9 Career Paths to Take with a Digital Video Production Degree
February 2nd, 2017 | Natasha Englehardt
A digital video production degree is an extremely versatile choice. If you love the industry generally but aren’t sure of which specific career path you want to take, a digital video production degree is a perfect choice. That’s because there are so many career paths open to you once you’ve earned your digital video production degree; here are some of those options.
Especially for new digital video production graduates, working as a production assistant is a great choice. PAs often have duties in every department, holding productions together.
As a PA on set you’re likely to get experience working with all kinds of production personnel, from the director to the lighting crew to the costume department to the camera operators. Administrative or office PAs manage the details behind the scenes back at the office, making arrangements related to the production. All PAs get to know the ins and outs of production and the way the industry works.
Grips handle technical equipment, locations, shots, and even safety on set. In other words, they are absolutely critical to the production. Grips maintain and manage everything related to the camera, including cranes, dollies, jibs, static rigs, tracks, and tripods.
Focusing on locations and shots at every place, Grips make sure the technical equipment for each shot is in place and every shot is achievable. Working in this role is an excellent shot for a digital video production graduate, and this kind of education gives you the knowledge you need to execute the role well.
The boom operator makes sure that great performances get heard. Spoken dialogue during shoots can get lost without competent boom operators who place sound equipment for each shot and maintain sound equipment. They also ensure that the needs of the sound department are understood in communications with the rest of the crew and the cast; this is critical since production sound mixers usually can’t be present for each scene.
Boom operators require digital video production expertise. This is because a more general understanding of lighting, staging, and direction accompanies the ability to get the sound that’s needed from a scene.
You may think that screenwriters are simply writers, but creating amazing scripts and mapping out preproduction scenes and sequences demands mastery of digital video production. In fact, screenwriters are often part of all phases of pre-production. Those who have the background and experience to describe scenes in detail, including camera, lighting, and shot instructions, are at a major comparative advantage. For these reasons, this is another excellent career path to take with a digital video production degree.
Camera operator/Assistant camera operator
Camera operators execute the vision of the director or cinematographer; they balance creative vision with technical mastery. Working with assistants who place and position the equipment, camera operators monitor the camera settings, lighting, rigs, and set. Teams of camera assistant operators work together to make complex productions function as planned; one will adjust the focus of the camera on objects and actors as they move through the scene while others change filters and lenses or load film.
Working as a camera operator or assistant is a great career path for someone with a digital video production degree. It’s a fantastic stepping stone for someone hoping to move on towards cinematography or direction, and it’s also an interesting, fulfilling stand alone career.
A cinematographer manages the entire camera crew who is tasked with shooting a film or video. As a cinematographer, you’ll get the shots you need for your production by instructing your camera operators and assistants, choosing which angles, shots, and kinds of cameras to use.
This is a career that benefits from a background in digital video production, because to succeed as a cinematographer you’ll need to have the knowledge and experience to determine, for example, when it is best to use stationary cameras, handheld cameras, moving cameras on tracks, and cameras mounted on cranes. Cinematographers may even specialize in visual effects and/or animation—other areas you can focus on as you study digital video production.
Whereas a cinematographer controls or directs all shots or camera movement on set, a director manages the entire crew, the actors, and other personnel in order to take everyone in a single direction for their shared goal of creating the end product. Many directors are in fact skilled cinematographers, but this is not always the case. Either way, an educational background in digital video production is a great place for an aspiring director to start.
Videographers often freelance or run their own businesses, documenting private events such as weddings and parties. Videographers also work for businesses who need training or marketing videos. Commercials, online content, documentaries, music videos—just about anything is up for grabs for a videographer.
A degree in digital video production is essential to most videographers for several reasons. First, as a one person shop, it pays to have a firm grasp on all relevant skills needed to create a high-quality product. In addition, your degree will help you sell yourself as a reputable professional.
Film or video editor/Assistant editor
A career as a film or video editor is another great career path for a digital video production graduate. Assistant editors check for synchronization and continuity, prepare the segments for editing, and otherwise help the main editors throughout the editing process. Film and video editors make the actual edits, turning unusable raw footage into a polished final product.
There are so many ways to go with a digital video production degree. From production assistants, grips, and boom operators who work on set to ensure each production detail is handled, to screenwriters who create the blueprints for the final vision, to the camera operators, cinematographers, and directors who pull the team together and get those amazing shots, to the editors who turn out the final product, to the videographers who churn out their own products in all kinds of settings, you can be sure that there is a role for you to play in the industry.