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Camera Operator

Camera operator filming at TV studio

Camera operators capture the action on location or in a studio for live broadcasts, film, TV and documentaries. You would usually work under the instructions of the director, and the director of photography. They decide which camera is best to use to suit the conditions.

The Work

You could be:

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

If you are employed, the starting salary for a trainee camera operator will be around £22,000 rising with experience to around £36,000 a year. Senior camera operators can earn £40,000 a year or more.

Freelance rates are listed on the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) website. The rate for camera operators in TV and film is between £504 and £723 for a 10-hour day, depending on the production budget (October 2022 rates).

There are few salaried camera jobs in TV. As a freelancer you will earn more but pay will be less regular.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Useful Subjects

Getting In

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2023
2697
6 %
RISE
2028
2859
  United Kingdom
2023
42100
5.5 %
RISE
2028
44421

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What Does it Take?

You would need:

You should also have:

Training

Getting On

More Information

If you are aged 18 or over you may be interested in The Network. The Network is held each year alongside the TV Festival in Edinburgh. If selected you would attend for four free days of masterclasses and workshops which will provide you with the skills, knowledge and contacts to start a career in TV. You can usually apply from February to April.

BBC Scotland runs an apprenticeship scheme for people who are keen to get into a career in the media industry. As well as learning on the job at BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay in various departments, you will study towards a Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media at a Glasgow college. Ideally applicants will have National 5 English and Maths, good IT skills and a keen interest in media. You must be at least 18 at the start date of the apprenticeship. Entry is very competitive as places are limited. For any questions and updates by following @BBCGetin on Twitter. See the BBC Trainee Schemes website for more details.

Trainee Finder is ScreenSkills flagship new entrant programme which offers paid work placements across a range of roles in film and TV. Applications are currently closed for the 2024-25 programme. Recruitment will usually begin around September of the year before placement. Find out more and apply online by visiting the Film Trainee Finder website.

Video

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Tel: 0141 370 1590
E-mail: info@bectu.org.uk
Website: http://www.bectu.org.uk
Twitter: @bectu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BECTUOfficial

British Film Institute
Website: http://www.bfi.org.uk/
Twitter: @BFI
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritishFilmInstitute

National Film and Television School
Tel: 01494 671234
E-mail: info@nfts.co.uk
Website: http://nfts.co.uk
Twitter: @NFTSFilmTV
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NFTSFilmTV

ScreenSkills
Tel: 020 7713 9800
E-mail: info@screenskills.com
Website: https://www.screenskills.com
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UKScreenSkills

ScreenSkills works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom.

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