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Become a Cameraman

There are 3 types of cameramen, those who work in the field (Lingo= ENG, Photogs, Shooters), those who work in studio and those who cover live events.

adam mikulich cameraman big houseAn ENG (Electronic News Gathering) cameraman works hand in hand with sports reporters and field producers to cover breaking news, shoot feature stories and events assigned to them by the assignment desk editors. Think of them as your mobile cameraman, usually with a camera on their shoulder out in the action shooting "news of the day" events. One of the great benefits of being an ENG cameraman is that every day is different, you may be at practice one day, a press conference the next and on the field for a live game another.

A live sports cameraman will have a specific role during a game or tournament – they might be the wide angle shot, close up, 3rd base line, endzone or out following a golfer on the course. It depends on the sport they are shooting. Before the live sports event begins the cameraman will know their position and the expectations for their role. During the live event it is essential to listen and react quickly to the directors commands and any new ideas that the game producer may present.

A Studio Cameraman has the easiest job of the three, generally tasked with keeping the camera in focus, listening to director cues and aiming at the Sportscaster. Nowadays, many newsrooms have remote controlled cameras (Robo-cam) and the operator requires greater hand-to-eye coordination and technical acumen.

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Being a Cameraman may be for you if:

You don’t like being chained to a desk and enjoy being out amongst the action. You like the process of developing a story visually, but don’t want to be a reporter and wear makeup.

One of the best ways to learn about being a cameraman is by trial and error. Since most people don’t own high quality ENG cameras, your best option is a GoPro® wearable and mountable HD camera. For under $300 you can shoot professional level HD video and experiment with lighting, angles, action shots and effects. I’m planning on buying one of these myself and experimenting with some creative ideas I have for action video capture. I have a friend who has worn it surfing, mountain biking and even used it to conduct interviews – it’s an extremely versatile piece of equipment for under $300. To browse their products visit the Official GoPro® Store.

Cameraman Education Requirements

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, many universities, community and junior colleges, and private trade and technical schools offer courses in camera operation and videography. Basic courses cover equipment, processes, and techniques.

To enter the occupation, many camera operators first become production assistants, to learn how film and video production works. In entry-level jobs they learn to set up lights, cameras, and other equipment. They also may receive routine assignments requiring adjustments to their cameras or decisions on what subject matter to capture.

A good professional reputation is important in finding employment. ENG and studio camera operators who work for television affiliates usually start in small markets to gain experience.

Minimum Requirements for Becoming a Cameraman

  • Associate degree in Broadcasting, Television Production or Photo Journalism
  • Technical experience working with cameras
  • Prior work experience as a Control Room Operator can be helpful
  • Relevant work experience including internships or at college television stations
  • Continuing education and classwork to keep up with rapidly changing technology

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Learn more about a career as a sports camera operator:

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