What does a data wrangler do?
Data wranglers back up files on a location shoot. That might sound straightforward enough – but they have to keep a cool head because if they don’t do it correctly, all the work that’s been done to capture the action could be lost.
On a shoot using digital cameras, data wranglers take the cards containing the raw files (known as ‘rushes’) from the cameras and sound recorders. They transfer and back up data on to memory drives. They check the data, label and log them, making sure there’s no data loss or corruption. Data wrangling is usually done to at least two external hard drives.
Then they transfer the data to the post-production department of the unscripted TV production. They keep a log of who has received what footage and what copies of the data exist.
Depending on the production, data wranglers may have to perform runner or logger duties too. More experienced data wranglers might also be involved in setting up the cameras and adjusting the live pictures in a shoot. In those instances, they are might be called a 'digital imaging technician' (DIT). Some data wranglers might also be expected to maintain the camera kit when out on location. Then they might be known as 'loaders'.
What’s a data wrangler good at?
- Attention to detail: label files accurately, wrangle the data without loss, notice corruptions
- Digital cameras and computers: understand cameras, file formats and storage media
- Problem solving: be able to fix kit, tech and cable connections
- Staying calm under pressure: work methodically within a high-stress environment, speak up when things don’t go to plan
- TV production: understand how a TV production works, the roles within it and production process