The 7 Steps To Becoming A Professional Cameraman
Visual media is an integral part of today's electronic world. It would not be wrong to say that despite the Internet boom, the television has continued to hold it's ground and in fact collaborated with the World Wide Web in order to take a huge leap into the virtual world too.
Indeed this has opened up even more doors for cameramen who wish to enter into the broadcast television industry.
While the job is not exactly rocket science, it is by no means child's play either. Below is a list of steps on how to become a professional cameraman.
Step 1 - Know your equipment
It would not be wrong to say that the first step to becoming a professional cameraman is to shoot a video. You must know your video camera and understand the process of shooting. Take a video of whatever you can and whenever you can.
Over and above the very basic focusing learn other things such as shutter speed, angles and lighting. Go through the manual of the camera and try and customise your camera in all ways possible. The more time you spend with your equipment, the better the results are going to be and at the end of the day, it is only the results that matter.
Step 2 - Know your jargon
It is important to know the various words related to the camera and the shooting process. So while on one hand you must know what each and every part of your camera is called, on the other, you must also know what is meant by wide angle, close up, establishing shot, foreground, and background. The official words as well as the slangs must be on your finger tips.
Step 3 - Watch works of professional cameramen
Try and see as much videos and movies as you can. Look at them from a cameraman's perspective. Understanding how a particular shot was taken, where the camera would have been placed or even what lenses were being used will help to better your expertise levels.
Step 4 - Take a course
While about a decade ago most cameramen had to rely on self study only, today there are many courses that are available for those looking to make a career in this field. Most of them last about a year and help gain better expertise in the area.
Keep in mind that while a lot of the established cameramen of today did not undertake a formal study in the art, the present times are different and the competition is also fiercer, so it is best to be armed with a degree of sorts.
Step 5 - Pick your field
Image from www.jeffgoodman.co.uk.
A cameraman for a wildlife shoot needs to have completely different passions and expertise levels as opposed to a cameraman who shoots live breaking news. The patience level in the former is extremely important, while the latter needs to be pushy.
Picking your area of interest is very important when looking to becoming a professional camera man. Jeff Goodman, the award winning who excels in wildlife and underwater shoots has over 30 years of experience under his belt. He is known for the many courses he runs for aspiring cameramen.
Jeff tries to inspire his students into loving wildlife as much as they love the camera. He believes that the field you pick has to interest you as much as you love for filming. His own love for wildlife has what has gotten him several cameraman awards such as the 'Wildscreen panda best revelation film', 'Wildscreen panda animal behavior' and many more. The man has also had the opportunity to work with industry giants such as BBC, Discovery USA, YTV, etc. Indeed picking the right field is very crucial to a successful career as a cameraman.
Step 6 - The apprentice learns the best
Learning about the various theoretical aspects of the shooting is important, but the real knowledge is to be had on the field. Shooting for a wedding and shooting under pressure for a live broadcast is not the same thing.
It is a fact that most experienced and well paid cameramen of today have worked hectic hours and busy schedules for pittance, just to gain the experience on the field. The idea is to know the icons of your segment and try and secure an apprentice job with them.
Step 7 - Build a resume
Looking to climb the ladder? Make sure you build your resume from day one. Any course, any training and any work done in the field must be recorded and listed in the resume. Pick your best work and produce it and put it up on the net for others to see. Remember, we are dealing with the visual media here and advertising counts greatly.
So, best of luck, pull your camera out and roll !!
Add Your Comment:
What other tips can you give aspiring cameramen?
Consider buying the NEX VG10 when you need a very reasonably priced camcorder that delivers excellent picture quality, and full manual control.
A cameraman needs to know how to operate a camera and what is a good composition. But there are also other qualities that a cameraman should have that are less obvious.
What other tips can you give aspiring cameramen?
The frame and field rates that have been used for television since the 1920s cause problems for motion portrayal, which are increasingly evident on the large, high-resolution television displays that are now common.
Choosing the right camera to film your documentary can be quite a difficult task. But it's also a very important one, so i've made this list of things to consider when buying the camera for your documentary.
The job of an editor is to cut an item to a fraction of the original running time of the footage. The editor will have to match two rhythms: the rate of shot changes, and the continuity of the action that is captured.
Just as important to make sure the pictures you film are cuttable, you also need to make sure the sound is continuous.