Cinematographer

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Film & Television Camera Operator
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Cinematographers manage camera and lighting crews and oversee the selection and manipulation of technical equipment on a TV or film set. Cinematographer, for Film, TV or Video [Camera operators, Cameraperson], record film or television productions using film or video camera equipment. They read scripts to work out the best shots to take and liaise with the director, producer and other key technical personnel about the best way to achieve these. Future Growth Strong

They set up camera equipment in conjunction with lighting technicians, compose or frame shots, and operate and monitor camera equipment for the duration of filming. Cinematographers work all over Australia, filming television programs and news footage for community, government-funded and commercial television stations in our cities and towns, and shooting films on location in our beautiful remote and regional areas.

ANZSCO ID: 212313

Alternative names: Camera operator, Cameraperson, Film and Television Camera Operator, Director of Photography,

Specialisations:

Director of Photography: co-ordinates the cinematography and lighting, and the technicians who operate camera and lighting equipment, on a film or television production
. Director of Photography oversees the lighting and camera crew in the film production unit. They instruct camera operators on camera set-up, angles, distance and movement, then signal cues to start and stop filming. After each day's filming, the director of photography checks the 'rushes' (the scenes shot that day) and decides whether re- filming is necessary.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

A cinematographer needs:Filming

  • a passion for film and visual arts

  • good knowledge of camera and lighting equipment and technologies

  • an interest in photography, film and digital video

  • creative flair

  • the ability to follow instructions

  • the ability to give instructions clearly and accurately

  • technical and practical ability

  • good communication skills

  • attention to detail

  • good colour vision

  • the ability to work as part of a team.

 

Duties and Tasks

As a cinematographer, you would:

  • determine lighting, film, shutter angles, filter factors, camera distance, depth of field and focus, angles of view and other variables to achieve desired mood and effect.

  • view film and video tape to evaluate and select scenes and determine which scenes need to be re-shot.

  • study the script

  • conduct research into different styles and motifs which relate to the subject matter of the script

  • talk with directors and producers about creative ideas and the visual impact of shots

  • plan the technical execution of each shot

  • direct the technical production crew and make sure the correct equipment and lighting is used for each shot

  • operate camera equipment as needed

  • solve any practical or technical problems that arise during filming

  • innovate and experiment with ideas

  • work alongside directors and editors to make sure the colour grading of the film or TV show is correct.



Working conditions


Cinematographers work in film and television studios, as well as on location on film sets. When working outside they may experience all types of weather conditions. You may have to work at heights on cranes or scaffolding. They work long hours, often until late, and may be required to work on weekends or public holidays. They may also be required to travel locally, across Australia or overseas to shoot on location.

If you work on news programs, you might need to be flexible and able to work at short notice. In a role in film, your hours could often be long and irregular, depending on the production you are working on. You may also need to be flexible and work at short notice. You may work away from home for long periods.

A drivers licence would be an advantage as you would be required to drive to and from locations.

Tools and technologies

Film camera operators use 16 mm and 35 mm film cameras or digital video for motion pictures, whereas television and video camera operators use cine-electronic television or digital video and video cameras for direct telecast and for recording. Camera operators may also wear headsets to receive instructions about shot type and effects from the director or assistant director.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a camera operator (film, television or video) without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a formal qualification in screen, film, media or other related areas.

VET qualifications such as a Diploma of Screen and Media and degree courses in these fields are widely available at TAFE Colleges and universities throughout Australia. You may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work.

Alternatively, you can become a cinematographer by completing a degree in creative arts, media (film & sound), screen production, or film and television. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. You may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work.

You would usually start work as a camera trainee or assistant, and learn on the job from experienced camera operators and other cinematographers over a number of years.


Employment Opportunities

Employment of cinematographers is projected to remain relatively neutral. The consolidation of roles in broadcasting, the increasing reliance on amateur film footage, and the decrease in local production of new TV content may lead to fewer jobs for cinematographers in TV.

However, new content delivery methods in film and video production, such as mobile and online TV, may lead to more work for cinematographers and camera operators. Roles for cinematographers in movies may require you to move overseas to gain work on projects.


Did You Know?

Don McAlpine

Australia has many famous cinematographers!

Read about Don McAlpine's life as a cinematographer

 

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Film Producer

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Cinematographer

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Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

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Photographer

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IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

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Illustrator

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Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Audio Visual Technician

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Records Manager

Data Analyst

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Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

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Illustrator

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Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

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Journalist

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Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Writer

Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Audio Visual Technician

Botanical Illustrator

Records Manager

Data Analyst

Casting Director