How Much do Camera Ops and Jib Ops Get Paid?

Short answer: $500-$600 per 10-hour day (labor only; gear is billed separately).

Explanation: Most Camera Operators and Jib Operators are independent contractors, or “freelancers”, which means they often work for many companies throughout the year and do not get paid a steady salary. In fact, depending on the type of shooting they do (EFP, ENG, reality, film, etc.), some Camera Operators may only work a few days a month, and some may work 20-30 days straight and then not have any work lined up for several months.

Since the opportunities for work are inconsistent, and since independent contractors are required to pay extra income tax and provide their own health and retirement benefits, industry-standard minimum rates have been established to help protect the workers. Although these minimum-wages aren’t enforced by law, it’s important that all workers in the industry (and their employers) respect them, and negotiate higher wages accordingly.

Below is a PDF link for the IATSE minimum labor rates. The “Estimated 1099 Equivalent” rates are considered the Broadcast Industry’s standard, whether a worker is working for a union-affiliated production company or not. These are labor rates, only.  Cameras and support gear are billed separately, and are often provided by the production company.

Click here to view the IATSE Minimum Labor Rates for 2015-2016