Steadicam Operator

Operate a video camera that is both agile and smooth moving.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$20,000 – $81,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Steadicam Operators do?

A Steadicam Operator is a Camera Operator on a TV or film set who physically handles a steadicam — a special type of camera often used in filmmaking because it maximizes freedom of movement while minimizing camera shakiness.

If you’ve ever made your own home movies, you know that they often look like they’ve been filmed by an epileptic in the middle of a surprise seizure. So, amateur Filmmakers often wonder, “Why don’t Hollywood movies look tremulous, too?” Oftentimes, the answer is “steadicams.”

As a Steadicam Operator, you’re like other Camera Operators in that you collaborate with the Director, Director of Photography, and Actors to set up and film the scenes in movies, documentaries, and television shows. This requires in-depth knowledge of photography, cinematography, and choreography to make sure shots are clear, in focus, and shot at the right angle with the right type of camera, lens, filter, and film.

Unlike other Camera Operators, however, your job as a Steadicam Operator is uniquely physical: While Hollywood cameras are traditionally mounted on camera dollies, then moved by Dolly Grips along pre-laid tracks, steadicams are mounted on you. Connected to you via a special body harness that restricts your movements, the apparatus combines the fluidity of a handheld camera with the stability of a dolly shot, allowing you to more easily track the movements of Actors and objects. While the result on screen is a more steady shot, on set, it’s a day spent doing as much stretching, lifting, and positioning as you do filming (which means you’ve got not only a great eye but also killer legs!).

Should I be a Steadicam Operator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Steadicam Operator

    Most Steadicam Operators 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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