Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Technical roles in the TV and Film Industries

Technical jobs in the TV and film industry are those that require a person to be skilled in the use of equipment and technology such as cameras, lights and audio technology. These workers will benefit from having a certain level of creativity as their input is likely to be welcomed but it is most important that they can listen to instructions and carry out tasks exactly as they have been asked. Their role requires them to work quickly and professionally, ensuring that they do what is asked in a timely fashion so as not to delay the whole production. Examples of technical jobs include Technical Producers and Technical Directors, Camera Operators, Gaffers and Sound Recordists.

 In my BTEC media classes, we have already looked at:

A Camera Operator is a vital member of the camera department, working closely with the Director of Photography and Director, and ensuring the camera is positioned and moved effectively. A Camera Operator must have a good knowledge of shot composition, lighting, art direction and performance but most importantly must be able to follow and interpret instructions. They must have excellent technical skills but also a high level of creativity.

Often Camera Operators will start as runners or Camera Assistants, working their way up through the camera department to 1st Camera Operator and then perhaps even progressing to become a DOP. They have to work long hours on film and TV sets and the work can be physically demanding and involve some travel to wherever the set is, perhaps even foreign travel. It is essential for Camera Operators to keep up with advances in technology and it is their responsibility to do this, meaning continuous professional development is vital. They have to be knowledgeable about different camera systems, lenses, support equipment and accessories. Camera Operators are also likely to be employed on a freelance basis so they will have to be good at networking, marketing themselves and finding new job opportunities.

A good way into the TV industry for young people is to take a researcher role. These people have to find information, contributors, locations and archive footage for programmes, among other things. Most researchers begin as runners and much of their job is office based, though they may also have to go out on locations for shoot sometimes. Researchers must show initiative and always be able to think of contingency plans when things go wrong. Researchers must be able to remain calm under pressure and communicate effectively with a range of people.

As usual much of this information comes from the Skillset website and particularly the section on Camera Operators. If any camera operators out there read this and want to correct me, add to this or just give me a quote to use, I would be eternally grateful!

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