer, decides how each shot will be captured on film, and determines the various aspects involved in filming a shot. Working closely with the director, the cameraperson makes decisions about lenses and film to be used for each shot, how to frame the shot in the best possible way, which angle to shoot from and how to set up the equipment for a shot. The cameraperson has to coordinate work responsibilities with the costume designers, actors and other crew members.