Film Crew Camera Operator Jobs

Film crew is industry jargon that refers to the group of people who work behind the scenes and is hired by a production company to produce a television show or a movie.

This does not include actors or producers. Because making and producing movies and television shows is such an involved process, film crew jobs are classified and assigned on stricter terms. With the exception of the cinematographer, editor and supervisor positions, most film crew jobs do not require formal education. Experience in these jobs is key, so an entry-level position as an assistant camera operator could easily lead to a position as a cinematographer.

Cinematographer: The cinematographer, sometimes referred to as Director of Photography, is in charge of the photography department and their main job is to capture the creative vision of the director. The director typically assigns or describes a shot or a scene and the cinematographer has to capture that scene on video or film in a satisfactory manner. And although the film and television industries are moving towards video and away from film, it is not uncommon during this transitional phase for the cinematographer to use video and film throughout the production phase.

Camera Operator: The camera operator’s job is fairly self-explanatory. He physically operates the camera and reports to the cinematographer. Camera operators who work on movie sets have the benefit of video editors and can shoot as much video as is needed until the cinematographer, and ultimately, the director, is satisfied. On television sets, during live taping, the camera operator takes cues from the director and edits in film. The camera operator is usually in charge of any camera assistants or production assistants.

First Assistant Camera or Focus Puller: In charge of keeping the camera in focus while shooting.

Second Assistant Camera or Clapper Loader: In charge of of organizing maintenance and transportation logistics of camera equipment. If film is being used, may also be the designated film loader if there is no additional labor.

Loader: This job is becoming more obsolete with the increase in digital video. However, because some movies are still shot at least partly on film, a loader may be necessary.

Steadicam Operator: The steadicam is a type of rig used for camera stabilization. The steadicam operator is skilled at operating this rig, and on smaller movie sets or television sets, this person may also be the camera operator.

Production Sound Mixer: In charge of the sound department, the production sound mixer chooses which microphones (or other sound recording devices) will be used on set and how.

Boom Operator: The boom operator assists the production sound mixer. The name comes from the ‘boom pole,’ a long, thin pole used during filming that is used to record sound during filming and is held out of the camera’s sight.

Utility Sound Technician: Also called a ‘python wrangler’ or ‘cable man,’ the utility sound technician’s main duty is to pull cables out of the way during filming. May also step in as a boom operator on an as-needed basis.

Key Grip: All grips are trained in lighting and rigging. In a key grip job you’ll be working with the electric department to install lighting set-ups.
The key grip is the chief grip on set and is charge of the best boy and the dolly grip. Their primary responsibility involves setting up the set and the correct lighting and blocking. They may report to the cinematographer.

Best Boy: The key grip’s assistant. Responsible for keeping the grip truck organized.

Dolly Grip: The dolly grip operates camera dollies and cranes and they may accompany the camera operator and assistant as riders.

Gaffer: In charge of the electrical department. Designs, plans and carries out a lighting plan prior to filming.

Lighting Technician: In charge of setting up and controlling lighting equipment.

Sound Designer: Sometimes called the supervising sound editor, their position involves all post-production sound editing.

Sound Editor: Assembles and edits sound, reports to the sound designer.

Music Supervisor/Director: Acts as the middleman between the film production and music industry to negotiate rights to songs.

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