How does one become a Cameraman?
Almost identically to a Lighting or Sound Engineer, in order to become a Camera Man, three steps are essential; University, Internship and Apprenticeship. As mentioned before, qualifications to prove ones skills with a camera and cinematography is a huge plus in gaining employment. Also, experience in the field, even if starting of as a cameraman assistant, is also vital. Skills of a Cameraman include a talent for photography, good team work skills, a steady hand, good communication and social skills, good colour vision, knowledge of technical equipment and fast problem solving skills.
London Based Cameraman Daniel Haggett explained various ways to get started in this career and get into the industry. Being a camera assistant, he stated is an excellent way to start, as you learn so much about what the job entails. How and when the equipment is used, and how the cameraman communicates to the director are skills you are bound to pick up by shadowing a team. He rightly stated, “You can spend hours reading blogs about camera gear, but working closely with a cameraman is the only way to learn this”. As camera assistants are becoming more and more sparse, applying to a large firm with a big budget is the best way to get experience like this. It may be as an intern and consequently have no pay, but the amount of useful skills you will learn, and the ability to put this type of experience on your CV will definitely take you a step further to becoming a full time Cameraman. Another way to gain experience, would be to get work in a camera rental company. Many of these types of organisations supply camera assistants with the equipment they rent, and having access to these facilities will allow one to learn everything they need to about camera gear.
Most of the jobs that revolve around Cinematography are freelance ones, where one would have work according to whatever project is available at that time. A Cameraman may get many huge offers for projects in one year, and for the next two years get none. The closest thing however, to a full time job in this occupation is to become part of the camera crew at a sports or news broadcaster.
Cinephilia and Filmmaking (no date)
Michael Chapman is a famous Director of Photography, who was born in 1935 in New York City. After doing what he called a ‘useless major’ in University, he spent two years in the United States Army. It is after this, that his then father in law, Joe Brun, a French Cameraman, introduced him into the film industry out of pure necessity for money, as he needed to support his wife, pregnant with his first child, and his current income was quite low. His fist job was with an advertising firm. It is here where he met Gorden Willis, and would later film many of his movies such as The Godfather (1972) and Jaws (1975) .
Michael Chapman ’25th+Annual+American+Society+Cinematographers+gtEVFLRgQRil’ (2016)
National Careers Service. (2016) TV or Film Camera Operator Job Information. Available at: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/tvorfilmcameraoperator.aspx. (Accessed 14/10/16)
Daniel Haggett. (no date) How to Become a Cameraman. Available at: http://www.danielhaggett.com/blog/151-how-to-become-a-cameraman. (Accessed 14/10/16)
Taste of cinema (2016). The 30 Greatest Cinematographers in Movie History. Available at: http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/the-30-greatest-cinematographer-in-movie-history/. (Accessed 14/10/16)
American Cinematographer (2014). Honouring a Reluctant Vanguard. Available at: http://www.theasc.com/magazine/feb04/sub/. (Accessed 14/10/16)
IEC (no date) Michael Chapman. Available at: http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/chapman.htm. (Accessed 14/10/16)
Web Of Stories (2016) Michael Chapman – Filmmaker – Cinematography will be my career. Available at: http://www.webofstories.com/play/michael.chapman/6. (Accessed 14/10/16)
Web Of Stories (2016) Michael Chapman – Filmmaker – Cinematography will be my career. Available at: http://www.webofstories.com/play/michael.chapman/14;jsessionid=D12CBCD7473E1DEF93AC76468089161B. (Accessed 14/10/16)