Credit: Image by JD Lasica on Flickr

The piece to camera is a staple of TV journalism and often sees reporters walking through streets as part of their narration. While the reporter has their face to the camera, save a thought for the person performing the shot.

As this video on BBC Academy details, backwatching is the role assigned to the person guiding the camera operator as they walk backwards. It is the backwatcher's job to steer the operator clear of public hazards and pitfalls such as kerbs, bollards, pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

Tom Burridge, BBC News correspondent, says that vision is greatly restricted when looking through a camera lens, so it is vital that the backwatcher does not get distracted by anything else.

Confidence and communication are key to being a good backwatcher says Burridge, recommending a range of touch signals, such as a hand on the shoulder, to guide the camera operator’s shot. However, in more frantic scenarios, they will need to have a tighter approach to steer the shot safely.

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