How can I become a cameraman

Cameraman / camerawoman - training, job description, salary and requirements

Do you dream of working in film and television production or in journalism, are you tech-savvy and have a good eye? Then it might make sense to take a closer look at the cameraman's area of ​​responsibility.

Regardless of the event, the cameramen are always first on site for current reports and have a direct share in the events. They are also indispensable workers when it comes to film, television or sports broadcasts, because they ensure that images are transmitted to viewers' televisions - and preferably in first-class quality.

Your main work tool is of course the camera, but your area of ​​responsibility can vary. This depends on whether you're doing live broadcasts, filming, advertising, or shooting in the studio.

In cooperation with the direction, you determine how camera settings are made, choose suitable lighting and operate the camera. In advance, you decide on the required technical equipment and visit filming locations, and as part of post-production you edit the created image material and cut it to size for broadcast.

Potential fields of application and clients for cameramen are film production companies or television broadcasters. The job is exciting and varied, but exhausting, because in the course of a production it can happen that you work twelve-hour shifts or more. Classic office hours are not common in the media industry.

Video on training as a cameraman / camerawoman

Salary as a cameraman / woman

It is not always easy to make a general statement about the average salary of cameramen. Those who have made a name for themselves and are known in the industry achieve higher earnings - but the way there is difficult and fiercely contested.

The training takes place at school, so that you will not earn any salary during this time, many vocational schools and universities even charge fees. During this time you can apply for funding, for example in the form of BAföG.

You will gain your first experience as a material or camera assistant, who will be remunerated with 500 to 700 euros per week. Permanently employed, trained cameramen receive an average salary of around 2,750 euros per month.

Independent cameramen usually receive a weekly fee, which starts with an income of 2,630 euros. If you are lucky enough to be involved in a longer-term production, it can bring it to over 10,000 euros a month. Daily fees of around 300 euros are paid for TV contributions.

Training as a cameraman / camerawoman

The camerawoman / cameraman training usually takes place at school, either at a university through a degree or at a vocational school through further professional development. There are many ways to get into the media industry, and this also applies to the way to work as a camerawoman.

A degree usually lasts around six to seven semesters. Here you will get the theoretical technical basics that are necessary for handling the film equipment. They include basic knowledge of specialist areas such as media technology as well as audio, video, camera and editing, but also film history, media business administration and law or research.

In-depth content in image design, visual language, dramaturgy, camera work in a studio or image direction are also included. Since many cameramen work as freelancers, business basics are often included.

In addition to theory, practice is of great importance in order to gain experience and make contacts with industry insiders. The best way to do this is to supplement your studies with a traineeship or internship, which serves as an introduction to the media sector.

Anyone who wants to become a cameraman has usually already completed internships in a film or video production facility. In addition to a professional technical understanding, a good instinct and an eye for scene representations are important in this job.

Qualities and requirements for the profession

There are basically no school requirements, but if you are studying at a university, you must have at least a technical diploma or a general university entrance qualification. Vocational academies and further training institutions, on the other hand, set individual requirements.

Due to the technical nature of the work, good grades in mathematics and physics are helpful, and your German and English skills should be business fluent. Technical understanding and a strong sense of creativity and design are also necessary.

The ability to work in a team and a willingness to communicate are essential characteristics of good cameramen. Since work can push you to your limits, you should also be resilient and physically fit. It is not uncommon for your working hours to extend into the evening hours, or for you to work on jobs at the weekend - flexibility in terms of time, determination and commitment are therefore essential.

Application as a cameraman / camerawoman

The application for a degree or further education is made using the corresponding form of the university or academy at which you want to enroll. Your diplomas and any previous knowledge are of particular importance here.

At most, trained cameramen will be confronted with the classic application consisting of a cover letter and résumé at the beginning of their careers, for example when they apply for an internship or an internship. An online application is often required here.

In the later process, however, you will have to apply in writing less and less and instead get jobs through contacts and networks. Sometimes work samples are asked for, some productions may ask you to put your skills to the test on a trial working day.

Appearances are not so important in an interview; instead, the focus is on specialist knowledge and professional experience. Once you have made a name for yourself and become known, you may be approached and asked whether you are interested in working on a particular project. Often, cameramen cooperate with media companies, which they then pass on to inquiries.

Many more tips on how to apply!

Trends and perspectives for the job description

The work as a camerawoman is, like all jobs in the media industry, very popular, so the competition on the job market is fierce. Already existing contacts and networks are the be-all and end-all here and permanent positions are only available to a limited extent.

Most cameramen work on a freelance basis. This has advantages and disadvantages. When choosing your job, you are absolutely flexible and not bound by any instructions, which is of great value for such a creatively oriented profession. However, the order situation can vary, so you may have to go through longer phases in which you cannot find employment.

Due to the constant development of technology and new innovations, it is important that you always keep your specialist knowledge up to date. However, if you manage to convince through good performance and reliability, you can look forward to a fulfilling job that many people will envy you for.

There will always be a demand for good cameramen, as the media world continues to expand and, in addition to classic work in film and television, internet productions are increasingly relying on capable personnel.

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