Digital filmmaker and video producers record images, sound, and other medium that entertain or inform an audience. Videographers capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors construct the final productions from the many different images that camera operators capture. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.
- Choose and present interesting material for an audience
- Work 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, from type of camera to software for editing
- Shoot or edit a scene based on the director's vision
Career Path Examples
- Production Assistant: This entry-level position is a catchall job that includes checking the physical condition and reproduction quality of all commercials, promotional material and public service assignments. The PA is the right hand person of the television producer. A person in this position may provide administrative and professional support in all aspects of production, from conceptualization to the final production. PAs help organize and implement production schedules and work closely with the operations manager in scheduling facilities and equipment.
- Assistant Film/Video Editor: The assistant editor helps to assemble and edit various pre-taped segments together with special effects and sound into a finished program. Videotape editing is a high-technology art form; starting as an assistant allows you to gain experience in sophisticated editing techniques using computerized editing equipment. Videotape is easier to edit than film, though the editor of video is no less important to the final product than the editor of film.
- Camera Operator: Also known as a Videographer, the camera operator is responsible for shooting all films and tapes to be used in a program. Today, most television stations use portable electronic News Gathering (ENG) cameras for location work rather than film. A camera operator must be adept at using many different types of cameras and recorders.
- Gaffer/Lighting Director: The gaffer is responsible for the lighting of a video production. This is another essential, creative job that calls for wizardry and the eye of an artist. The first responsibility of the gaffer is to get enough light on the set so that the cameras can see what is going on in front of them. Proper lighting on a set is essential. Gaffers must work with camera operators and crew to determine the best lighting, so teamwork skills are a must.
- Traffic Coordinator: This person prepares the minute-by-minute schedule of a station’s on-air programming, commercials and public service announcements. He/she may also be responsible for entering all pertinent data into the computer and generating all necessary reports.
- Editor: When the shooting schedule has been completed and everyone is satisfied with the footage, the tapes are brought to the editor. The editor then pieces together the footage into a completed program. Editors and camera crew work closely together. Most of the time, when a production is completed, the editor is often left alone to work with material that is basically unalterable.
- Master Control Operator: The master control operator coordinates the video and audio portions of programming that come from the studio, the networks, pre-recorded segments, satellites, ENG crews and other sources. The person then delivers the signals via the master control switches and processing equipment to the transmitter. They may also cue and roll the film and videotape to ensure smooth transitions from program to commercial breaks.
- Producer: The producer plans and oversees a TV show. Duties include the selection of material and performers and the planning of sets, lights, props and camera angles. The producer hires the director and actors either directly or with the supervising and executive producers. This person is also in charge of keeping productions within budgets and on schedule.
- Production Manager: The production manager answers to the producer and has overall responsibility for conceptualizing, designing and developing programs for television. This function calls for coordinating and directing creative teams that include producers, directors, set builders, graphic artists, and on-air talent. A person in this position must also prepare budget estimates as well as determine space and equipment needs.
- Field Supervisor/Videographer: The videographer has a very specialized job. In the studio, he/she rolls the tape that records the production and rolls the tape that will be used as source material. Many productions of a small scale have videographers right in the control booth. They also monitor audio/visual quality of videotape recordings and work with the master control operator. This is not a particularly demanding job, but if you can get into the networks and land a job of this nature the pay can be excellent.
- Technical Director: The technical director, or TD, is the person who controls the switcher in the control booth. Usually the sources that are available to the TD through the switcher are the cameras’ graphics, the character generator and prepared videotapes; the kinds of sources depend upon the sophistication of the studio’s equipment. The technical director takes command from the director; everything that goes onto the master broadcast tape gets there trough the hands of the TD.
Many work in television broadcasting and others work in motion picture and video industries. Work hours vary with the type of digital filmmaker or producer, though most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting might have to work 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 unemployment after their work on the film is complete and before they are hired for their next job.