Career Detail


Video Camera Operators & Editors
“The Eyes of the Camera”
Operate the camera and edit the video images to be used for television, motion pictures, or other personal and public use.
The Job
Camera operators use television, video, or motion picture cameras to shoot a wide range of material, including television series, studio programs, news and sporting events, music videos, motion pictures, documentaries, and training sessions. Some camera operators film or videotape private ceremonies and special events, such as weddings and conference program sessions. News camera operators, also called electronic news gathering (ENG) operators, work as part of a reporting team, following newsworthy events as they unfold. To capture live events, they must anticipate the action and act quickly. ENG operators sometimes edit raw footage on the spot for relay to a television affiliate for broadcast. Film and video editors edit soundtracks, film, and video for the motion picture, cable, and broadcast television industries. Some camera operators do their own editing. With the increase in digital technology, much of the editing work is now done on a computer.
Work Environment
ENG operators and those who cover major events frequently travel locally and stay overnight or travel to distant places for longer periods, others may work a normal work week.
College Majors
camera operation and videography, broadcasting
Minimum Qualifications
A bachelor's degree may be required for some positions, particularly those for film and video editors. Employers usually seek applicants with a good eye, imagination, and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of how the camera operates.
Personality traits helpful for this career
good eyesight, artistic ability, and hand-eye coordination; should be patient, accurate, and detail oriented
Quick Facts
  • To enter the occupation, many camera operators first become production assistants to learn how film and video production works.
  • Tough competition for jobs is expected due to the large number of people who wish to enter the broadcasting and motion picture industries, where many camera operators and editors are employed.
  • More Info: National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, Internet: http://www.nabetcwa.org
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages for television, video, and motion picture camera operators were $41,670 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,020 and $59,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,440. Median annual wages were $40,910 in the motion picture and video industries and $36,250 in radio and television broadcasting.
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