The development of a real project might go something like this: have the idea, turn it into a proposal, turn the proposal into a treatment, develop interactive elements, work out a budget, get a commission, work out the finance, make and distribute the show, and cash in on merchandising. Professionally, it is necessary to organise each step of production and post-production carefully with schedules and timetables because so many steps depend on earlier steps having been completed. A practical video module is not, perhaps, the place to go into a lot of detail about writing a script; there are other books and courses that cover this area most effectively. However, the success of any project or programme revolves around its script or format. If these are right, then the performers, be they hosts, actors, comedians, or members of the public, will, simply, perform better.
The traditional sequence for scripted sequences would be as follows: blocking, stagger, run or run-through, dress run, and recording or transmission. Even on dramas, there was not always time for steps 3 and 4. Blocking, staggering and a final or dress run were usually adequate. When it comes to run-throughs, all scripted pieces and links should be played out in full. As directed sections can be played through with real guests, proper introductions and dummy questions, or with stand-ins. The Director needs to make it quite clear when it is time for a take. In the first few year of the twenty first century, the commonest recording media for students' recordings were DV and mini-DV. It is surprising, though, how often a project has developed unnecessary complications because 'common sense' disappeared in the heat of the moment. Making TV content really does depend on good communication and teamwork.
This chapter shows in detail how to prepare and shoot some as-directed set-ups. They are based on notes for some of the practical classes the author teach and on the classical methods taught for decades at the BBC and elsewhere. The chapter includes at least one exercise using a camera script, that are the basis of many real programmes. The chapter presents as-directed exercises, though building a structured script as an introduction for each would be perfectly straightforward. If used as a practical exercise, the work would fall into the four parts described in this chapter: research, preparation, rehearsal and recording. The chapter provides general points applying to any kind of interview, discussion or chat on any topic for any kind of show, formal or informal. The BBC used to teach that an interview should start with a mid-shot on the Presenter, and then show mid-shots of the guests.
This chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book is about producing video content with a multi-camera set-up. The principles apply whatever the form of distribution: digital network, Internet, mobile phone or 'other'. It is intended to be used alongside practical courses or modules, both in teaching institutions and in professional training environments. The book also centres on Health and Safety in TV studios, which are potentially dangerous places. It gives a lot of key information about television studios and the people who work in them. The book focuses on exercises to practise some basic principles and shows how to build on these and develop proposals and projects. It goes into more detail on Drama, Music and Action, both in the context of student projects and in the professional world.
Job titles and duties change over the years. All paperwork needs to be identified and page numbered. In the professional world, a vital member of the team is the Script Supervisor who (sometimes with a Production Secretary) is responsible for generating most of the practical paperwork and converting the sloppy scrawls of the Director into a clear and efficient means of communication that is relevant to each member of the studio team. As the Vision Mixer cuts to each new camera-scripted shot, the Script Supervisor calls out the new shot number, as showing on the programme or TX monitor, and identifies which camera is next to be used. An experienced Script Supervisor will also note stop or end timecodes. Traditionally, notes were hand-written directly onto a hard copy of the script. In a tapeless environment, the software on the server notes the duration and start and finish timecodes automatically.
In practical classes, students should have hands-on experience of operating studio cameras and will see how the appearance of a programme can be affected by careless - or inspired - use of lenses. In general, people used to working with prime lenses (that is, convex lenses with a fixed focal length) will talk about the focal length of the lens. Those used to multi-camera studios are more likely to think in terms of the horizontal angle of view. This was true even before the introduction of zoom lenses on all studio cameras. A zoom lens has a variable focal length, so it has a variable angle of view. A low focal length corresponds to a high (horizontal) angle of view. The chapter also looks at aspects of the theory and practice of camera operation. The term 'conventions' also includes the problems associated with 'crossing the line'.
Lighting Directors are highly skilled people and highly paid. This chapter presents a very basic introduction for the non-specialist. In order to record a pleasing picture, the readers will have to manipulate even ambient light to use it creatively. Sometimes, the best way of disguising a small, moving boom shadow might be to create a larger, static shadow, as though there is a building or tree just out of shot. The chapter relates mainly to locations and is relevant to multi-camera working when the readers are on location with an outside broadcast unit. To a camera that has been white-balanced in daylight, tungsten light tends to look orange; if the camera is balanced for tungsten, daylight tends to look blue. Some understanding of the term 'colour temperature' is essential to anyone dealing with lighting for cameras.
This chapter is an introduction to sound in television. All microphones convert sound waves into electrical signals. There are many models of microphone in TV studios. Each has its uses but this is not the best place for a full analysis. Although there are others, the kinds the readers are likely to come across fall into one of three types: condenser, dynamic and ribbon. Booms are good where the readers wish to avoid seeing mikes in shot. They are good where radio mikes would look out of place and where they cannot be concealed: in a drama. If the original is the better choice, it is sometimes possible to remove the offending sound from that take without affecting the dialogue but leaving a very noticeable hole in the soundtrack. An atmos track happily fills the gap. The absolute silence of 'no signal' is very obvious and will always need attention.
Music used in any kind of public performance will cost money. As far as music in television is concerned, there are, according to a representative of the UK's MCPS-PRS Alliance, four basic ways of using music in a film or TV production, whatever the source: titles and credits, featured, incidental, and ephemeral. The first two of these categories often command higher fees than the second pair. The problem with music from any of the sources is that someone else may hit on the same choice of track for very different content. A better solution is to commission the readers' own composer, even if it is costly. Given that a musical performance can cover anything from a Beethoven symphony to an unaccompanied solo singer, all the author can do is to offer some basic approaches to shooting music in real time in a multi-camera as-live setting.
This chapter provides some general points about safety in TV studios, whether student or professional. There are some points about safety on location because it is sometimes necessary to include one or more single-camera sequences in a predominantly studio-based project. There are two aspects to safety: the readers' own protection and their responsibility to others. In almost all circumstances, whether on location or in a stage or studio, a production will have to generate a risk assessment form. This will indicate the level of risk associated with the production and the precautions that have been taken. Film and TV studios and locations are notorious for cables snaking across the floor. Most studios have a fire lane, which may extend all around the studio. The readers must learn safe procedures for each piece of equipment they use. It is advisable that professionals should each have their own public liability insurance.