First Assistant Cameraman

Set up cameras to ensure focused shots for film and television.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$20,000 – $81,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do First Assistant Cameramen do?

The First Assistant Cameraman makes sure that every shot taken on a movie or television set is in focus. This is known as “Pulling focus,” which means moving the lens of a camera different distances or angles so that the camera always captures a clear shot, no matter where an Actor moves or what direction the action is going.

Putting it clearer, when you’re the First Assistant Cameraman, you’re the one making sure nothing on the screen looks like a fuzzy blur. To do this job well you should have a feeling for how each shot will look and know some cinematography.

This is a hands-on job as far as dealing with the camera goes: You’re constantly touching the camera—setting it up, moving it into place for each shot, then cleaning and putting it away at the end of the day.

Hard work is also a big part of this job. The First Assistant Cameraman is one of the first people to arrive on set and one of the last to leave. After spending your day making sure none of the shots look like they were mistakenly filmed with a soft focus lens, it becomes your job to take care of the camera, its equipment, and accessories. So at the end of the day you’ll clean all parts of the camera before making sure they’re packed up and in their proper place ready for the next day of filming.

Should I be a First Assistant Cameraman?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Focus Puller

    How to Become a
    First Assistant Cameraman

    Most First Assistant Cameramen have a Bachelor's degree or an Associate's degree. Chart?chd=s:bz9kaa&chl=no+college+%2818%25%29|certificate+%2817%25%29|associate%27s+%2841%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2824%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,18,41
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