Videographers - 10 Must-Have Key Essentials for a Successful Career

Published: 21st May 2012
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Lots of people believe that the television director’s ability is the essential facet of any production. The director is definitely important, but you need a great team around the director to help direct or produce anything of worth. That being stated, a very important crew person on the shoot is the camera operator or videographer. They need to know a lot more than other areas of the production team. The amount of terms and camera operating experience that the camera operator must know is huge. Mix this with they must be a master at taking direction - and never really getting any obvious credit for their great shots, leaves some camera operators unhappy, as you might expect.

Much effort goes into creating a movie, a TV program or any video production. It is crucial that the camera operator know the specifics of their camera. Obviously all of us understand you need to possess the traits of professionalism, reliability, anticipation, but what are the key essentials you need to be familiar with as the primary camera operator on the production?

Key Essential #1 - Fully understand the Rule of Thirds

Among the first things a lot of you videographers must be trained regarding is the “rule of thirds.” For those who have no clue about what I’m speaking about here, then you most likely have to study your craft a bit more.

Rule of Thirds: Divide the frame into three horizontal and three vertical sections. The region in which the lines intersect can make for that ideal place for the key areas of the picture or shot. Put the primary subject from the shot into one of these simple spots.

Key Essential #2 – Cameras Require White Balancing

White balancing is really an essential requirement of operating a camera. Since a camera doesn't recognize - nor understand, the color white, you should adjust the white balance within the camera correctly.

White Balancing means: Getting rid of improper color casts to ensure that objects that appear white to the eye look correct on camera.

Key Essential #3 – Turning 2D into 3D by Creating Depth inside your Shot

Remarkably, this facet of establishing frame composition completely puzzles many camera operators. Witness homemade videos or video that's done documentary style, and you can observe that there's very little depth inside the shots. Photography and video is 2 dimensional. The camera operator has to distinguish foreground, middle ground and background. This must be established prior to the shot because once the camera starts rolling it is much more difficult to achieve.

Key Essential #4 - Be Prepared to consider Direction

As was mentioned above, you're the one establishing the shot. You compose the shot from beginning to end, but with respect to the director, you need to be prepared to change the final shot, even when you realize it's wrong. The director continues to be in control.

Key Essential #5 - Camera Composition

If you're behind your camera - especially on a large production and you have no idea about many of these terms, you may be in deeper than you think. It will come back to bite you – do your homework and be prepared!

Balance, Symmetry, Leading Lines, Texture, Point of view, Cropping, Natural Framework, Color

Key Essential #6 – Audio came before Video

60% of show content is audio. Audio usually presents more postproduction problems than every other facet of a shoot. Being a camera operator it may seem you do not need to bother about audio. Nothing might be more wrong. You're responsible - especially on a single camera shoot for all the sound.

Key Essential #7 – Look like a Professional

Simply because you're behind your camera does not necessarily mean you may have whatever appearance you would like. You should put on proper attire, arrive at work in a clean fashion and be fully able to go. I've come across good camera operators who’ve been ignored from repeat work opportunities due to their absence of professionalism.

Key Essential #8 – There’s No Need to Boast

Leave this part for the director or producer of the event you've been hired to be part of. While it's true that you might have more experience in a single aspect of the production, never behave like you're above the others on the shoot. This can only result in an ego struggle that you'll lose 99% of times.

Key Essential #9 – Think like a Boy Scout and Come Prepared

You might be the very best camera operator on the planet, but when you arrive at a shoot not really prepared, it won't reflect well on you whatsoever. Crew members should always arrive on site with their preparation done in advance. Make certain that you’re one of the team members that falls into this category.

Key Essential #10 - Never Be Afraid To Voice your Opinion

A shot is simply not working. You should never be afraid to state this towards the director. You need to inform them they aren't getting the very best shot that is available. Leave it to the director to make the ultimate decision but it is important to make your opinion known. The production team will respect you more for your honest approach.

Following these essential key rules as a videographer will help you to go very far within your selected profession. Be ready to perform a large amount of work, but additionally be ready to have numerous fantastic encounters.

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