Who's Who of a Hollywood Camera Department

Who are all of those people crowded around the camera?

If you love cameras and image making and see yourself working with (or at least near) that big, beautiful machine professionally, you're probably going to want to get acquainted with the different positions you could fill. 

It all starts with the head honcho of the Camera Department, the Director of Photography (DP), who works closely with the Director, as well as other department heads. This is the position many enter this department to become, but if you're just starting out, you may want to set your sights on first working as a 1st or 2nd AC, a Camera PA/intern/trainee, or a film loader.

Of course, smaller projects often mean smaller departments where people combine several positions into one. For instance, the DP may also serve as the Camera Operator. And if you're working on a low budget film with a skeleton crew, there may not even be an official Camera Department. Working as a PA on these types of projects, I was often tasked with operating the slate, handling camera equipment, and wrangling cables, so that might actually be a good, low-risk, low-pressure way to build experience working around/with the camera.

Hopefully now that you know a little bit more about the positions you could fill within the Camera Department, you have a clearer idea of not only how you could potentially progress your career, but also of what kinds of roles you'd like to fill when you do.     

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So thankful for the great work that Matt is doing with his site! Killer stuff.

August 12, 2016 at 7:52AM

Samu Amunét

Matt Workman! That's the homie.

August 12, 2016 at 11:47AM


As a 2nd/Loader, wanted to chime in. DITs, main job is usually LUTs and as you said iris. It's a Loader's job to dump the footage. They are not interchangeable terms. Totally different pay scales and job descriptions. Loaders can transcode and do dailies but not color, whereas DITs can do all, which is why they have bigger kits and make a lot of money. VTR is Local 695 in LA, 479 in Georgia/Alabama, which is sound & playback. Depending on the type of shoot, they will do all monitors, on others there will be a Digital Utility who works in camera who will handle those unless it's for playback. Besides the slate, the other important 2nd job is camera reports, bringing lenses to the 1st and keeping their camera equipment organized. As far as interns/pa's in camera, 600 doesn't recognize them and doesn't allow them for the most part. Which has been a big debate over the past year.

August 15, 2016 at 1:46PM

Steve Stussey
Loader/2nd AC