What They do ?

  • Camera Assistant

A Camera Assistant must have an excellent knowledge of cameras, Lenses and all related equipment  and have excellent eyesight. They can Accurately judge distances and have agility and speed yet they must pay strong attention to detail.

They have to be able to collaborate and work as part of a team. They also have to be diplomatic and sensitive when working with artists and crew and know about health and safety legislation and procedures.

However though Their Lowdown’s are Adjusting the camera lens or pulling focus to follow the action on set and Managing and maintaining camera equipment and accessories whilst Following instructions from the Director or Director of Photography (DOP)

How to become a Camera Assistant.

It is one of the most skilled jobs on a film crew.

1st they are responsible for focusing and refocusing the camera lens as Actors move within the frame of each shot. They do not look through the lens to do this but ‘pull focus’ according to a set of complex marks placed on the set, floor, props, etc… during rehearsal.

As it is impossible to see whether the focus is sharp until the rushes ( raw footage ) are screened. 1st AC rely on experience and instinct for each focal adjustment. Because re shooting scenes is expensive and actors may be unable to recreate their best take.

1st ACs are usually asked  for by the Director of photography or the Camera Operator and work on a freelance basis. Hours are long and the work can be physically demanding.




  • Cinematographer

Cinematographers are the chief over the camera crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image.

They are the ones who provide the shape and look of the film, They know all about camera equipment and have an in depth knowledge of lighting techniques and how to achieve them. They have strong eye on detail ( like the director ) have to be immensely creative and be able to make decisions very ,very quickly. While having a good colour vision.

The only way a Cinematographer can achieve it’s goals are by working with the Director, Camera crew and lighting department to achieve this.

Here are some of the best images shot by true professional cinematographers.


In the image above these shots were taken by Christopher Doyle.


In the images above these shots were taken by Larry Smith.


Mexican_standoffThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

In the images above these shots were from Tonino Delli Colli.

facts about Cinematographers .

The Director of Photography must discover the photographic heart of a screenplay, using a variety of source material including still photography, painting, other films, etc.

They work closely with the Gaffer ( who runs the lighting team ), the production designer, Costume Designer, and the hair and Make up Department.

On smaller films, The Director of Photography can often work and operate the camera during the shoot.

Although the hours are long most DOP’s ( Director of Photographers ) will require some foreign travel but that kind of work is highly creative and rewarding.

How to become a cinematographer

If you already work as a Camera operator , you might be able to become a cinematographer through second unit work.

You will need to gain experience of working on short student films and you will need to provide some work as part of a camera crew to full understand an on set systems in which members of an organization or society are ranked according to relative status or authority. Or in plain English ”Hierarchy and the original traditions of working.

  • Camera operator

Camera operators carry out the Director of photography’s and the Director’s instructions for a shot composition and development. They usually are the first people to use the camera’s somewhat eyepiece to assess how all the elements of performance, art direction, lighting, composition and camera movement come together to create the cinematic ( or the ultimate ) cinematic experience.

The highs and the lows of a camera operator

The highs .

They must know how to operate a camera.

Be patient ( Actually very patient )

Making sure they have to be strong and fit with a physical co-ordination.

( like the cinematographer ) They must pay strong attention to detail.

And must be able to contribute and collaborate as part of a team.

The Lows.

They Must manage other cameras in the department staff and communicate with other actors.


How to become a Camera operator .

You can expect to begin your career as a camera trainee or Runner, progressing to 2nd AC and, as you gain more experience, to 1st Camera Assistant . Though you will have to continually make a build up on your own personal experience while operating a on multiple cameras in order to achieve your goal as a Camera Operator.

All of these crew members are vital to provide the best film and shots possible. Like the Copa shot from Goodfellas , like the opening sequence from Strange Days like the Rosebud shot from Citizen kane or the final shot from Akira Kurosawa’s Ran. None of those shots can be provided without the Cinematographer , The Camera operator, And The Director of Photography.


The last shots from Akira Kurosawa’s Ran ( 1985 ) With the cinematography from Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda and Asakazu Nakai.




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