A field producer is a member of a production staff who manages elements of television, documentary, reality television and news productions at locations outside the principal studio. Field producers may fill various roles and act as production management, liaisons to the principal production office, videographers, story creators and production coordinators.
Field producers are managers who often work with talent recruiters to hire members of the the production crew, subjects or cast members in the field. They may supervise production crew, subjects and cast members in the filed, and may be responsible for identifying and managing the equipment that is needed in the field. Field producers are often in charge of administrative production functions such as acquiring permits, generating reports, distributing information to cast and crew members, financial records, conducting research, logging media and assuring conformity with the principal production office's story and overall production requirements.
Field producers often act as liaisons between higher production management or the principal production office and the business associates, cast and production crew members in the field. A field producer job listing for ABC-CBN news broadcasting in the Philippines says, "The field producer may receive instructions from the head, remote broadcast services and desk editors regarding specific requirements of the reporter or producer," going on to state that the producer "assists the reporter and producer with the delivery of production requirements as identified by the reporter and producer. ABC-CBN's listing indicates that a field producer works with co-management such as reporters and receives instructions from higher management and from other departments at a principal production office. Some field producers conduct interviews for reporters.
Director and Videographer
Field producers for some productions may act as videographers and directors in the field. For example, a field producer employment listing for Orion Multimedia says that the field producer must "organize a shoot quickly and inexpensively, run a camera by himself, direct a crew, take a story producer’s vision and capture it with creative footage." Outdoor sports shows are often produced in the field. These shows may have smaller production crews, and a field producer may be the principal videographer for the production in the field. Blake Porter's guidebook for a television hunting show equates the terms "field producer" and "cameraman," which indicates that a videographer and field producer sometimes fulfill the same production responsibilities.
Field producers may be directly responsible for creating the story for a production in the field. For example, a documentary field producer may need to develop stories and substories to provide a context for the information that is recorded. Field producers for broadcast news deal with real-time situations that may demand assembling various facts to report on an event within the context of a story.
Blake Porter's field producer guide for a reality hunting show argues that field producers must shoot re-creations and short stories in order to produce a cost-effective reality hunting show for television, and enable editors to build a show from multiple short stories. Porter's guide says, "Pure reality TV would require multiple cameras, 10 times more footage and 50 times more editing hours. To create a cost-effective hunting TV show, you must re-create encounters and kills, and create short stories for the editors to use."
Field producers often coordinate various aspects of a production. They may coordinate transportation of the cast and crew members to locations in the field in addition to coordinating lodging, meals and scheduling for field production staff, cast and crew (See References 5). Some field producers identify the technical requirements for a production, and coordinate the logistics involved with sourcing, transporting, and assembling equipment that is used. Equipment may include cameras, set pieces and props, audio equipment, communications equipment, transport trailers, cooking and dining equipment.
- Photo Credit television operator image by TEA from Fotolia.com
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