Camera operator (film, television or video)

What they do

Camera operators 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. 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. Camera operators work all over the State, 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.

Working conditions

Camera operators 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. 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 the State, interstate or overseas to shoot on location.

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.

How do I become one?

Education and training

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 qualification in screen, film, media or other related areas.

The Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media are offered at TAFE colleges throughout Western Australia.

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

It is possible to study a degree in media, film or screen production. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

You can also undertake a traineeship in broadcasting (television) (level 3 or level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.

Learn more about your study options

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing