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Reel Opportunities

Camera Trainee

Also known as: 3rd Camera Assistant

What does a Camera Trainee do?

Camera Trainees work with all members of the camera crew, but they usually work most closely with the 2nd AC or Clapper Loader.
They help prepare the equipment at the beginning of the job and may be involved with camera and lens tests. They might mark actors’ positions during rehearsals and keep records, camera logs and other paperwork ready for the edit.

Monitoring can be a big part of the role; setting up the monitors, cables and wireless. If there isn’t a dedicated monitor operator, it becomes the role of the Trainee. Experienced Trainees may also be asked to take on the responsibility of using the clapperboard, changing camera batteries and helping the Focus Puller (1st AC).

The scope of the job changes depending on the size of the production. They might start out making tea and coffee and getting the sides (printouts of the scenes to be shot that day) from the production office to the camera department. On bigger productions, they might help with the second unit camera, a camera set up to do secondary shoots while the main action is taking place elsewhere.

What's a Camera Trainee good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus and story-telling

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe the Clapper Loader and Focus Puller and ask questions at the appropriate moments

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked, stay calm under pressure

  • Reliability

    Arrive to set on time and also be focused on set

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, write accurate and detailed camera reports

Who does a Camera Trainee work with?

Camera Trainees mainly work with the Clapper Loader (2nd AC) but they also come into contact with the Focus Puller, Camera Operator, Director of Photography (DoP) and the wider camera department.

How do I become a Camera Trainee?

IATSE has an excellent apprenticeship training programme that is the most direct way into this field. You can also learn a lot about cameras and other equipment in a film production programme in college, university, or independent training programmes. Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, take courses that let you explore different subjects, ideally with some combination of art, art and design or graphic communication with math and physics.

Get work experience: Contact video making companies and ask if you can do work experience with them.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.