What do archive producers do?

The profession of archive producer is still relatively unknown in Germany. Our association aims to change this.


In more and more productions, there are video recordings and photos that were not shot or taken by the production team. These can be historical film footage, pictures from museums, excerpts from news programmes or a clip from the latest blockbuster.


Archive producers are responsible for obtaining the relevant material and permission to use it.


The difference between the archive researcher and the archive producer is that the researcher is only responsible for research, while the archive producer is responsible for research as well as archive management and budget control.

Tasks of the Archive Producer

  • Initial research into the availability of archive material and advice on planning the shoot.
  • Research of required material in consultation with authors and accompanying editing
  • Procurement of material and organisation of a quick delivery of the master files, as well as initial control of their quality and completeness.
  • Organisation of external material (naming, filing)
  • Budgeting (from cost estimate to final licensing)
    • Budget advice in the run-up to a production for broadcaster and funding calculations (calculations should include a realistic proportion of archive material).
    • Monitoring and controlling the archive budget and schedules
    • Controlling costs of projects during the editing phase with EDLs (Edit Decision List, a list of material and timecodes used in a production)
  • Negotiate licensing prices at the beginning of the project, communicate with archive sources regarding technical needs and scope of rights.
  • Close cooperation in the pre-production and production phase with the producer and director, as well as later with the editor and the post-production department.
  • Informing the post-production department before the start of editing about the nature of the archive to encourage a smooth post-production process
  • Close exchange with directors and editors regarding clarification of what is too expensive or legally complicated
  • Finding substitute material if the archive material is too expensive or unlicensable
  • Creating list of used material and help with Programme as Completed (PasC) documentation
  • Ensuring the cooperation with reliable and serious partners
  • Checking contracts, such as broadcaster or customer contracts for conformity
  • Drawing up contract templates for the purpose of licensing
  • Assessing the risk of use of material that cannot be licensed