Frequently Asked Questions


What is the SOC?
What is the SOC?
The Society of Camera Operators (SOC) advances the art, craft, and creative contributions of the camera operator. The SOC is an internationally recognized professional honorary society. The core activities of the Society are the annual SOC Awards, publishing the Society’s magazine Camera Operator, and our charitable commitment to The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. We serve the SOC membership through our commitment to advancing the role of the camera operator by providing education, supporting the development of technology and production methods.

How did the SOC begin?

In 1979, thirteen camera operators banded together with the goal of advancing the position of the working camera operator in the motion picture and television industries. They drew up a constitution and by-laws and the Society of Operating Cameramen was born with the motto: “We See It First!” This was the first step toward bringing a higher understanding and respect for all craftspeople in the industry. Incorporated in 1981 in California as a nonprofit organization, the SOC has since changed its name to The Society of Camera Operators.

Why does SOC support the Vision Center Children’s Hospital Los Angeles?

The Society of Camera Operators was moved by a story that Mary Marta, the Past President, Bob Marta’s wife, told about a boy in Tijuana with a serious eye problem.  “As operating cameramen, SIGHT is most important. In 1983, we were seeking a worthy charity to which we could contribute. We found Dr. A Linn Murphree at the Eye Care Clinic (now the Vision Center) at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles involved with soft contact lens research as it would apply to partially sighted infants. After visiting Dr. Murphree’s clinic, we knew that this is where our motivating energies would concentrate…in the gift of sight.” – Gil Haimson, one of SOC’s founding fathers. After the SOC reached out to Dr. Murphree, he operated on the boy, saving the child’s eye.

How do I make a tax-deductible contribution to the SOC/Vision Center?

There is a secure online donation option available on the SOC website to donate to our charity, Vision Center Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Support VCCHLA

How can I find out if a camera operator is a SOC member?

The membership roster is posted on the SOC website under the navigation Membership > Membership Directory.  For further questions:

View Roster


For a complete list of membership categories, benefits, qualifications, and applications, click here.

Are my SOC membership dues tax-deductible?

Dues and subscriptions paid to SOC are NOT considered charitable contributions for federal tax purposes. However, they may be deducted as ordinary and necessary business expenses. Members should consult their tax advisors for further guidance. Note that a charitable gift made at the time of renewal (a gift separate from and in addition to your membership dues) IS tax deductible.

Can I add SOC to the end of my name?

Using the SOC initials after your name is strictly for the use of Active Members only, and use is limited to camera operating screen credits only. When credited as the director or director of photography, the SOC initials MAY NOT be used.

Can I submit an application to join SOC online?

No, but you can download an application for emailing, faxing, or mailing to the SOC. Click here for applications.

How long does the application process take?

The Membership Committee and Board of Governors reviews and votes on all new applications monthly. In some instances, applicants have been tabled for the following month if further information is needed from the applicant or their sponsor.

How long is my SOC membership term?

The SOC membership term is one year from one’s membership anniversary date.  Corporate memberships that have four-year terms with be for 48 months upon acceptance date.

Does SOC offer a discount when I reach retirement age or have retired due to a disability?

SOC offers a Retired Member category for Active members in good standing. Retired members have a $50 annual fee and benefits and application.

If my membership has lapsed, how can I reactivate it?

If your membership term has lapsed within twelve months, you may reinstate your membership by completing a reinstatement application and submit along with current dues and a $50 reinstatement fee. For further details, click here.

If the lapse has been longer than twelve months, you must reapply to the Society, please review the membership details.

Camera Operator Magazine

Does Camera Operator magazine accept unsolicited articles?
Yes. If you are a SOC member and have worked on a noteworthy project or have reviewed new technology utilized by camera operators and would like to submit an article, contact Kate McCallum at or submit by fax to 818-563-9117.

How can I get information about advertising in Camera Operator magazine?
Please contact Jeff Victor,, 847.721.2730, or Kristin Petrovich,, 818.388.2306.

Additional Support
For additional support or to ask questions, please contact SOC Member Services at or via telephone at 818-563-9110 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time).

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