What Is a Video Camera Operator?

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The job of a video camera operator, also known as a photog, videographer, camera operator or camera guy, includes operating the camera, selecting shots, framing the shot and making independent decisions about camera angle and sometimes lighting. Understand the role of a video camera operator on set with information from the executive producer of a video production company in this free video on digital video.

Part of the Video Series: Digital Video Production
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Christopher Rokosz, actor, director, producer, and we're discussing what a video camera operator is, or does. Well a video camera operator, the first thing we know right off the bat is he is not a film camera operator. So a video camera operator will operate the camera and it will go to a digital... or a digital tape source, just not film. Okay, we've got that taken care of, but with the variety of different production, and production sizes out there the video camera operator's job description can vary greatly. So if he's with a news department and he's just runnin' and gunnin', he may be the only person in the crew. Alright, and sometimes a video camera operator can also be referred to as a photog, a videographer, a camera operator, a camera guy, hey you behind the camera, any of those variety of things but they do have similar responsibilities. Now, in video camera operating, if it's part of a medium sized crew, they will handle a certain degree of shot selections in concert with the director. They will definitely take care of framing, make sure focus is okay, make sure that all the other settings such as gain and iris, f-stop settings, they're all set to what is the best, they'll make independent judgments. Now, if they're working on a larger production and they're subservient to a DP or a director of photography, a director of photography will actually create the feel and set up the positioning and the type of shots used in a production, some people think a director does that. No if they've hired a director of photography, they'll do that. And the camera operator or video camera operator will actually set up the shots in congress with him. He may have assistant camera operators working beneath him depending on the size of the production. If it's a large video production... now for a modern digital film, it may take a director of photography, excuse me a director coming up with the overall plan for it, a director of photography setting up each individual shot, the video camera operator executing that and then up to three assistant camera operators to work the different functions of it as the shot continues. So for instance, push it down the dolly, adjust the iris and the focus dynamically as actors change focal length throughout the area, so a video camera operator can be anything from a one guy with a camera or it could be one cog in the wheel of a large production. I'm Christopher Rokosz, we'll see you in Hollywood.

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