Being a sports camera operator can almost be equated with being an athlete; it’s physically demanding and takes endurance, athletic fitness and teamwork. While at work, millions of people are sitting on their couches judging every move.
In a field traditionally-perceived to be a man’s forte, Judith Chebet has curved a niche for herself in sports photography.
Judith who has shot a wide variety of sports events for TV for almost a decade, ranging from local Kenya premier league matches to high profile rugby, AFCON, and CHAN tournaments, admits that it has not been a bed of roses.
Operating a sports camera is quite different as it means multitasking, pulling more tight shots. She talks about how she captures sportsmen with her camera.
How did you end up behind the camera?
I always knew I wanted to be in the TV industry. I was curious at how pictures were created, so when I joined college and worked on my first project, it was love at first filming.
Sports camera work is seen as a man’s job, how do you manage?
Yes, it’s male dominated, because it is technical and it is a very physical job but like in any job it’s all about pulling your weight. Because at the end of the day, someone watching at home doesn’t care whether it was a woman or a man behind the lens.
How long did it take you to learn?
I went through a three-year course. For sports coverage, I did a one-year rigorous training in Outside Broadcasting programme at SuperSport which exposed me to high-tech equipment and filming techniques.
However, I learnt the rules of the game through coverage of the local and international football tournaments.
You film m any sports; do you have to know the rules of the games?
It’s important to know the rules, it acts as a guide but I’d be lying if I said I know all the rules.
What were your worst moments in your career?
I once worked under an intolerable director of photography who made me quit my job. But that was the first and the last time, I learnt to speak up more.
What type of cameras do you -use?
I use the Sony HSC 300 or Panasonic AK-UC3000. These are highly sophisticated and sensitive cameras that allow the pictures to be beamed through satellite without compromising on quality.
What is the most expensive camera that you have used?
It cost about Sh13.2 million.