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CAMERAPERSON: Cinematography Is A Skill, Thick Skin Is A Must

About this video 

Phil, a 1st Assistant Cameraperson is in charge of making sure that all actors and actresses stay in focus as they move throughout the frames. His advice: Have thick skin. The film industry is all about rejection, and it's how you handle that rejection that sets you apart from the rest.

Degree: Psychology
Job Title: Assistant Cameraman

Job Summary: Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Motion Picture

Job Description

Film and video editors and camera operators record images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators 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 camera operators capture. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.

On-the-Job Training

moderate on-the-job training

Additional Info

Most film editors have had several years of experience in related jobs before they are given an opportunity as an editor. Like camera operators, editors typically start out on small productions and move on to bigger and more expensive ones as they gain experience.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$20,000 - $80,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Irregular, Long hours
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Outdoor, Physically demanding, Remote, Travel
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Creativity, Detail oriented, Hand-eye coordination, Technical skills, Artistic

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='0'>Hi.</span> <span m='240'>My</span> <span m='430'>name's</span> <span m='590'>Phil Bowen.</span> <span m='1720'>I</span> <span m='1790'>work as</span> <span m='2080'>a first</span> <span m='2130'>assistant</span> <span m='2630'>cameraman</span> <span m='3190'>in</span> <span m='3380'>the</span> <span m='3660'>film</span> <span m='4059'>world.</span> <span m='4990'>My</span> <span m='5350'>current</span> <span m='5780'>job</span> <span m='6440'>is</span> <span m='6690'>I</span> <span m='6750'>work</span> <span m='7050'>as</span> <span m='7400'>a</span> <span m='7490'>first assistant</span> <span m='8340'>called the</span> <span m='8610'>focus</span> <span m='8980'>puller</span> <span m='9990'>in</span> <span m='10470'>the</span> <span m='10510'>industry.</span> <span m='10940'>I also</span> <span m='11200'>teach</span> <span m='11430'>a</span> <span m='11490'>course</span> <span m='11820'>at</span> <span m='11880'>the</span> <span m='11970'>Academy of Art</span> <span m='12330'>University.</span> <span m='12980'>I</span> <span m='13030'>teach a</span> <span m='13260'>course on</span> <span m='13630'>cinematography,</span> <span m='14940'>junior</span> <span m='15250'>level.</span> </p><p><span m='19230'>What</span> <span m='19510'>do</span> <span m='19620'>I</span> <span m='19730'>do</span> <span m='20020'>on</span> <span m='20310'>a</span> <span m='20580'>typical</span> <span m='21100'>day</span> <span m='21300'>or</span> <span m='21450'>week?</span> <span m='22890'>Every</span> <span m='23080'>week's</span> <span m='23320'>different.</span> <span m='24510'>Unless</span> <span m='24850'>I'm</span> <span m='24910'>on</span> <span m='25060'>a</span> <span m='25110'>movie,</span> <span m='25740'>every week</span> <span m='25990'>I have a</span> <span m='26260'>different</span> <span m='26480'>employer.</span> <span m='27060'>Last</span> <span m='27290'>week</span> <span m='27450'>I</span> <span m='27490'>worked</span> <span m='27700'>for</span> <span m='27800'>Intel.</span> <span m='28170'>The</span> <span m='28230'>week</span> <span m='28360'>before</span> <span m='28500'>that I</span> <span m='28700'>worked</span> <span m='28870'>for</span> <span m='28990'>Gallo</span> <span m='29330'>Wine.</span> </p><p><span m='30750'>Some of</span> <span m='30980'>the</span> <span m='31080'>movies</span> <span m='31350'>I</span> <span m='31380'>worked</span> <span m='31650'>on</span> <span m='31850'>are--</span> <span m='32200'><i>Hunt</i></span> <span m='32670'><i>for Red October</i></span> <span m='32910'>is my</span> <span m='33010'>first</span> <span m='33370'>movie.</span> <span m='35515'>On a</span> <span m='35790'>film</span> <span m='36100'>set,</span> <span m='36560'>I'm the</span> <span m='36640'>head</span> <span m='36870'>technician,</span> <span m='37170'>so</span> <span m='37470'>I'm</span> <span m='37730'>called</span> <span m='37990'>first</span> <span m='38380'>assistant</span> <span m='38450'>cameraman.</span> <span m='39350'>I'm</span> <span m='39570'>in</span> <span m='39660'>charge</span> <span m='40070'>of</span> <span m='40120'>the</span> <span m='40190'>motion</span> <span m='40430'>picture</span> <span m='40650'>camera.</span> <span m='41070'>I'm the</span> <span m='41380'>person that</span> <span m='41790'>builds</span> <span m='42110'>it.</span> <span m='42600'>I</span> <span m='42700'>put</span> <span m='42880'>the</span> <span m='42950'>film</span> <span m='43340'>in</span> <span m='43440'>it.</span> <span m='43740'>I put</span> <span m='43910'>the</span> <span m='43990'>lenses</span> <span m='44470'>on</span> <span m='44940'>it. And I</span> <span m='45100'>also</span> <span m='45490'>run</span> <span m='45680'>it.</span> </p><p><span m='46120'>The</span> <span m='46220'>director</span> <span m='46470'>of</span> <span m='46560'>photography,</span> <span m='47430'>he</span> <span m='47580'>does</span> <span m='47780'>the</span> <span m='47880'>lighting</span> <span m='48200'>on</span> <span m='48270'>the</span> <span m='48340'>set.</span> <span m='49800'>I</span> <span m='51590'>do</span> <span m='51910'>everything</span> <span m='52210'>else</span> <span m='52350'>around</span> <span m='52670'>that</span> <span m='52880'>camera.</span> <span m='53350'>And</span> <span m='53480'>my</span> <span m='53570'>main</span> <span m='53880'>job</span> <span m='54300'>is</span> <span m='54520'>to</span> <span m='54630'>keep</span> <span m='54840'>the</span> <span m='54900'>actors</span> <span m='55200'>in</span> <span m='55290'>focus</span> <span m='55720'>as</span> <span m='55900'>they</span> <span m='55990'>move</span> <span m='56220'>through</span> <span m='56340'>the</span> <span m='56470'>set,</span> <span m='56780'>so I'm called</span> <span m='57220'>a</span> <span m='57530'>focus puller</span> <span m='58030'>or</span> <span m='58410'>first assistant</span> <span m='58510'>cameraman.</span> </p><p><span m='59770'>And</span> <span m='59900'>I'm</span> <span m='60010'>in</span> <span m='60080'>charge</span> <span m='60340'>of</span> <span m='60380'>the</span> <span m='60450'>camera</span> <span m='60730'>department,</span> <span m='61480'>so I'm</span> <span m='61650'>like</span> <span m='61820'>a</span> <span m='61880'>sergeant</span> <span m='62370'>in</span> <span m='62440'>the</span> <span m='62510'>military,</span> <span m='62940'>World</span> <span m='63230'>War,</span> <span m='63790'>I</span> <span m='63940'>run</span> <span m='64209'>everything.</span> <span m='64940'>And I</span> <span m='65069'>keep</span> <span m='65230'>everything</span> <span m='65519'>going.</span> <span m='66220'>The</span> <span m='66310'>director</span> <span m='66640'>of</span> <span m='66890'>photography</span> <span m='67000'>works</span> <span m='67310'>with the actors.</span> <span m='68080'>He works</span> <span m='68230'>with</span> <span m='68410'>the</span> <span m='68560'>director.</span> <span m='69310'>He</span> <span m='69410'>works with</span> <span m='69650'>the</span> <span m='69760'>lighting</span> <span m='70080'>guys.</span> <span m='71160'>I'm</span> <span m='71310'>the</span> <span m='71380'>head</span> <span m='71620'>technician</span> <span m='72260'>on the</span> <span m='72540'>camera.</span> </p><p><span m='73980'>What is</span> <span m='74300'>your</span> <span m='74490'>career</span> <span m='74990'>educational</span> <span m='75770'>path?</span> <span m='76670'>I</span> <span m='76950'>went to the</span> <span m='77130'>University</span> <span m='77460'>of</span> <span m='77510'>California,</span> <span m='77900'>Santa</span> <span m='78160'>Barbara.</span> <span m='78790'>I</span> <span m='78870'>have</span> <span m='78960'>a</span> <span m='78990'>degree</span> <span m='79240'>in</span> <span m='79310'>ecology.</span> </p><p><span m='81930'>How</span> <span m='82370'>I</span> <span m='82470'>got into the</span> <span m='82740'>film</span> <span m='82940'>business</span> <span m='83400'>is</span> <span m='83700'>kind</span> <span m='83870'>of indirect.</span> <span m='84700'>My</span> <span m='84800'>first</span> <span m='85100'>job</span> <span m='85330'>out</span> <span m='85440'>of</span> <span m='85490'>college</span> <span m='86030'>was</span> <span m='86260'>working</span> <span m='86510'>with</span> <span m='86590'>the</span> <span m='86650'>solar</span> <span m='87010'>industry</span> <span m='89090'>selling</span> <span m='89450'>solar</span> <span m='89750'>systems</span> <span m='90100'>for</span> <span m='90230'>swimming</span> <span m='90510'>pools.</span> <span m='91310'>In college I</span> <span m='91690'>was a water pole</span> <span m='92550'>player/swimmer,</span> <span m='93190'>so</span> <span m='93610'>I</span> <span m='93730'>have an</span> <span m='93880'>aquatic</span> <span m='94180'>background.</span> <span m='95040'>And</span> <span m='95700'>so</span> <span m='95900'>I</span> <span m='95960'>kind</span> <span m='96140'>of</span> <span m='96210'>fell</span> <span m='96410'>right</span> <span m='96570'>into</span> <span m='96750'>that.</span> </p><p><span m='97390'>But</span> <span m='97850'>from</span> <span m='98040'>then,</span> <span m='98430'>I</span> <span m='98840'>went</span> <span m='99080'>to Australia and</span> <span m='99490'>played</span> <span m='99650'>water</span> <span m='99990'>polo</span> <span m='100240'>professionally.</span> <span m='100550'>I</span> <span m='100860'>came</span> <span m='101110'>back</span> <span m='101490'>and</span> <span m='101630'>got a</span> <span m='101740'>job</span> <span m='102040'>in</span> <span m='102230'>the</span> <span m='102320'>film</span> <span m='102570'>industry</span> <span m='102930'>indirectly.</span> <span m='103370'>I</span> <span m='103700'>didn't</span> <span m='103840'>know</span> <span m='104090'>I was</span> <span m='104220'>going</span> <span m='104320'>to</span> <span m='104360'>go</span> <span m='104630'>into</span> <span m='104830'>the</span> <span m='104970'>film industry.</span> <span m='105590'>I</span> <span m='105690'>just</span> <span m='105800'>kind</span> <span m='105940'>of</span> <span m='106040'>fell</span> <span m='106290'>into</span> <span m='106570'>it.</span> <span m='106940'>Then for</span> <span m='107150'>years</span> <span m='107360'>I did</span> <span m='107580'>documentaries.</span> <span m='107960'>Then I</span> <span m='108340'>started</span> <span m='108690'>working on</span> <span m='109040'>feature</span> <span m='109400'>films.</span> </p><p><span m='110730'>All right.</span> </p><p><span m='112720'>What</span> <span m='113090'>do</span> <span m='113190'>you</span> <span m='113360'>wish</span> <span m='113810'>you</span> <span m='114390'>knew</span> <span m='114770'>when</span> <span m='114950'>you</span> <span m='115230'>started</span> <span m='115610'>your</span> <span m='115700'>career?</span> <span m='122411'>You know,</span> <span m='122900'>if</span> <span m='123110'>I</span> <span m='123190'>had</span> <span m='123400'>to</span> <span m='123440'>start</span> <span m='123660'>my</span> <span m='123730'>career</span> <span m='123985'>over</span> <span m='124240'>again,</span> <span m='124820'>because</span> <span m='125130'>I</span> <span m='125170'>liked</span> <span m='125460'>working in</span> <span m='125840'>what I was</span> <span m='126240'>doing,</span> <span m='127670'>I would have probably</span> <span m='127810'>moved</span> <span m='128039'>to</span> <span m='128120'>Los</span> <span m='128380'>Angeles,</span> <span m='129350'>because</span> <span m='129580'>in</span> <span m='129889'>the</span> <span m='130320'>beginning,</span> <span m='130550'>I liked</span> <span m='130800'>working</span> <span m='131039'>on</span> <span m='131170'>movies.</span> <span m='131970'>Like</span> <span m='132130'>I</span> <span m='132150'>said,</span> <span m='132330'>my</span> <span m='132430'>first</span> <span m='132650'>movie was</span> <span m='132910'><i>Hunt for Red</i></span> <span m='133170'><i>October.</i></span> <span m='133710'>I</span> <span m='133750'>worked</span> <span m='133980'>on</span> <span m='134050'><i>The</i></span> <span m='134180'><i>Kingdom</i>,</span> <span m='134970'>last two</span> <span m='135370'>episodes,</span> <span m='136770'><i>Episode</i></span> <span m='136970'><i>II,</i></span> <span m='137240'><i>Episode III</i></span> <span m='137430'>of</span> <span m='137590'><i>Star</i></span> <span m='137870'><i>Wars.</i></span> </p><p><span m='139060'>If</span> <span m='139230'>I</span> <span m='139310'>really</span> <span m='139660'>wanted</span> <span m='139940'>to</span> <span m='140000'>stay</span> <span m='140290'>in</span> <span m='140470'>the</span> <span m='140550'>feature</span> <span m='140990'>world,</span> <span m='141580'>I</span> <span m='141680'>should</span> <span m='141850'>have</span> <span m='141940'>gone</span> <span m='142130'>to</span> <span m='142200'>Los</span> <span m='142440'>Angeles.</span> <span m='143420'>But I</span> <span m='143820'>was happy</span> <span m='144100'>living</span> <span m='144250'>in</span> <span m='144320'>the</span> <span m='144390'>Bay</span> <span m='144590'>Area.</span> <span m='144880'>I'm</span> <span m='145000'>kind</span> <span m='145170'>of</span> <span m='145210'>glad I</span> <span m='145470'>stayed</span> <span m='145610'>in the</span> <span m='145690'>Bay Area.</span> <span m='146010'>But</span> <span m='146560'>for a</span> <span m='146790'>career</span> <span m='147285'>move,</span> <span m='148550'>I</span> <span m='148660'>should</span> <span m='148830'>have</span> <span m='148890'>moved</span> <span m='149070'>to</span> <span m='149140'>Los</span> <span m='149370'>Angeles.</span> <span m='149720'>I</span> <span m='149900'>would have</span> <span m='150310'>probably done a</span> <span m='150370'>lot</span> <span m='150550'>more</span> <span m='150710'>things</span> <span m='151150'>and</span> <span m='151360'>probably</span> <span m='151630'>have</span> <span m='151930'>been--</span> <span m='152250'>I won't</span> <span m='152450'>say</span> <span m='152580'>more</span> <span m='152760'>famous,</span> <span m='153140'>but</span> <span m='153310'>I would</span> <span m='153440'>have</span> <span m='153680'>been</span> <span m='154160'>an</span> <span m='154640'>A</span> <span m='155105'>first</span> <span m='155570'>in our</span> <span m='155800'>business.</span> </p><p><span m='157500'>To</span> <span m='157600'>get</span> <span m='157720'>a</span> <span m='157760'>job</span> <span m='158000'>like</span> <span m='158190'>mine,</span> <span m='158800'>you</span> <span m='159050'>probably</span> <span m='159470'>have</span> <span m='159950'>to</span> <span m='160890'>handle</span> <span m='161210'>a lot of</span> <span m='161360'>rejection,</span> <span m='162780'>in</span> <span m='162910'>the</span> <span m='162980'>sense</span> <span m='163290'>that</span> <span m='163600'>you</span> <span m='163680'>apply</span> <span m='163950'>for</span> <span m='164110'>jobs,</span> <span m='164540'>you</span> <span m='164620'>don't</span> <span m='164810'>get them.</span> <span m='165450'>You</span> <span m='165610'>work</span> <span m='165840'>for a</span> <span m='165990'>director</span> <span m='166390'>of photography,</span> <span m='166730'>all of a sudden</span> <span m='166970'>the next</span> <span m='167290'>job,</span> <span m='167500'>he hires</span> <span m='167890'>another</span> <span m='168180'>person.</span> <span m='168670'>But</span> <span m='168740'>then</span> <span m='168900'>he</span> <span m='169090'>might</span> <span m='169230'>hire you</span> <span m='169400'>again</span> <span m='169670'>later</span> <span m='169970'>on.</span> <span m='170540'>He</span> <span m='170700'>may</span> <span m='170850'>want</span> <span m='171040'>to</span> <span m='171080'>use</span> <span m='171310'>different</span> <span m='171560'>people</span> <span m='172120'>for</span> <span m='172240'>different</span> <span m='172580'>jobs,</span> <span m='173170'>for</span> <span m='173330'>different</span> <span m='173660'>skill</span> <span m='173900'>sets,</span> <span m='174530'>so</span> <span m='174670'>you've</span> <span m='174750'>got</span> <span m='174920'>to</span> <span m='174970'>have</span> <span m='175210'>like a</span> <span m='175440'>thick</span> <span m='175710'>skin.</span> <span m='176060'>You've</span> <span m='176100'>got</span> <span m='176280'>to</span> <span m='176530'>handle</span> <span m='176560'>rejection.</span> </p><p><span m='177580'>My</span> <span m='177780'>advice</span> <span m='178100'>for</span> <span m='178220'>people</span> <span m='178530'>in the</span> <span m='178610'>cinematography</span> <span m='179320'>world</span> <span m='180310'>is</span> <span m='181500'>you're</span> <span m='181660'>not</span> <span m='182000'>born a</span> <span m='182260'>cinematographer.</span> <span m='183900'>It's</span> <span m='184120'>a</span> <span m='184170'>skill.</span> <span m='185200'>The</span> <span m='185310'>more</span> <span m='185540'>you</span> <span m='185650'>do,</span> <span m='185950'>the</span> <span m='185960'>better</span> <span m='186170'>you</span> <span m='186420'>get at</span> <span m='186780'>your</span> <span m='186910'>craft.</span> </p><p><span m='187380'>It's</span> <span m='187510'>like</span> <span m='187660'>a</span> <span m='187740'>carpenter.</span> <span m='188410'>When</span> <span m='188570'>you</span> <span m='188650'>build</span> <span m='188860'>your</span> <span m='188950'>first</span> <span m='189260'>house,</span> <span m='190320'>it</span> <span m='190400'>may</span> <span m='190500'>look</span> <span m='190670'>crappy.</span> <span m='191260'>When</span> <span m='191450'>you</span> <span m='191520'>build</span> <span m='191680'>your</span> <span m='191810'>30th</span> <span m='192070'>house,</span> <span m='192510'>it's going to</span> <span m='192700'>look</span> <span m='192860'>really</span> <span m='193010'>good.</span> <span m='193770'>It's</span> <span m='194020'>not</span> <span m='194380'>something</span> <span m='194650'>you're</span> <span m='194760'>born</span> <span m='195160'>to.</span> </p><p><span m='195720'>And</span> <span m='195880'>my</span> <span m='196020'>job,</span> <span m='196540'>as</span> <span m='196730'>a</span> <span m='196760'>first assistant</span> <span m='197180'>cameraman,</span> <span m='197940'>every</span> <span m='198160'>time</span> <span m='198380'>I</span> <span m='198450'>do</span> <span m='198700'>it</span> <span m='198790'>I</span> <span m='198930'>learn</span> <span m='199180'>something.</span> <span m='199630'>I</span> <span m='199690'>get</span> <span m='199820'>a</span> <span m='199860'>little</span> <span m='199960'>bit</span> <span m='200170'>better</span> <span m='200480'>at</span> <span m='200710'>it.</span> <span m='201070'>So</span> <span m='201320'>it's</span> <span m='201390'>an</span> <span m='201600'>acquired</span> <span m='202200'>skill.</span> <span m='202850'>It's</span> <span m='203030'>not</span> <span m='203190'>something</span> <span m='203440'>I was</span> <span m='203540'>born</span> <span m='203930'>into</span> <span m='204660'>or</span> <span m='205290'>as</span> <span m='205470'>a</span> <span m='205510'>gift</span> <span m='205910'>like</span> <span m='206060'>a</span> <span m='206100'>baseball</span> <span m='206560'>player</span> <span m='206820'>who can</span> <span m='207000'>hit</span> <span m='207200'>a</span> <span m='207240'>baseball</span> <span m='207910'>or a</span> <span m='208140'>pitcher</span> <span m='208520'>who can</span> <span m='208610'>pitch.</span> </p><p><span m='209380'>Our</span> <span m='209550'>business</span> <span m='210000'>is</span> <span m='210360'>acquired</span> <span m='210890'>skills.</span> <span m='211760'>And</span> <span m='211930'>the</span> <span m='212000'>more</span> <span m='212200'>you</span> <span m='212320'>learn,</span> <span m='212620'>the</span> <span m='212720'>better</span> <span m='212810'>you</span> <span m='212890'>get</span> <span m='213040'>at your craft.</span> <span m='213760'>And</span> <span m='213870'>it's</span> <span m='214030'>a</span> <span m='214100'>craft</span> <span m='214930'>business.</span> <span m='215750'>Some</span> <span m='215850'>people</span> <span m='216080'>think,</span> <span m='216270'>oh,</span> <span m='216590'>I'm</span> <span m='216790'>going to be a</span> <span m='217230'>famous</span> <span m='217530'>cinematographer</span> <span m='218160'>because</span> <span m='218750'>I</span> <span m='218930'>have</span> <span m='219040'>a</span> <span m='219090'>great</span> <span m='219330'>eye.</span> <span m='220400'>You</span> <span m='220630'>need</span> <span m='220950'>to</span> <span m='221100'>learn</span> <span m='221330'>the</span> <span m='221420'>skills</span> <span m='222030'>to</span> <span m='222240'>do</span> <span m='222450'>this</span> <span m='222570'>stuff.</span> </p><p><span m='222920'>So</span> <span m='223280'>just</span> <span m='223620'>practice</span> <span m='224020'>your</span> <span m='224160'>craft.</span> <span m='225040'>That would</span> <span m='225130'>be</span> <span m='225280'>my</span> <span m='225460'>suggestion.</span> <span m='226260'>And</span> <span m='226330'>keep</span> <span m='226530'>working</span> <span m='226820'>at it.</span> </p><p><span m='227180'>Don't</span> <span m='227430'>think</span> <span m='227620'>you</span> <span m='227730'>know</span> <span m='227900'>everything,</span> <span m='228540'>because</span> <span m='229240'>especially</span> <span m='229600'>now</span> <span m='229940'>with the</span> <span m='230140'>HD</span> <span m='230560'>world,</span> <span m='231140'>our</span> <span m='231310'>cameras</span> <span m='231650'>are</span> <span m='231710'>changing</span> <span m='232080'>every</span> <span m='232270'>month.</span> <span m='232930'>So</span> <span m='233100'>I</span> <span m='233380'>have to stay up</span> <span m='233810'>on</span> <span m='233880'>my</span> <span m='233980'>craft.</span> <span m='234420'>I</span> <span m='234720'>have</span> <span m='234860'>to</span> <span m='234940'>keep</span> <span m='235130'>learning</span> <span m='235490'>new</span> <span m='235620'>gear</span> <span m='235950'>all</span> <span m='236080'>the</span> <span m='236180'>time.</span> </p>","file":{"id":227309,"video_id":"2707847669001","name":"66378288","duration":237632,"thumbnail_url":null}});