The Basics of Being an OB Camera Operator

becoming an ob camera operator is tougher than it seems
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5 Things You’ll Need to Master in Outdoor Broadcasting

Curious about what it takes to be an outdoor broadcasting camera operator, huh?

Awesome! It seems like you are starting to decide just where you want to fit in the world of filming, production, and broadcasting.

You want to be out there, where it happens, on the scene, taking things as they come, thinking on your feet in different locations, rather than in a studio?

Assuming you know how to handle a professional camera, let’s get into the specific skills and tools that OB camera operators have under control.

What You’ll Be Doing on the Job

Okay, so what you will actually be doing varies a lot from job to job. You might be managing assistants, telling them where to move the cameras or giving newscasters real-time feedback.

Or, you might be the one with your total focus on the camera, making your footage of the utmost use in a multi-camera set. Working with a multi-camera set involves a lot of work. It’s much more complicated than what you might initially think.

Rigging and De-rigging

This is the task of setting up and breaking down the equipment, and it requires that you understand tasks like cabling.

Rigging and De-rigging seem like a breeze, but it actually takes specialized knowledge of the equipment you’re using.

Standing for long hours handling heavy equipment

Yup. You don’t get to go home when you’re tired; you need to keep your head in the game. As someone working in the broadcasting industry, you need to be prepared for lifting equipment.

You won’t necessarily get to sit down and take breaks. Be prepared to stand and stay on your feet during the work day,

Taking orders through a headset

Familiarize yourself with words like “arc,” “tilt,” “pan,” “zoom,” memorize your right and your left. The language surrounding a broadcasting studio isn’t your typical English, and you’ll need to know industry phrases to succeed.

Basic Requirements

You will need to know how to operate the cameras you will be working with, for starters. This includes a knack for framing all kinds of shots.

Shooting on a camera is much harder than using a consumer’s point and shoot style camera. You need to understand how to smoothly pan the camera and create seamless segments of video.

You should also be able to understand things from a director’s viewpoint. In other words, you need to understand what is best for the production as a whole and understand your role in it.

Breaking Into The Industry

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a standard path for acquiring this role; you just need to get out there.

The key to getting started in any business is to get experience. Reach out to professionals and ask if you can shadow them or intern with their company.

If you’re still in school see if you can use equipment that is already on hand to film sports teams or similar functions. Doing so will familiarize yourself both with what it’s like to handle the cameras and how professionals handle different situations.

Other places to start that may use live or “as-live” multi-camera work are live music events, large churches, and theatre productions.

If you’re ready to get started in the film industry and try out your skills in a real studio space, give us a call at Celebro Media and we’ll get you set up with a broadcasting OB room that fits you.

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