Class of 2012, Michael Hankinson | Camera Operator

Michael Hankinson_2012GradHi LSM!  It’s been almost 2 years since I last posted on the alumni network and since then a lot has happened. My ambition all the way through university had been to work as a DOP (Director of Photography). After leaving I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be easy to just walk into a job like this. When I graduated in 2012 with a BA (Hons) Media Production degree I worked for free and for expenses on multiple low budget features, shorts, event videos, etc. to try and get my foot in the door and more importantly learn, both while at university and after leaving. I took a part time job at Asda (it’s not fun paying bills) and on my days off applied for jobs. I got to work on some exciting projects as a camera assistant and camera operator through this while learning from some great people in the industry including a DOP who had previously worked on a BAFTA winning film, however the pay was little or none in most cases.

I was then successful in an interview and started as a junior camera operator at a production company in Essex called iSite TV (I was quite surprised to meet two other LSM alumni among the staff). So I left my job at Asda and moved down to Essex.  The company creates online advertising and product videos for some of the biggest companies and retailers in the world including; Panasonic, Sennheiser, Currys/PC World, Beko, LG, VTech, the list goes on and on.  I’ve worked at iSite for a year now and the time has flown. Through working with iSite I have travelled to shoot as a camera operator in Amsterdam and all over England on location shoots. The company has also just released its newly branded website and you can be directed to it here. There’s even a picture of all of us on there. If you’re interested in learning more about the company it’s all on the website. The company is constantly expanding, having moved from Clacton-on-Sea earlier this year to our new purpose built Colchester studios (due to the expansion).  The company is also always interested in hearing from new talent in a variety of roles including camera operators, editors, CGI artists, junior producers/directors and Art department members, so feel free to post your CV through. See latest vacancies here!

 I’ve learnt a great deal in the last year and have really enjoyed having such good equipment at my disposal to shoot videos with including a Canon C500 and a full set up to shoot films in 4K.   Good luck to everyone at LSM and Uni of Lincoln. It’s not always easy once you leave university but with great knowledge and passion in your field at your disposal you will, with hard work, achieve what you want to even if you have to work for free to start with.  I also implore everyone to talk to your tutors/lecturers, talk to people on set if you do any work experience (but not during a shot obviously) and watch educational videos online to learn more about your specific field, for me it has helped a great deal.  When I first left university I’m quite embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know what the role of a 2nd AC was or how much skill there is involved in being a 1st AC, I also had little experience of shooting on DSLRs. But through going the extra step to educate myself and receive wisdom from others I have gained so much knowledge and I love putting it into practice on a daily basis with some brilliantly talented people.