A Deep Look into Pursuing a Career in Sports Filming

This article is a guest submission from freelance writer E. Bogel

sports camera operator on knees
Sometimes shooting from your knees can give a great visual, as a sports camera operator you have to be open to trying new things

Friday night lights don’t have to fade after high school graduation, you can simply refocus them on a new type of sports career. With the way technology is revolutionizing the television industry, sports production studios are always on the look out for talented, sports minded production crew members.

Careers in sports filming are definitely lighting up the career charts.

What Does it Take to Start a Career in Sports Filming?

If a press pass and some sporting perks seem enticing to you, there are a few things to explore before embarking on a sports filming career.

You have two options when it comes to filming.


  • Camera Operator

  • Production Editor

Each job requires different skills, but both can be achieved with a bachelor’s degree in communications or broadcasting.

Communication and broadcasting majors teach the ins and outs of how the studios work.  Courses in video productions, lighting, editing, and media law will all be offered in these majors. After you decide what nuance of sports filming you enjoy most, you can decide if you want to enter the trenches of the games and film or if you prefer the creative facets of studio work.

If you choose to further study in film, you’ll learn about cameras, lenses, angles, and camera settings. Studio course work will lead you to a production studio where you’ll learn how to piece together footage and sound to air on television.

What are the Roles of a Camera Operator?

Camera operators get to see things first hand, charged with the responsibility of capturing the moments as they unfold. There’s literally no room for error. Many camera operators have dubbed their careers as a series of, “hurry up and wait” moments. Camera operators are charged with getting to events and setting up their equipment—despite any unpleasant weather conditions—just to wait for things to get rolling.

When explaining his job, Joe Sonnenburg, a Southern California sports cameraman, declared, “Game Day for a sports cameraman can mean a long day. For a 3pm game, our call time was 8am. Why so early? Because it’s a live show and we can’t delay the game, we need to be 100% sure that all the equipment works. We need to know that everything works flawlessly. Since everything worked great that morning, we had a lot of down time before the game.”

While there’s a lot of down time associated with the job, there’s little room for error after the athletes take the field.  There’s no take two in sporting events, so cameramen have to literally be on point for every second of action.

What Does Studio Work Entail?

Studio work brings with it a different type of pressure. Daily sports editors are charged with the challenging task of finding the best highlights and squeezing them into a small amount of time. To top it off, they need to find the perfect sound effects or commentary to accompany the clips.

Think about all the press conferences you see on TV.  If you’re allotted 50 seconds of time, your job is to sift through the press conference and find the best 50 seconds to air.

If rising to a challenge is something that excites you, and you have the creative knack for finding the perfect way to illustrate a point, studio work is ideal for you.  Studio work is a stimulating undertaking that’s well suited for those who love sports and who know how to decipher what is important to fans.

What Sports Film Companies Look for in a Film Crew?

A bachelor’s degree is vital to beginning a career in sports filming.  In addition, an internship and a strong portfolio can help get you on the right track to starting a sports filming career.

One thing to keep in mind as you pursue your degree, is you need passion for what you do.


If you love sports, and you love to see how hard work and dedication pay off through competition, then you’re without a doubt on the right track. Education is a vital component to any career, but you have to love what you do in order to be happy.

If sports are your true passion, there are countless opportunities for you in the industry. You just need to take some time to explore the different facets of the trade. There’s definitely something out there for you.

By Brian Clapp | November 11, 2015
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