live recording we were
White’s memory of Armchair Mystery Theatre as fast-paced and edgy is
confirmed by close analysis of the available episodes of the series, and particularly the teleplay Man and Mirror written by Robert Muller and directed by
Patrick Dromgoole, a Victorian domestic psychodrama. This episode called
on the visionmixer or ‘switcher’ to create striking extended montages of
superimposed images in order to produce an impressionist representation of
the spiralling madness of one of its central characters. In line with Susan
, reducing strain and allowing the operator to move the pedestal or other mount without calling on the services of another member of the crew.
TV studio cameras should have tally lights. Conventionally, these are red and show when the camera is selected by the VisionMixer (Switcher) – that is, when it is ‘on shot’. There will be one tally light on top of the camera visible from the front (but see page 46 ) and a second, small one, over or under the viewfinder screen (as in Plate 6 ). The one on the front tells Presenters, Actors and floor staff which
positions can be drawn with a 2p piece, which works very well, or, in the US, a dollar piece is the nearest equivalent. An old UK penny (pre-decimalisation) is right for 48 : 1 plans; in the US, a ½ dollar should work.
The VisionMixer or Switcher (who would not often be present at the actual Planning Meeting) and FM need to know where each named guest is sitting. This information can be marked on a floor plan: perhaps copies modified just for them.
A4 shrunk copies of the finished floor plan for the Camera Operators are helpful if there are more than a couple of
colour monitor screen showing the director’s choice of shot from among the possibilities offered by each camera for each moment of the programme. The role of the director, working with the visionmixer, is to instruct the camera operators what to shoot and then to select from the shots offered by each camera to create a single sequence of shots that will comprise the programme. What Beckett would have seen in the gallery at Stuttgart, then, would have been the ‘master’ monitor in colour, together with monitors ranged alongside it where the output of the single camera
working closely with actors in the rehearsal rooms, and the technician, planning camera moves prior to entering the studio, and
separated from the cast on the day of transmission. At this point
in time direction for studio television bore little resemblance to
film, due to the fact that editing took place during the performance
rather than in post-production; the visionmixer would cut between
cameras in real time according to the director’s carefully prepared
plan. Although several BBC television directors, including George
More O’Ferrall and Michael Barry, had
the sets that were erected in the studio, rather than in strict story
order, scenes would still have to be played in their entirety, and
editing would take place ‘live’, the visionmixer cutting between
cameras as the performance took place. This distinction continued to mark television studio drama apart from single camera film
production, where scenes could be performed in sections and later
pieced together in post-production.
Studio work for ‘The Fourth Horseman’ began with eight hours
of camera rehearsal at Television Centre on Tuesday 18 February