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Television Camera Operator

Television camera operators operate television cameras and related equipment to record news, live events and productions for television broadcast.

Also Known As

Camera Operator, Videographer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Film and Video Camera Operators (5222) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Film and Video Camera Operators (F122) 
  • 2011 NOC: Film and video camera operators (5222) 
  • 2016 NOC: Film and video camera operators (5222) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Film and Video Camera Operators
2006 NOC : 5222

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating motion picture and video cameras and related equipment, and in attaching lenses, filters and film magazines to cameras

METHODICAL

Interest in testing, maintaining and storing equipment, in labelling and recording contents of exposed film, and in completing report sheets

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to select and set up camera equipment; and in speaking with directors and senior members of camera crews to discuss assignments and determine filming sequences, camera movements and picture composition

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 05, 2021

In general, camera operators:

  • Move the camera and operate optical controls, such as focus, zoom and exposure
  • Follow instructions from the director concerning the mood or dramatic effect to be achieved
  • Make minor electronic adjustments to cameras

They also may:

  • Maintain and store camera equipment
  • Assist with the lighting and staging of broadcast productions
  • Set up and operate live location shoots
  • Edit video in non-linear edit suites or on location

Electronic news gathering (ENG) and electronic field production (EFP) camera operators use portable cameras to televise and record news and sports events from remote locations. Camera operators working with ENG or EFP equipment also may set up recording, lighting and playback equipment for field productions.

Camera operators are responsible for producing the visual content of news items and achieving the desired visual content for commercials or program productions. They also may use robotic cameras and control camera movement using a computer rather than by making physical adjustments. This allows the operator to control multiple cameras at once.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Depending on the size of the broadcast company and studio, camera operators may work alone or as part of a team of camera operators. They may work entirely at a station or at remote locations in all weather conditions. Most operators work 8-hour shifts, including afternoons, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Television camera operators may need to lift equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms. Handheld camera shoots may involve shouldering a 10-kilogram camera for up to 6 hours. Coping with tight schedules and deadlines can be a strain.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Television camera operators need:

  • An interest in technology
  • Creativity and artistic ability
  • Motor coordination
  • Good vision and hearing
  • Stamina, particularly for field work
  • Communication and interpersonal skills for working with others in a team environment
  • The ability to remain alert while performing routine, repetitive tasks
  • The ability to respond quickly to the unexpected

They should enjoy operating, testing and maintaining camera equipment, and working with others.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Film and video camera operators
NOC code: 5222

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 10 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 18, 2022 and May 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Training Specialization (creative and performing arts): Videography
Screening questions: Do you have previous experience in this field of employment?
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Complete report sheets
Film or Video Production Experience: Sports
Operate video recording equipment
Determine filming sequences, camera movements and picture composition
Adjust focus, exposure, lighting and other camera settings
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

Television camera operators need training in shot composition and framing. A background in journalism is an asset for electronic news gathering (ENG) camera operators because many stations prefer to hire reporters who can shoot and edit their own stories. For more information, see the Reporter occupational profile. Because most television stations use robotic cameras, computer skills related to camera control and operating robotic systems are an asset.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Competition is keen in the broadcasting field. Inexperienced camera operators must be willing to start at small stations. Once operators have gained experience, they can move to positions at larger stations or specialize in a particular type of work.

Freelancing has become the trend in broadcasting. Contract employment also can be found in producing in-house programs such as corporate videos (for example, videos about safety and technical training, recruiting, sales and marketing).

To be successful, freelancers must be talented, establish a network of contacts and be available to work when needed. A significant investment in equipment may be required to compete and maintain a successful business.

Experienced camera operators can advance to technical supervisory positions and, if they have the necessary ability and experience, eventually become directors or producers.

Television camera operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5222: Film and video camera operators. In Alberta, 77% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5222: Film and video camera operators occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 20% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Incomes for freelance television camera operators vary considerably from one contract to another, and from one year to another.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 05, 2021

Cultural Human Resources Council website: culturalhrc.ca

Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta (FAVA) website: fava.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 05, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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