Camera operators appointed to the front encountered a number of problems that complicated their work. In an article written for a German cinema journal in 1915, the front cameraman Wolfgang Filzinger named some of the major challenges: lenses and films were slow, the bulky and heavy cameras and tripods had to be kept ready for use all the time, and when waiting for interesting motifs such as an exploding grenade, the operator had to spend long times in the danger zone. In addition, cameramen had to hide themselves and their equipment not only from the enemy, but also from their own comrades: when noticing that they were filmed, soldiers often turned towards the camera and started waving and grinning, thus making it impossible to shot images that would be regarded as “authentic”. Furthermore, camera operators had to be familiar with military terms and modes of behaviour, otherwise they would risk being pilloried by soldiers.
When filming the combat zone, many camera operators tended to work with wide angles in order to achieve a field of view as large as possible, because it was unpredictable where something spectacular would happen. As a consequence, the aesthetic quality of such images in terms of composition or depth of field was often mediocre. All these things considered, it becomes clear that censorship, admission control and enemy fire were by far not the only difficulties that cinematic war reporting had to face.