A videographer records events like weddings and documentaries using video cameras. You could be working on your own as a freelance videographer or together with other members of a company production team that shoots commercials, short films and training videos, among others.
While your main task is capturing live action using your video camera and other equipment, you will also be assuming other roles especially if you are working freelance. You will also assume the director’s duties, determining the best angle for a shot and setting up video camera equipment. You will also work as a video editor. After taking the video footage, you will be using editing software to insert graphics and text as well as adding special effects if these are necessary to the footage. You will also be taking out scenes which are not anymore needed for the film’s final product.
Operating video cameras in a studio setting also entails using audio mixing equipment and setting audio microphones to control volume. If studio lighting interferes with the quality of the image produced by the video camera, you will work with the lighting director to make adjustments to the studio lights. When you’re working for a television channel, part of your work will be to prepare the background footage that will be used in the live reports. Thus, you may also be asked to get footage in the field where you will be responsible for setting up portable equipment to capture the needed scenes.
You must also possess technical knowledge about the video equipment you are operating because you will also be responsible for routine equipment maintenance. You should know how to take care of your digital hard drive, tape drive video, flash cards and other devices you use in your job. Because technology has also influenced how footages are taken these days, you should also be updated on the latest technological advancements in the field.
To succeed in this job requires excellent hand-eye coordination since you will not necessarily be staying steady when taking footages. You will be moving about so you need to have the ability to keep the camera steady even as you are running or walking in order to take a good shot. You also need to be able to visualize the kind of scene you want even before you make the recording so that you will know how to position the camera, make the necessary adjustments to lighting and do other preparatory tasks. You should also be keen about details since you will be in-charge of editing the videos and cutting out the portions that aren’t needed for the final production. Since you will be working with other members of the production team, you also need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills so that the goals of the project are met.
One reason to become a videographer is that it combines your love for capturing scenes, live movement and people with the technical aspects of video production. You will have the opportunity to choose the best equipment to use for a particular scene, to edit the scenes that are not necessary and to ultimately put together all the footages so that they become one continuous whole. Since most videographers work freelance, you also get the opportunity to choose the kind of projects you can work on. Videographers also earn decent living wages.
Videographer Work Environment
Videographers, together with camera operators and cinematographers, are employed by motion picture and video industries. They also work with television channels. Around 24 percent of video editors are self-employed, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Work hours for videographers may be long and irregular. They may need to travel to various locations to do the filming and will have to bring their heavy equipment with them. When on location, they may have to work in inclement weather and dangerous conditions just to be able to capture the necessary footages. For self-employed videographers, part of their job is securing contracts to shoot documentaries, commercials and other events in order make their business thrive.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies videographers, studio camera operators and cinematographers as film and video editors and camera operators. The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the agency revealed that the mean annual wage of film and video editors where videographers are a part of is $69,490. This is a considerably higher than the $52,530 paid to television, video and motion picture camera operators. The mean annual wage of television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors is $62,120.
Videographer Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a three percent employment rate of film and video editors and camera operators for the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022. This rate is lower than the national average for all job types. While automatic camera systems will stifle the demand for camera operators in television stations, there will continue to be work for videographers because of new video platforms like mobile and online TV where their skills and expertise will be needed. Moreover, video editors will also be needed in the movie industry as the trend moves towards better special effects through the use of computer software programs. The best job opportunities for videographers can be found in New York and Los Angeles, although there will continue to be intense competition for available positions.
The entry point for this profession is typically a bachelor’s degree in digital media, video production and related fields. These programs typically include courses in video editing software and camera operation. These are usually on-campus programs since the students have to be trained at using hardware and software that they will be encountering on the job. They are also taught editing software since film outfits are now moving towards using this medium. In these programs, discussions in film theory are combined with practical hands-on training.