What does a camera supervisor do?
Camera supervisors are responsible for the entire camera department on multi-camera shoots. Multi-camera shoots involve several camera operators working as a team to capture the same material at the same time but from different angles. They take place in studios or on outside broadcasts.
Before filming begins, camera supervisors usually meet the producer and director to establish their requirements and attend any site visits or technical planning meetings and rehearsals. They consider how many people will be on screen and in what location, and therefore what equipment and crew will be needed. This could include specialist kit and skills, such as those of a jib operator (skilled at working with a camera attached to the end of a very long arm) or a Steadicam operator (who attaches the camera to equipment strapped to their body to achieve long, fluid camera movements).
Camera supervisors work within a budget to provide the best technical service for the production with the resources available. They often suggest and hire camera operators they work with regularly or have worked with before.
During a recording or live programme, camera supervisors respond constantly to the director, communicating the director’s vision and ensuring the crew are all performing their allocated tasks. It’s their responsibility to raise any concerns relating to the health and safety of the crew.
What’s a camera supervisor good at?
- Photography: have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus and framing, skilled at camera work, lighting and establishing a style for a production.
- Technical knowledge of cameras: stay up to date with the latest technology and have an in-depth understanding of how all camera equipment works, limitations and selecting the best options for different productions
- Problem solving: be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and challenges, often across multiple input from a variety of locations at one time
- Leadership: communicate and give instructions effectively, make good judgement calls, have a good understanding of all crew roles
- Communication: share how to achieve a series style with your crew, who are often in different locations, collaborate effectively with other departments to ensure the visuals meet requirements