Similar to how a professional basketball player isn’t just someone who plays H.O.R.S.E. a lot, a Camera Operator isn’t someone who just points a camera at things. Professional Camera Operators have distinct skills and techniques that are performed consistently with precision. They will deliberately choose every detail they want to include in their shot. When all the details in the camera frame are deliberate and steady, only then is it called a “shot.”
Whenever you are shooting, it’s important to be deliberate about everything. Deliberately position yourself and your camera. You decide for the viewers EXACTLY what you want them to see, or not see. When your shots are deliberate, the Director has something to work with. When running camera for a live event, the Director shouldn’t have to pick your shots for you, or constantly tell you to pan, zoom, or focus. You should choose your own shots based on the needs of the show, and present them to the Director. If the Director doesn’t like it, or if he already has another shot that’s similar, he’ll tell you to move on to something else.
When training as a Camera Operator, keep in mind that some people are born with a natural eye for a shot, while others may have to practice hard to develop it. But as with anything in life, if you want to be good, you have to invest some time and effort. If you need some guidance, or even one-on-one training, read through our Training posts or give us a call. We’re here to help!