The act of backwatching involves one person on a production team guiding the camera operator and spotting any potential hazards.
There are many reasons why a backwatcher may be necessary. Not all of those reasons are to provide security against a known external threat. Sometimes it is just to have one more person on the team who can act as an extra pair of eyes. They can provide 360 degree awareness when other team members might be focused in on the story.
A situation may develop after deployment when a member of the team needs to act as a backwatcher. A good example of this is where the target is moving and the camera operator has to move with them, often backwards. If this is the case, that operator can request that their producer/reporter temporarily stands in as backwatcher. This involves that person taking hold of the operator and guiding them safely around obstacles. If you’ve been given the task of backwatching your colleague, this video gives you some practical tips on how to do it and keep you both safe.
Just remember - if a member of staff ever feels that their safety is at risk, the activity should be stopped immediately.