This 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 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. The book explains detail of television aspect ratios; and a little about the meanings of Continuity. Since many multi-camera video productions use inserts shot on single camera, there are several references to single-camera shooting. The necessary elements in multi-camera production are: a vision mixer (switcher) for selecting the images to be recorded or transmitted; a Director co-ordinating the content; an assistant to keep track of timings and where the Director is in the script; and a Camera Operator for each camera, with a tally-light to show when the particular camera is on-shot.
Information about this also appeared on http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/researchanddevelopment2011/04/the-autumnwatch-companion—de.shtml .
1 It is likely that Directors of Photography will become their own stereographers on single-camerashoots. What will happen in TV studios will depend on developing technology.
2 Are You Smarter Than Your 10 Year Old? , among the earliest 3D shows recorded at BBC’s TV Centre, usually used eleven 2D cameras in fixed positions, one system for formatted shows common in the US. The 3D recording used a Telegenic OB rig with five
studios and the people who work in them.
Part III focuses on exercises to practise some basic principles and shows how to build on these and develop proposals and projects.
Part IV goes into more detail on Drama, Music and Action, both in the context of student projects and in the professional world.
The appendices explain:
detail of television aspect ratios; and
a little about the meanings of Continuity.
Since many multi-camera video productions use inserts shot on single camera, there are several references to single-camerashooting.
I do not go
multi-camera studio, Camera 1 would see Camera 2 or you’d spot the error on the camera monitors, so you would not usually get into this position accidentally. On single-camerashoots, though, it can happen all too easily. This is the simplest of examples, but you do see this kind of continuity error even on quite high-budget single-camera projects.
Figure 3.7 shows how the question of crossing the line can become very complex, very quickly. It is not always easy to be sure that continuity has been maintained and, as I wrote on an earlier occasion, ‘Cameramen and
so that the studio team knows what is going to happen. Cases like this often do benefit from the use of a storyboard. It is not reasonable simply to write ‘As Directed’ and to expect everything to work out all right in the studio! (There is more on storyboards in chapter 16 , ‘Shooting drama’.)
As with single-camerashooting, ‘quite often, there will be a very large number of brief shots, and you, as audience, will be left with an impression of something happening – the quickness of the shots will deceive your eyes . . . The Director can cross the line or
to a deadline and to a budget.
See ‘Notes on exercises’ on page xxxi
Look at a variety of content, including, perhaps, videos of older, multi-camera period drama, and consider the ways Set and Lighting Designers have used shapes and light to create an environment for the content.
The trend in television drama has been towards single-camerashooting on location in the pursuit of realism. Consider if this is necessary for the telling of a good story. Take into account the material covered in the relatively limited resources of a theatre, too
episodes old when Crichton first encountered the popular ITV series shortly after it had embarked on its fourth season towards the end of 1964, during, as it turned out, the shutdown of production on He Who Rides a Tiger . Two significant changes had also taken place with the format when Crichton was invited to direct ‘Death at Bargain Prices’, the fourth episode of the new batch. Video with multi-cameras was replaced by single-camerashooting on 35 mm film, and Diana Rigg, as Emma Peel, had taken the place of Honor Blackman’s Cathy Gale as John Steed’s (Patrick Macnee
and video aesthetics
Since television drama inherited theatre’s and literature’s mantle of quality and authorial creativity (often via radio drama), it offered, paradoxically, an opportunity to consider the essential aesthetic of the medium. The Langham Group, working at the BBC in 1958–60, for example, were interested in the connections between the aesthetics of television and of avant-garde film (see Cooke 2003: 53–4). On one hand, by using single-camerashooting and takes of unusually long duration, for example, television could explore
usually directional (see chapter 11 ), so will give a cleaner sound than omni-directional personal mikes. They are, therefore, useful tools. To avoid mike shadows on subjects, keep the mikes away from the key light or, as a last resort, move the key light so the mike shadow is thrown away from the picture area (it’s easier, usually, to move the mike). A soft fill is less likely to cause a problem – but it could. On a single-camerashoot, it might be easier to put the microphone in below the bottom of the frame than above the top. In a multi-camera set-up, a boom is
around to cover as much ground as possible. It used to be frowned on and I, personally, still don’t like it. I do see the use of it, though, as a cheap way of providing a live item. With more time and some editing, you could give a smoother result, also with one camera, but that is straightforward single-camerashooting and falls outside the subject of this book.
Using two cameras
Range of possible shots: ‘Libraries’
Even on a simple 1 + 1 (two-way) interview, like the one shown in figure 12.2 , it is possible to work out a library of shots for two cameras. At