Professional-cameraman---credit-maxim-blinkov_banner© Maxim Blinkov

Camera Trainee

Film | High End TV
Personality type:

The lowdown 

  • Learning the craft of camera operating
  • Assisting the 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Carrying out a range of tasks from making tea and coffee to handling camera equipment and administration

Is this role right for me? 

To do this role, you will need to: 

  • have a good basic knowledge of cameras and photographic processes
  • be willing to learn
  • have enthusiasm for the job
  • be willing to perform menial tasks when necessary
  • be able to listen
  • take direction
  • have good communication skills
  • know about Health and Safety legislation and procedures

What does a Camera Trainee do?

The role of Camera Trainee is the most junior role in the Camera Department and provides the opportunity to learn the craft. This apprenticeship role lasts a minimum of two years and includes television drama, commercials and features to give as much experience as possible.

Most Camera Trainees work closely with all members of the Camera Department, but they specifically assist the 2nd Assistant Camera (AC).

Their responsibilities range from making tea and coffee to more complex tasks such as handling lenses, filling out camera reports, and eventually (towards the final stages of their training), to loading and downloading film magazines. 

On bigger budget films, Camera Trainees may work as part of the 2nd Unit Camera, assisting the 2nd AC and helping to manage the heavy workload.

Will I need a qualification? 

You can take the The National Film and Television School’s foundation course: 16mm Film and Video Assistants, which will provide you with a complete overview of the role. The course combines the theory of the principles of photography and video with practical exercises in using film and video cameras -  loading, focus pulling, first line maintenance and using different lenses and film stocks.

Or, you could study one of their industry-recognised, short courses.

You could take a degree in stills photography to gain a good, all-round understanding of composition and light. However, a drama, art or a film/media studies degree all provide a good grounding.

If you are considering taking a film production course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the film industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in film:

Film production courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick 

What’s the best route in?

You can expect to start off by working on shorts or student films and learn your basic skills on the job. 

Alternatively, you could work as a runner for one of the large camera facilities houses (Panavision, ARRI etc), where you will gain experience of handling cameras, and meet 1st and 2nd ACs who may be willing to help you find work as part of a camera crew.

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Where might the role take me?

You can move on to become 1st AC and eventually, 2nd AC.

Interested? Find out more...




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