A camera operator may specialise in any or all of the following areas:
- in a studio, where the camera operator usually follows a camera script, which gives the order of shots. This is practised at rehearsal and is cued by the director during recording. The skill lies in interpreting what the director wants and acting quickly and effectively to achieve it;
- outside broadcasts, working as part of a team of camera operators filming live events, such as sporting and ceremonial occasions and music performances;
- on location, where there is likely to be more opportunity for creativity through suggesting shots to the director.
A camera operator usually works under a director or director of photography and may be supported by a camera assistant. The role involves a mix of technical and creative skills.
Work activities vary greatly depending on the type of programme, for example studio or outside broadcast programmes, television dramas, commercials, documentaries, current affair and news, and whether the camera operator is using one of several cameras or a portable single camera (PSB).