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Camera Operators


Self-employed camera operators typically work on a project-by-project basis and may have periods of unemployment between jobs. Those working on movies may be paid per-day, and their role in the creation of the movie may last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Camera operators who are salaried employees of a television network, for example, have steady, year-round employment. Because of these factors and others, such as area of the country in which the operator works and the size of the employer, salaries vary widely for these professionals. In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor reports the median annual earnings of all television, video, and motion picture camera operators as $54,570. The DOL also reports that the lowest paid 10 percent of operators earned less than $25,790 per year, but at the top end of the pay scale, the highest earning 10 percent made more than $102,470 annually.

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