The Journey To Becoming A Freelance Cameraman

Freelance Cameraman video marketing

Most of the emails that I have been getting at recently are about venturing in the production sector specifically television on becoming a freelance cameraman. However, before you decide to join this sector you need to ask yourself this question, “Do I want to spend the rest of my life behind a camera?” take time to think about this and do not haste to make the final decision. if you are not sure of how much income cameramen get, here are other interesting facts that you should know.

The Advantages Of Being A Cameraman.

  • You get an opportunity to travel around the world.
  • Meet different people and learn about their culture.
  • This particular job has many opportunities that can be rewarding.

? Work in different places. Today you are recording footage in a beautiful Caribbean beach and the next time, you might find yourself filming inside the London sewer. Most cameramen do experience such cases.

Disadvantages Of Being A freelance Cameraman.

1. one of the disadvantages of venturing in this career is that there are so many expenses that are involved with your job such as the cost of traveling. Especially if you are self-employed and you do not want to lose contracts. Furthermore, as you become older and start a family, it becomes more difficult for you to work since you do not want to spend most of your time away.

2. most cameramen are self-employed. This gives them an opportunity to work with both companies and private clients. However, this type of work might not be convenient for everyone. That is because sometimes it becomes difficult to get contracts with companies especially when there is an economic crisis. During this period most companies do not invest in advertising campaigns and as a result, broadcasters lack the need to commission more programmes, which means there will be no work for the cameramen.

3. Unpredictable. Most cameramen cannot predict when they will be free and when they will be working, especially those who work as freelancers. Most of the conversations that cameramen have with their spouse always leave them hanging. Here is an example of such a conversation, between the spouse and a cameraman.

Spouse: “Are you free this coming weekend, I want us to have a barbeque”

Cameraman: “I might be around or not, I am not sure”

Spouse: “When will you be sure?”

Cameraman: “I do not know.”

This might sound funny, especially to those who do not work in the television sector. But if you do work in the production industry, then you understand that this is normal. Most production houses usually await confirmation of various things such as budget, flights, and the number of people. This is one of the major challenges that production managers face. Sometimes things can be different, but nothing is ever easy. In the future, planning things can be difficult for the cameraman because each decision that he makes affects his family and friends as well.

4. To get an opportunity to work in TV as a camera operator is not easy. That is because there are many applicants who fight for this post. From personal experience, I once applied for a job as a camera assistant in one of the TV stations in 1991, but the problem was that there were other 200 applicants who had applied for the same job. Things might have changed by now since this was a long time ago, but I would not be surprised if nothing has changed.

If you are still interested, in this career even after acknowledging the disadvantages, then you might want to follow these routes to becoming a professional cameraman.

1. Start as a camera assistant. You can start your career here and climb your way up to becoming a certified cameraman. As a camera assistant, you will get an opportunity to acquire more skills and knowledge to become a better cameraman. Furthermore, being a cameraman assistant gives you the opportunity to learn and use different equipment in the field. You will also learn how to deal with clients and other staff members.

It is best you spend a lot of hours assisting a cameraman, rather than reading blogs on camera gear. That is because working with a cameraman will help you acquire the skills needed to operate such gear. Unfortunately, most production houses do not appoint camera assistant because of the low budget. However, you can look for a high budget or long term projects that require a camera assistant. A good example is wildlife documentaries and even commercial advertising projects.

2. Work as a cameraman in a good production company. Even though production companies do give cameramen an opportunity to work for them, only a few send their crews to the field to film projects. Moreover, other production companies are no longer profitable as they used to be in the past, while others generate most of their revenue from editing programmes. Others do not see the use of a cameraman since they specialize in programmes that rely on archive footage. Because of this reason, make sure that you use a PACT directory to find out more about the history of different production companies.

3. look for a broadcaster who is interested in a cameraman. Popular broadcasters cover a lot of programmes such as news and sports, you can look for a broadcaster who is willing to add one more member to their crew. Broadcasters are well equipped with modern camera gear and you can learn a lot while working in this sector.

4. Go Freelance. When I was working for a TV station, a good camera would cost you more than 30k. This is exclusive of other accessories such as lights tripod and other gear used for filming. The total cost was close to that of a small apartment during that time. However, today things have changed and you can get an affordable camera that shoots quality images. But, as a freelancer, you will need more than just a good camera if you want to make your way up the ladder. If not, you can settle to work for small corporates who invest in short term shooting projects. That is why it is advisable that you follow the career routes mentioned above so that you can achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a professional cameraman.

(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)