Policies and Procedures Manual

Society of Camera Operators
Policies and Procedures

As of January 15, 2018


The SOC houses the information of its membership on a number of secure Databases. The Master Database contains the contact information of all who are currently SOC members in the following categories: Active, Associate, Charter, Consultant, Educator, Honorary, Retired, Student and Corporate. This database is updated monthly as new members are initiated and as current members update their contact information. The Master Database also stores a list of past members and a list in memoriam.

A Camera Operator Magazine Database is maintained for non-members who have subscribed to receive Camera Operator Magazine, as well as a list of Industry contacts who receive the magazine at no cost. This database is updated monthly, based on incoming subscriptions, and organized quarterly in preparation for the mailing of each edition of Camera Operator Magazine.

A SOC BOG – Staff Directory is also maintained with current Board of Governors Members, including their contact information, titles within the Board, and any committee participation. There is also a list of current individuals who work as Staff for the SOC.

A Motion Database houses motions made at Board of Governors’ Meetings. These motions are listed by date, as well as by the category they pertain to in in order to locate them when necessary. This database is updated following all Board of Governors’ Meetings where Motions were presented during the course of the meeting.

All database are confidential and property of the SOC. They are not to be used for any members’ personal needs and are for the benefit of the membership as a whole.

Email Communication
The majority of communication to SOC Membership is dispersed via email through the digital marketing program, Constant Contact. Examples of emails sent are: the quarterly membership newsletter, information regarding upcoming events sanctioned by the SOC, announcements from Corporate members, and details regarding the SOC Lifetime Achievement Awards and voting for the Awards (for Active Voting members, which include Active, Charter and Retired Active Members).

The Organization shall be called “Society of Camera Operators”, abbreviated to SOC.

The Society has a master logo that is not to be altered unless the Board determines it necessary. This logo can be used in color with the official colors of maroon, gold, and blue. The logo can also be used in black and white.

To preserve the brand of the Society, unique logos for events, projects, etc. are not to be created unless voted in by the Board of Governors, and added to the style guide for the Society. It is highly recommended that new logos are not created.


Membership Application Process
The SOC receives its applications for membership either through the mail, or digitally through its primary email address, socoffice@soc.org. Applications are accepted for Active, Associate, Educator, Student and Corporate membership levels (individuals cannot currently apply for Charter, Honorary, Retired or Consultant membership). Each level of membership has specific requirements and initiation fees. If an application is incomplete, the SOC office will reach out to the applicant to coordinate receiving any additional materials. Once the application is complete, including initiation payment, it is uploaded for the Membership Committee to review. The deadline for all applications is eight days before the upcoming Board Meeting, so that the Membership Committee has time to vet and review all applications before going out to the entire Board for review. Board Members are provided with all applicant details and a recommendation from the Membership Committee on a Ballot preceding the Board Meeting and the final vote is tallied at the Board Meeting. Membership is granted at the discretion of Board of Governors. If the Board is not in agreement on a candidate, the applicant will be discussed further before a vote is counted.

Once a new member is accepted to the SOC, the SOC Office will reach out to the applicant via email following the Board Meeting. The newly accepted member will receive a new member packet, which welcomes them to the SOC and provides them with their membership card information on how to access the current Bylaws, Camera Operator Magazine, a new Member Certificate, if applicable for their Membership Level, and other relevant materials. This will be sent within a reasonable amount of time, depending on when all of the materials are received (the certificates are created by an outside vendor). Corporate Members are sent a different welcome packet than Active, Associate, Educator and Student Members. New members are immediately included in SOC email correspondence, posted on the Society’s Facebook, posted on the Society’s Instagram account, included on the website roster, and are welcome to participate in all SOC Events.

Applicants that are not accepted are also informed of the decision via email following the Board Meeting and encouraged to apply again in the future, or for a different category of membership. Refunds are provided for those applicants that are either not accepted, or accepted into a different category of membership.

View current Membership Directory

Membership Categories 

  • Active Members. Active Members are individuals engaged in camera operating who meet the following criteria:
    • Able to demonstrate significant accomplishment as a camera operator with noteworthy credits in the member’s area of concentration.
    • Able to provide credits demonstrating the member’s experience as a camera operator for a period of five years or more.
    • Being a camera operator must be a significant part of the member’s primary professional effort.
    • Be sponsored for membership by an Active Member, Retired Member, or Founding Member who is in good standing.
  • Associate Members. Associate Members are individuals with designations and privileges that may be further described in applicable sections of the PPM or as otherwise established by the Board. Associate members shall have no right to vote on any matter of the Society’s affairs unless expressly authorized to do so by the Board. Associate members are comprised of professionals in the industry that would not be classified as Active.
  • Retired Members. Retired Members are Active Members, in good standing, who have not worked or gained employment or income from their craft of operating, for at least one year or otherwise established by the Board.
  • Honorary Member. Honorary Members are either Active Members who are retired or industry leaders, who the Board determines have contributed to the advancement of the art and craft of camera operating and have earned the assignment of Honorary Member.
  • Founding Members. Founding Members are individuals with designation and privileges that may be further described in the application section of the PPM or as otherwise established by the Board.
  • Educator Members. Educator Members are individuals with designations and privileges that may be further described in applicable sections of the PPM or as otherwise established by the Board. Educator members shall have no right to vote on any matter of the Society’s affairs unless expressly authorized to do so by the Board.
  • Student Associate Members. Student Associate Members are individuals with designations and privileges that may be further described in applicable sections of the PPM or as otherwise established by the Board. Student members shall have no right to vote on any matter of the Society’s affairs unless expressly authorized to do so by the Board.
  • Corporate Members. Corporate Members are individuals with designations and privileges that may be further described in applicable sections of the PPM or as otherwise established by the Board. Corporate members shall have no right to vote on any matter of the Society’s affairs unless expressly authorized to do so by the Board.

Membership Upgrade Process
Members are welcome to apply to upgrade to a higher Membership level at any time, by submitting a fully completed application for the new level and including the appropriate upgrade fees.

Membership Invoicing
Starting in January 2017, new and reinstating members will be billed annually based on their anniversary/initiation month, in addition to their initiation fees. All members who were instated before January 2017, will continue to be billed in July annually. Those not invoiced include: Past SOC Presidents, the current SOC Board, Charter Members, Honorary Members, and current Consultants. All other Active, Associate, Educator, Student and Corporate Members are billed annually. Any members who have not paid their dues in full by their personal due date will be informed through reminder letters and/or emails of their final date for payment. If a member does not pay their final payment by their due date and does not communicate to the SOC a need for additional time based on their personal circumstances, their membership will be suspended for non-payment.

Membership Reinstatement
Once suspended for non-payment, a member can still reinstate their membership at a later date. For a member to request reinstatement, they are asked to reapply with a paper application. The member must have been in good standing at the time that their membership lapsed or they resigned. When a member applies for reinstatement, they are asked to pay a reinstatement fee of $50 in addition to their annual dues, dependent on membership level.

Any suspended members must have Board approval with a majority vote before reinstatement.


SOC Sanctioned Events
The SOC both participates in and hosts many events throughout the year. The Board of Governors reviews a calendar of events for the upcoming year, at the November Board Planning Meeting. Any events in addition to those on the calendar are presented to the Board of Governors for review to be voted on. Coordinators are asked to complete an Event Request form, for either general or Corporate events, so that the event can be decided on and vetted by the Board of Governors.

Once the event is sanctioned, a final budget is created and the details are posted on the website.

View the Current Calendar of Events

View Event Request Forms and Details

Annual Membership Meetings
One Membership Meeting is held each year, with the recommendation of two meetings annually, as an opportunity for SOC Membership to stay alerted to SOC news, events and initiatives. Membership is notified a minimum of 30 days before the meeting, and a maximum of 90 days before the meeting, via email or printed announcement. The meeting is budgeted, a breakfast is provided for members, and the event is often sponsored by Corporate Members of the SOC. The meeting agenda is developed with and presented by the current SOC President, and if he/she is not available to attend, the meeting is run by the 1st Vice President, or the next available Officer in succession to attend.

Board of Governors’ Meeting
Board of Governors’ Meetings are held every one to two months, depending on scheduling. The meetings are generally held at the SOC Office at the Tiffen/Steadicam Offices in Burbank on a Sunday (frequently the third Sunday of the month, unless changed based on scheduling conflicts or other events). Board, Committee Members and Staff are given an opportunity to present reports to share/discuss with the rest of the Board, and Board Members may present motions to be discussed and voted on by the rest of the Board, if seconded by another Board Member. The Board reviews the current Membership Applications and votes on the applicants. The schedule of the meeting is prepared in the form of an Agenda, which along with the reports and membership ballot, are provided to the Board before the day of the meeting. Video and phone conferencing is available for Board Members who cannot make it to the Board Meeting in person. Minutes are taken during the Board Meeting, edited by the Secretary, or an interim Secretary from the Board, and voted on for approval at the following Board Meeting.

Board of Governors Attendance Excused and Unexcused Definitions- per the By-laws
Attendance is recorded at each Board of Governors meeting. Those who attend in person sign the official sign-in record, those who participate digitally through phone or video are designated as such, and those who do not attend are also noted.

Those who do not attend are recorded in different categories determined by their obligation and communication preceding the Board Meeting:

Working: if the Board Member has a work obligation that conflicts with the scheduled meeting time.

Personal Conflict: if the Board Member has an obligation other than work during the scheduled meeting time.

Unexcused Absence: if no communication of RSVP regarding attendance has occurred, the Board member is considered unexcused.

Board of Governors Attendance Expectations
It is an honor and privilege to serve on the board.  It is requested that all Board members that live geographically close to where the meeting is taking place make the effort to attend in person, work schedule permitting.

Board of Governors Attendance Requirements
Any member of the Board who fails to attend at least 60 percent of the Board meetings during the member’s term either in person or by electronic means without being excused by the Board may be subject to removal from the Board in accordance with the procedures specified in the current Bylaws.

Board Meeting Guest Policy
Invited Guests may attend Board of Governors Meetings if invited by either a Current Board Member or Committee Member, and if the invitation has been communicated with notification to office. The Board Member inviting the guest is requested to give a five days notification before the meeting to the SOC office, stating the names of the guests, the purpose of their visit and their current or past role in/relationship to the SOC. If the guest is invited in less than five days, please notify the SOC office as soon as possible so that proper accommodations can be made.

The request for communication ahead of the meeting is not intended to limit the participation and inclusion of guests, but instead meant to prevent disruption during the Board Meeting and allow the Board to be properly introduced to the guest who is attending.

Meetings and Action of Committees
Meetings and actions of all committees occur within the accordance of the Bylaws. The Board of Governors may adopt rules and regulations for the conduct and purpose of committees and committee meetings, as long as the rules are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Bylaws. The President may assign special committee to address and work on Society business as he/she sees fit.

Lifetime Achievement Awards
Lifetime Achievement Awards Nominations/ Voting: These awards are given in recognition of outstanding achievement by craft persons in the field of film/video production. Each candidate must have been working in the industry and making his or her living in the classification honored for a period of at least twenty (20) years while working in that classification to be considered for nomination for the award. In addition, each candidate must have a proven and substantial list of credits worked in the classification to be honored – with several of these credits for critically acclaimed outstanding productions – be widely respected by his or her peers, and be a consistent contributor and credit to his or her craft.

The Awards Committee or a blue ribbon panel, appointed by the Awards Committee, will carefully examine each candidate’s credentials, insuring all the credits and work represent the highest level of accomplishment and represent the category of Lifetime Achievement. After this process, a list of nominees will be sent to all active voting members in good standing for a vote by secret mail, email or web based ballots.

The person in each award classification receiving the most votes is determined to be the Cammy recipient for that year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. There will be a minimum of three (3) nominees for each award classification.

Camera Operator of the Year
Camera Operator of the Year Nominations/Voting: This award is given to a Feature Film and/or Television full time Camera Operator who has operated on a distinguished project of considerable quality during the previous year. The Awards Committee or a blue ribbon panel, appointed by the Awards Committee, will select nominations from the previous year’s best films or television projects, specifically those that employed a full time camera operator responsible for operating the majority of the project. There will be no consideration for this award of any Director of Photography who also operated the camera on the same project.

This list will be vetted for its qualifications by the Awards Committee and then narrowed down by committee vote to a selection of five (5) nominees. After this process, a list of nominees will be sent to all active voting members in good standing for a vote by secret mail, email or web based ballots.

This award will only be announced at the Awards event and will be kept secret until that time.

Governors Award
At the discretion of the Board of Governors, the Governors Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions and/or achievement of an individual who has demonstrated dedicated, consistent and enlightened service and leadership, for a substantial length of time, in the film or video media.

A candidate may be nominated by any member of the Board of Governors or Awards Committee who presents a statement or fact regarding the candidate’s qualifications, standing and achievements deserving of such recognition.

President’s Award
At the discretion of the Society President, the President’s Award is given to an individual in recognition of dedicated and outstanding service to the Society, the industry it serves, and/or to purposes espoused and served by the Society.

A candidate for this award is nominated by the current President who presents the nominee’s (or nominees’) credentials to the Board of Governors or Awards Committee.

Dedicated Service Award
The Dedicated Service Award is given to an Individual who has served the community at large and/or the Society through their outstanding service and generosity.  Any voting member in good standing can submit recommendations with a written biography of the individual and why they feel this person should receive the Award.  The Awards Committee will determine the Lifetime recipient and will present to the Board of Governors.

Technical Achievement Award
Purpose: In order to encourage further research and development in improving the material and techniques utilized in the craft of camera operating, the Society shall recognize such demonstratively significant and innovative technical achievement by a manufacturer, supplier, developer or inventor by giving that recipient an appropriately inscribed award for extending the potential of the state of the craft of camera operating.

Award Criteria: To qualify for a Technical Achievement Award, the technical development and the company and/or individuals responsible for it must meet the following criteria for technical excellence:

  1. The development must be either:
    1. A completely new, important and lasting device or technique, or
    2. An essential and lasting innovation which modifies existing equipment, product or technique, or
    3. A significant improvement on, or adjunct to, existing equipment, product or technique that is utilized during camera operating.
  2. The development or innovation must have been in practical use for a sufficient length of time in order to demonstratively prove to its users that its use has significantly and substantially facilitated the craft of camera operating.

The Awarding Process:
Nominations are open to all companies and individuals to enter a submission for the Award.  The Technology Chair and Committee determine the submission details, including the nomination fee, timeline and information needed for submissions.  Once the submission timeframe closes, which is recommended no more than eight months and no less than two months, the submitting companies are invited to participate in the demo day(s).  Each technology will have fifteen minutes to demonstrate their technology in person, its benefits and its applications.  The blue ribbon panel, selected by the Technology Chair and Committee, is allowed hands on time with the technology, the opportunity to ask further questions, and determines the merits of the submission.  Once all demos are completed, the committee discusses the submissions and votes. The blue ribbon panel has the ability to determine if one or two awards are given.  The voting is private and not to be discussed, nor are the ballots to be distributed outside this private judging meeting.

The recipients are announced, no more than five days later, via phone call from the Technology Committee Chair and a public announcement is made within one week.

It is the Technology Chair’s responsibility to brief the Board of Governors on the details of the submissions, and the recipients in a timely manner.

The Technical Achievement Award will be presented at the Awards show following the public announcement of the recipient(s).  The Recipient(s) and a guest are hosted by the Society at the Awards ceremony.

Board of Governors’ Elections
Any Active votive members in good standing, who has not been suspended or expelled in the last five years may serve as a director of this corporation. Once elected the Board nominates and votes on the Officers of this corporation.

Election process:
Every two years, no earlier than April and no later July, the corporation holds elections with the following process:

  • A request for nominations is sent to the Active voting Thirty (30) days are given for nominations to be received by the SOC office. Nominations can be received by email or mail and must include the following to be valid:
    • First and last name
    • Mailing address
    • Contact phone number(s)
    • Resume or IMDB link
    • Letter stating why this member’s desires to serve on the board of governors and what skills and experience they bring to this position. (No more than 800 words.)
  • After this thirty-day call for nominations period, the SOC office closes the nomination phase of elections.
  • A ballot is created digitally and in print with all nominees listed in alphabetical order and sent to the voting membership of active, retired, and founding charter members.
  • The voting period will be for Fifteen days and the ballot will be sent by the SOC office digitally to all members and in print to the few members that do not have email service. The voting period will close fifteen days from the day that the ballots are sent.
  • After the fifteen-day voting period, and within fifteen business days, the ballots will be tallied and the members with the most votes will fill the Board of Governors positions.
  • The voted-in members will be notified via phone call and email and must accept within five business days to be valid.
  • If a member voted-in declines, the next runner up in the voting tally will be eligible and will be contacted via phone or email.
  • Once all voted-in members are notified and have accepted their positions, the membership will be notified of the new board via email announcement.
  • A detailed record of the voting tallied, communication and process will be kept at the SOC office and be available for members’ review.
  • The Board may assign a special committee to oversee the voting process as defined in the PPM and to insure that all processes are being followed by the SOC office.
  • There will be a transitional board meeting where the out coming and in coming board meet together to insure a smooth transition in addition to sharing of information.
  • Any candidate has access to the ballot results. Please notify the SOC office and allow 24 to respond to request.

Board of Governors Officers Elections:
Once a new Board of Governors has been voted in by the Active voting membership and after the first Board Meeting, officer descriptions are to be distributed to the new Board Members for their review through email or mailed, if requested. The descriptions are to be sent ten days prior to the officer’s election.

The officer’s election will take place at the second Board Meeting.  Board Members nominate themselves for the officer positions of President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Sergeant–at–Arms.

In person votes are taken on a piece of paper, members participating digitally, via text.  Individual(s) who are not nominated or SOC staff/consultant can tally the votes and announce the new officers. The master tally of votes is to include in person, text, and proxy. A simple majority vote determines the officer positions.

All paper ballots and voting results are to be kept in the SOC offices for records purposes. If there is a tie for an officer position, the Board will be asked to vote again as a tie breaker.


Financial Reports and Records
The Board of Governors maintain monthly financial reports, which include reports such as Cash Flow, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Profit & Loss year to date and year on year comparisons, and copies of the past month’s reconciled bank account. These reports are provided for the Board during Board Meetings, and maintained by the SOC Office following the meetings.

Checks and Notes
Unless otherwise determined by the Board of Governors, or required by law, all checks, orders for payment of money, and any other evidence of indebtedness of the corporation, is signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the Society’s Accountant.

All funds of the corporation are deposited from time to time to the credit of the corporation in banks, trust companies, or other depositories as the Board of Directors may select. All deposits are reconciled monthly and included in the Board meeting financial reports.

Debit and Credit Cards
The Society provides debit and credit cards to the officers, consultants and staff as the Treasurer sees fit. All charges must be preapproved by the Treasurer, included in the annual budget and or presented and approved by the Board prior. All credit card and debit card expenses are reconciled on a monthly basis by the Society’s Accountant.

Annual Report
The Society shall provide members yearly with an annual report. The annual report shall be prepared not later than 120 days after the close of the Society’s fiscal year. The report shall contain:

  • Annual Financials reports
  • Accounting of membership number per category
  • Review of annual objectives and accomplishments



Code of Conduct
All Members, Staff, Consultants and Volunteers are expected to demonstrate professional and respectful behavior as representatives of the Society of Camera Operators.

All parties are required to use their actions and communications to both maintain and advance the reputation of the SOC, as well as to act and communicate in a way that is well mannered, fair and considerate of others when interacting with SOC Members, Board Members, Staff, Volunteers, guests, and Corporate relations, both current or potential.

If a Member of any membership category behaves in a manner that is disrespectful, disparaging or slanderous to the Society or its members, the President has the authority to review the actions and assemble a committee to determine disciplinary action such as expulsion, suspension or written warning.

If a Staff, Consultant or Volunteer behaves in a manner that is disrespectful, disparaging or slanderous to the Society or its members, the President has the authority to review the actions, and assemble a committee to determine disciplinary action such as expulsion, suspension or written warning.

The SOC is an honorary society and membership is a privilege. The expectation is that all members will support the brother/sister – hood of the membership and the overall reputation of the Society.

Corporate Member Gifting and Loaning of Gear and Technology
No Board or Committee Member is allowed to use their position with the SOC to receive personal discounts or deals on loaner equipment or technology, or equipment and/or technology as gifts.

Personal Loan or Use of Society Property
The Society owns, has on loan and maintains equipment, gear and technology for the advancement of the Society. Membership can use the equipment, gear and technology, by requesting usage dates to the office. If such equipment, gear or technology is damaged when in use by a member, the member will be responsible for the repair and/or replacement costs.  A check-out form should be completed when the SOC equipment, gear and/or technology is borrowed from the office, including the expected return date. If the return date or any other changes occur, the borrower is responsible for informing the SOC Office. 

Personal Gifts
The Board of Directors may accept on behalf of the corporation any contribution, gift, bequest, or devise for the charitable or public purposes of this corporation. No Board member may accept a gift personally due to their involvement as a Board or Committee member.

Conflict of Interest
The SOC outlines the conflict of interest policies to prevent the personal interest of Staff Members, Board members, and other Volunteers from interfering with the performance of their duties to the Society, or result in personal financial, professional, or political gain on the part of such persons at the expense of the SOC or its Members and supporters.

Definitions: Conflict of Interest means a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, between the private interests and official responsibilities of a Person in a Position of Trust. Persons in a Position of Trust include Staff Members, Volunteers, Chairs of Committees and Board Members of the SOC.

If a Board Member, Staff Member, Volunteer, Officer, or Committee Chair are engaged with an outside party where they feel there may be a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of Interest, they are to acknowledge this affiliation to the Board of Governors via written or electronic communication.

Use of the letters “SOC” shall be allowed only by an Active member in good standing, acting in the role of Camera Operator on the project credited. They shall not be used if credited in any other job, craft or position. A director of photography who operates a camera may not use the letters “SOC.”

Preservation of Documents
The SOC acknowledges its responsibility to preserve information relating to litigation, audits and investigations. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of July 30, 2002 makes it a crime to alter, cover up, falsify or destroy any document to prevent its use in an official proceeding. Failure on the part of Staff Members, Board members, and other Volunteers to follow this policy can result in possible civil and criminal sanctions against the SOC and possible disciplinary action against responsible individuals (up to and including termination or suspension).

Following Documents include for seven years:
Accounts payable ledgers and schedules
Audit reports
Bank Reconciliations
Bank statements
Contracts, mortgages, notes and leases (expired)
Correspondence (general) – both written & Electronic
Correspondence (legal and important matters) -both written & Electronic
Correspondence (with customers and vendors)- both written & electronic
Employment applications
Expense Analyses/expense distribution schedules
Year End Financial Statements
Insurance Policies
Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.
Internal audit reports
Inventories of products, materials, and supplies
Minute books, bylaws and charters
Tax returns and worksheets
Trademark registrations and copyrights
Withholding tax statements