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Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators record images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors construct the final productions from the many different images that camera operators capture. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production. Show Details

Duties

Camera operators and film and video editors typically do the following:

  • Choose and present interesting material for an audience
  • Work with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Select the appropriate equipment, from type of camera to software for editing
  • Shoot or edit a scene based on the director's vision

Most camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for storing it and caring for it. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus.

Likewise, editors usually have a few assistants. The assistant supports the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database. Assistants may do some editing themselves.

The increased use of digital filming has changed the work of many camera operators and editors. Many camera operators prefer using digital cameras, because these instruments give the operator more angles to shoot from. Digital cameras have also changed the job of some camera assistants: instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera.

Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.

The following are examples of types of camera operators.

Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment’s notice and follow the instructions of the show’s director.

Electronic news gathering (ENG) operators work on location as part of a reporting team. ENG operators follow events as they unfold and often record live events or breaking news. To capture these events, operators must anticipate the action and act quickly to shoot it. They sometimes edit their own footage in the field and then send it back to a studio to be broadcast.

Cinematographers film motion pictures. They usually have a team of camera operators and assistants working under them. They determine the best angles and types of cameras to capture a shot.

They may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them or use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some operators sit on cranes and follow the action. Others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action.

Some cinematographers specialize in filming cartoons or special effects.

Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post short videos on websites for businesses. Most videographers edit their own material.

Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public. They also get copyright protection for their work and keep financial records.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media. They create two- and three-dimensional models and animation. Show Details

Duties

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Create graphics and animation using computer programs and illustration
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create a realistic design or animation
  • Develop storyboards that map out key scenes in the animation
  • Edit animation and effects based on feedback from directors, head animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, head animators, games designers, and directors to review deadlines and development timelines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Visual effects, also called computer generated images or CGI, include creating animation from images of actors performing or designing scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, visual effect, or electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then they put the pieces together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating that work into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards, which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Producers and Directors

Producers and directors are in charge of creating motion pictures, television shows, live theater, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience. Show Details

Duties

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • Select scripts
  • Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Approve new developments in the production

Large productions often have associate, assistant, and line producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set an executive producer is in charge of the entire production, and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers, whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup team.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the film or show is completed on time, and they are responsible for the way the finished project turns out.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsal, they work with the actors to help them portray their characters better.

Directors work with designers to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director want.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to the executive producer.

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