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Discovery Channel camera operator Ever watched a Discovery Channel documentary and wondered who the maniac was behind the camera? Blowing the minds of viewers all over the world, the Discovery Channel is responsible for perspective-widening, pulse-quickening, hair-raising documentaries that showcase the best and worst of the natural world. Bringing extreme adventures from around the planet to people sitting safely on their couches, camera operators working in this space certainly earn their salaries. While competition for all camera-operating roles is tough, competition for this profession is notoriously fierce, with only the most persistent and talented camera operators making the cut. Being hungry for adventure and having extensive experience filming in a wide range of locations are prerequisites for this role. Filming is studios is fine, but if you want to make it as a Discovery Channel camera operator then you need to have really sunk your teeth into projects that include filming outdoors in the elements … close to terrifying things, such as bears, sharks and ten-foot waves. Apart from the technical skills that are required to be a camera operator, physical fitness is also essential – you need to be able to operate a camera on location in wild environments. Unlike static studio work, making series and documentaries for the Discovery Channel often involves climbing mountains, hanging off the sides of cliffs, braving the treacherous open oceans and even diving deep into the sea. Having a good understanding of filming during different weather patterns – rain, sleet, snow, fog – is also helpful. Mother Nature is a fickle beast, so you’re useless if you freak out when filming in the rain.

Being placed in precarious situations comes with the turf of filming for the Discovery Channel, so having a healthy attitude towards risk-taking (but an even healthier attitude towards safety devices) is needed. Frequent travel to some of the world’s most interesting places is a big part of this profession, so being openminded and culturally aware is essential. So, while this career involves facing some very challenging physical and mental demands – working in isolated places, completing long climbs, dealing with menacing wildlife – this profession could take you everywhere from the research stations of Antarctica to the deserts of Mongolia, the bear-filled national parks of Canada or the jungles of the Amazon. Camera operators for the Discovery Channel also get to work on documentaries that educate and expand the minds of people all over the world. Best of all, this career has major badass bonus points, perfect for pulling out of the bag when conversations get awkward at high school reunions, family events and first dates. ‘What have you done lately?’ ‘Oh, I’ve just been in northern India for three months filming the snow leopard in its natural habitat’. Game, set, match: you.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None. Although studying journalism, film or media production would help. Experience required: Experience operating cameras on location in isolated, tough environments is essential. Experience working on documentary projects and short features is also important. Training: Many camera operators learn the trade while interning at film studios and television production companies. Many start off in the industry as camera assistants before progressing to camera operators. Restrictions: Must have a valid passport and the ability to travel overseas.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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