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[on-kam-er-uh, -kam-ruh, awn-] /ˈɒnˈkæm ər ə, -ˈkæm rə, ˈɔn-/
adjective, adverb
within the range of a motion-picture or television camera; while being filmed or televised:
on-camera blunders; The assassination happened on-camera.
Origin of on-camera
First recorded in 1960-65


[kam-er-uh, kam-ruh] /ˈkæm ər ə, ˈkæm rə/
a device for capturing a photographic image or recording a video, using film or digital memory.
(in a television transmitting apparatus) the device in which the picture to be televised is formed before it is changed into electric impulses.
Printing. camera-ready.
off camera,
  1. out of the range of a video camera, as a television or motion picture camera:
    The stunt woman was waiting just off camera for her cue to enter the scene.
  2. (of an actor) in one’s private rather than professional life:
    The two co-stars are best friends off camera.
on camera, being filmed or televised by a live camera:
Be sure to look alert when you are on camera.
1730-35; shortening of camera obscura; 1840-45 for def 1; utimately < Latin camera vaulted room, vault; see camera2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for on camera


/ˈkæmərə; ˈkæmrə/
an optical device consisting of a lens system set in a light-proof construction inside which a light-sensitive film or plate can be positioned See also cine camera, digital camera
(television) the equipment used to convert the optical image of a scene into the corresponding electrical signals
(pl) -erae (-əˌriː). a judge's private room
in camera
  1. (law) relating to a hearing from which members of the public are excluded
  2. in private
off camera, not within an area being filmed
on camera, (esp of an actor) being filmed
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: vault, from Greek kamara
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for on camera



1708, "vaulted building," from Latin camera "vaulted room" (source of Italian camera, Spanish camara, French chambre), from Greek kamara "vaulted chamber."

The word also was used early 18c. as a short form of Modern Latin camera obscura "dark chamber" (a black box with a lens that could project images of external objects), contrasted with camera lucida (Latin for "light chamber"), which uses prisms to produce on paper beneath the instrument an image, which can be traced. It became the word for "picture-taking device" when modern photography began, c.1840 (extended to television filming devices 1928). Camera-shy is attested from 1890. Old Church Slavonic komora, Lithuanian kamara, Old Irish camra all are borrowings from Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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on camera in Medicine

camera cam·er·a (kām'ər-ə, kām'rə)
n. pl. cam·er·ae (-ə-rē)
A chamber or cavity, such as one of the chambers of the heart or eye.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with on camera

on camera

Being filmed, as in When the talk-show host began, I wasn't sure if we were on camera. This usage dates from the first half of the 1900s, soon after the birth of motion-picture and television filming. The same is true of the antonym off camera, meaning “outside the view of a movie or TV camera,” as in Go ahead and scratch—we're off camera now.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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