Teamwork in the Field / by Katie Edmonds

Components of a Field Team

Using recording equipment, a shooting script and attempting to achieve coverage is a complex process requiring much focus and attention to detail, while remaining observant to the unexpected. Attempting this work within a fixed amount of time is even more difficult. Dividing up responsibilities among different members of a field team reduces the responsibility of any one person, and has the added benefit of incorporating the negotiations between participants that will accompany any excursion.

I've found that a team of 3 works very well, providing a balance between the diversity of viewpoints and attention to detail. Allowing one person to have the full responsibility over one task turns that person into an advocate for the quality that task provides to the work. Conversely, none of the tasks are dominant, and each is interdependent to the others.

The Roles

Map

  • Where will the team go?
  • How much time should be spent at each location?
  • What path should they follow, or in which order should the locations be visited?
  • How does an unexpected turn our encounter impact the path and how should the plan change in response?

Watching the map, calling out turns, nudging the team forward if there is something interesting in the next spot, this is the Map role. This member of the group has an eye on the overall context of the field so the rest of the team can be concentrating on their immediate environment.

Shooting Script Supervisor

Working closely with the Camera. Probing for detail in every location. Pointing out what may not be seen by the rest of the team. Setting up the shots so the Camera can focus on the technical aspects of capturing an image. Recording what themes have been captured. Ensuring topical and visual coverage.

Sound

Recording relevant team negotiations. Probing the people and objects in a space. Finding qualities that support or contradict what's being recorded by the camera.

Camera

Light. Framing. Coverage. Reporting to the Script Supervisor. Transferring media for the pinup session.

Working as a Team in the Field

Negotiating and moving on. Giving quiet when asked for. Speaking up. Speaking out. Pointing out.