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Occupational Profile

Television Camera Operator

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

  • Avg. Salary $41,489.00
  • Avg. Wage $26.34
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Camera Operator, Videographer

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

80%
80%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Television Camera Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Film and Video Camera Operators
NOC code: 5222
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Camera operators work in studios and on location. In general, they:

  • move the camera and operate optical controls (for example, focus, zoom, 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 events, sports events and reports at remote locations. Camera operators working with ENG or EFP equipment also may set up recording, lighting and playback equipment for field productions. They are responsible for producing the visual content of news items and achieving the desired visual content for commercials or program productions. Camera operators may also use robotic cameras and control the movement of cameras using a computer rather than physically making adjustments. Using a computer allows the operator to control multiple cameras at the same time.  

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 21, 2014

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 also work at remote locations in all weather conditions. Most operators work eight hour shifts that include afternoons, evenings, weekends and holidays.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Television camera operators need the following characteristics:

  • excellent motor co-ordination
  • good vision and hearing
  • stamina (particularly for field work)
  • an interest in electronic technology
  • the ability to remain alert while performing routine, repetitive tasks and respond quickly to the unexpected
  • creativity and artistic ability
  • good communication and interpersonal skills for working with others in a team environment.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Television camera operators need training in shot composition and framing. A background in journalism is an asset for 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 is 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.

Alberta College of Art and Design

Mount Royal University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Competition is keen in the broadcasting field so inexperienced camera operators must be willing to start at small stations. Once operators have gained experience, they can move to positions in 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, able to establish a network of contacts and willing to make themselves available 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 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 that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 21, 2014

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

Film and video camera operators
NOC code: 5222

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $0.00 $0.00 $23.18 $20.79
Overall $0.00 $0.00 $26.34 $23.39
Top $0.00 $0.00 $28.25 $24.95

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

D: Lowest Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lowest Reliability, represents a CV of more than 33.00% and/or if fewer than 10 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 25% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Information, Culture, Recreation
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

80%
80%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Cultural Human Resources Council website: www.culturalhrc.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Dec 11, 2012. 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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