What does a Video Operator do?

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  • Written By: A. Garrett
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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The functions and duties of a video operator vary based on the setting or industry that the video operator works in. A video operator working in television may film content inside a studio or may be required to composite footage on location; within this subcategory jobs, a video operator may be referred to by different names. Some operators work for private companies or individuals and specialize in recording special moments, events, or speeches for their clients. Someone seeking employment in this field should have technical expertise and creativity. Wages vary based on experience, educational background, and location.

A candidate for this job should be able to film a wide array of subjects, as versatility is an important trait for a video operator. Television studios may require operators to record news segments, sporting events, or television shows. Consequently, someone employed in this field should be familiar with camera angles, zoom features, and timing. After shooting is complete, the recordings will be submitted to video editors. If the content is acceptable, the film will be edited. If the recorded material is sub-par or not what an editor was expecting, the person who filmed the material may be required to re-shoot the footage.


Video operators also work for individuals. They may be asked to film weddings or document a certain period in a client’s life. People with these types of duties are also known as videographers. A video operator may also work on movie sets; this is known as cinematography.

The credentials required to work in this field vary. Some companies require a university education while other prospective employers may place a greater emphasis on experience. A video operator should be familiar with audio-visual equipment and know the techniques for filming a wide variety of people, places, and events.

Other characteristics important for working in this field include patience, professionalism, and trustworthiness. Some video operators may be forced to work long hours to complete assignments, and many film projects have deadlines that must be adhered to. Consequently punctuality is an important aspect of the job of video operator. Additionally, some of the material filmed may be sensitive in nature or will not be released until a future date, therefore operators may be required to sign non-disclosure agreements related to the content they film.

Wages for video operators vary. Those working for major television or motion picture studios typically earn more money than freelancers. Some video operators have created special niches as videographers that allow them to earn high salaries, however, especially if they work in an area lacking people with expertise.


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