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Visual Arts and Film Studies

Research Assignment Final
A cameraman, also known as camera operator, handles television cameras or films to record scenes for motion pictures, newscasts, live events and reality TV shows. As part of the camera crew, a cameraman works hand in hand with actors, reality show hosts, directors and other members of production team in making both technical and creative decisions. Basically, cameramen records events taking place for broadcasting purposes. They do so by using technical aspects of lenses, zooms, filters and other different aspects to capture scenes as per the required standards. In addition, it is the duty of a cameraman to test, clean and maintain the cameras. In this vein, they must critically analyse different potential challenges likely to be faced during filming and give advice to other members of the filming crew on the appropriate lighting, set-up and angles to set-up the cameras (Shepherd, St. John & Striphas, 2006). A cameraman can work in different settings including production studios, sports venues and television studios as well as in private events such as weddings. In this respect, the equipment used depends on the type of video being taken. For instance, filming live broadcast will mostly use stationary cameras while on the other hand recording involving motions that are recorded using track-mounted or crane mounted cameras to capture scenery and movement. Further, cameramen perform video editing using variety of computer programs. This means that those who wishes to venture into this career must be knowledgeable not only on electronic, media production and computer hardware, but also possess soft skills for different computer programs.  They should also be efficient problem solvers, creative thinkers and with ability to evaluate details analytically. In this regards, this paper seeks to explore cameraman career in a reality TV show.
To produce quality photography and films as a cameraman, latest high definition equipments are paramount. They should also be maintained to high standards. They include high definition camera for taking photographs and recording shows, and chimera sofbox for providing light. According to Livingstone (1990), Chimera sofbox is highly preferred due to its ability to generate beautiful soft light used to light presenters and interviewees. Other equipments include grip equipment for holding cameras, sound kit with two headsets for sound recording, additional lenses and a van in the event of transporting the equipment.
Academic Training
A bachelor’s degree is recommended for those wishing to venture in video and reality shows. Cameraman career can be achieved by pursuing a degree in video production that takes between two to four years. During this period, students are trained in-depth on sound and concept development, lighting, editing, storyboarding and more importantly motion graphics. In addition, the course covers video manipulation, basic editing, lighting and field production, sound for video and production management. Students can also train in use of software such as final cut Pro or Photoshop. Further, a student who wishes to further education can consider taking Bachelor of Arts in Television Production. Through this program, students will learn theory, history and basic forms of production. In addition, course work could include sound and picture editing, media research, broadcast news gathering, broadcast writing, visual design, advanced television production, media law and telecommunications management.
Even though a cameraman requires some form of training; an individual interested in this career should be eager to learn more and with the right attitude towards the profession. In addition, a career as a cameraman requires much of talent and ability (Livingstone & Lunt, 1994). Basically, an individual willing to become a cameraman has a number of opportunities considering that there is no formal education to grow in this career. Out of curiosity, an individual can horn skills as a cameraman by choosing either to enroll in a film school or undertake a related degree. Mainly, people who choose to venture in this career enroll in colleges or universities to pursue course in media or photography. If an individual chooses to develop skills as a cameraman, then one can major in television production or film. However, gaining work experience is equally useful. This can be acquired in either local TV stations or participating in University’s film production. Burnett (2001) points out that an individual can also develop career as a cameraman by enrolling in a film school training professionals in television and film industry. In such schools, an individual also gets an opportunity to practice using the necessary equipment.
Taking short courses is another good option. It enables cameramen to get started quickly by improving their skills through interaction with different people. Nevertheless, getting behind the camera is known as the best education. This is because it is the only way one can learn about different cameras and how to shoot photographs from different positions. A cameraman develops craft and learns about new technology and equipment through practice. Notably, people who wish to venture in this career either chooses to follow a formal route or join the career informally by training on the job, but none of the two ways can be claimed as right or wrong.
Preparing oneself for employment
Working as a camera operator is an ideal career for an intuitive thinker. However, to become a professional cameraman, it takes about two working years for one to acquire the necessary skills. Such skills can also be acquired through volunteering as a trainee and engaging in other video production activities. An individual will start the career by working as a camera assistant before gathering sufficient knowledge to become a professional camera operator. Completion of academic training course does not necessarily guarantee employment since opportunities for employment and potential career growth depends on the acquired technical knowledge and to large extent individual’s talent. One can grow in career as a studio camera operator by working in a studio. Alternatively, an individual may choose to be a multi cameraman by practicing beyond broadcasting. Acquiring multiple skills ensures that one is an all rounded camera operator. This helps an individual to get an opportunity to develop excellent skills in varied scenarios and is also able to learn how to work under intense pressure (Fuchs, 2010). In addition, an individual may be required to take up several responsibilities hence broadening skills necessary for self-reliance. This helps a student to develop skills necessary for managing spot technical problems, build initiatives, cope with unexpected situations and more importantly develop a degree of intuition for the job.
After acquiring the right skills, the next hurdle is to secure a job. Therefore, a person should build his profile, which is very critical for future career progression. To do this, individuals should showcase their abilities to numerous potential clients. Even though chances of landing a dream job to some point depend on experience acquired, like other jobs, it is not only what one knows, but also who they know that makes them advance in their career path (Berman, 1987). It is, therefore, paramount to cultivate close relationship with many people operating in this field. Another important aspect is networking. It is highly unlikely for someone to simply give you a business. A person learns about opportunities by interacting with right people. Moreover, one should always be on the lookout for emerging opportunities while at the same time taking more advanced studies to be better positioned.
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