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Career and Education Opportunities for Camera Operators in Irvine, California

If you want to be a camera operator, the Irvine, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 7,100 people work as camera operators in California. This is expected to grow 17% to about 8,300 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for camera operators are expected to grow by about 9.2%. Camera operators generally operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.

Income for camera operators is about $21 hourly or $43,800 yearly on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $20 hourly or $41,670 per year. Incomes for camera operators are not quite as good as in the overall category of Media Technical in California, and better than the overall Media Technical category nationally. Jobs in this field include: production technician, director, and field producer.

There are 112 schools of higher education in the Irvine area, including three within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree to start your career as a camera operator. The most common level of education for camera operators is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a camera operator if you already have a high school diploma.


Camera Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, camera operators operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.

Camera operators use cameras in any of several different camera mounts such as stationary, track-mounted, or crane-mounted. They also operate zoom lenses, changing images according to given requirements and rehearsal instructions. Finally, camera operators operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts or motion pictures.

Every day, camera operators are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for camera operators to adjust positions and controls of cameras and related apparatus to change focus and lighting. They are often called upon to gather and edit raw footage on location to send to television affiliates for broadcast, using electronic news-gathering or film-production equipment. They also observe sets or locations for potential problems and to establish filming and lighting requirements. They are sometimes expected to test and maintain apparatus to insure proper working condition. Somewhat less frequently, camera operators are also expected to view films to deal with problems of exposure control, subject and camera movement, changes in subject distance, and related variables.

Camera operators sometimes are asked to label and record contents of exposed film, and note details on report forms. They also have to be able to download exposed film for shipment to processing labs and read charts and compute ratios to establish variables such as lighting and camera distances. And finally, they sometimes have to ready slates that describe the scenes being filmed.

Like many other jobs, camera operators must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Irvine include:

  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.


Chapman University - Orange, CA

Chapman University, One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866. Chapman University is a medium sized university located in Orange, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,131 students and an admission rate of 50%. Chapman University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated ninety-four and seventy-seven students respectively in 2008.

Saddleback College - Mission Viejo, CA

Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Pky, Mission Viejo, CA 92692-3635. Saddleback College is a large college located in Mission Viejo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,706 students. Saddleback College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production.

Orange Coast College - Costa Mesa, CA

Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5005. Orange Coast College is a large college located in Costa Mesa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,700 students. Orange Coast College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated five, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.


Certified Legal Video Specialist: The use of video in the legal environment is growing fast.

For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.


Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.