Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Film and Video Editor Jobs

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  • Broadcast Production / Content Creation Opportunities - FCB Global - New York, NY

    For future opportunities, please make sure to apply here so we have your information ready to go! Who we're looking for: Producers at all levels

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    Submit resume (and samples if applicable) to

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Top 3 Camera Operator Jobs

  • Security Officer - JBM Patrol & Protection Corp. - Madison, WI

    Assigns tasks and supervises the work activities of subordinates

  • Substitute/Relief Camera Operator - Santa Clara County Office of Education - San Jose, CA

    Substitute/Relief Camera Operator Employer: Santa Clara County Office Of Education Date Posted: 10/4/2017 Contact: Meipo Flores

  • Multimedia Content Producer - Red Fuse - Kansas City, MO

    Ideally, you’ll also be responsible for creative production to include animations and short video formats as well as static content. Requirements

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What Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators Do[About this section] [To Top]

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.

Duties of Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators typically do the following:

  • Shoot and record television programs, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events
  • Organize digital footage with video editing software
  • Collaborate with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Select the appropriate equipment, such as the type of lens or lighting
  • Shoot or edit a scene based on the director’s vision

Many camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for its storage and care. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus.

Likewise, editors often have one or more assistants. The assistants support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks.

The increased use of digital filming has changed the work of a large number of editors and camera operators. Many operators prefer using digital cameras because these smaller, more inexpensive instruments give them more flexibility in shooting angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of some camera assistants: instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera.

Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.

The following are examples of types of camera operators:

Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment’s notice and follow the instructions of the show’s director.

Cinematographers film motion pictures. They usually have a team of camera operators and assistants working under them. They determine the angles and types of equipment that will best capture a shot. They also adjust the lighting in a shot, because that is an important part of how the image looks.

Cinematographers may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them, or they may use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some cinematographers sit on cranes to film and action scene; others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action.

Some cinematographers specialize in filming cartoons or special effects.

Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post their work on video-sharing websites for prospective clients. Most videographers edit their own material.

Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public. They also get copyright protection for their work and keep financial records.

Many editors and camera operators, particularly videographers, put their creative work online. If it becomes popular, they gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance opportunities.

Work Environment for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators[About this section] [To Top]

Film and video editors and camera operators typically work in studios or in office settings. Camera operators and videographers often shoot raw footage on location.

Film and video editors hold about 33,500 jobs. About 48 percent are employed by motion picture and video industries and 8 percent work in television broadcasting. About 3 out of 10 film and video editors are self-employed.

Camera operators held about 25,400 jobs. About 28 percent work in motion picture and video industries, and 22 percent work in radio and television broadcasting. About 3 out of 10 camera operators are self-employed.

Film and video editors work in editing rooms by themselves, or with producers and directors, for many hours at a time. Cinematographers and operators who film movies or TV shows may film on location and be away from home for months at a time. Operators who travel must usually carry heavy equipment to their shooting locations.

Some camera operators work in uncomfortable or even dangerous conditions, such as severe weather, military conflicts, and natural disasters. They may have to stand for long periods waiting for an event to take place. They may carry heavy equipment while on shooting assignment.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Work Schedules

Work hours vary with the type of operator or editor, although most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting may put in additional hours to meet a deadline. Those who work in the motion picture industry may have long, irregular hours while filming, but go through a period of looking for work once a film is complete and before they are hired for their next job.

How to Become a Film and Video Editor or Camera Operator[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators near you!

Film and video editors and camera operators typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Education

Most editor and camera operator positions require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting, such as communications. Many colleges offer courses in cinematography or video-editing software. Coursework involves a mix of film theory with practical training.

Film and video editors and camera operators must have an understanding of digital cameras and editing software because both are now used on film sets.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Training

Editors may complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers may offer new employees training in the type of specialized editing software they use. Most editors eventually specialize in one type of software, but beginners should be familiar with as many types as possible.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is a way for editors to demonstrate competence in various types of editing software. To earn certification, video editors must pass a comprehensive exam. Candidates can prepare for the exam on their own, through online tutorials, or through classroom instruction.

Important Qualities for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Communication skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must communicate with other members of a production team, including producers and directors, to ensure that the project goes smoothly.

Computer skills. Film and video editors must use sophisticated editing software.

Creativity. Film and video editors and camera operators should be able to imagine what the result of their filming or editing will look like to an audience.

Detail oriented. Editors look at every frame of film and decide what should be kept and what should be cut in order to maintain the best content.

Hand–eye coordination. Camera operators need to be able to move about the action while holding a camera steady.

Physical stamina. Camera operators may need to carry heavy equipment for long periods of time, particularly when they are filming on location.

Visual skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must be able to see clearly what they are filming or editing in the postproduction process.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for camera operators, television, video, and motion picture is $49,080. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $105,120.

The median annual wage for film and video editors is $61,750. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $155,840.

Work hours vary for the different types of operators and editors, although most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting may put in long hours to meet a deadline. Those who work in the motion picture industry may have long, irregular hours while filming, but go through a period of looking for work once a film is complete and before they are hired for their next job.

Job Outlook for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of film and video editors is projected to grow 18 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of camera operators is projected to grow 2 percent through 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Production companies and video freelancers are working with new content delivery methods, such as mobile and online TV, which may lead to more work for editors and camera operators.

In broadcasting, the consolidation of roles, such as field reporters who edit their own work, and the increasing reliance on amateur film footage, may lead to fewer jobs for editors and camera operators at TV stations. However, more editors are expected to be needed in the motion picture industry because of an increase in special effects and overall available content.

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators Job Prospects

Most job openings are projected to be in entertainment hubs such as New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles because specialized editing workers are in demand there. Still, film and video editors and camera operators will face strong competition for jobs. Those with more experience at a TV station or on a film set should have the best prospects. Video editors can also improve their prospects by developing skills with different types of specialized editing software.

Employment projections data for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors 58,900 65,300 11 6,400
  Camera operators, television, video, and motion picture 25,400 25,900 2 500
  Film and video editors 33,500 39,400 18 5,900


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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