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I'm looking for any information or advice on how to get started in a career as a camera operator.


I'm currently a C.A.D technician but looking to start a career as a camera operator as it as been my desire for many years but I have never pursued it im 27 now and I know its going to be difficult to get in the industry but I dont want to let that stop me.

I have a passion for films,affects and video editing im fascinated by cinematography and think that it can sometimes have more of an impact on a film than the actual dialogue.


I would be most grateful for any information or advice on training courses or ways of getting into this industry with no experience I've done a lot of research on the net and found a lot of courses but I dont know which is most suitable so if theres any camera operators or anyone who can help me with there experience and knowlege it would be much appreciated





p.s im currently in manchester but looking to relocate to london next year



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Well - as the Beeb have just moved from London to your doorstep, then maybe it's best to stay where you are.


To be honest, there are probably better forums, inhabited by video people than this one, which is primarily events and stage orientated.


DV forums

DVX user

and a few others, but you need to sift - lots of American stuff in one and both cover wedding stuff too.


However - you might find this link better - the Guild of TV Camermen.


You have to be a member to do their training courses, but as I do some video work, I'm a member and the training is excellent.


What kind of camera operator do you want to be? I think if you are looking at corporate and broadcast, you need to own your own equipment - and that costs serious money. Even kitting yourself out with the basics for HD mean spending a lot of money. Even the smaller cameras can cost upwards of six grand, another grand and a bit for a tripod and head worthy of pro use, and then editing software if you want to be able to do the lot.


Studio work is a totally different area of work, and everything is different - so Portable Single Camera work (PSC) is often a different group of people to those who specialise in studio work. Other fields are also very different - and I did pretty badly at aerial camerawork - flying for pleasure is ok, but I found helicopter training very difficult, as one key ability is to really understand how helicopters work and fly. On the course I did, one key feature for any cameraman working for one popular firm was the ability to at least hover a helicopter - to really appreciate the difficulty and safety issues that arise. I didn't do very well on this. I took in the theory, but not for me, I'm afraid. You do have to be in the GTC for a while to benefit from the better training as places are limited, but I'm doing the studio course in Manchester in May - and I'm looking forward to this one, having done a bit of studio work in the past. Very different to PSC.


I'd recommend joining the GTC, but frankly - jobs are VERY thin. Worse than our industry - so many staff cameramen now being self-employed - and having to take out 30K loans to buy equipment and then finding idiots with consumer cameras attempting to muscle in. Rates diving and work drying up. In Manchester, virtually all cameramen are self-employed, hardly any staffers - so crews are put together by calling up people they know from 'the old days'. Very difficult to break into this area, and worse still in London. SO much TV work is word-of-mouth, like theatre and events, but TV is even worse.

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