Pros and Cons of Cinematography
As you enter the world of filmmaking the decision to become a cinematographer is likely weighing on your mind. Working in film production as a cameraman has several benefits as well as some potential disadvantages, especially if you’re concerned about long work hours or the physical demands associated with the job. We’re showing you the pros and cons of cinematography to help you decide whether a role in this field is the right choice for your long-term growth.
Pros of Cinematography
Many choose to become cinematographers because they feel that the career is rewarding and offers the ability to use creativity that may not be as well-received in other fields. Becoming a cameraman definitely has moments that are advantageous, especially for those who have a strong passion for camera operation, film, or photography.
This role puts you right in front of the major action that takes place on the film set, which can be a huge advantage to some. However, being close to the action may be disadvantageous if you suffering from anxiety or you are not prepared physically for the demands that come with a fast-paced position such as camera operation.
You may find that you can get started in cinematography with little or no college education. This is definitely an advantage. Those with background education in film production or similar fields do seem to find themselves behind the camera more quickly though.
One may also find the following advantages associated with this role:
- Ability to work in a creative environment with other creative individuals.
- Ability to meet new people, visit new places and see new things.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
- Ability to work autonomously.
Cons of Cinematography
Just as there are pros or benefits to working in the field of cinematography, some may find that this role is simply too demanding or too stressful to be “worth” the effort. Camerapersons are typically required to arrive on set several hours prior to the production kickoff. If you’re not an early riser, this position may be extremely tough for you.
Cinematography is not easy. You have some pull, but much of what you do is dictated by the producer and the director.
You may think that this role will allow you to actively use your creative abilities behind the camera. However, you must be prepared for the times when every scene, every shot, every camera adjustment, angle or view is micromanaged by the director on set.
Additional disadvantages of cinematography include:
- Long work hours in a physically demanding environment.
- Work often takes place during holidays when most people are spending time with family and friends.
- Cinematographers often miss the events or action-oriented happenings as they are busy filming.
- Standing on your feet for upwards of 15 hours in a day is not unheard of.
- Camera equipment can be extremely expensive and is usually your responsibility to purchase yourself.
- Your work day doesn’t end when the last shot is filmed. Most arrive several hours before and remain several hours after the shoot takes place.
Weigh Your Options
Many are able to overlook the negative side of being a cameraman because they love what they do so much.
However, before you decide whether a role as a camera operator is right for you, make sure to properly weigh the pros and cons of cinematography as they relate to your unique goals, desires and understanding. Everyone is different, and sees different value and reward potential in this role.