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Old June 15th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #1
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Median Camera Operator and Editor's Wages

Since the issue of what to charge comes up so often . . .

For a another thread -- http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=69354 -- I looked up the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on what camera ops and editors make in the U.S.

For camera ops it was $22.12 an hour in May 2004. Roughly adjusted for inflation it would be $23.45 in 2006. Editors earn a little more.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 02:31 AM   #2
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For what it's worth, the union (IA Local 600) scale for operators is around $46/hr, but can be more depending on circumstances and specialties.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 07:31 AM   #3
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That's as one would expect for workers who have the benefit of a union.

The number I give assumes a full time year of 1,700 hours (which is a little short of the national average in the U.S.) and would lump union and non-union workers into one group. That IA local 600 rate Charles gives would work out to $78,200.00 a year and that would be in the top 15-10% of all workers in the occupation.

Many operators may not work full-time, so I would assume that for professionals there is some wage premium built in to compensate for this circumstance. It would be interesting to know what the average hours worked is for IA members.

But these are wages for professionals working at a key location in the industry, and they put into persepective what a kid with a cam or others with less experience might ask.

Last edited by Peter Wiley; June 16th, 2006 at 08:26 AM.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 12:23 AM   #4
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I would think that most camera operators work freelance (i.e. not working every weekday), and work a lot of overtime. I'm not sure what IATSE overtime is (for US), but it could be 1.5X 2X and 3X after a certain number of hours.

For some Canadian TV series, the typical shooting week has overtime built-in... i.e. you work 10-hour days, with 2 of the hours being 2X scale. And then there's unexpected overtime... I think it averages out to be an extra 5% on their expected wage. So in a week, they might make:
"63" hours * $45.60 = $2,872.80
That's a week where they are working their butt off.
And then there's weeks where they aren't working their butts off and wondering when their next job is.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 01:35 AM   #5
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There are multiple agreements and deals with different rules, but generally speaking you are on straight time for 8, 1.5x for the next 4, and 2x for any hours after that. So a 13 hour day would be 8+(4x1.5)+(1x2)=the equivalent of 16 hours of straight time.

I consider 13 hour days to be pretty much the average, which is a 65 hour work week . That's about the hours I'm working on my current feature. I've certainly done real hell weeks that have run up to 75 hours or more...ugh.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #6
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Hmm I don't know the exact situation with Canadian productions, but there are some factors that might make them a little worse than American productions.

A- Tax credits are for labour only, so this gives extra incentives for producers to set longer days (more labour = more tax credits, less money needed for rentals for which there are no tax credits).
B- Funding (i.e. tax credits) is higher when shooting regional productions (away from major cities). This means you spend more time driving to get to work. Combine this with long hours, it means you spend lots of time driving while tired.
It probably was a factor when two cast members from 15/love (TV series) died in a car accident.
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