Skip to content

There’s a strong allure to capturing the magic of a concert, sports game, or any other live event, but breaking into the camera crew game can be difficult. Without connections or work history, it’s difficult to know where to start, and the amount of specialized equipment and procedures can be enough to make your head spin. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. This summer, the Northwest Film Center is offering for the third year in a row the Pickathon Camera Crew multi-session class, which provides an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience, knowledge, and feedback as a member of a real camera crew, filming the Pickathon music festival.

The class is taught by Dave Slay, veteran director/camera-operator who has shot multi-cam music and sports events across the west coast for companies like ESPN, NBC, CNN, Nike, and more. Dave has been the director of the Pickathon Music Festival video crew for seven years, and students taking his class are guaranteed to get an authentic camera crew experience.

The class is open to eager filmmakers of all levels, and no experience is required. You’ll learn everything you need to know in the four weekly instructional sessions, which focus on operating specialized camera gear like jibs, robotics, and switchers, as well as learning how the camera crew and director work together in a fast-paced shooting environment. The training will culminate in a practice shoot at Mississippi Studios on Friday, July 22nd, to put the skills to the test and get acquainted with filming in a live environment.

Then from August 4th to 7th, you’ll head to Pendarvis Farm and serve as the camera crew for Pickathon’s Treeline Stage. Since 1998, Pickathon has been a music festival by fans, for fans. Committed to an environment of sustainability, collaboration, and fun, the festival has become known as one of the best underground music festivals in the country, and attracts big name artists and unknown indie groups alike. It’s the best venue to see your favorite groups, and this year’s lineup includes acclaimed artists like Wolf Parade, Beach House, and Yo La Tengo (full lineup can be found here).

On the Treeline Stage, the student crew will be working side-by-side with multi-camera professionals to capture the magic and excitement of the music. Artists featured on the Treeline Stage this year include Kevin Morby, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Mac DeMarco, and you’ll be there to record it all.

By the end of the class, you’ll know all the ins and outs of multi-camera production, including operation of cameras and other equipment, how a control room works, cable runs and signal flow, how to capture good audio, how camera operators respond to Director commands, reviewing daily footage, and so much more. The tuition fee includes a pass to Pickathon, steadicam merlin, camera jib and dolly. It’s the perfect opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to be a live event video crew member in a fun and friendly environment. Sign up here today!


The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.