Phillip L. Harris - Doster`s Class Site

Phillip L. Harris - Doster`s Class Site
Phillip L. Harris
Springfield, Virginia
Publisher
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.
Tinley Park, Illinois
www.g-w.com
Second Edition
2
Copyright © 2012
by
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.
Previous edition copyright 2006
Previously published and copyrighted as Television Production by
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or
transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including
information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written permission of
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2010040430
International Standard Book Number 978-1-60525-350-3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 – 12 – 16 15 14 13 12 11
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc. Brand Disclaimer: Brand names, company
names, and illustrations for products and services included in this text are provided for
educational purposes only and do not represent or imply endorsement or recommendation by the author or the publisher.
The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc. Safety Notice: The reader is expressly advised
to carefully read, understand, and apply all safety precautions and warnings described
in this book or that might also be indicated in undertaking the activities and exercises
described herein to minimize risk of personal injury or injury to others. Common sense
and good judgment should also be exercised and applied to help avoid all potential
hazards. The reader should always refer to the appropriate manufacturer’s technical
information, directions, and recommendations; then proceed with care to follow specific
equipment operating instructions. The reader should understand these notices and
cautions are not exhaustive.
The publisher makes no warranty or representation whatsoever, either expressed or implied,
including but not limited to equipment, procedures, and applications described or referred
to herein, their quality, performance, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.
The publisher assumes no responsibility for any changes, errors, or omissions in this
book. The publisher specifically disclaims any liability whatsoever, including any direct,
indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or
in part, from the reader’s use or reliance upon the information, instructions, procedures,
warnings, cautions, applications, or other matter contained in this book. The publisher
assumes no responsibility for the activities of the reader.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harris, Phillip L.
Television production and broadcast journalism /
by Phillip L. Harris -- 2nd ed.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-60525-350-3
1. Television -- Production and direction. 2. Broadcast journalism.
I. Title.
PN1992.75.H37 20012
791.4502′32 -- dc22
2010040430
3
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism introduces the basic
skills needed to enter the television production industry. The text includes
an overview of the equipment, job responsibilities, and techniques involved
in both traditional studio production and remote location work. The second edition has been extensively updated to address the digital technology
used to create television programming. Additionally, new broadcast journalism sections and chapters have been incorporated to support schools
that air student-produced newscasts.
This text strongly emphasizes the importance of vocabulary and the
correct use of industry terms. When a term is presented, it is set in bold
italic type, immediately defined, and is used consistently throughout the
chapters that follow. Talk the Talk features explain the difference between
common consumer terms and professional terms, and provide examples of
the industry’s use of terms. Knowing the proper use and meaning of professional terms is a significant requirement when beginning a career in the
television production industry. Oftentimes, the respect you receive from
industry professionals is based greatly on the way you speak. Correctly
using professional terms is required at all times in our industry.
Principles involved in camera operation, picture composition, scriptwriting, lighting, remote shooting, directing, and many other areas are
discussed with illustrated examples and explanations. Production Note features are found within each chapter and provide additional information or
tips that expand on or reinforce a particular topic. Visualize This features
also reinforce concepts by providing examples intended to help students
create a mental picture of a concept or scenario. These features provide
relatable examples, which helps ensure students gain the knowledge and
skills necessary to be successful.
Even though the technology involved in television and television production is evolving, the basic knowledge and skills required to enter this
field remain consistent. Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
is designed to provide a foundation of information and skills on which a
rewarding career can be built.
4
276
Talk the Talk. These features explain
the difference between consumer
and professional terms and provide
examples of appropriate uses of
industry terms.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
graphics: All of the
“artwork” seen in a
program, including
the paintings that
hang on the walls of a
set, the opening and
closing program titles,
computer graphics,
charts, graphs, and
any other electronic
representation that
may be part of a visual
presentation.
Assistant Activity. These features
contain activities students can
complete independently, outside the
classroom. The activities enhance
comprehension of chapter content
and concepts through experience.
Talk the Talk
In some facilities, the terms “visuals” and “graphics” are
used interchangeably.
Copyright
Any picture taken from a magazine or book, Web site, or a motion
picture still frame is almost always copyrighted. This means that these
images may not be used in a video program without the copyright owner’s
permission. The simplest way to obtain images for a production is to create your own—take original photographs or make unique pieces of art. If
existing copyrighted works must be used, find the copyright holder and
get permission. Refer to the copyright information in Chapter 12, Legalities:
Releases, Copyright, and Forums.
Still Photos
If used sparingly, still photography can work well in a video program.
Excessive use of still photography, however, makes a television program
look like a slide show. To make interesting use of still photos, move the
camera around on the picture to create a sense of motion.
Assistant Activity
Watch a few documentaries to see this “roaming the
camera on a still photo” technique. Also notice that sound
effects and music are added while the camera roams across
a still image. The net result is quite effective.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain how the responsibilities of each
production staff position are dependent on the
functions of other production staff positions.
•
Identify the primary responsibilities of each
production staff position.
•
Recall the activities in each step of a production
workflow.
Photos may be used in a video production, if certain precautions are
taken. Take the picture holding the camera horizontally. A horizontallyoriented picture more closely matches the shape of the television screen
than a vertically-oriented picture, Figure 14-1. A horizontal picture is a
rectangle with the long side on the top and bottom, just like a television
screen. If using a photo print, use a satin finish instead of glossy. Glossy
photo paper reflects the glare of lights into the lens of the video camera.
Photographic slides may be used instead of printed photos, which
eliminate the issue of lighting glare. A photographic slide must be oriented
in the slide projector horizontally, rather than vertically.
With the prominence of digital video, many non-linear editors (discussed in Chapter 24, Video Editing) accept image files in various formats,
such as .jpg, .tif, and .gif. There are also computer programs available that
allow the user to crop and change a photo in many ways before sending it
to a non-linear editor, Figure 14-2.
Introduction
Professional Terms
anchor
assignment editor
assistant director (AD)
audio
audio engineer
camera operator
cast
CG operator
content specialist
crew
cue
director
distribution
editing
editor
executive producer (EP)
floor director
floor manager
frame
framing
gaffer
graphic artist
grip
lighting director
maintenance engineer
makeup
makeup artist
news director
photographer (photog)
photojournalist
post-production
pre-production
producer
production
production assistant (PA)
production manager
production switching
production team
production values
reporter
robo operator
scenery
scriptwriter
special effects
staff
talent
video
video engineer
VTR operator
video operator
To understand an individual role in the
broadcasting industry, you must be familiar with
all aspects of the production process. Each
production area is interconnected to many others,
with the interrelationships resembling a spider web,
Figure 2-1. To learn proper camerawork, you must
understand proper lighting technique. Proper lighting
technique is dictated by the colors used on the set
and on the costumes. The colors of the set and
costumes directly affect the kind of special effects
used in the program. Special effects are created in the
special effects generator, but must be edited. Knowing
the tools and techniques of editing is also required.
To learn television production, you must have a solid
understanding of all the contributing roles.
35
Objectives. A list of learning
objectives is included at the beginning
of each chapter. The objectives
provide an overview of the chapter
topics and explain what each student
should know or be able to do upon
completion of the chapter.
Professional Terms. Each chapter
begins with a list of terms that
are introduced and defined in that
chapter. The terms in this list appear
in blue bold-italic type when first
presented in the chapter.
5
134
Television Produc
Production Note. The
information in these text
features may provide additional
information that relates to a
chapter topic or may provide
professional production tips.
tion & Broadcast
Production
Visualize This. These features
help students create a vivid
picture in their mind to assist in
fully understanding a topic or
concept.
Nat sound is
environmental
reporter is say
sound that hel
ing and entice
ps call attention
s the viewer
the story. Na
to what a
to continue pay
t sound is on
ing attention
ly
the
story. Where
environmental
to
things get tric
sound that sup
ky is the pro
done to make
po
rts the
cessing that mu
sure relevant
st sometimes
nat sound is pre
unwanted bac
be
sent in a record
kground sound
ing, without the
.
Visualize Th
is
Safety Note. The information
contained in these features provides
important cautions related to
equipment, environment, and the
well being of all individuals involved
in a production.
302
A busy roadw
ay with holida
music playing,
and motors rev y weekend traffic, horns hon
to a traffic rep
ving are all par
king, loud
ort
t of the backgr
sure the report . The reporter and photog
ound sound
must be very
er’s
careful to ma
in the backgroun audio is in the foreground
ke
and
the traffic sou
the reporter, tak d. However, this same traffi
nds are
c sce
en back to the
the reporter’s
studio, and use ne can be shot without
voiceover. Th
d
as
nat sound beh
e traffic sounds
reporter’s voi
ind
ceo
can
the reporter fi ver, so that the honk of a car be coordinated with the
nishes a senten
horn happens
ce and acts as
story. When nat
right when
an “exclamation
ural sound is
used this way,
accompanied
point” for the
it is placed wit
it in rea
h the visual tha
If nat sound is lity.
t
extracted from
ethical issues
a
vid
eo
recording and
arise about mo
manipulated,
difying reality.
its accom
mp
pan
anyyin
Using a shot
ing
g sound to illu
and
is eth
strate the rep
et ical. The onl
orter’s nar
y acce
eptable alterat
to red
re
edu
uce
ce the volume
ion of audio in ration
of nat sound
news is
those
e speaking.
to better hear
the voices of
rroom tone: The
ssou
oun
nd
d
present in a roo
m or at
a locatio
on before hum
an
occ
upa
tition
ion..
ote
to make a flag.
or cardboard
Safety Nwo
oden dowels
ment, these
Do not use
lighting instru
the heat of a
to
d
ose
exp
When
ard.
ome a fire haz
materials bec
tion
Television Produc
rnalism
& Broadcast Jou
!
stores.
hit include:
photo supply
remove a light
available from
Other ways to
shoot.
dulling spray
the
th
er
wi
aft
th
item
clo
Spray the
th a damp
also water
be removed wi
Hair spray is
The spray can
ive hair spray.
with inexpens
Spray the item
al.
y remov
soluble for eas
•
•
Journalism
No
te
In broadcast
journalism, a
reporter can rec
the studio in a
sound booth
ord voiceover
or conduct an
narration at
ensure good
interview in a
sound quality
quiet location
) about a topic
of these situatio
(to
which includes
ns, B-roll sho
act
ion
ts
. In each
with nat sound
the editing pro
cess to provid
become very
important in
e visuals and
with a story. Th
sounds of the
e B-roll video
action associ
with nat sound
can be mixed
ated
audio of related
with the voice
action shots
track from the
sound are ins
A-roll. As the
erted into the
clip
sto
s with nat
ry during the
audio level can
editing proces
be controlled
s, the nat sou
to ensure the
reporter’s voi
nd
volume doesn’
ceover. A tale
t overpower the
nted and exp
their voiceover
erienced report
to incorporate
er can plan/p
the nat sound
speech (at com
ace
during pauses
mas or period
in
s in scripted nar
the nat sound,
ration). This wa
which was rec
y,
orded becaus
par t of the top
e it is an import
ic/event covere
ant
d, becomes an
raw material the
imp
ortant piece of
reporter can use
to build the sto
ry.
Ro
oom
om ttone is the
so
sound presen
human occup
t in a room,
ation. Room
or at a locati
tone is the “so
environm
on, before
meent
und of silence
nt.. If shooting
” in the shooti
on location, it
few minu
ng
ute
is important
tess after the
to clear the set
equ
ipment is set
have left the
for a
up
.
On
location set,
ce all the talent
turn on the rec
minutes of
and crew
o the existin
ord
er
and
record at least
g env
en ironmental
three
sound. Havin
g the environm
ental
t Lamps this point in the chapter use
Fluorescen
sed to
ide the
truments discus
a filament ins
ins
The types of
contain
descent lamps
ps
andescent lam
lamp:
lamps. Incan
is applied. Inc
n, or
incandescent
incandescent
en electricity
tungsten haloge
that
ws brightly wh
Type of lamp
ally tungsten,
lamp that glo
ction are usu
du
en
wh
pro
ns
ion
ctio
vis
fun
the lamp,
used in tele
lied and
excites a gas in
electricity is app
n.
resce)
en electricity
quartz haloge
ent inside
p to glow (fluo
p functions wh
makes a filam
ide of the lam
fluorescent lam
htly.
ins
A
brig
the
for use in
w
g
le
glo
tin
p
tab
the lam
re unsui
material coa
we
the
ps
ses
lam
t
e
cau
p: Typ
color temwhich
fluorescen
fluorescent lam ns
ish or greenish
n light. Older
ps are
due to the blu
ctio
with a soft, eve
uorescent lam
environments
fl
of lamp that fun
n
g
tin
ctio
du
ligh
ites
pro
exc
television
ure 15-9. The
sional television
when electricity which
peratures, Fig
lamps. Profes
tem
the
p,
or
of
lam
re
col
the
Ke
atu
in
and
0° lvin.
per
es,
a gas
industry is 320
ious shapes, siz
terial
in the television
causes the ma
available in var
or temperature
this chapter.
ide of the
col
in
ins
r
nt
the
rta
late
po
ail
ting
im
coa
most
cussed in det
(fluoresce)
atures are dis
lamp to glow
Color temper
n light.
with a soft, eve
Fluorescent
Figure 15-9.
hold
instruments can
and can be
multiple lamps
or placed
hung from a grid
nds.
on lighting sta
y of Lowel(Photo courtes
.)
Light Mfg., Inc
Running Glossary. Definitions for
Professional Terms are provided in the
margin on the page that the term is
first introduced.
6
Chapter 8
Scriptwriting
185
Wrapping Up
Organizing your ideas and developing a script, however brief, helps to
focus your thoughts. Never shoot a program without a script of some kind.
When this rule is broken, the crew inevitably ends up reshooting on location
because the first shoot lacked a plan. Few people would attempt a crosscountry auto trip without planning the trip on a map ahead of time. At the
same time, people don’t often strictly adhere to the original plan. Traffic
backups, taking side trips on a whim, and road construction are just some
of the things that may sidetrack a journey. The same is true for a script.
Few scripts are shot exactly the way they are written. They do, however,
provide the backbone structure to hold the director’s creative vision together.
Deviations from the script are common during the shooting process, but the
basic structure of the program is constant because a script exists.
Wrapping Up. Each chapter
concludes with a summary of or
brief discussion related to the topics
presented.
Review Questions
Review Questions. Questions
designed to reinforce the chapter
material are presented at the end of
each chapter.
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What are nod shots? How are they used?
2. What items are included in a program proposal?
3. What is a script outline?
4. How is a program treatment developed?
5. List the three types of scripts used in television production and the
unique characteristics of each.
6. Why are television scripts written using informal language?
7. What is a montage?
Activities. End-of-chapter activities
provide students with an opportunity
for additional experience with
chapter concepts.
Activities
1. For each of the program formats listed below, name a television show
currently on the air that serves as a format example:
•
Lecture
•
Lecture/Demonstration
•
Panel Discussion
•
Interview
•
Newscast
•
Magazine
•
Drama
•
Music Video
•
PSA
demic
Chapter
16 St
udio
Activit
ies
and Rem
ot
e Shootin
g
ce
ien
Sc
gy
STEM
Integrat
ed
Curricu
lum
s
er
ne
gi
g
in
1. Eva
luate
ronmen the environm
enta
ta
survey l aspects shou l impact of a
(pollutio
typical
ld
remote
n, waste be consider
ed whe
shoot.
dispos
W
n perfo
al, etc.
2. Iden
rming th hat envi)?
tify som
e locatio
e adva
in term
n
nc
es
s of effi
in tech
ciency,
nology
conven
that ha
ience,
ve affe
3. Des
an
ct
ed
d
ign th
cost-effe
re
ctivenes mote shoots
of all pr e floor plan fo
s.
r
oductio
n equipm a television ne
ws stud
ent and
io
4. Com
specia
lized ar . Indicate the
pare
placem
eas.
costs of the costs invo
ent
lv
shootin
g the sa ed in shooting
me prog
a progra
5. Wat
ra
m in th
m at a
ch seve
e
re
st
m
udio to
ote loca
ral ev
and EF
the
tion.
P footag ening news pr
og
e used
age is
ENG or
in news rams and lis
t instan
EFP.
stories.
ces
Explain
why ea of ENG footag
ch piec
e of foot e
-
En
STEM and Academic
Activities. Student activities
that integrate chapter
topics and concepts with
STEM (science, technology,
engineering, and math) areas,
as well as social science and
language arts.
and Ac
a
o
ol
ate an outline for the
2. Record an episode of your favorite sitcom and create
program. Remember that an outline for this type of program breaks each
major event in the story into the fewest number of words possible and
progresses chronologically.
STEM
n
ch
Te
elected television show
Be prepared to explain the characteristics of the selected
that qualify it as an example of the corresponding program format.
th
Ma
em
ic
at
345
7
Chapter 1, The Television Production Industry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Chapter 2, Working in the Television Production Industry . . . . . . 35
Chapter 3, The Video Camera and Support Equipment. . . . . . . . 59
Chapter 4, Video Camera Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Chapter 5, Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders . . . . .109
Chapter 6, Audio Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131
Chapter 7, Connectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155
Chapter 8, Scriptwriting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165
Chapter 9, Broadcast Journalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187
Chapter 10, Newswriting for Broadcast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211
Chapter 11, Interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Chapter 12, Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums . . . . . 239
Chapter 13, Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
Chapter 14, Image Display. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Chapter 15, Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Chapter 16, Studio and Remote Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Chapter 17, Remote Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Chapter 18, Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
Chapter 19, Production Staging and Interacting with Talent. . . . 375
Chapter 20, Directing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399
Chapter 21, Makeup Application and Costume Considerations. . .417
Chapter 22, Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators. . . 437
Chapter 23, Electronic Special Effects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 455
Chapter 24, Video Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469
Chapter 25, Getting Technical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487
Appendix A, That’s a Wrap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505
Appendix B, Talent Information Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509
8
Chapter 1
The Television
Production
Industry
The Growth of Television Technology. . . . . 18
Evolution of the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Areas of Television Production . . . . . . . . . . 20
Commercial Broadcast Television. . . . . .20
Subscriber Television . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Educational Television . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Industrial Television. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Closed Circuit Television . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Home Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Video Production Companies . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Television Program Origination. . . . . . . . . . 25
Syndication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Shopping for Programming . . . . . . . . . .28
Financing the Programming Decisions. . . . 29
The Business of the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Chapter 2
Working in
the Television
Production
Industry
Dividing Up the Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Executive Producer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
News Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Production Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Production Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Floor Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Camera Operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Photographer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Photojournalist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Assignment Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Anchor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Video Engineer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Audio Engineer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Lighting Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Scriptwriter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Graphic Artist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
VTR Operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Robo Operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Makeup Artist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
CG Operator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Grip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Maintenance Engineer . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Program Production Workflow . . . . . . . . . . 50
Program Proposals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Scriptwriting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Producing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Directing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Scenery, Set Dressing, and Props. . . . . .51
Costumes and Makeup. . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Camera Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Audio Recording. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Production Switching. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Special Effects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Duplication and Distribution. . . . . . . . .56
9
Chapter 3
The Video
Camera and
Support
Equipment
Types of Video Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Studio Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
Camcorders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Convertible Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
The Parts of the Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Camera Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Viewfinder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66
Camera Lens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
Mounting the Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Hand-Held Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74
Tripod Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Camera Care and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . 80
Cleaning a Dirty Lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
Post-Production Camera Care . . . . . . . .82
Chapter 4
Video Camera
Operations
Composing Good Pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Chapter 5
Videotape, Video
Media, and Video
Recorders
Videotape Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Video Heads and Helical Scan . . . . . . . . . 111
Dirty Video Heads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
Cleaning Video Heads in VHS and
S-VHS Recorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113
Cleaning Video Heads in Digital
Recorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116
Videotape Widths and Formats . . . . . . . . 117
Videotape Reels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
Videocassettes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
Digital Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118
Compatibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Control Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Digital Video Recorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Recording Audio and Video . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Test Recordings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124
Heads and Tails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
Audio Levels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126
Radio Frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Chapter 6
White Balance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
Audio Basics
Pre-Focusing Zoom Lenses . . . . . . . . . .87
Depth of Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
The Functions of Sound for Television . . . 132
Lines of Interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Sound Frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135
Action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Types of Microphones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Head Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
Wired and Wireless Mics . . . . . . . . . . .136
Nose Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
Dynamic Microphones. . . . . . . . . . . . .138
Shot Sheets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Condenser Microphones. . . . . . . . . . . .138
Calling the Shots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Ribbon Microphone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139
Wide Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Non-Professional Microphones . . . . . .139
Individual Subject Shots. . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Specialized Microphones . . . . . . . . . . .140
Multiple Subject Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Pick-Up Pattern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Specific View Shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
Camera Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Psychology of Presentation . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Mics on the Set. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Mics on Talent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
10
Handling and Care of Microphones . . . . . 145
Proper Use of Microphones . . . . . . . . .145
Impedance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Mixers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Automatic Gain Control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Chapter 7
Connectors
Connectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
BNC Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156
DIN Connector. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
F-Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Phone Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Mini Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158
Phono Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158
PL259 Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .158
Y/C Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159
XLR Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159
FireWire Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160
USB Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160
HDMI Connector. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160
Drama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
Public Service Announcement
(PSA)/Ad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
Music Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171
Visualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
The Program Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Storyboards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172
The Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
Basic Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Panel Discussion or
Interview Outline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Music Video Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175
Expanding an Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . .175
Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Writing the Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Types of Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Word-for-Word Script . . . . . . . . . . . . .177
Outline Script. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
Format Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
Writing Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Montages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
Chapter 9
T-Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161 Broadcast
Y-Connector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162 Journalism
Adapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Barrel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
Chapter 8
Scriptwriting
The News Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Mainstream Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .188
Non-Mainstream Media. . . . . . . . . . . .189
Tabloid Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189
Ethics and News Judgment . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Program Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Lecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166
Lecture/Demonstration . . . . . . . . . . . .166
Panel Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167
Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168
Documentary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168
Newscast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168
Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
Ethics in Journalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189
News Judgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190
Ethically Funding the News . . . . . . . . .193
Airing Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Types of Stories. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195
The Newscast Script. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
On-Air Appearance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
A Day in a Television Newsroom . . . . . . . 206
11
Chapter 10
Newswriting for
Broadcast
Finding Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Finding Stories in an Educational
Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .213
Researching Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Newswriting Fundamentals. . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Preparing a News Package . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Reporting the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Public Forums and Broadcast Journalism
Courses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Public Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .254
Limited Public Forum. . . . . . . . . . . . . .255
Non-Public Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .255
In the Classroom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .255
Chapter 13
Music
Using Music in a Production . . . . . . . . . . . 262
Chapter 11
Interviews
Preparing for an Interview. . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226
Preparing Interview Questions . . . . . .227
Scheduling an Interview. . . . . . . . . . . .228
Shooting an Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Interview Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
Interview B-Roll. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .232
Conducting an Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Foreground Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .262
Background Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .263
Exceptions to the Rules . . . . . . . . . . . .263
Music in Student and School
Productions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .264
Sources of Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Recorded and Copyrighted Music . . . .266
Sheet Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .268
Original Music. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .269
Music Libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .269
Make Your Own Music . . . . . . . . . . . .270
Necessary Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Putting Interviewees at Ease . . . . . . . .233
Asking and Listening . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234 Chapter 14
Body Language. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235
Image Display
Chapter 12
Legalities:
Releases,
Copyright, and
Forums
Copyright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Still Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Motion Picture Film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
Aspect Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Releases. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
Essential Area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .284
Property Release. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240
Talent Release. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242
Character Generator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Contrast Ratio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Copyright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
Popping the Contrast Ratio . . . . . . . . .289
Logos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .248
Pictures from Other Media . . . . . . . . .250
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .251
Public Domain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
12
Chapter 15
Lighting
Master Control Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . .337
Specialized Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .338
Remote Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
Using Professional Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
Types of Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
Types of Lighting Instruments. . . . . . . . . . 297
Accessories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Fluorescent Lamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Supports for Lighting Instruments. . . . . . . 303
Colors of Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
White Light. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .307
Colored Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Types of Remote Shoots . . . . . . . . . . . .338
The Location Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . .339
Comparing Studio and
Remote Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Advantages of the Studio Shoot . . . . . .341
Disadvantages of the Studio Shoot . . . .341
Advantages of a Remote Shoot . . . . . . 342
Disadvantages of a Remote Shoot. . . . 342
Chapter 17
Remote Shooting
Move the Instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . .310
Lighting Intensity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
Replace the Lamp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .311
Use Diffusion or a Scrim . . . . . . . . . . .311
Use Bounce Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . .312
Use a Dimmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .313
Preserving the Life of Incandescent
Lamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Planning the Set Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Techniques of Television Lighting . . . . . . . 317
Three-Point Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317
Four-Point Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319
Cross-Key Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .320
Lighting with Fluorescents . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
The Camera Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Contrast Ratio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Lighting Check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Chapter 16
Studio and
Remote Shooting
The Production Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
Studio Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
The Studio Environment . . . . . . . . . . .331
The Control Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335
The Audio Booth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337
Camera Mounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
Lighting for a Remote Shoot . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353
General Cautions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .353
Cold Temperatures and Batteries . . . . .354
Condensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Remote Shooting Techniques. . . . . . . . . . 355
Multi-Camera Shooting . . . . . . . . . . . .356
Single-Camera Shooting. . . . . . . . . . . .358
Chapter 18
Props, Set Dressing,
and Scenery
Creating the Set Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .362
Props . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .365
Flats, Curtains, and Backdrops. . . . . . .366
Visual Design Considerations. . . . . . . . . . 368
The 3-D Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .368
Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .369
Striking the Set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
13
Chapter 19
Production
Staging and
Interacting with
Talent
Chapter 21
Makeup
Application
and Costume
Considerations
Areas on a Set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376
Camera Staging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
Why is Makeup Necessary? . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Makeup Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419
Vector Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .380
Cutaways and B-Roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381
Jump Cuts and Errors in
Continuity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .382
Production Equipment in
the Shot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .385
Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .420
Talent Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
Interviews. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .387
Dramatic Programming . . . . . . . . . . . .390
Non-Dramatic Programming. . . . . . . .390
Makeup Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421
Crème Makeup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .422
Pancake Makeup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .423
Makeup Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423
First Makeup Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .423
Second Makeup Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . .423
Third Makeup Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . .426
Fourth Makeup Layer. . . . . . . . . . . . . .427
Staff and Talent Interaction. . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Makeup Removal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428
Makeup Application Considerations . . . . . 429
Managing Guest Talent . . . . . . . . . . . .393
Working with Non-Professional
Talent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .394
Headphone Etiquette . . . . . . . . . . . . . .395
Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .429
Skin Sensitivity or Allergies. . . . . . . . 430
Men and Makeup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .431
Chapter 20
Directing
The Director’s Role in Pre-Production . . . . 400
Script Breakdowns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
Marking the Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Set Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406
Auditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .407
Pre-Production Meeting. . . . . . . . . . . 408
The Director’s Role in Production . . . . . . . 409
Multiple Takes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410
The Director’s Role in Post-Production . . . 412
Being an Effective Director . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Starting Something You Can
Actually Finish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .413
Costume Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
Appropriate Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432
Planning for Productions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432
Makeup, Clothing, and the News . . . . . . . 434
Chapter 22
Video Switchers
and Special
Effects
Generators
The Video Switcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Video Switcher Controls. . . . . . . . . . . .438
Video Switcher Operation . . . . . . . . . 440
Production Switcher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 442
The Special Effects Generator (SEG) . . . . 442
Components of a SEG. . . . . . . . . . . . . 444
Banks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .447
Black Video. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449
14
Preview Monitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449 Chapter 25
Cut Bar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449 Getting Technical
Chapter 23
Electronic Special
Effects
SEG Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456
Wipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .456
Mixes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .458
Keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .460
Pixels and Digital Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463
Digital Video Effects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464
Chapter 24
Video Editing
Editing Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 470
Linear Editing Systems . . . . . . . . . . . .470
Non-Linear Editing Systems . . . . . . . .471
Program Editing Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 472
Previewing the Raw Footage . . . . . . . .472
Time Code. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .473
Screen Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .473
Editing and Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .474
Editing and Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475
Editing Transitions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475
Cutaways and B-Roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . .476
Video and Audio Delay Edits . . . . . . . .477
Non-Linear Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
Capturing Recorded Footage . . . . . . . .478
Timeline Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 480
Trimming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 480
Correction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .481
Audio Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .482
Effects and Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . .482
Titles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .483
Exporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .483
Producing Quality Programs. . . . . . . . . . . 483
Analog Television . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 488
Developing the Technology. . . . . . . . . .489
Frames and Fields. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .490
Sync . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .490
Monitoring Video Signal Quality . . . . . . . . 491
Digital Television Technology . . . . . . . . . . 493
Video Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .493
Progressive Scan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .495
Image Definition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .496
Video Recording Options . . . . . . . . . . .497
Digital Televisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497
LCD Televisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .498
Plasma Televisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .499
DLP Televisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500
OLED Televisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .501
Appendix A,
That’s A Wrap . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appendix B,
Talent Information Sheet . . . .
Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
505
509
512
530
15
From the Author
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism grew out of a need to
provide my students with an up-to-date high school textbook on the subject
of television production. After trying to find such a textbook for several years,
I finally decided to write one myself. This text is fundamentally a written
version of my lecture notes, combined with information from trade magazines,
over 34 years of my experiences as a videographer and instructor, and interaction with other broadcasting, communications, and television production
instructors as a consultant, workshop leader, and convention speaker.
This book could not have been written without considerable help from
many people. I must thank all of my students for their ideas, suggestions,
and consideration, as they were the guinea pigs with my draft of the first
edition of this text.
I must thank my good friends Dick Blocher and Brian Franco for their
patient willingness to answer any technical question I put to them. Chapter 25,
Getting Technical has been extensively revamped thanks to their technical
knowledge. They have helped me explain digital video in clear and correct
terms.
Carol Knopes, of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation,
strongly urged me to include broadcast journalism in the second edition
and has been encouraging and supportive throughout the entire project.
Janet Kerby is an educational consultant/trainer for high school
broadcast journalism. Her extensive teaching experience includes high
school and graduate-level courses for broadcast journalism teachers. She
is my good friend and partner in www.video-educator-training.com. She
has had a profound impact on this book and I can’t thank her enough.
When I first presented her with the idea of adding broadcast journalism to
a television production textbook, she was a bit uncertain it could be done.
I knew it was possible because she is the living, successful example of the
two disciplines being combined, as they often are in high school classes.
And, that is exactly how she teaches. She provided me with invaluable
insight into and advice on the world of broadcast journalism. The chapters
specifically devoted to broadcast journalism would not exist without her
input and editing.
Eric Drucker, a lighting expert from Lowel-Light, helped me revamp
Chapter 15, Lighting to include the new generation of fluorescent lighting
instruments and the technique of lighting with these instruments.
Randy Jacobson (digital photography instructor at Fairfax Academy
for Communications and the Arts) and his students provided an enormous
amount of the photography work.
Adam Goldstein, Broadcast Attorney Advocate for the Student Press
Law Center, graciously donated an entire morning to my queries on everything in Chapter 12, Legalities: Releases, Copyrights, and Forums. I compiled
dozens of questions and scenarios concerning releases, copyrights, music, and
forums posted by teachers on the Radio Television Digital News Foundation
16
and Student Television Network LISTSERVS. Adam answered every question and agreed to review the material I wrote based on the interview. We both
wanted to be sure that all the material in the Legalities: Releases, Copyrights, and
Forums chapter is correct, as of the copyright date of this text.
Finally, I must thank all the equipment manufacturers who have, so
graciously, allowed me to include pictures of their gear in this text.
Phillip L. Harris
About the Author
Phil Harris received a Bachelor of Science degree from East Carolina
University and Master of Arts in Technology Education from George Mason
University. He is also a graduate of Imero Fiorintino Lighting Seminars.
Mr. Harris’s professional production experience includes a wide range of
freelance videography (from weddings to commercials), over 25 years as a
freelance theatrical makeup designer and artist, and experience directing
more than 25 plays and musicals for community theater since 1979.
Mr. Harris brings over 34 years of teaching television production to
this book. As part of the program he taught, Mr. Harris created Digital
Wave Productions, a school-based enterprise that allows students to gain
professional work experience and raise funds, while producing video projects for clients.
Mr. Harris retired from teaching in 2006, but remains passionate about
sharing his successful curriculum and facility design tips with fellow television production and broadcast journalism instructors. He is well-known
in the career education field as a convention speaker and is a session presenter and contest judge at many conventions and conferences, including
SIPA, JEA, STN, ITEA, ACTE, and ASPA. Through his consulting business,
Mr. Harris assists school districts and individual schools design, develop,
and implement television and video programs, and provides training for
teachers of these courses. Mr. Harris can be contacted through the Video
Educator Training website (www.video-educator-training.com).
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the various areas within the television
production industry and recall the unique
characteristics of each.
•
Explain the roles of networks and affiliates in the
process of scheduling programming.
•
Summarize how the cost of an ad is determined.
Introduction
Professional Terms
ad
affiliate
broadcast
closed circuit television
(CCTV)
commercial broadcast
television
corporate television
educational television
home video
industrial television
large-scale video
production company
local origination
network
small-scale video
production companies
spot
subscriber television
surveillance television
syndication
There are many different types of television
production companies and more are forming all the
time. Because the future of television is strongly tied
to developments in digital technology, no one can
predict how much more the industry will explode. We
know that the television production industry is growing
incredibly fast and that jobs are plentiful. The topics
presented in this chapter provide a brief idea of the
various areas within the industry.
17
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the various areas within the television
production industry and recall the unique
characteristics of each.
•
Explain the roles of networks and affiliates in the
process of scheduling programming.
•
Summarize how the cost of an ad is determined.
Introduction
Professional Terms
ad
affiliate
broadcast
closed circuit television
(CCTV)
commercial broadcast
television
corporate television
educational television
home video
industrial television
large-scale video
production company
local origination
network
small-scale video
production companies
spot
subscriber television
surveillance television
syndication
There are many different types of television
production companies and more are forming all the
time. Because the future of television is strongly tied
to developments in digital technology, no one can
predict how much more the industry will explode. We
know that the television production industry is growing
incredibly fast and that jobs are plentiful. The topics
presented in this chapter provide a brief idea of the
various areas within the industry.
17
18
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
The Growth of Television
Technology
The idea of sending a picture over a wire or through the air is an old
one. As early as 1862, a still picture was transmitted through a wire. Moving
images were not successfully sent for another 65 years. On April 9, 1927, the
first moving images were transmitted via television between Washington, DC
and New York City. The next year, Charles Jenkins of Maryland was issued
a license for the first television station, W3XK. In 1930, Jenkins broadcast
the first television commercial.
By 1936, there were 200 television sets in the United States. At the 1939
World’s Fair in New York City, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA)
sponsored the first televised Presidential speech, delivered by Franklin
Delano Roosevelt. This was the viewing public’s introduction to RCA’s
line of television sets. Seven years later, the first practical color television
system was demonstrated. Color broadcasts became increasingly common
by the mid-1950s, Figure 1-1.
The number of television sets in use in the U.S. passed the one million
mark in 1948. In the same year, Community Antenna Television (CATV)
was introduced in mountainous rural areas of Pennsylvania where broadcast television signals could not normally be received. This system would
become what we now refer to as cable TV.
For the first forty years of its existence, television was mostly “live.”
Programs were broadcast as they were being performed. Programs
recorded onto film were very poor in quality. In 1948, however, the Ampex
Corporation introduced the first broadcast-quality magnetic tape recording system, the Video Tape Recorder (VTR). A practical videotape recording system for home use was not available until 1976.
Satellite broadcasting was introduced in 1962. This development made
it possible to send and receive television signals anywhere in the world.
In 1969, satellite broadcasting allowed the world to watch live as television pictures were transmitted from the moon. By 1983, consumers could
Figure 1-1. In 1954,
RCA introduced its
first all-electronic color
television. The CT-100 had
a 12″ screen and sold for
$1,000.00. (RCA)
19
Chapter 1 The Television Production Industry
subscribe to direct satellite systems for delivery of programming to their
homes, instead of cable systems or conventional broadcast programming.
In 1995, the number of television sets in use worldwide passed the one
billion mark. One year later, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
approved the broadcast standards for high-definition television (HDTV). With
the vast changes and improvements that digital technology offers, the FCC
decided that standardization was necessary. In 2002, the FCC mandated that
television manufacturers must equip all new televisions with tuners capable
of receiving digital signals. All analog television broadcasts ceased on June 12,
2009. As of that date, all television broadcasts have been digital signals.
Evolution of the Industry
Television production became a thriving industry in the 1950s. The
first generation of television production professionals learned the processes, techniques, and technology as they went. The learning process was
natural and everyone was learning together.
The second generation of TV production personnel came into the field
as it transitioned from black and white to color. This was a huge shift for the
consumer, but many of the same production processes applied to both color
and black and white television. Both the early black and white television and
the first generation of color television used an analog television process.
The third generation entered the television production industry during the 70s and 80s. The professionals of this generation have many years
experience and are earning sizeable salaries, but have been confronted with
drastic changes in their field in recent years. Their experience lies mostly in
analog technology, while the industry as a whole is implementing digital
technology and processes in place of analog.
Because today’s students have grown up with computers and technology, the digital technology that now prevails in the industry is easier for them
to learn and use every day, Figure 1-2. Computer software production tools,
Internet media productions (webcasts and podcasts), and digital recording
Figure 1-2. Today’s
students are very
knowledgeable with
computers and current
technology.
20
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
and editing processes require production personnel to be informed and proficient with changing technologies. Employers are eager to hire knowledgeable and ambitious staff members who demonstrate competency with new
equipment and resources.
Areas of Television Production
There are many different kinds of television production companies
within the industry as a whole. Most consumers are familiar only with
broadcast, satellite, and cable television. These forms of television comprise only a small portion of all the television produced. All the broadcast,
satellite, and cable television produced in a year represents only about 5%
of all the television made annually.
Production Note
Which part of an iceberg is bigger, the part above the water or the
portion below the water? The part of an iceberg that lies below
the surface is vastly greater in size than the visible peaks above
water. Following this example, understand that commercial
broadcast/cablecast television is only the proverbial tip of the
iceberg in the television production industry, Figure 1-3.
ad: A television
advertisement for a
product or service. Also
commonly called a spot.
broadcast: The
television signal travels
through the air from
one antenna to another
antenna.
Figure 1-3. The vast
majority of jobs available in
television production are in
non-broadcast television.
Commercial Broadcast Television
Consumers define a “commercial” as a television advertisement for a
product. In the television production industry, an advertisement is an ad or
spot. The industry definition of “commercial” merely refers to a business
that is profit-generating in nature. Broadcast means that the signal travels
through the air from one antenna to another antenna.
5% Entertainment
(broadcast/cablecast)
95% Industrial
(non-broadcast)
Chapter 1
The Television Production Industry
A commercial broadcast television facility is one that is “for-profit” and
sends its signal via a transmission tower through the air, Figure 1-4. This signal is free and anyone with an antenna may pick it up. The signal is radiated
out in a pattern that crosses city, county, state, and national boundaries.
Talk the Talk
Do not get confused by the term “commercial.” Industry
professionals call television advertisements “ads” or “spots,”
not “commercials.”
21
commercial broadcast
television: This type
of television production
facility is “for-profit.” The
television signal is sent
via a transmitter tower
through the air and is
free for anyone with an
antenna to receive it.
Subscriber Television
Subscriber television is fee-for-service programming, where customers
pay scheduled fees based on the selected programming package. The signals for subscriber television are transported by satellite transmission, by
underground cables, or a combination of both.
To receive a satellite television signal, special equipment must be
installed inside the home and a small satellite dish is installed and positioned on the outside of the home. The channels and networks available
vary among programming packages and satellite providers in each area.
Figure 1-4. A commercial
broadcast station sends
its signal from an antenna,
through the air, to the
viewer’s antenna.
subscriber
television: Fee-forservice programming
where customers
pay scheduled fees
based on the selected
programming package.
The television signals
are transported by
satellite transmission,
by underground cables,
or a combination of
both.
22
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Most satellite packages also include local programming, such as the local
morning and evening news and talk shows.
The signal for each cable television system is available only to a particular region. The cable programming that your home receives is likely
different from the programming available to a neighboring town or county.
Cable franchises are set up by local governments. Therefore, the available
recipients of the programming package are predetermined.
Production Note
Cable television used to be called CATV (Community Access
Television), but the public just called it “cable TV” because it
came into the home through a cable line. The name “cable TV”
stuck. Many cable systems no longer use wires to carry the
signal. These cable systems were upgraded to fiber optics,
which enables more programming to be sent throughout the
system.
How, then, can a broadcast station’s signal be received through an
antenna, a cable system, and a satellite system? The broadcast signal starts
from a transmission tower, is sent through the air, and is grabbed by either
the local cable company’s receiving satellite dish or a transmission tower.
Most often, the cable company sends the signal underground into its cable
system. A satellite provider sends the signal to a satellite. Since the signal
is first and foremost a free broadcast signal, it may also be received by anyone else with a receiver antenna.
Educational Television
educational television:
Television that aims
to inform the public
about various topics.
This includes television
programming that
supports classroom
studies and replays
classroom sessions.
Educational television aims to inform the public about various topics and is usually considered nonprofit. Educational television is often
broadcast (such as PBS), but a video recording about the Lewis and Clark
Expedition shown in history class is also educational television. Most of
the programming on educational or instructional television is funded by
corporate or federal grants. Originally, this type of television programming
was exclusively intended to support or replay existing classes. It has come
to include programming designed to inform the public about any topic,
in addition to nonprofit programming that supports and replays existing
classes. Well-known preschool programs, like Sesame Street ® and Barney &
Friends™, are also considered educational television.
Industrial Television
industrial television:
Television that
communicates relevant
information to a specific
audience, such as
job training videos.
Also commonly called
corporate television.
Industrial television, sometimes called corporate television, communicates relevant information to a specific audience. For example, a company
may use industrial television to train employees or to communicate within
the company. Training examples may include videos that teach workers
how to operate machinery, help travelers learn a language, or instruct soldiers on strategy. A manufacturer of photocopying machines may show a
training video to its repairmen that instructs them how to repair a specific
Chapter 1
The Television Production Industry
23
copier model. Auto dealers may show a video that informs mechanics of a
specific repair issue. Rather than sending employees to an off-site training
class, retail businesses can contract with a production facility to produce
a training video. This video can be viewed on the store premises and be
reviewed as often as necessary, Figure 1-5. A college may send informational or promotional videos to prospective students, showcasing the particular benefits and offerings of the college. The Internet is also an outlet for
industrial television, with countless video programs posted on the web to
be repeatedly streamed or downloaded by the public.
Closed C ircuit Television
Closed circuit television (CCTV) is sent through wires and serves only
an extremely small, private, predetermined area. For example, your neighbor cannot pick up a signal from your DVD player and watch the movie
you are playing. This is because you have a closed circuit television system.
Theoretically, you could string a connecting cable from your DVD player
across the yard to their TV. Both televisions show the movie, but no one
else in the neighborhood can receive the signal. Therefore, the person who
creates the closed circuit also determines the size of the circuit.
Surveillance television is a form of CCTV that is usually, but not
always, used for security purposes. Surveillance television is not really
television production. It simply involves setting up a camera to watch an
area, Figure 1-6. The surveillance cameras are always interconnected to a
CCTV system. Surveillance television employs very few people, other than
installers. After the system is installed, only a guard is necessary to monitor activity. Surveillance television systems help in protecting and securing
banks, prisons, office buildings, apartment buildings, construction sites,
and many other public and private locations. Surveillance television has
also been used at traffic intersections to record images of traffic violators,
and as dashboard cameras in police cruisers.
closed circuit
television (CCTV):
Television where the
signal is sent through
wires and serves only
an extremely small,
private predetermined
area.
surveillance
television: A form of
CCTV that is usually,
but not always, used
for security purposes.
The cameras used in
the system are always
interconnected to a
closed circuit television
system.
Figure 1-5. A recorded
program provides a
more economical and
efficient option for training,
compared to taking an
employee off the job to
attend or teach a class.
24
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 1-6. Surveillance
cameras are primarily
used for security purposes.
Assistant Activity
Police dramas on television frequently have detectives standing at a
crime scene, looking at the buildings all around them, and asking someone
to “pull the surveillance tapes from the security cameras there, there, and
there,” while pointing at cameras on the surrounding buildings. Most people
are totally unaware of how often they are captured on
surveillance cameras as they go about their daily activities.
Next time you are out walking in a public place, notice
how many security cameras you can see when you’re
looking for them!
Home Video
home video:
Videotaped records
of family events and
activities taken by
someone using a
consumer camcorder.
large-scale
video production
companies: Facilities
with sufficient staff and
equipment to produce
multi-camera, largebudget programming
shot on location or in
studios for broadcast
networks or cable
networks.
Home video refers to someone using their consumer camcorder to
record family events and activities, like a birthday party. While home video
provides an archive for important family events, there is no realistic opportunity for financial gain. One in many thousands of home videos may be
awarded a prize on a “silliest home videos” television program. Another
possible source of financial gain for a home videographer is the unlikely
event of recording something newsworthy while videotaping a family
activity. One of the most famous examples of this is the Zapruder film of
President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas. News agencies have
been known to pay a great deal of money for newsworthy videos shot by
enterprising consumers.
Video Production Companies
Large-scale video production companies are facilities with sufficient
staff and equipment to produce multi-camera, large-budget programming
shot on location or in studios for broadcast networks or cable networks.
Many of the programs you watch on CBS or other networks are not actually
produced by network employees. Most networks produce only their own
Chapter 1
The Television Production Industry
news, news magazines, and sports programming. The majority of what is
seen on network television is actually produced by another company and
sold to the networks for airing.
Small-scale video production companies are businesses with limited staff
and equipment resources. They exist by the hundreds across the country.
These companies thrive on producing videos of private events (Figure 1-7),
commercials for local businesses, home inventories for insurance purposes,
seminars, legal depositions, weddings, and real estate videos. A company
of this type has a staff that rarely exceeds five people.
Television Program Origination
A network is a corporation that bundles a collection of programs
(sports, news, and entertainment) and makes the program bundles available exclusively to its affiliates. The networks generally produce some of
their own programming, but do not produce all of their own programs.
Networks may produce sports and news oriented programming and some
entertainment programming through a production division of the corporation. However, most of the dramatic programming (both dramas and comedies) is produced by large-scale production companies and sold to the
networks.
25
small-scale video
production companies:
Businesses with limited
staff and equipment
resources. They thrive
on producing videos of
weddings, commercials
for local businesses,
home inventories for
insurance purposes,
seminars, legal
depositions, and real
estate videos.
network: A corporation
that bundles a collection
of programs (sports,
news, and entertainment)
and makes the program
bundles available
exclusively to its affiliates.
Generally, networks
produce some of their
own programming, but
do not produce all of
their own programs.
Figure 1-7. Wedding
videography is a growing
market.
26
affiliate: A broadcast
station that has aligned
itself with a particular
network. The network
provides a certain
number of hours of
daily programming. The
affiliate is responsible
for providing the
remainder of
programming to fill the
daily schedule.
Figure 1-8. An example
of TPN’s daily program
schedule. Notice that
both the network and
the affiliate provide
programming.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
An affiliate is a broadcast station that has aligned itself with a particular network. A typical contract between an affiliate station and the network
stipulates that the network provides a certain number of hours of daily
programming. The affiliate is responsible for providing the remainder of
programming to fill the daily schedule. Figure 1-8 is an example of a typical day at the fictitious Television Production Network (TPN).
During the 21 ½ hour broadcast day, the TPN network provides 4 hours
of national news and 7 ½ hours of other entertainment programming. The
local affiliate station must provide the remaining 10 hours of programming.
It is not likely that a local station can produce that amount of programming
on a daily basis. The schedule displayed in Figure 1-8 indicates that the
affiliate station produces local news for 5 of the 10 hours. The affiliate must
either create its own programming or buy programming to fill the remaining 5 hours of scheduled broadcast time.
TPN Weekday Schedule
Time
Program
5:30 a.m.–7:00 a.m.
Local News, Traffic,
Weather, Sports
7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
National Network News
8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Good Morning, USA
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Syndicated Talk Show
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Syndicated Reruns
of Friends and Seinfeld
12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m.
Local News at Noon
12:30 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Syndicated Rerun
of Everybody Loves
Raymond
1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Soap Operas
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Syndicated Talk Show
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Local Evening News
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
National Network News
7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Syndicated Game
Shows
8:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m.
Network Entertainment
11:00 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
Local News
11:30 p.m.–1:00 a.m.
Late Night Network
Show
1:00 a.m.–3:00 a.m.
Late, Late Movie
Affiliate
Network
Chapter 1
The Television Production Industry
27
Syndication
Episodes of former network programs that have been purchased and
released for syndication are available to affiliate stations. These television
programs are sold in blocks of a specified number of episodes or in blocks
of time. For example, purchasing a particular program may provide one
episode per week for 52 weeks.
If a network program ran for at least 3 years, there are enough episodes (26 episodes per year for a total of 78 episodes over three years) to
make it available for syndication. Syndication is the process of making
a specified number of program episodes available for lease to other networks or individual broadcast stations, after the current network contract
for the program expires. Syndicated programs not only include those seen
in primetime on major networks, but also some programs that were never
picked up by a major broadcast network.
Usually, the production company that made the program leases the
right to air that program to a network. It is commonly stipulated that
the network may air that program a maximum of three times during the
broadcast year (September through the following August). After that, the
rights to the program revert back to the production company. The production company may then offer a lease of the program rights to any customer. Customers may include broadcast networks, subscriber networks,
affiliates, or distribution companies that bundle the program with others
to create a programming package. For example, a program bundle might
include I Love Lucy, Hogan’s Heroes, McHale’s Navy, and Gilligan’s Island.
Another bundle might include Friends, Fraiser, Seinfeld, and King of Queens.
This second bundle carries a higher leasing fee because the programs are
newer than the first bundle and are typically in higher demand by leasing
stations. Stations know that the second program bundle will draw a bigger audience. Given that each of the shows in both packages are 30 minute
episodes, either package provides a two-hour daily package of four shows,
with the rights to air the programs an unlimited number of times during
the broadcast year.
The contract terms for syndicated programs vary greatly. Most contracts depend, to a certain extent, on the program itself and its marketability. A highly marketable show, such as Everybody Loves Raymond, may
be placed in a package and made available only with the lease of the other
three shows in the package. A bundle of this arrangement allows the distribution company to make more money than with the one show alone.
Another highly marketable show, such as Law and Order, may be leased
directly from the production company as a multi-episode contract of a single series.
Various types of programs are available for syndication, including:
• dramas
• comedies
• talk shows
• game shows
• cooking shows
• animated programs
• children’s shows
• movies
syndication: The
process of making
a specified number
of program episodes
available for “lease”
to other networks or
individual broadcast
stations, after the current
network’s contract for the
program expires.
28
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Shopping for Programming
Shopping for programming is usually done in person, over the phone,
via fax, or on the Internet. When a local affiliate decides to purchase programming, a budget is set. Someone from the affiliate station must negotiate with vendors to get the highest quality program for the allotted money.
A program’s popularity and the population size of the broadcast area are
among the factors to consider when shopping for programming. These
factors directly relate to the purchase price of a program. For example,
obtaining the game show Jeopardy! for Dead Gulch, Nevada with a population of 350 is not nearly as expensive as getting the same program for
New York City.
Competition
There is some urgency in the decision-making process for programming. If another station in your broadcast area contracts with a vendor for
a particular program before you do, they obtain exclusive rights to air the
program in your broadcast area.
Many television stations in a single area compete for viewers. Each
tries to choose programming that pulls viewers away from the competition, while the competition is doing exactly the same thing. To develop the
best programming, you must examine the potential audience. Determine
who is likely to be watching television at each particular time of day in
the area. Knowing the demographics of your audience helps to develop
programming that appeals to that audience. Statistics that are considered
in demographics include age, gender, race, education, and economic level.
The reason networks run soap operas in the afternoon is that women
caring for young children comprise a large portion of TV viewers during
that time of day. The children are typically napping and the adults are
taking a break from a busy morning keeping up with the kids. Many stations run children’s programming early in the morning because children
are likely to be watching at that time. Stations usually run programming
that appeals to young, school-age children later in the afternoon when the
children are home from school. Ultimately, stations must pay for the programs they buy and must consider the audience when deciding on these
purchases.
Local Origination
local origination:
Programming made in
a specific geographic
area, to be shown to
the public in that same
geographic area.
Local origination is programming made in a specific geographic area,
to be shown to the public in that same geographic area. For example, the
evening news in New York City reports that traffic is backed up in the
Lincoln Tunnel. Do the people watching the evening news in Mayberry,
North Carolina hear about the Lincoln Tunnel traffic in New York? Of
course not. Viewers in both areas are watching the local news. Local origination comes in many forms. The local evening news is an example of local
origination programming. Local stations may also produce a program
about a local sports team or televise “town hall” meetings and local telethons, which are other examples of local origination programming for a
specific community.
Chapter 1
The Television Production Industry
Financing the Programming
Decisions
The ads that run during programs pay for the purchase price of those
programs. Any money earned by the ads above the cost of the program
goes to station overhead (equipment, salaries, rent, etc.). Advertising on the
radio or in print is always an option, but television ads are very effective.
The advertiser must first contract with a video production company
to produce a television ad. Once the ad is made, the company approaches
the television station or network and asks that the ad be aired. The station charges a fee each time the ad is aired. The fee is not a set amount. It
changes based on the time of day and the day of the week that the ad airs.
If a company wants their ad to air during an extremely popular program
that is seen by the largest audience of the week, a substantially higher fee is
charged than if the ad runs at 2:00 a.m. during the Late, Late Movie.
Production Note
Companies clamor to purchase coveted ad time during the annually
televised Super Bowl. The cost of a 30-second spot fluctuates depending
on when the commercial airs during the event. Ads that air
before half-time may be charged differently from those airing
in the third and fourth quarters. In the span of a decade, the
average price tag for a 30-second commercial to air during the
Super Bowl has risen from $1.2 million to about $3 million.
Television stations or networks cannot rely on individual companies
to approach them with product ads. Funding is required to buy programming. Assume that a station’s research shows that the majority of potential viewers for programs airing from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. are either
people with impaired health or who are retired. Programming of interest
to this particular audience needs to be purchased. Once the programs are
obtained, the sales staff is sent out to find organizations or companies to
advertise their products or services during that program. If the station cannot find anyone to advertise during the program, they cannot afford to air
the program.
Through a rating system called the Nielsen Ratings, a figure is determined that represents approximately how many people watch a program.
If the numbers are too low, advertisers will insist that the advertising rates
be lowered to reflect the smaller audience reached. If rates are lowered to
the point that the program costs the network more than the ads bring in,
the network must either continue to run the program at a financial loss or
cancel the program. Sometimes a cancelled network program can find an
extended life, with new episodes, in the cable industry. A competing network may even pick up a cancelled program and may be able to breathe
new life into it.
29
30
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
The Nielsen Company has developed a media research system
that estimates the size and demographics of the viewing audience for
almost every program seen on television. To gather this information, the
company distributes television diaries to selected Nielsen TV families and
installs electronic television monitoring equipment in certain
homes, Figure 1-9. These methods, along with random
phone surveying and e-mail surveys, contribute to generating
the ratings that are referenced for both advertising and
programming decisions.
The Business of the Industry
Money is the driving force of the television industry. Remove any preconceived ideas that television is an art form. While art may sometimes
occur, television is a business first and foremost. The success and failure
of a business hinges on money. Every business decision made considers
profits and losses.
Follow the trail of profit motivation in the following scenario:
• Widgets, Inc. has created the “Snapper,” a device that opens the flue
of a fireplace with the snap of a finger. Advertising on the radio or in
print is an option, but the company has decided that the best way to
reach their intended customer base is to advertise on television.
• Widgets, Inc. contracts with the video production company AdsRUs
to produce a television ad. Once the ad is made, Widgets, Inc. writes
a check to AdsRUs for their services.
• Widgets, Inc. now approaches a television station or network to ask if
they would air the ad for their product.
• The station assigns a fee that Widgets, Inc. will pay each time the ad
is aired. The fee depends on the time of day that ad is aired, the day
of the week, and during which programs the ad is aired.
Figure 1-9. The People
Meter is a box connected
to an in-home television,
which records both who in
the household is watching
television and what
they are watching. Data
collected by the People
Meter is used to generate
Neilsen ratings.
(The Neilsen Company)
Chapter 1
•
•
•
The Television Production Industry
The station uses the fee assessed for the airing of the ad to pay for the
purchase of the scheduled programming.
If no one advertises during a particular block of time or
programming, the station cannot afford to continue airing the
program(s).
Perhaps this helps you understand the logic behind the cancellation
of a television program.
Talk the Talk
We often hear that a program got good ratings or was highly rated.
Most consumers think that “highly rated” means that critics think the
program is quite good. In fact, “highly rated” has nothing to do with program
quality. It only means that a large number of people watched
the program. The influx of reality programming is watched by
many, many people, but a television critic probably would not
consider these programs to be of meritorious quality.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Wrapping Up
Very few people begin their careers in the entertainment, major market
news broadcast, or cable television arenas. Most begin in non-broadcast
television, perfect their knowledge and skills, and eventually move into the
broadcast arena. Non-broadcast television has many more jobs available
than broadcast or cable television, and the jobs are more secure than those
in the entertainment industry. The television industry is extremely competitive.
To be successful, you must work your way up from the bottom, through the
ranks, and prove your worth the whole way.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. How can a broadcast station’s programming be received through both
cable and satellite systems?
2. What are the differences between educational television and industrial
television productions?
3. List six examples of closed circuit television systems.
4. Explain the relationship between a network and an affiliate station when
scheduling daily programming.
5. What is local origination programming? Provide an example of local origination on a broadcast station and an example on a cable channel.
6. How do stations pay for original programming and syndicated programs
that they purchase?
Activities
1. Select a 3-hour block of time from the television schedule listing in a
local newspaper, online, or from another source. List the types of television programs aired during the selected block of time and determine the
viewing audience for each program type. Make a list of the products that
are best suited to advertise during each program. Record the programs
and see how your list compares to the ads that actually run during that
time period.
2. Create your own dictionary of chapter terms. Your instructor will provide
an alphabetical list of all the terms defined in this book. Copy the entire
list of terms into a separate notebook, leaving two or three lines after
each for the definition. Update your dictionary with the corresponding
definitions as you complete each chapter. This custom-made dictionary will serve as a reference tool for you throughout this course, future
courses, and when working in the broadcasting industry.
Te
c
ce
hn
ie
n
ol
Sc
Chapter 1 The Television Production Industry
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Research the cost and options included in three similar subscription
television packages, from different providers, available in your area.
Determine which provider offers the lowest cost per channel.
3. Find a weekday programming schedule for a local television station. List
the programs scheduled to air between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Identify
the intended audience for this block of programming and explain why
these programs appeal to that audience.
4. Explain both the positive and negative aspects related to the increase in
available television channels over the last 20 years.
5. Make a map of the route you travel from your home to school. On the
map, identify the places and areas where you may be under security
surveillance.
at
he
g
M
1. Create a presentation that explains the difference in how satellite television signals and cable television signals are transmitted and received.
ne
er
in
m
at
ic
s
gi
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
www.careerpage.org A website sponsored by the National Alliance of State
Broadcasters Associations that provides broadcasting industry professionals with
job information and search tools.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain how the responsibilities of each
production staff position are dependent on the
functions of other production staff positions.
•
Identify the primary responsibilities of each
production staff position.
•
Recall the activities in each step of a production
workflow.
Introduction
Professional Terms
anchor
assignment editor
assistant director (AD)
audio
audio engineer
camera operator
cast
CG operator
content specialist
crew
cue
director
distribution
editing
editor
executive producer (EP)
floor director
floor manager
frame
framing
gaffer
graphic artist
grip
lighting director
maintenance engineer
makeup
makeup artist
news director
photographer (photog)
photojournalist
post-production
pre-production
producer
production
production assistant (PA)
production manager
production switching
production team
production values
reporter
robo operator
scenery
scriptwriter
special effects
staff
talent
video
video engineer
VTR operator
video operator
To understand an individual role in the
broadcasting industry, you must be familiar with
all aspects of the production process. Each
production area is interconnected to many others,
with the interrelationships resembling a spider web,
Figure 2-1. To learn proper camerawork, you must
understand proper lighting technique. Proper lighting
technique is dictated by the colors used on the set
and on the costumes. The colors of the set and
costumes directly affect the kind of special effects
used in the program. Special effects are created in the
special effects generator, but must be edited. Knowing
the tools and techniques of editing is also required.
To learn television production, you must have a solid
understanding of all the contributing roles.
35
36
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 2-1. In order to
do your job properly, you
must know the jobs of
others on your production
staff. This illustration
depicts the spider web of
interrelationships between
jobs on the production
staff.
Producer
Performer
Director
Camera
Operator
Editor
Props
Master
Set Designer
Set
Dresser
Lighting
Designer
Executive
Producer
Costume
Designer
Grip
Makeup
Artist
Gaffer
Music & Sound
Effects Designer
Technical
Director
Graphic
Designer
production team:
Everyone involved in the
production, both staff
and talent.
staff: Production
personnel that work
behind the scenes
and generally includes
management and
designers.
crew: Production
personnel that are
normally not seen by
the camera, which
generally includes
equipment operators.
talent: Anyone seen by
the camera, whether
or not they have a
speaking or any other
significant role in the
program, as well as
individuals who provide
only their vocal skills to
the production.
Video
Engineer
Audio
Engineer
Dividing Up the Work
All television production organizations, from the largest to smallest,
divide the production workload among the company’s employees. In large
production companies, a different individual may be assigned to each job
title. In smaller production companies, however, it is not unusual for a
single person to fill multiple jobs on the same production. Some jobs are
easier to combine than others. For example, it is difficult to imagine acting
in front of a camera when you must also fill the role of camera operator. On
the other hand, the person who painted the set could certainly be an actor
because these two jobs do not take place at the same time.
The following sections address many of the main jobs included in the
collective term production team, also called production staff. All production
personnel can be divided into three categories:
• The staff works behind the scenes. These individuals work in the
more creative levels of production management.
• The crew are generally equipment operators. They are not normally
seen by the camera, but are integral to the production.
• Anyone seen by the camera, whether or not they have a speaking or
any other significant role in the program, is talent.
Chapter 2
37
Working in the Television Production Industry
Production Note
There are exceptions to the “not seen by the camera” criteria for staff
and crew. At the opening or closing of many newscasts, for example,
there is often a long shot of the studio. The audience may see a shot that
includes the studio’s camera operators. Camera operators and
technicians are regularly seen on sports programs, such as
on the sidelines of a football field. These types of production
personnel, who may be seen by the viewer, are not considered
talent—they are considered part of the production environment.
The talent hired for a production also includes the individuals who
provide only their vocal skills to the production. These positions include
the on-screen actors, cast of extras, the narrator, voiceover talent, and
announcers. Cast is the collective name given to all the talent participating in a production. It is important to remember that a program’s talent
includes more than actors and on-screen personalities.
cast: The collective
name given to all the
talent participating in a
production.
Talk the Talk
When referring to multiple individuals hired as talent for
a production, the correct plural form of the term is “talent.” It
is incorrect and unprofessional to say “talents.”
Executive Producer
The executive producer (EP) provides the funding necessary to produce the program, but rarely steps foot on the set. There are times, however, when the EP is involved in every aspect of the production. The level
of involvement varies from production to production. A single production
may have several executive producers. The more expensive a program is
to produce, the more likely it is to have multiple EPs. In some cases, an EP
is merely an individual who invests a large sum of money in the program
and, in return, is given a credit at the beginning of the program and portion
of the profits generated by the sale of the program. The executive producer
essentially puts the money for the production in the bank, hires a producer,
and hands the bank account over to the producer.
executive producer
(EP): The person, or
people, who provides
the funding necessary
to produce the program.
Producer
The producer in a non-news environment purchases materials and services
needed to create a finished program. The producer hires a director, designers,
camera operators, a lighting director, sound engineer, and the talent. Materials
purchased for the production include, but are not limited to, set construction
items, costumes, and props. The producer also arranges travel plans, if necessary, for the staff and talent, including transportation, lodging, and meal catering. Because of the many facets of a producer’s job, being successful requires
extreme attention to detail and strong organizational skills. The producer is
ultimately responsible for the program’s successful completion.
The amount of input a producer has on creative decisions varies.
Ideally, the producer hires a director with whom he works well. Together
producer: In a nonnews environment, the
producer purchases
materials and services in
the creation of a finished
program. In a broadcast
news facility, the producer
coordinates the content
and flow of a newscast.
38
pre-production:
Any activity on a
program that occurs
prior to the time that
the cameras begin
rolling. This includes
production meetings,
set construction,
costume design,
music composition,
scriptwriting, and
location surveys.
production: The actual
shooting of the program.
post-production:
Any of the activities
performed after a
program has been shot.
This includes music
beds, editing, audio
overdubs, titles, and
duplication.
distribution: The fi nal
phase of production,
which includes DVD
authoring, DVD/
videotape duplication,
and distribution to the
end user.
Figure 2-2. Using a
Musical Instrument Digital
Interface (MIDI) computer
program, a composer
sends notes directly
from the keyboard to the
computer. The notes are
placed on sheet music
and can be printed, so the
music can be performed,
recorded, and placed
into the soundtrack of the
production.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
the producer and director make the hiring decisions regarding the rest of
the production team. As decisions are made, the producer and director
must constantly be aware of the budget. Compromise is necessary to balance and successfully complete all aspects of the program production.
The producer interacts with a majority of the production staff on a dayto-day basis during all four phases of production—pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution. Pre-production refers to any activity
on the program that occurs prior to the time that the cameras begin recording.
This includes production meetings, set construction, costume design, music
composition (Figure 2-2), scriptwriting, and location surveys. Production
refers to the actual shooting of the program. Post-production involves any
activities done after the program has been shot until the finished program
is completed, including music beds, editing, audio overdubs, and titles.
Distribution is the final phase of production and includes DVD authoring,
DVD/videotape duplication, and distribution to the end user.
In a broadcast news facility, the producer coordinates the content and
flow of a newscast and is very involved in the decision-making process
during the daily morning production meetings. In a news environment,
this is an extremely high-pressure, important position. Typically, a producer has earned this position by working for years as a reporter, and has
a keenly developed “reporter’s sense.”
The producer is involved in deciding which stories will be aired, the
order in which the stories will appear on the newscast, and in developing promotions and “ahead at 11” teasers for the upcoming newscast. The
producer is the person who decides whether to interrupt a newscast in
progress to report breaking news, and feeds the breaking news directly to
the anchors through their earpieces.
A television newsroom may have several producers; reporters work
for and report to their assigned producer. In the hierarchy of a television
newsroom, the producers work for and answer to the news director, who
makes the final determination on the content of the newscast.
Chapter 2
39
Working in the Television Production Industry
News Director
The news director is responsible for the structure of the newsroom, for
personnel matters (performance evaluations and hiring and firing employees), managing the budget, and the overall effectiveness of the newsroom.
The news director’s involvement in the actual newscast varies from station
to station. However, the news director is the final authority on which stories will air during the newscast.
Production Note
In a broadcast journalism class, the role of news director is commonly
held by the instructor. This is because the instructor is
responsible for teaching journalistic principles and ethics, news
judgment, and adhering to the objectives of the broadcast
journalism course. The grade assigned to students’ work
is equivalent to a performance evaluation in the broadcast
journalism industry.
news director: The
person responsible
for the structure of
the newsroom, for
personnel matters
(performance
evaluations and hiring
and firing employees),
managing the budget,
and the overall
effectiveness of the
newsroom. The news
director is also the
final authority on which
stories will air during a
news broadcast.
Director
The director is in charge of the creative aspects of the program and
interacts with the entire staff. While directors are responsible for casting
the program’s talent, sometimes they must concede to the EP or producer’s
decisions. For example, casting Leonardo DiCaprio in a leading role and
insisting on elaborate sets may exhaust the entire production budget on
just those two items. The director must be willing to compromise for the
sake of a successful and complete production.
The director reviews the program’s script and visualizes the entire production, Figure 2-3. Those ideas must then be communicated to the staff
director: The person
who is in charge of the
creative aspects of the
program and interacts
with the entire staff.
Figure 2-3 The director
reads a script and
envisions the way the
program’s scenes should
appear.
40
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
and talent. The director guides their performance to create an acceptable
representation of his vision. During production, the director must coordinate and manage the staff and cast to keep to the production schedule and
to ensure that all of the program’s elements are properly incorporated.
Very few people begin their career as a director. Becoming a good director requires extensive experience. Most directors have worked their way up
from a production assistant and, therefore, know each job on the staff quite
well. That knowledge is key to communication with the staff and crew.
Production Manager
production manager:
The person who
handles the business
portion of the production
by negotiating the fees
for goods, services, and
other contracts and by
determining the staffing
requirements based
on the needs of each
production.
production assistant
(PA): The person
who provides general
assistance around the
studio or production
facility. The PA is
commonly hired to fill
a variety of positions
when key personnel
are sick, out of town,
working on another
project, or otherwise
unavailable. In many
facilities, the production
assistant position is
synonymous with the
assistant director (AD)
position.
The production manager handles the business portion of the production by negotiating the fees for goods, services, and other contracts, and by
determining the staffing requirements based on the needs of each production. An additional responsibility is to ensure that programs and scripts
conform to established broadcast standards. The production manager contributes to the successful completion of a production by managing the budget and available resources.
Production Assistant
In many television production companies, the titles production
assistant (PA) and assistant director (AD) are interchangeable. However,
these position titles are not interchangeable in the film industry. The PA
serves as a jack-of-all-trades, but is a master of none. In some facilities, the
PA is merely a “gofer.” In most facilities, however, the PA is hired to fill a
variety of positions when key personnel are sick, out of town, working on
another project, or otherwise unavailable. Most people begin their career
as a PA. From the PA position, motivated individuals can rise through the
ranks of a facility until achieving the position they want.
On a daily basis, the PA provides general assistance around the studio
or production facility. On the occasion that a staff position needs to be temporarily filled, an ambitious PA should offer to perform the tasks of that
job. Competent performance will be noted by the production team and
remembered for subsequent opportunities.
Production Note
If there are several PAs in the company, it is vital that you volunteer
before someone else and take an active part in the advancement of your
career. A passive individual does not last long in a PA position—you must be
active and aggressive. When a qualified person is in front of an
employer eagerly saying, “I am qualified. I want to do the work.
Give me a chance to prove it,” why would the employer offer the
position to a wallflower who is too shy to speak up? Aggressive,
energetic, and enthusiastic go-getters populate this industry.
Instead of waiting long periods of time for a promotion at a company,
PAs who have acquired significant skills and experience typically choose to
move from company to company. This is the most common way to move up
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
41
the ranks within production teams in the industry. Most professionals in this
industry change companies 7 or 8 times within their first 10 years of working.
Choosing to stay with one company comes with the risk of waiting years for
someone above you to retire, transfer to another company, or otherwise leave
the position. Although promotions do occur within companies, it is more likely
to happen when moving laterally from one company to another.
Production Note
Because changing companies is so common in the television
production industry, it is strongly recommended that you maintain
your own investment/retirement accounts. Starting an Individual
Retirement Account (IRA) right out of college is one of the smartest
and least expensive things you can do for your own future.
In addition to proven knowledge and skills, an important key to
employment in this industry is networking. Job openings in television production are rarely found in the want ads of the local newspaper. Consider
the following scenario: Bill has been an assistant camera operator for a significant amount of time at the XYZ Production Company. He feels he has
developed the skills to become a camera operator and wants to move up
to that position. However, there are three other people that hold the three
camera operator positions in the company, and none of them has indicated
a desire to retire or leave the company. Bill’s prospects of advancement at
his current company are slim, so he begins networking by telling virtually
everyone he knows in the industry that he is looking for a camera operator position. Eventually, someone who knows of an opening hears that a
talented guy is looking for a job as a camera operator. That person contacts
Bill through the network to let him know that he should apply for the position. Nearly everyone in the industry maneuvers from job to job using this
networking technique, and most people are willing to help other professionals advance.
Floor Manager
The floor manager, or floor director, is the director’s “eyes and ears”
in the studio. The floor manager wears a headset and relays the director’s
commands to all studio personnel, except the camera operators. The camera operators are usually in direct communication with the director via
their headset intercoms. The floor manager is the only person in the studio
who may say, “Cut,” other than the director. When the floor manager says,
“Cut,” it is usually because the director has instructed them to do so.
Production Note
In larger studios, the headset communication system
has multiple channels so that the director can speak just to the
camera operators, just to the floor manager, or to everyone
at once.
floor manager: The
person who is the
director’s “eyes and
ears” in the studio. The
floor manager relays the
director’s commands to
the studio personnel.
Also commonly called
floor director.
42
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
cue: A signal that
directs something
specific to happen.
The floor manager is responsible for making sure the set is ready for
production, for initiating the program countdown, and for giving various
cues to the talent. A cue is a signal that implies something specific is to happen. One familiar cue is the “cut” signal. The floor manager makes a cutting
motion with his hand across his neck. There are many other hand signals
and cues that are standard within the industry. The signals can be any
action that the production team agrees upon and understands, Figure 2-4.
Figure 2-4. The floor manager gives silent signals, or cues, to the talent.
“You’re on!”
“Look at the camera I’m
pointing to.”
“Speak louder.”
“Wrap it up.”
“Cut!”
“Speak softer.”
“Stretch what you’re saying—
you’re going too fast.”
“Speed up your speaking—
time is running out.”
Chapter 2
43
Working in the Television Production Industry
Camera Operator
The camera operator runs the piece of equipment that captures the
video images of the program, Figure 2-5. Camera operators are responsible
for framing shots that are visually pleasing to the viewers. The director
may often call for a particular shot—the camera operator must not only
provide the shot requested, but must frame the shot so that annoying or
inappropriate background information does not detract from the image.
camera operator: The
person who runs the
piece of equipment
that captures the video
images of the program.
Photographer
The photographer, often called photog or “shooter,” is the cameraperson who goes into the field on location with a reporter in a news operation.
The photog’s responsibilities include all things technical—transporting
the camera, tripod, mic, all the cabling, and any batteries necessary. While
shooting, the photog monitors the audio of both the reporter and the interviewee through headphones. Setting up and tearing down the equipment
is also the responsibility of the photog (reporters often help, but these tasks
officially fall to the photog).
photographer: The
cameraperson in
the field, on location
with a reporter in a
news operation. Also
commonly called photog
or shooter.
Photojournalist
The photojournalist is a photographer who regularly performs duties
of both the photographer, as well as the reporter. A photojournalist is a oneman band. It is a good idea for anyone who wants to be a reporter to also obtain
Figure 2-5. The camera
operator captures the
shots that the director
requires. Camera
operators never sit down
when operating a camera
mounted on a tripod and
never let go of the pan
handles without making
certain the camera is
locked and stable.
photojournalist: A
photographer who
regularly performs
duties of both the
photographer, as well
as the reporter.
44
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
the skills to be a photog. When applying for a job in the news industry, the
ability to successfully perform both reporter and photog roles provides an
advantage over those who are unable to wear more than one hat.
Reporter
reporter: The individual
responsible for
gathering information
from many sources,
including research and
interviews, for writing
news stories, and often
editing their own stories.
Reporters are responsible for gathering information from many sources,
including research and interviews, for writing news stories, and often editing their own stories. The role of a reporter can vary from station to station,
or even story to story. Sometimes reporters are on-screen throughout their
story, but it is also common to see the reporter only during the introduction and closing of stories. Some stories include the reporter’s voiceover
throughout the story, in addition to other audio, with the story footage, but
the reporter may never be seen on screen. A reporter may write a story and
be present for shooting and editing the story, but an anchor may end up
reading the script of a story written by the reporter. Reporters often find
that the job entails erratic work hours—some days may require far more
than the typical eight hours. The job of a reporter is physically and emotionally demanding.
Assignment Editor
assignment editor:
The person who
schedules necessary
equipment and
personnel to cover the
stories for the day’s
newscast.
During the morning meeting, decisions are made regarding which
stories reporters will undertake for the day’s newscast. When the stories
are chosen, the assignment editor schedules the equipment and personnel
to cover the stories. The assignment editor pairs reporters and photogs,
and schedules photojournalists if there are more stories to cover than available reporters and photogs. Typically, the assignment editor assigns each
reporter two stories per day. Exceptions are made, however, when major
news events occur.
Anchor
anchor: The person
who delivers the news
from the news desk set
in a studio.
The anchor delivers the news from the news desk set in the studio.
Delivering the news involves reading the news content displayed on a teleprompter, providing the intro and closing of taped stories that are inserted
into a live telecast, and conducting conversations with reporters in the field
reporting live. The greatest expectation of an anchor is to accurately read
and relay the news and related information.
Video Engineer
video engineer: The
person who manages
the video equipment
and is ultimately
responsible for the
technical quality of the
video signal.
The video engineer is ultimately responsible for the technical quality
of the video signal, Figure 2-6. A video engineer has extensive schooling in
the electronics of video production and must keep current with the technology and changes in the video industry. This member of the production
team is greatly valued and highly compensated in any production facility. In a studio environment, one of the video engineer’s responsibilities
is to ensure that the images captured by each of the studio cameras match
exactly. This consistency is important when, for example, the director cuts
from one camera to another. The video engineer’s skills ensure that an
actor’s skin color does not change from normal, to pinkish, to greenish
when cutting between cameras.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
the skills to be a photog. When applying for a job in the news industry, the
ability to successfully perform both reporter and photog roles provides an
advantage over those who are unable to wear more than one hat.
Reporter
reporter: The individual
responsible for
gathering information
from many sources,
including research and
interviews, for writing
news stories, and often
editing their own stories.
Reporters are responsible for gathering information from many sources,
including research and interviews, for writing news stories, and often editing their own stories. The role of a reporter can vary from station to station,
or even story to story. Sometimes reporters are on-screen throughout their
story, but it is also common to see the reporter only during the introduction and closing of stories. Some stories include the reporter’s voiceover
throughout the story, in addition to other audio, with the story footage, but
the reporter may never be seen on screen. A reporter may write a story and
be present for shooting and editing the story, but an anchor may end up
reading the script of a story written by the reporter. Reporters often find
that the job entails erratic work hours—some days may require far more
than the typical eight hours. The job of a reporter is physically and emotionally demanding.
Assignment Editor
assignment editor:
The person who
schedules necessary
equipment and
personnel to cover the
stories for the day’s
newscast.
During the morning meeting, decisions are made regarding which
stories reporters will undertake for the day’s newscast. When the stories
are chosen, the assignment editor schedules the equipment and personnel
to cover the stories. The assignment editor pairs reporters and photogs,
and schedules photojournalists if there are more stories to cover than available reporters and photogs. Typically, the assignment editor assigns each
reporter two stories per day. Exceptions are made, however, when major
news events occur.
Anchor
anchor: The person
who delivers the news
from the news desk set
in a studio.
The anchor delivers the news from the news desk set in the studio.
Delivering the news involves reading the news content displayed on a teleprompter, providing the intro and closing of taped stories that are inserted
into a live telecast, and conducting conversations with reporters in the field
reporting live. The greatest expectation of an anchor is to accurately read
and relay the news and related information.
Video Engineer
video engineer: The
person who manages
the video equipment
and is ultimately
responsible for the
technical quality of the
video signal.
The video engineer is ultimately responsible for the technical quality
of the video signal, Figure 2-6. A video engineer has extensive schooling in
the electronics of video production and must keep current with the technology and changes in the video industry. This member of the production
team is greatly valued and highly compensated in any production facility. In a studio environment, one of the video engineer’s responsibilities
is to ensure that the images captured by each of the studio cameras match
exactly. This consistency is important when, for example, the director cuts
from one camera to another. The video engineer’s skills ensure that an
actor’s skin color does not change from normal, to pinkish, to greenish
when cutting between cameras.
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
45
Figure 2-6. The video
engineer uses specialized
test equipment to examine
and maintain consistent
picture quality.
Audio Engineer
The audio engineer is responsible for the audio/sound quality on the
production. The audio engineer often operates the microphone mixer, as
well as the music and sound effects recorders/players, Figure 2-7. The
audio engineer mics the talent and is responsible for maintaining the overall audio levels on the studio’s master recorder.
audio engineer: The
person responsible for
the audio/sound quality
on the production and
related equipment.
Figure 2-7. The audio
engineer maintains the
quality and volume of the
sound, so that viewers
never have to adjust the
volume on their television
sets.
46
lighting director: The
person who decides
the placement of
lighting instruments, the
appropriate color of light
to use, and which lamps
should be used in the
instruments.
gaffer: The lighting
director’s assistant
who often does the
actual hauling of heavy
instruments up and
down ladders.
scriptwriter: The
person responsible
for placing the entire
production on paper.
Figure 2-8. The lighting
designer tells the gaffer
(on ladder) where to aim
the lighting instruments.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Lighting Director
The lighting director decides the placement of lighting instruments,
the appropriate color of light to use, and which lamps should be used in
the instruments. In a television studio, as on the stage in a high school
auditorium, there are an amazing number of lights hanging overhead from
pipes on the ceiling. The lights are purposefully aimed in various directions with varying degrees of brightness and color. Determining the placement of the lighting instruments is the lighting director’s job. The lighting
director’s assistant, a gaffer, often does the actual hauling of heavy instruments up and down ladders, Figure 2-8.
Scriptwriter
The scriptwriter is responsible for placing the entire production on paper.
The script must meet the objectives of the producer and the message to the
viewer must be clear. However, the scriptwriter is not often an acknowledged
expert in the program’s subject matter. Because of this, a content specialist is
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
usually hired to work with the scriptwriter. The content specialist is a person
considered to be an expert on the program’s subject.
Content specialists from the military are commonly hired to help scriptwriters and directors create authentic action scenes in movies with military
action or plot lines. A content specialist would also assist a scriptwriter
in writing the script for an instructional program detailing techniques
of a new and innovative heart transplant technique. To ensure accurate
information, the content specialist in this scenario would likely be the doctor who invented the technique. The content specialist reviews the entire
script before production begins and is, ideally, present for the shooting and
post-production to keep everything accurate.
Graphic Artist
The graphic artist is responsible for all the artwork required for the
production. This includes computer graphics, traditional works of art,
charts, and graphs. The graphic artist is usually very well versed in computer graphics applications, from the amazing animations seen in modern
films to the charts and graphs included in an economics program.
VTR Operator
The VTR operator is in charge of recording the program onto videotape by correctly operating the VTR equipment, Figure 2-9. Producing
a recording of the program with quality video and audio is an immense
responsibility. The VTR operator must take every precaution to ensure
that each piece of equipment is functioning properly to produce a quality
recording of every scene.
Many newer television facilities have eliminated the use of videotape
entirely, and record onto DVDs or directly to a hard drive. The job title
“VTR operator” no longer applies in these facilities. In a tapeless environment, this job function is performed by the video operator.
47
content specialist: A
person who works with
the scriptwriter and is
considered to be an
expert in the program’s
subject matter.
graphic artist: The
person responsible for
all the artwork required
for the production. This
includes computer
graphics, traditional
works of art, charts, and
graphs.
VTR operator: The
person in charge of
recording the program
onto videotape by
correctly operating the
VTR equipment.
video operator: The
individual responsible
for recording the master
video file in a tapeless
television production
environment.
Figure 2-9. The VTR
operator places the entire
program on the master
videotape.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
robo operator: The
person who remotely
operates all of the
cameras and the robotic
camera mounts from
a single location in the
studio or control room.
Robo Operator
editor: The person
responsible for putting
the various pieces of the
entire program together.
The editor removes all
the mistakes and bad
takes, leaving only the
best version of each
scene, and arranges the
individual scenes into
the proper order.
Editor
Some television production environments have eliminated the job of an
in-studio camera operator. Cameras are placed on remote-controlled robotic
camera mounts. All of the cameras are controlled by the robo operator from
one location in the studio or control room, Figure 2-10.
The editor puts the various pieces of the entire program together. Individual
scenes are arranged into the proper order, with all the mistakes and bad takes
removed, leaving only the best version of each scene. The editor must be aware
of the psychological effects involved with the theory of movement and passage
of time, as different angles of the same person or scene are cut together.
For example, a skilled editor makes two sides of a conversation, which
were shot during two different recording sessions at different locations, flow
together into a natural sounding conversation on one recording.
Figure 2-10. A robotic
camera in use on a
production studio set.
A—A traditional video
camera and teleprompter
are attached to the robotic
mount. B—Away from
the studio floor, the robo
operator remotely controls
the robotic camera
equipment from a control
panel with joystick controls.
(Photos courtesy of Brian
Franco)
A
B
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
49
Talk the Talk
“Editor” is a television production term with dual definitions. This
chapter addresses the person, called an editor, who arranges
the individual pieces of a program to produce a complete
product. To do this, the editor uses a machine that is also called
an “editor,” which is discussed in Chapter 24, Video Editing.
Makeup Artist
The makeup artist applies cosmetics to the face and body of talent, giving them the intended appearance in front of the camera, Figure 2-11. The
cosmetics used may enhance facial features or change the talent’s appearance entirely, as necessary to convincingly portray a particular character.
CG Operator
The CG operator creates the program titles using a character generator,
Figure 2-12. Titles include the credits that appear before and after a movie
Figure 2-11. The makeup
artist ensures that
performers look natural
under the bright studio
lights.
makeup artist: The
person responsible for
applying cosmetics to
the talent’s face and
body, giving them the
intended appearance in
front of the camera.
CG operator: The
person who creates the
titles for the program
using a character
generator.
Figure 2-12. The CG
operator types the titles for
the program.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
or television show, as well as a news flash that crawls across the bottom
of the television screen. The titles may be a single page, scrolling, or have
animated letters. The CG operator must create titles that are accurate and
appropriate for the program, and ensure that they are legible to viewers.
Grip
grip: A person who
moves the equipment,
scenery, and props on a
studio set.
maintenance
engineer: The person
who keeps all the
production equipment
functioning at its
optimum performance
level.
The grip is a person who moves the equipment, scenery, and props on
a studio set. In theater productions, a grip is called a stagehand. Perhaps
the job title comes from the fact that one must have a good grip in order to
move anything large!
Maintenance Engineer
The maintenance engineer keeps all the production equipment working according to “factory specifications.” The maintenance engineer is not
a repairperson, but may assist in troubleshooting if problems arise. The primary responsibility of this position is to ensure that each piece of production equipment functions at its optimum performance level, Figure 2-13.
Figure 2-13. The
maintenance engineer
keeps equipment running
in top performance.
Program Production Workflow
production values:
The general aesthetics
of the show.
The following is a general overview of the steps involved in producing a program. The timeframe to complete each step depends on the type
of production. Completing most of the steps to produce a public service
announcement, for example, would likely take considerably less time than
to produce a one-hour, prime-time drama. One of the best ways to create a
successful program is to have excellent production values in the program.
Production values are the general aesthetics of a show. Most of this book
aims to show you how to attain these high production values.
Various terms are presented in the sections that follow, as well as in
the proceeding chapters. Many of the terms have commonly known “consumer” definitions. Some words used in this business, just as in the English
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
language, have multiple definitions. Memorize the professional definitions
of terms and learn the difference between those with multiple meanings.
Use the terms appropriately during class to help you get in the habit of
using them correctly when working in the television industry.
Program Proposals
The first step in producing a program is to develop a program proposal (discussed in Chapter 8, Scriptwriting). This is a plan that includes the
basic idea of the program, the program’s format, intended audience, budget considerations, location information, and a rough shooting schedule.
The program proposal is reviewed by investors and production companies
for financing considerations and overall project approval.
Scriptwriting
Before a script is written for the program, a script outline is created.
This outline contains comments noting the direction of the program and
varies depending on the program format (drama, panel discussion, interview, or music video). Television scripts are usually written in a two-column format. The left column contains video/technical information and the
right column contains audio and stage direction.
Producing
The day-to-day activities involved in producing a program ensure that
the production process runs as smoothly as possible. Important decisions
that affect the program’s ultimate success are made throughout the production process, including coordinating schedules, acquiring the necessary resources, monitoring the activity and progress of various production
teams, and weighing budgetary considerations.
Directing
Directing involves shaping the creative aspects of a program and interacting with the entire staff and cast to realize the director’s vision of the
production. In addition to verbally providing direction during production,
many important pre- and post-production directing activities contribute to
a program’s success.
Lighting
When planning the lighting for a production, there should be sufficient
light to meet the technical requirements of the camera and to produce an
acceptable picture on the screen. Various lighting techniques are also used
to meet the aesthetic requirements of the director. Accurate lighting in a
program is necessary to create the desired mood, appearance, and setting.
Most importantly, proper placement of lighting instruments contributes to
creating three-dimensionality on a flat television screen.
Scenery, Set Dressing, and Props
Careful planning and consideration when choosing scenery, set dressings, and props helps create a believable environment for the program.
51
52
Figure 2-14. Scenery
is anything, other than
people, that appears
behind the main object of
the picture.
scenery: Anything
placed on a set that
stops the distant view
of the camera. Outside
the studio, scenery may
be a building or the
horizon.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Scenery
The placement of these items on a set also contributes to creating threedimensionality on a flat television screen. Scenery is something that stops
the distant view of the camera (further discussed in Chapter 18, Props, Set
Dressing, and Scenery). In a studio, the scenery may be fake walls, set furniture, or a curtain. Outside the studio, it may be a tree, building, or the
horizon. The scenery is nearly everything behind the main object of the
shot, Figure 2-14. Set dressing includes all the visual and design elements
of a set, such as rugs, lamps, wall coverings, curtains, and room accent
accessories. Props are any of the items handled by the performers, excluding furniture, Figure 2-15. Furniture may be a prop if used for something
other than its apparent and intended use.
Costumes and Makeup
Costumes and makeup enable actors to look like the characters they
portray. Even news anchors and other on-screen personalities who are not
Figure 2-15. Props are
items, other than furniture,
that are handled by
performers.
Props
Furniture
Chapter 2
53
Working in the Television Production Industry
“acting” wear makeup and have their wardrobe selected to ensure the best
possible appearance on the television screen.
Costume selection is dependent on many existing factors, including
plot, setting, set dressing, program format, and lighting arrangement.
Makeup is any of the cosmetics applied to a performer’s skin to change or
enhance their appearance. The makeup may create a drastic change, such
as aging, alien appearance, or injuries, or it may simply enhance the talent’s natural features while in front of a camera.
makeup: Any of the
cosmetics applied to
a performer’s skin to
change or enhance their
appearance.
Graphics
Graphics are all of the artwork seen in a program, including computer graphics, traditional works of art, charts, and graphs (discussed in
Chapter 14, Image Display). When choosing or creating graphics for television, pay particular attention to the amount of detail in a graphic. Losing
the fine detail in images is natural in the process of creating an analog television picture (digital technology is continually evolving and changing
this limitation). For example, a beautifully detailed title font of medieval
style writing may look wonderful on a computer screen, but will likely
dissolve into mush on a television screen. The television screen requires
bolder images than a computer screen. If the audience is unable to read
what is written on the screen or cannot clearly see the information presented in a chart, then you are not effectively communicating.
Camera Operation
The portion of the program that you can see is called video. The camera operator is responsible for capturing the program images with a video
camera.
video: The portion of
the program that you
can see.
Talk the Talk
The term “video” has different consumer and professional definitions.
Consumers often use “video” to refer to the tape or the
DVD you rent or purchase for viewing at home. Television
production professionals use “video” to refer to the visual
portion of a program; the part that is seen by the audience.
A frame is the actual edge of the video picture; the edge of the picture on all four sides, Figure 2-16. Framing a shot is the camera operator’s responsibility and involves placing items in the picture by operating
the camera and tripod. Shooting a vase of flowers sitting on a table seems
simple until you realize there are an infinite number of ways to shoot it
(long shot, close-up, from a side angle, from below, from above, zoom in,
or zoom out). A good camera operator has the ability to frame shots effectively for the audience.
We have all seen home movies taken of someone else’s family. Home
movies are usually not tolerable to watch for long periods of time. One
reason is camerawork—it is generally shaky and out of focus, Figure 2-17.
An important production value is quality camerawork. Put the camera on
frame: The actual edge
of the video picture; the
edge of the picture on
all four sides.
framing: Involves
placing items in the
camera’s frame by
operating the camera
and tripod.
54
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 2-16. The edge
of a picture on all four
sides is the frame. An
operator frames a shot by
determining exactly what
to include in the frame.
a tripod for stability and frame the shots correctly. Make sure that people in
the video do not have oddly cut off body parts, Figure 2-18.
audio: The portion of
a program that you can
hear. Audio includes
narration, spoken lines,
sound effects, and
background music.
Figure 2-17. An outof-focus shot has poor
production value.
Audio Recording
Audio is the portion of a program that you can hear. Audio includes
narration, spoken lines of dialog, sound effects, background music, and all
other aspects of a program that are heard by the audience.
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
55
Figure 2-18. A shot
of a person “missing”
important parts of the
body is considered a poor
production value.
Production Switching
When shooting in a studio, there may be three cameras shooting a
scene from three different angles. Each of the cameras captures a different
picture:
• Camera 1 is on one news anchor in a close-up.
• Camera 2 has a two shot of both anchors.
• Camera 3 is on the other news anchor in a close-up.
All three of these cameras connect to a production switcher, Figure 2-19.
A cable coming from the switcher connects to a video recorder. By pressing buttons marked “1,” “2,” and “3,” the picture from different cameras can be sent to the recorder. The process of cutting between cameras
(from camera 1, to camera 3, to camera 2, and back to camera 1) is called
production switching.
production switching:
The process of cutting
between cameras.
Figure 2-19. The
production switcher allows
the operator to send pictures
from different cameras to
the video recorder, simply by
pushing a button or pulling
a lever.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Special Effects
special effects:
Anything the audience
sees in a video picture
that did not really
happen in the way it
appears on the screen.
An entire book could be written on special effects alone. In simplest
terms, special effects are anything the audience sees in a video picture that
did not really happen the way it appears on the screen. Special effects alter
the reality perceived by the viewer.
Production Note
One of the cardinal rules of television production and
filmmaking: “It does not have to be, it only has to appear to be!”
Editing
editing: The process
of placing individual
recorded scenes in
logical order.
Placing the individual scenes in logical order on another tape is called
editing (discussed in Chapter 24, Video Editing). When writing a research
paper, you make notes on note cards. One of the next tasks in the process
is to arrange the note cards in an order that makes the paper flow logically.
The process of arranging note cards corresponds to editing a video program.
The scenes of a program are not usually shot in the order seen in the
finished product. All the scenes that take place in one location are shot at
the same time, even if they appear at different times in the finished program. Imagine that scenes 25, 41, and 97 of a movie take place in Egypt
at the Sphinx, and scenes 24, 40, and 98 take place at the Eiffel Tower in
Paris, France. To shoot the scenes in chronological order, all the people
and equipment would need to be transported back and forth three times
between these distant locations. The increased production cost in providing such travel arrangements is unreasonable and, most often, not possible.
Setting up once at each location to shoot all the necessary scenes requires
that the scenes be edited together in the proper order in post-production.
Duplication and Distribution
A master program is copied to multiple media formats, such as tape
or DVD, for distribution and viewing. The programs may be individually
sold by a retailer, used as informational material for a specific workforce
or company, cablecast, or be broadcast and viewed on televisions in millions of homes. Programs may also be streamed and downloaded using
the Internet. The finished product is viewed on millions of televisions and
computer screens around the world almost instantly.
Assistant Activity
•
Watch 20 minutes of the local or national news with the sound turned
off. Can you still follow what the newscasters are communicating? Why?
•
Watch 10 minutes of a sitcom with the sound turned off. Can you still
follow the storyline?
•
Try watching a commercial that you have never seen before with the
sound turned off. What is the commercial trying to tell you
about the product? Can you figure it out without the audio?
Be prepared to discuss your experience with each of
these scenarios.
Chapter 2
Working in the Television Production Industry
Wrapping Up
The academic aspects of TV production must be learned to understand
how all the elements of production fit together. Everyone needs to understand
everyone else’s job in order to fit into the matrix of production. There are
hundreds of factors to consider when producing a television program, and
this chapter presents only a few of the main jobs involved. An enormous
number of people are typically involved, from the beginning to the end of a
production. Remember that this text is an introduction to television production
and broadcast journalism. It is not intended to be the end of your learning,
rather just the beginning.
The approach this text uses to teach this complex subject is a
vocabulary-based, progressive method. Concentrate on learning the industry
terminology, and understanding the principles behind those terms should
come naturally. The content touches every topic briefly at first and, as the
chapters progress, continues to address the topics in increasing depth
and detail. Progressive learning means that each day of class builds on a
foundation created by all previous days and lessons—you cannot forget what
has come before. If your brain is a hard drive, for example, you have one file
called “Television Production” and you keep adding more information to that
one file. Nothing can be deleted!
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. Explain the difference between the talent and the staff of a production.
2. What are the four phases of program production?
3. Describe how the director interacts with the program’s producer.
4. What are the typical responsibilities of a photog?
5. What information is included in a program proposal?
6. What is the frame of a video picture?
7. Explain the process of production switching.
8. Why is it usually impractical to shoot all the scenes of a program in
sequential order?
Activities
1. Record the final credits of your favorite television show. Play the credits
back slowly and notice all the job titles listed. List any of the titles that are
unfamiliar to you and research the responsibilities of each job. Be prepared to present this information in class.
2. Research basic hand signals used by floor managers on a production set
by searching the Internet, checking reference material at the library or,
best of all, by visiting a local TV station and interviewing a floor manager.
Make an illustrated poster of the new signals you learn.
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1. Identify the positions on a production crew that have changed dramatically
with technological advancements. Identify production crew positions that
have changed little, or not at all, despite technological advancements in
television production.
2. Create a flowchart that depicts the television production process from
beginning to end. Include the titles of staff, crew, and talent involved in
each part of the process.
3. Calculate how much money you will accrue after 30 years if you invest
$4500 every year into a retirement fund with 8% interest compounded
annually.
4. Develop an idea for a new prime-time reality television show. Write a program proposal to pitch your program idea to the executive producers.
5. In television, the four phases of production are pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution. Relate these phases to your life.
Assign each of the activities you perform to complete a specific task or
goal to one of these four phases.
Objectives
Professional Terms
aperture
auto-focus
auto-iris circuit
camcorder
camera control unit
(CCU)
camera head
charge coupled device
(CCD)
convertible camera
diopter adjustment
dolly
drag
fast lens
fluid head
focal length
focal point
focus
friction head
f-stop
gain
hot
iris
jib
lens
optical center
pan handle
pedestal column
pedestal control
remote control unit (RCU)
shutter
slow lens
studio camera
studio pedestal
subjective camera
target
tighten
tripod
tripod head
variable focal length lens
viewfinder
widen
zebra stripes
zoom in (ZI)
zoom lens
zoom lenses
zoom out (ZO)
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the differences between the various
video cameras available.
•
Identify each part of a video camera and note the
corresponding function.
•
Differentiate between the focal length and the
focal point related to a zoom lens.
•
Explain the interrelationship between f-stops, the
iris, and aperture in controlling light.
•
Identify the challenges and benefits involved in
using hand-held camera shooting.
•
Recognize the types of tripod heads available
and cite the unique characteristics of each.
•
Implement the proper procedures for cleaning
and storing video equipment.
Introduction
The camera is one of the first pieces of
equipment that new students gravitate toward
because it appears to be the most central item in a
television studio. Good camera operators must first
learn the capabilities of their equipment. This chapter
presents parts of the video camera, related support
equipment, and basic operation procedures.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
studio camera: A
television camera placed
on a tripod or studio
pedestal for exclusive
use within the studio.
tripod: A three-legged
stand that supports a
camera.
dolly: A three-wheeled
cart onto which the feet
of a tripod are mounted.
A dolly allows smooth
camera movements to
be performed.
studio pedestal: A
large, single column on
wheels that supports
the camera and is
pneumatically or
hydraulically controlled.
Figure 3-1. When a tripod
is secured into a dolly, the
camera may be moved
smoothly across the studio
floor.
In the classroom environment, it is not necessary to have “professional
broadcast quality” cameras in order to effectively learn video camera
operation. In making this decision for my own classroom, I discussed with
a vendor whether I should spend a sizeable amount of money for one
“broadcast quality” camera or the same amount of money for several “nonbroadcast quality” cameras. My vendor’s comment on the situation made
very good sense, “You are teaching students to take pictures and, when
you get right down to the bottom of things, all cameras point.” As a result,
I bought several good quality cameras rather than one high
quality camera, which would not teach students anything more
than the cameras I bought. The additional cameras also allow
more students to get experience operating a camera without
waiting in line for one to become available.
Types of Video Cameras
Several types of video cameras are available for professional use. Each
camera type offers unique benefits and restrictions.
Studio Cameras
The studio camera is usually very large and too heavy to be used
as a remote camera in the field. Because of its size, studio cameras may
be placed on a three-legged stand, called a tripod, for support. To allow
smooth camera movement, the feet of the tripod are placed into a type of
three-wheeled cart called a dolly, Figure 3-1. A studio pedestal is another
common type of camera support, Figure 3-2. The camera is attached to a
large, single column on wheels that is pneumatically or hydraulically controlled. Due to the size, weight, and mount of studio cameras, they should
not be taken out of the studio.
Tripod leg
Dolly
61
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
Figure 3-2. Placing the
camera on a pedestal
provides a steady and
smooth shot while in
the studio.
(Vinten Broadcast Ltd.)
Pedestal
head
Steering
ring
Telescoping
column
Pedestal base
with casters
Talk the Talk
When referring to multiple camera dollys, the correct
spelling of the term is “dollys.” This rule applies only when
making reference to this particular piece of equipment.
Each studio camera comes with a camera control unit (CCU), sometimes referred to as a remote control unit (RCU), Figure 3-3. The CCU is
a piece of equipment that controls the video signal sent from the camera
and is usually placed in the control room or the master control room. The
CCU controls many signals from the camera, including the color, tint, contrast, and brightness. The video engineer manipulates the CCU controls to
match the signal from each camera involved in the shoot, Figure 3-4.
camera control unit
(CCU): A piece of
equipment that controls
various attributes of
the video signal sent
from the camera to the
video recorder, and is
usually placed in the
control room or the
master control room.
Also commonly called
a remote control unit
(RCU).
62
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 3-3. The video
engineer uses camera
control units (CCU) to
adjust the attributes of
studio cameras from the
control room. This provides
a central location for one
person to control all the
cameras, rather than
adjusting the settings on
each individual camera on
the studio floor.
Automatic/manual
iris switch
Gain settings
Remote iris
control
Figure 3-4. A CCU matches the video signals when shooting with multiple video cameras. (Jack Klasey)
Camera 1
CCU
Camera 1
Camera 2
CCU
Camera 2
Visualize This
The video engineer adjusts the settings on CCUs to match the signal
from each camera to the others in the studio. The following scenario is
likely to occur when cameras are not matched:
The on-screen talent is wearing a red dress and three
cameras are shooting her. Every time the switcher cuts from
one camera to another, the color of the dress changes from
a shade of purple to orange to pink. This creates problems in
the editing room during post-production.
Camcorders
camcorder: A portable
camera/recorder
combination.
Professional camcorders are lightweight, portable cameras, Figure 3-5, but
are not quite as small as consumer camcorders. Professional models have many
more internal components. The professional camcorder is a television camera
63
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
and recorder in one unit and is relatively simple to take into the field. While
in use, it is placed on the operator’s right shoulder or on a field tripod. Newer
camcorders record directly onto a DVD, mini DVD, memory stick, PCI card,
internal hard drive, or external portable hard drive (Figure 3-6). Some cameras
have USB or firewire ports to transfer captured video directly to a computer.
Viewfinder
Lens
Figure 3-5. A professional
camcorder can produce
high quality pictures
outside of the studio.
Contoured cut-out
for shoulder mounting
Figure 3-6. Portable hard drives are available in several configurations. A—One type of portable hard drive attaches
to the back of the camera on the battery mount. The battery is attached to another mount on the opposite side.
B—A hard drive unit is held in a holster on the camera operator’s belt and is connected by cable to the camera.
A
B
64
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Convertible Cameras
convertible camera: A
camera with a variety
of accessory packages
available to make it
operational in a studio,
as a portable field
camera, or both.
A convertible camera may be purchased with a variety of accessory
packages that make it operational in a studio, as a portable field camera, or
both. Many small-scale studios purchase convertible cameras because they
are adaptable to a variety of situations and are often less expensive than
larger studio cameras.
The studio package configuration of a convertible camera includes a CCU
and a viewfinder (a small television monitor). Studio viewfinders usually measure at least 5″ diagonally. The camera operator stands several feet behind the
camera, so the image must be large enough to be seen at that distance.
A remote camera package configuration usually includes a small view
screen that folds out from the body of the camera and/or a viewfinder
built into the camera body. The operator is likely to have the camera on his
shoulder with his right eye pressed against the eyecup of the viewfinder,
so a larger viewfinder is not necessary.
The Parts of the Camera
camera head: The
portion of the video
camera that contains all
the electronics needed
to convert the reflection
of light from the subject
into an electronic signal.
Figure 3-7. Even a
convertible camera, which
may be configured either
as a studio camera or
a remote camera, has
the same basic three
components as other types
of video cameras.
•
•
•
The camera, Figure 3-7, is comprised of three major parts:
Camera Head
Viewfinder
Camera Lens
Camera Head
The camera head is the actual camera portion of the equipment,
Figure 3-7. It contains all the electronics needed to convert the reflection of
Viewfinder
Lens
Camera head
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
light from the subject into an electronic signal. The incoming light is split,
usually by a prism, into individual red, green, and blue beams (Figure 3-8).
Each beam hits the photosensitive surface, or the target, of the corresponding charge coupled device (CCD), or “chip.” There are hundreds of thousands of photosensitive elements on one side of the dime-sized CCD that
convert light into an electronic, or video, signal. The electronic signal created by each photosensitive element varies, depending on the intensity
and color of light that hits individual elements. The video signal passes
through to the opposite side of the CCD and enters the rest of the camera. Professional cameras contain three CCDs—one for each colored light
beam (red, green, and blue). Low cost cameras have only one CCD, which
produces video that is considerably lower in quality than a professional
camera.
Gain Control
Gain is the strength of the video signal. Some cameras have a “gain
select” or “gain switch,” while others may have this feature available
through a menu option. On a studio camera, the gain control may be
located on the CCU. If this function is available, you should be aware of its
effect on the recorded image. Improper use of the gain switch can result in
unusable footage. Adjusting this control allows the strength of the signal
going from the camera to the recorder to be increased or decreased. The
white level, black level, color, and tint are all equally affected when the
gain setting is changed.
Production Note
The average consumer would say that the gain control adjusts the
picture’s brightness. In reality, gain is to brightness as a cubic zirconia is
to a diamond. They look similar to an untrained eye, but there
are vast differences between them. Adjusting the gain control
changes the strength of the actual video signal. On the other
hand, when the brightness is adjusted, only the amount of
“white” in a picture is increased or decreased. In the realm of
audio, “gain” is synonymous with “volume.”
Figure 3-8. The prism
block splits incoming light
into three distinct beams
(blue, red, and green) and
sends each beam to a
separate, dedicated CCD.
65
target: Photosensitive
surface of a charge
coupled device (CCD).
charge coupled device
(CCD): A-component
of the camera head
into which light enters
and is converted into
an electronic, or video,
signal. The video signal
exits on the opposite
side of the CCD and
enters the rest of the
camera.
gain: The strength of a
video or audio signal.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
When shooting something that is dimly lit, the picture will be dark. In
this respect, the camera is no different from your eye. It is difficult, sometimes impossible, for the human eye to see in the dark. A soldier on night
maneuvers, for example, absolutely must be able to see in the dark. In this
situation, night vision goggles are used. In recent years, news programs
have commonly shown images of night vision from war zones. However,
these images are not very clear. When a camera is shooting in the dark,
increasing the gain may artificially brighten the picture.
As the gain is increased, the resulting image becomes increasingly
grainy. This kind of picture is unusable in most professional productions.
It is recommended that the gain switch never be moved from the “0” (zero)
position. If an image is too dark, a light source should be added.
Viewfinder
viewfinder: A small
video monitor attached
to the camera that
allows the camera
operator to view the
images in the shot.
diopter adjustment:
A knob or lever that
adjusts the magnifier
on the viewfinder
to compensate for
differences in vision.
A viewfinder is a small video monitor that allows the camera operator
to view the images in the shot, Figure 3-7. Oftentimes, a camcorder has
two viewfinders—one small fold-out screen on the side of the camera head
and the other is usually much smaller (perhaps only an inch, if measured
diagonally) and is a fixed part of the camera body.
The fold-out viewfinder is very convenient if the camera is on a tripod,
and the larger screen is easier to view. On the other hand, the image displayed on a fold-out viewfinder may be difficult to see when the camera is
in a well-lit environment. It may also be difficult to focus the image using
the fold-out viewfinder, because it may not display a high-quality image.
The smaller viewfinder has a magnifier in front of it, which makes the
image easier to see. Because the viewfinder and magnifier are completely
enclosed, the operator’s eye must rest against a soft rubber eye piece to
properly view the image. When using the small viewfinder, there is not
a problem clearly seeing the image in bright light. However, operators
who wear eyeglasses may find that their glasses get in the way of properly
using the viewfinder. To allow for operation without eyeglasses and compensate for differences in vision, the magnifier on the smaller viewfinder is
adjustable. This adjustment is called the diopter adjustment, and is usually
a little knob that turns or a lever that moves, Figure 3-9. Move the diopter
Figure 3-9. The diopter
adjustment allows camera
operators to clearly see
images in the viewfinder
without their prescription
eyeglasses.
Diopter
adjustment
level
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
adjustment until the writing on the viewfinder screen is clear. Then, adjust
the focus of the camera normally.
A special feature on some viewfinders is zebra stripes (black and white
diagonal stripes). When zebra stripes are displayed, the operator is made
aware that an object in the shot may be too brightly lit. This is an extremely
useful feature that should be engaged at all times, if available.
Camera Lens
In the early days of television, the imaging device on cameras was
not a CCD, but a vacuum tube. Early cameras had several different lenses
attached to a wheel called a “lens turret,” Figure 3-10. Zoom lenses were
not available on these early pieces of equipment. Technology has brought
great changes and improvements to the imaging processes of television
production.
The lens is an assembly of several glass discs placed in a tube on the
front of a camera. Its primary purpose is to concentrate, or focus, the incoming light rays on the surface of the imaging device, or the target. A picture
is considered to be “in focus” when the adjoining lines of contrast are as
sharp as possible.
Talk the Talk
Both the individual glass discs and the tube-shaped piece of
equipment that houses the glass discs are called “lenses.” To differentiate
these terms within this chapter, note that “lens” refers to the individual
pieces of glass and “lens assembly” refers to the piece of
equipment that houses the entire assembly of lenses. When
working in the industry, both are referred to as a “lens” and
are differentiated only by the context of the sentence.
Figure 3-10. This camera
was used in the 1950s
for both studio and field
production. The attached
lens turret rotates to allow
the lenses to be changed
from one size to another.
(Chuck Pharis Video)
67
zebra stripes: A
special function of
some viewfinders that
displays black and white
diagonal stripes on any
object in a shot that is
too brightly lit.
lens: An assembly of
several glass discs
placed in a tube
attached to the front of
a camera.
focus: The act of
rotating the focus ring
on a camera lens until
the lines of contrast in
the image are as sharp
as possible.
68
auto-focus: A common
feature on consumer
cameras that keeps only
the center of the picture
in focus.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Auto-focus is a common feature on consumer cameras that keeps only the
center of the picture in focus. Because the average consumer usually places the
most important portion of a picture in the center, this feature allows them to get
an image that is in focus without adjusting any of the camera settings.
Auto-focus is not used on many professional cameras, because focus
is a creative tool and professionals prefer to have creative control over the
images. As the next chapter explains, the most important items in a shot
should never be placed in the center of a frame. Therefore, the auto-focus
feature keeps the wrong items in focus. Professionals should always turn
the auto-focus option off.
Talk the Talk
Many people misuse the word “focus;” they incorrectly use it when
they mean “zoom.” For example, “focus in on the apple on the kitchen
counter.” In this context, “focus” actually communicates that the camera
should zoom in on the apple on the counter. Use “focus”
only when dealing with a picture that is blurry and in need of
focus adjustment. Never say “focus” when you mean “zoom.”
To a professional, this misuse is the mark of an amateur.
Zoom Lenses
zoom lenses: Camera
lens assembly that is
capable of magnifying
an image merely by
twisting one of the
rings on the outside of
the lens housing. Also
called a variable focal
length lens.
zoom in (ZI): The act
of rotating a ring on the
zoom lens so that the
center of the picture
appears to be moving
toward the camera. Also
called tighten.
zoom out (ZO): The
act of rotating a ring on
the zoom lens so that
the center of the picture
appears to be moving
away from the camera.
Also called widen.
Zoom lenses are a type of camera lens that can smoothly move from
a close-up shot to a wide-angle shot, stopping anywhere between, all the
while capturing usable footage. For example, a camera that is 15 feet away
from a person can capture a very tight shot of the person’s eyes. Most television camera lenses are zoom lenses, in that they are capable of magnifying an image merely by twisting one of the rings on the lens. A zoom lens
may be operated at any speed, from extremely fast to so slowly the audience barely perceives that an object is getting larger or smaller. When the
zoom ring on a lens assembly is rotated, an individual glass lens inside
physically moves forward and back. The movement of this lens can be seen
with the naked eye if you look into the front of the lens assembly while
rotating the zoom ring. The movement of this single lens changes the type
of shot captured by the camera. Rotating the zoom lens so that the center of
the picture appears to be moving toward the camera is called zoom in (ZI)
or tighten. Rotating the zoom lens so that the center of the picture appears
to be moving away from the camera is called zoom out (ZO) or widen.
It is very important to understand that a zoom shot does not produce
the same effect for the audience as a shot where the camera physically
moves toward the subject, or a dolly shot. A dolly shot, discussed further
in the next chapter, takes the audience into the set in the same way a person
moves through his environment. A dolly actually changes the perspective.
The natural picture from a dolly shot, without a zoom, is three-dimensional
and more realistic. When zooming in, the center of the picture gets larger
because it is magnified. It does not appear as though the camera moves
closer to the object, only that the center of the picture is larger. The zoom
makes it possible to get a close-up of an object without physically moving
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
69
the camera. With a zoom shot, however, the image takes on a flat appearance. A dolly shot provides more realism for the viewer than a zoom.
Visualize This
Imagine that you are standing in the front of the classroom, facing the
other students. From this vantage point, some of the students in the third
row of desks, positioned horizontally to you, are not completely visible.
Parts of their bodies, such as arms or hands, are blocked by students in
the first and second rows. From your perspective, Rachel’s left arm and
hand are hidden. If you take a few steps down the aisle to stand even
with the second row, you can see Rachel’s arm on her desktop without
a problem. As the camera (your eyes) moves into the set, the viewing
perspective changes. Your body’s movement is a dolly move. Another result
of the dolly move is that Rachel gets larger in the picture because you are
closer to her. This movement will “feel” realistic to the viewer.
Move back to the front of the class to examine this situation with a
camera zoom. Rachel’s left arm is blocked from view again because Bill, in
the second row, is obstructing your view. Do not take a single step toward
Rachel. Instead, pick up a pair of binoculars and view Rachel through
them. She is larger in the picture, just like in the dolly, but you are still
unable to see her arm. This is because Bill is larger now as well, and is
still blocking your view. This movement is like a zoom shot
with a video camera because it does not change the visual
perspective. You will not see Rachel’s left arm until either you
move, Bill moves, or Rachel moves. This shot “feels” flat and
unrealistic to the viewer.
When an image passes through a zoom lens, it is turned upside down,
or is inverted. The physical location within the lens assembly where the
inversion occurs is called the optical center. Another name for the optical
center of the lens is the focal point. The optical center, or focal point, may
not be in the center of the lens assembly as measured in inches, Figure 3-11.
For example, the center is 3″ on a lens that measures 6″ long from front to
Focal point
3 inches
(geographic center)
6 inches
optical center: The
physical location within
the lens assembly
where an image is
inverted. Also called the
focal point.
Figure 3-11. The optical
center of a lens is not
always in the physical
center of the lens.
70
zoom lens: The
particular piece of glass
within the lens assembly
that moves forward
and back, magnifying
or shrinking the image
accordingly. This
individual lens is the focal
point, or optical center, of
the zoom lens assembly.
focal length: The
distance (measured
in millimeters) from
the optical center, or
focal point, of the lens
assembly to the back of
the lens assembly.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
back. The optical center is the point where the image is inverted, regardless
of the physical location inside the lens assembly or the distance from the
front or back of the lens assembly.
As the outside ring of a zoom lens assembly is rotated, one or more of the
individual lenses inside the lens assembly moves backward or forward. You
can see this movement by looking into a zoom lens as it is manipulated. As
this piece of glass moves forward and back, the image is magnified or shrinks
accordingly. This particular moving piece of glass within the lens assembly is
called the zoom lens. This individual zoom lens is the focal point, or optical center, of the zoom lens assembly. The image is inverted wherever the zoom lens is
positioned, within the range of the lens assembly, Figure 3-12.
Focal length is the distance (measured in millimeters) from the optical
center (focal point) of the lens assembly to the back of the lens assembly,
Figure 3-13. The “back” of the lens is the end of the lens assembly that
attaches to the camera. The “front” of the lens assembly is the part closest
to the subject being photographed or filmed. Camera lenses are classified
by the focal length measurement. Since the optical center of a zoom lens
Figure 3-12. The
individual zoom lens slides
forward and backward
within the zoom lens
assembly. The focal point
is located wherever the
zoom lens is positioned.
Focal point changes
Figure 3-13. The focal
length is the distance (in
millimeters) between the
back of the lens assembly
and the focal point.
7.8 mm
20 mm
120 mm
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
can vary its position within the lens assembly, the focal length measurement varies as well. Therefore, a zoom lens is a variable focal length lens.
Controlling Light
There are at least three moveable rings on a professional camera lens
assembly, Figure 3-14:
• The focusing ring is furthest away from the camera body. This ring
adjusts the focus of the image in the frame of the picture.
• The zoom ring is in the middle of the lens assembly and moves the
zoom lens forward and backward.
• The f-stop ring is the ring nearest to the camera. This ring is an external
indicator of the amount of light passing through the lens and reaching the
CCD. The f-stop ring regulates the amount of light that passes through
the lens by controlling the iris and, therefore, the size of the aperture.
Three specific components of a lens assembly work together in regulating the light: aperture, f-stops, and iris.
71
variable focal length
lens: A camera lens
in which the optical
center can vary its
position within the
lens assembly, varying
the focal length
measurement as well.
Also called a zoom lens.
Visualize This
When you enter a dark movie theater, your eyes dilate. The part
of your eye that determines eye color, the iris, contracts. When the iris
contracts, the pupil gets larger. The pupil is the black part in the center of
the eye that is essentially a hole that lets light into the eye. With the pupil
enlarged, more light can enter the eye to reach the rods and cones of
the retina. This allows you to see in a darkened room. When you exit the
theater and step into the bright daylight, you squint and the iris expands.
This makes the pupil smaller and reduces the amount of light hitting the
rods and cones. If the iris does not expand enough to sufficiently reduce
the amount of light hitting the retina, you continue to squint until you get a
headache or find sunglasses to further reduce the light hitting the retina.
The television camera lens is expected to operate the same way as the
human eye when reproducing colors and tones and reacting
to lighting changes in the environment. Even though it
valiantly tries, a television camera lens does not succeed in
functioning as well as the human eye. The camera lens needs
a human to help it operate.
Focus ring
Zoom ring
F-stop ring
Figure 3-14. A
professional lens has at
least three moveable rings:
the focus ring, the zoom
ring, and the f-stop ring.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
iris: A component of a
lens that is comprised
of blades that physically
expand and contract,
adjusting the aperture
size.
auto-iris circuit:
A feature on many
consumer and
professional cameras
that automatically
examines the light
levels coming into the
camera and adjusts the
iris according to generic
standards of a “good”
picture.
aperture: The opening,
adjusted by the iris,
through which light
passes into the lens.
The iris is comprised of blades that physically expand and contract.
The movement of these blades adjusts the size of the opening that allows
light to pass through the lens, Figure 3-15. A camera’s iris operates much
like the iris of the human eye. As the size of the iris increases, light is
blocked from passing through to the CCD. When the iris contracts, more
light is allowed to pass through.
Many consumer and professional cameras have an auto-iris circuit, as
well as a manual iris control. The auto-iris circuit examines the light levels coming into the camera and opens or closes the iris according to the
generic definition of a “good” picture. The auto-iris is a useful feature for
most circumstances in television production.
The aperture is the opening, adjusted by the iris, through which light
passes. Aperture is nothing that can be touched; it is a hole.
Many cameras offer a manual iris control in addition to the automatic
circuit. Adjusting the iris manually is accomplished by moving the f-stop
ring. The f-stop setting determines the amount of light that passes through
the lens by controlling the size of the iris. If the camera lens has a manual
f-stop ring (some consumer cameras do not), numeric values are written
on the corresponding moveable ring, Figure 3-16. When the f-stop ring
is manually turned, the operator hears or feels a series of clicks or bumps
Figure 3-15. The size of the iris determines the size of the aperture. A large iris creates a small aperture;
reducing the size of the iris produces a larger aperture.
Small
iris
Large
aperature
f/1.8
f/2.8
f/4
Large
iris
f/8
f/11
Small
aperature
f/22
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Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
F-stop
numbers
that indicate movement from one f-stop to another. Lower f-stop settings
(numbers) allow a greater amount of light to pass through the lens. Higher
f-stop numbers indicate that smaller amounts of light can pass through.
The appropriate f-stop setting varies per situation, based on the lighting in
the environment and the brightness of the object(s) in the shot. A lens that
can produce a large aperture and let a great deal of light into the camera is
considered a fast lens. A lens that is capable of small aperture settings lets
little light into the camera and is considered a slow lens.
When shooting in high contrast situations, the auto-iris essentially
becomes confused. It first adjusts to produce a good picture of the darker
items, but the light items then begin to glow. When automatically adjusting
for the light objects in the frame, the dark items lose all detail. The auto-iris
should be disengaged in this type of situation. If this feature can be disengaged, manually adjust the f-stop ring to produce the best quality picture.
Figure 3-16. The f-stop
ring is labeled with a
series of numbers.
f-stop: A camera
setting that determines
the amount of light
passing through the
lens by controlling the
size of the iris.
fast lens: A camera
lens that can produce
a large aperture and let
a great deal of light into
the camera.
slow lens: A lens that
is capable of small
aperture settings and
lets little light into the
camera.
Production Note
It is important to remember how the aperture, f-stops, and
the iris relate to each other. The f-stop indicates the size of the
iris, which creates the size of the aperture.
Shutter
The shutter on video cameras is a circuit that regulates how long the
CCD is exposed to light coming through the lens. As light hits the CCD, the
photosensitive elements build up an electrical charge of varying strength
depending on the intensity and color of light hitting them. This charge is
sent to the camera processing circuits sixty times per second. When the
charge is sent out, the photosensitive elements are discharged and begin
collecting light again.
shutter: A circuit on
a video camera that
regulates how long the
CCD is exposed to light
coming through the
lens.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Some higher-end cameras offer manual shutter speed settings. For
example, the shutter speed on one camera can be increased exponentially
from 1/100 to 1/8000. The higher the shutter speed, the clearer the footage
is when played back in slow motion—often used in sports programming.
However, higher shutter speeds “eat up” light, or require more light. To
avoid a very dark picture, the amount of light must be increased dramatically if shutter speed is increased.
Mounting the Camera
•
•
There are two basic ways to support a camera while in use:
Hand-held shooting
Tripod shooting
Hand-Held Shooting
Many consumer cameras can just about fit in the palm of your hand
and are easily held in the operator’s hands while shooting. The size and
weight of most professional cameras make it difficult to be held in the
operator’s hands for an extended amount of time. Professional cameras
usually rest on the right shoulder of the operator, with both hands holding
the camera lens steady. The right hand is positioned inside a strap holding
it to the zoom lens control. The left hand holds the focus ring of the lens,
Figure 3-17.
At first glance, the hand-held camera technique appears easy and the
operator does not need to carry and set up a heavy tripod. However, handheld camera operation quickly loses its appeal when gravity takes its toll.
The camera operator’s arms tire quickly—the heavier the camera is, the
faster this happens. The result is very poor camerawork. An unsteady camera shakes, wiggles, tilts sideways, and eventually begins to point at the
ground. Even if the camera is hand-held for a short time, the shot moves
with every rise and fall of the operator’s chest while breathing.
Production Note
Professionals do not operate a camera with only one hand! The right
shoulder bears the brunt of the weight of the camera. The right hand is
positioned inside a strap holding it to the zoom lens control.
The left hand holds the focus ring of the lens. Both hands
should be on the camera when operating with the hand-held
technique. A stable picture is virtually impossible if only one
hand is used. Additionally, a $15,000 to $60,000 camera is very
unlikely to fall off your shoulder when held with both hands.
If the lens is zoomed in on a person or object, the slightest shake or
wobble is amplified. The resulting image is annoying to the audience. Any
shaking is less noticeable with the lens zoomed out further. Therefore,
always operate in the “zoomed out” position when hand-holding a camera. To get a close-up, move closer to the object; do not use the zoom.
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Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
If it is absolutely necessary to hand-hold a camera, brace yourself against a wall or tree, lean against a car door, or lie on the ground,
Figure 3-17. Hold your breath to get the shot while steady, but realize that
nothing will be usable beyond 5–10 seconds. You may see footage from
a major news event with reporters from other news organizations in the
background and other camera operators hand-holding their camera. There
are many hand-held shots in the news, but the edited footage frequently
cuts from one shot to another when reporting stories from the “field.” The
editor cuts out all the shaking shots.
The Glidecam™ and Steadicam® are examples of camera stabilization
devices that attach to a harness worn by the camera operator, Figure 3-18.
This harness is similar to that worn by a bass drummer in a marching band.
A spring-loaded and shock absorbing arm is attached to the harness. The
camera attaches to the arm using the same kind of mounting plate found
on tripods. The weight of the camera is taken by the harness and, therefore,
by the operator’s entire torso. Because the arm is spring-loaded, the camera shot is kept steady even while the operator climbs steps, runs, or walks.
Figure 3-17. The camera operator can make use of items in the field to help steady a hand-held camera.
A—One technique is to lean against a wall. This essentially makes the operator two legs of a tripod, with the
wall as the third. B—An open car door can provide tripod-like support to the camera operator. The open door is
one leg, the roof is another leg, and the operator’s legs are the third leg of the makeshift tripod.
B
A
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 3-18. The
Glidecam is a body mount
that facilitates very smooth
camerawork without
using a tripod. (Glidecam
Industries, Inc.)
Assistant Activity
subjective camera:
A hand-held camera
technique, in which
the camera itself
becomes the eye of
one cast member. The
viewers see the world
through the eyes of that
character.
To help you understand how harness-type camera stabilization
devices work:
1. Fill a 16 oz. drinking glass with water to 1/2″ from the top.
2. Hold the glass in your hand with your arm curved as it would be if you
were holding the pole of a carousel horse.
3. Keep your arm in this position and walk, run, go up and down stairs, or
dance without spilling a drop of the water.
How is it possible that the water does not spill? The muscles in your
wrist, arm, elbow, and shoulder act as spring-loaded shock absorbers. If
you hold the glass to your chest, with the knuckle of your thumb actually
touching your chest, the water will spill almost immediately upon moving.
The shock absorption has been removed and the glass is directly attached
to the motion of your body.
The camera stabilization arm absorbs the shock of
motion in very much the same way as your arm does in this
activity. Visit either the Glidecam or Steadicam Web site to
see the equipment in action!
Subjective Camera
Subjective camera is a special hand-held camera technique, Figure 3-19.
The camera itself becomes the eye of one cast member. The viewer sees the
world through the eyes of that character. Examples of this technique include:
77
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
•
•
A camera is mounted in a stunt driver’s car. As the car is driven up
and down hills at high speeds, the audience’s stomachs lurch as if
they were actually riding in that vehicle.
In a suspense film, the camera is positioned outside a house in the
middle of the dark woods. “We” are looking through the branches of
a bush into a window of the home. “Our hand” reaches up into the
field of view of the camera and pushes away leaves on the bush to
clear our view into the house.
Tripod Shooting
A tripod is the three-legged stand to which the camera is attached. The
telescoping legs on most tripods allow the operator to position the camera
at varying heights. The legs on all tripods spread out from the center. On
most tripods, each leg operates independently. This is useful if the camera
needs to be set up on sloped terrain, such as the side of a hill. Each leg can
be extended to different lengths and spread out at different angles, which
allows the camera head to be mounted level on an uneven surface. Most
tripods and tripod heads are equipped with a leveling bubble that assists
the operator in ensuring the camera head is level when mounted.
Tripods often have a column in the center, called a pedestal column, to
raise or lower the camera. On the side of the pedestal column is the pedestal
control, which is a crank that twists a gear to raise and lower the column.
Turning the pedestal control to raise the column is to “pedestal up” and
lowering the column is to “pedestal down” (discussed in Chapter 4, Video
Camera Operations). This action does, however, cause considerable shaking
of the camera. If the camera is hot, the audience sees every wiggle and
shake. A camera is hot when the image captured by the camera is being
recorded. Do not pedestal up and down on a tripod when the camera is
pedestal column: A
column in the center of
a tripod used to raise or
lower the camera.
pedestal control: A
crank on the side of the
pedestal column that
twists a gear to raise
and lower the pedestal
column.
hot: The state of a
video camera when
the image captured by
the camera is being
recorded.
Figure 3-19. In a
subjective camera shot,
the camera becomes the
eyes of one character in
the program.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
hot. On the other hand, a camera mounted on a studio pedestal may pedestal up and down with great smoothness.
Mounting Heads
tripod head: The
assembly at the top of the
pedestal column to which
the camera attaches.
pan handle: A device
attached to the back
of the tripod head that
allows the camera
operator to move the
tripod head while
standing behind the
tripod.
friction head: A
mounting assembly
on some tripods that
stabilizes the camera
using the pressure
created when two
pieces of metal are
squeezed together by a
screw.
fluid head: A mounting
assembly on some
tripods that stabilizes
the camera using the
pressure between two
pieces of metal and a
thick fluid that provides
additional resistance to
movement.
drag: Resistance to
movement created by
tripod head mount.
The tripod head is the assembly at the top of the pedestal column to
which the camera attaches, Figure 3-20. The tripod head has several handles
and knobs. These handles and knobs allow the operator to pan and tilt the
camera while it is attached to the tripod head. The tripod head moves on
the tripod in much the same way as your head moves on your neck—it can
be tilted to point at the ceiling or the floor, or from side to side. One or two
pan handles may be attached to the back of the tripod head, Figure 3-21.
The pan handles allow the camera operator to move the tripod head while
standing behind the tripod. There are two types of tripod heads available:
friction head and fluid head.
A friction head is found on less expensive tripods and on almost all
consumer tripods. The camera is stabilized by the pressure created when
two pieces of metal are squeezed together by a screw. Releasing the pressure (loosening the screw) eliminates resistance between the pieces of
metal and the parts slide easily against each other. The camera can then
be tilted up and down using the handle. This type of tripod head is not
usually found in a professional television setup because the resistance is
either on or off, locked or completely loose. With the tripod head locked,
the camera is frozen in place and produces images that may be boring to
the audience. If the tripod head is unlocked, the camera is so loose that
camerawork becomes obviously shaky. Either of these extremes can result
in poor, unprofessional video images.
The fluid head is similar to the friction head, in that pressure between
two pieces of metal restricts movement of the head. However, the fluid
head has a thick fluid, such as oil or grease, between the two pieces of
metal. This provides additional resistance to movement, called drag. The
tripod head can be loosened, but is never completely free to move without
resistance.
Figure 3-20. The tripod
head is located on top
of the legs and pedestal
column of the tripod, and
includes the mounting
plate or wedge.
Tripod
head
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
79
Figure 3-21. Pan handles
allow the operator
to perform camera
movements while the
camera is mounted to the
tripod head.
Pan
handle
Tripod
Dolly
Visualize This
To help you understand how a fluid head provides greater resistance:
1. Swing one of your arms while standing in a room. Notice the free
movement of your arm.
2. Imagine that you are standing in water up to your neck moving your
arm the same way. The fluid (water) provides some resistance to
movement and you have to work a bit harder to create the same
motion.
3. Imagine standing in a pool of oil swinging your arm. It
would be even more difficult to move.
Increasingly thicker fluids provide greater resistance to
movement and therefore, cause smoother movement.
Experienced camera operators prefer more resistance to create smooth
and stable camera movements. If the tripod head were completely resistance free, the camera would move with the slightest twitch or breath of
the operator. A fluid head allows the camera operator to place fluctuating
levels of pressure on the head, without moving the head until enough force
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
is intentionally exerted. This prevents camera movement caused by slight
touches or unintentional movement of the pan handles.
Many tripod heads have quick release plates. The plate can be removed
and attached to a camera with a normal tripod mounting screw. The plate
then slips into the tripod head and locks. The advantage of this feature is
that a lever or button on the tripod head releases the mounting plate, and
the camera can be separated from the tripod in a couple of seconds instead
of having to unscrew the camera mount. Always carry the camera and tripod separately. Do not pick up a camera attached to a tripod by the camera
handle. It is not strong enough to carry the weight of both items.
Production Note
When operating a camera on a tripod, never let go of the
pan handle without first locking the pan and tilt controls. Never
sit while operating a camera on a tripod. You will be unable to
react fast enough if the talent does something unexpected. It is
unprofessional and may result in immediate dismissal.
Jib
jib: A type of camera
mount that allows the
camera to be raised
high over the set and
swung in any direction.
A jib is a type of camera mount that allows the camera to be raised
high over the set and swung in any direction, Figure 3-22. It is a long pole
on a lever with a camera mount on one end of the pole and a handle and
camera controls on the other end of the pole. It operates much like a seesaw
and captures crane-type shots (up to reasonable heights) with the operator
safely on the ground.
The alternative to using a jib is a mechanical camera crane, which
comes from the early days of filmmaking. On one end of the lever arm is a
camera mount and a seat (with seat belt) for the camera operator. The other
end of the lever arm is equipped with heavy counterbalancing weights.
The device is mechanically operated by a second individual who raises
and lowers the camera and operator on the end of the lever arm to capture
the shots required. A third person is required to manage any necessary
manual movement of the crane and monitor safety conditions. This device
is very dangerous and has been known to nearly catapult camera operators
if raised too quickly—the addition of a seat belt was a precaution against
this hazard.
Camera Care and Maintenance
To help ensure the highest quality images, proper care and maintenance of video equipment is necessary. The recommended handling
includes both appropriate cleaning and storage of equipment.
Cleaning a Dirty Lens
As with other pieces of video production equipment, the camera
lens is delicate and requires special care when cleaning. Commonly used
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
81
glass-cleaning solutions and materials are not appropriate for use on a
camera lens.
Seeing little spots in a camera’s viewfinder is not necessarily an indication
that the lens is dirty. Perhaps the dirt is on the front of the viewfinder. Clean
the viewfinder with a soft cloth. If this does not remove the spots, the lens
should be cleaned. The following are some firm rules about cleaning lenses:
• Never touch a lens with your bare fingers.
• Never use a cloth or tissue moistened with saliva to wipe a lens clean.
Saliva ruins the lens.
Figure 3-22. A jib arm
allows the camera to be
raised high above the set
and swung in any direction.
(EZFX Inc.)
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
•
•
Wipe dirt away using photographic lens paper only.
Use compressed air from a can to blow the dirt off a lens. Never try to
blow the dirt off with your breath.
Post-Production Camera Care
While not in use, both studio cameras and camcorders should be stored
in a protected and temperature-controlled location. All the related cables
should be coiled and stored with the camera or camcorder.
Guidelines for care of a studio camera:
• Lock the pedestal and camera mounting head to prevent movement
while not in use.
• Close the iris and attach the lens cap.
• Move the camera to a safe location within the studio.
Guidelines for care of a camcorder:
• Remove the tape from the camcorder, if present.
• Close the iris and attach the lens cap.
• Power-off all the camera functions (light, microphone, recorder).
• Detach the camera from the tripod when transporting the equipment.
• Place the camera in its case for storage and transport, Figure 3-23.
Figure 3-23. Place the
video camera in its case
for safe transport and
storage.
Chapter 3 The Video Camera and Support Equipment
Wrapping Up
The television production industry is labor and skill intensive. Careers in
this industry require long hours of work. On the other hand, it is difficult to find
anyone working in the television production industry who does not genuinely
like his or her job.
Think about football players. They practice long hours in both wilting heat
and humidity and freezing cold temperatures. Why? If you ask, you’ll often
hear, “I like to play football.” Similarly, professional athletes don’t say that they
are going to “work.” They are players and their job is to play a game! Most
professional athletes, musicians, dancers, and actors feel the same way
about their jobs. This also true of people working in the television industry.
It is very demanding work with long hours. Yet, when you talk to industry
professionals, you hear things like, “I have a shoot today,” “I’m going to the
studio,” or “I’m starting to edit now.” What you don’t hear is, “I’m going to work
today.”
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. List the parts of a studio camera and note the function of each part.
2. How does the appearance of an image change when the gain is
adjusted?
3. What is the optical center of a zoom lens?
4. Explain the significance of the numbers printed on the f-stop ring of a
camera lens.
5. What are the challenges of hand-held shooting with a professional
camera?
6. List the benefits of using a tripod when shooting outside of the studio.
7. What is the difference between a friction head and a fluid head?
8. What are the appropriate materials to use when cleaning a camera lens?
Activities
1. To illustrate the proper result of focusing a camera lens, perform the
following:
1. Lay a black sheet of paper on a flat surface and place a sheet of
white paper on the right side of the black sheet.
2. Point a camera at both pieces of paper.
3. Move the lens so that the camera is out of focus.
4. Notice that the left edge of the picture is clearly black and the right
edge is clearly white. It is difficult to determine where the image
turns from black to white, as the center of the picture is gray.
5. Twist the focus ring of the lens, slowly bringing the picture into focus.
6. The center of the picture becomes less and less gray and the image
becomes sharper. When the picture is completely “in focus,” the
separation between black and white is as sharp as possible.
83
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
2. Create an analogy (a written paragraph or an illustration) that effectively
explains the relationship between f-stops, the iris, and aperture.
3. To help you remember what kind of image various lens lengths can give
you, try the following activity:
1. Take a regular piece of 8 1/2″ × 11″ paper and roll it into a tight tube
that is 11″ long and about 1″ in diameter.
2. Close one eye and hold the paper tube to your other eye. Look
through the tube to the other side of the room. Notice which of the
items on the far wall you can see through the tube.
3. Unroll the paper and make a new tube that is 8 1/2″ long by 1″ in
diameter.
4. Look through the shorter tube and note how many more items you
can see on the far wall.
5. Now place your thumb and index finger in the traditional “ok” sign
and hold it to your eye. Notice how much more of the far wall you
can now see.
The length of the three tubes affected how much of the wall you could see.
The same relationship is true of short, medium, and long lenses, except
that magnification also occurs. With a long lens, you see less real estate,
but the details of what you do see fill the screen because the image is
magnified. With a short lens, you see more real estate, but fewer details
because less magnification is applied.
Te
c
nc
e
hn
Sc
ie
ol
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
er
in
g
at
he
m
ne
at
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s
gi
M
En
Curriculum
1. When an image passes through a zoom lens, it is turned upside down,
or is inverted. The human eye perceives images the same way—images
formed on the retina are upside down. Research human vision and
explain why we do not see everything upside down.
2. The fluid used in a fluid head tripod creates resistance to movement.
This resistance property of fluid is called viscosity. Research the viscosity of various fluids. Which fluids are most viscous? Which fluids are least
viscous?
3. Research the evolution of the video camera. How has the video camera
changed in size, quality, and cost over time?
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
four shot: A shot that
captures four items.
•
group shot: A shot
that incorporates any
number of items above
four.
•
reaction shot: A shot
that captures one
person’s face reacting
to what another person
is saying or doing.
profile shot: A shot in
which the talent’s face is
displayed in profile.
A four shot captures four items. Picture a meteorologist joining the
news anchors and sportscaster at the news desk.
A group shot incorporates any number of items above four. The shot of
a basketball team after winning a game is an example of a group shot.
Specific View Shots
A reaction shot captures one person’s face reacting to what another person
is saying or doing. This is a very powerful type of shot. For example, in a scene
where a policeman delivers sad news to a distraught parent, the shot should be
of the parent hearing the news, not the policeman delivering the news.
A profile shot is generally considered to be a bad shot, Figure 4-16. The
talent’s face in profile appears completely flat on the screen and creates an
unflattering picture.
Production Note
The television screen is flat. A videographer must arrange shots in a
way that creates the illusion of three dimensions and depth when displayed
on a flat screen. When framing an individual shot of an object, whether it’s
as small as a person or as large as a building, try to shoot it at an angle.
A straight-on shot of a person with their nose pointed at the camera lens
appears very flat. Likewise, a profile shot also appears flat. If the shot is
taken at an angle, somewhere between a profile and a straighton shot, three dimensionality and depth are achieved. The
most common shot is an angle that includes all of one side of
the face and enough of the other side to see the cheekbone or
eyebrow. When shooting a building, try to shoot it from a corner
that includes two sides of the building instead of just one side.
Figure 4-16. The profile
shot produces a very flat
appearance.
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
The over-the-shoulder shot (OSS) is an extremely common shot on
any program, Figure 4-17. The back of one person’s head and top of their
shoulder is in the foreground of the shot. A face shot of the other person in
the conversation is in the background of the shot. One OSS is usually followed by another OSS from the other side of the conversation. It is a more
interesting shot than just a close-up of each person speaking or listening.
Production Note
101
over-the-shoulder
shot (OSS): A shot
in which the back of
one person’s head and
shoulder are in the
foreground of the shot,
while a face shot of
the other person in the
conversation is in the
background.
When framing shots of people, never allow the edge of a picture cut at
the joint of the human body (ankles, knees, waist, wrists, elbows, or neck).
The person pictured in the shot will appear to have amputated
body parts, Figure 4-18. This is especially important to
remember if your facility uses the terms “bust shot” and/or
“knee shot.” These shot names seem to “ask” for a poorly
composed shot.
Camera Movement
It is important to understand how to move a camera when it is mounted
on a tripod. Beginning from a still shot, slowly start the camera move, speeding up gradually until the move is nearly complete, and then gradually
slow down until the move is completed. When performing camera moves,
position your body where it needs to be at the end of the shot and twist to
the position needed to begin the shot. As your body straightens to return to
a normal standing position, the camera move is smoothly completed. This
camera movement technique also applies to hand-held shooting.
Figure 4-17. An overthe-shoulder shot adds
three dimensions to an
otherwise flat two-person
conversation.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 4-18. Never frame
a shot that cuts off a
person at a natural joint of
the body.
dolly: Physically
moving the camera,
its tripod, and dolly
perpendicularly toward
or away from the set.
dolly in (DI): Smoothly
pushing the camera
directly forward toward
the set.
There is a specific term to indicate every type of camera movement possible. Being familiar with these terms is important to effectively communicate within the industry. Camera directions are always given in respect to
the camera operator’s point of view, not the talent’s point of view. Unlike
theatrical stage directions, camera movement commands in television production are intended for the camera operators. Illustrations of each camera
movement defined are presented in Figure 4-19. The camera operator may
use these camera movements in conjunction with zooming to create the
director’s intended effects.
• Dolly. Physically moving the camera, its tripod, and dolly
perpendicularly toward or away from the set. Smoothly pushing the
camera directly forward toward the set is dollying in (DI). Dollying
out (DO) involves pulling the camera backward while facing the set.
Talk the Talk
dolly out (DO): Pulling
the camera backward
while facing the set.
truck: Moving the
camera, its tripod,
and dolly to the left or
right in a motion that is
parallel to the set.
truck right (TR): To
move the camera,
its tripod, and dolly
sideways and to the
camera operator’s right
while facing the set.
The word “dolly” has two meanings in the television production
industry:
•
Noun: It is the wheeled cart in which the tripod sits, enabling the tripod
to be smoothly rolled around the studio.
•
•
Verb: It is a camera movement in which the camera
tripod, and dolly move perpendicularly toward or away
from the set.
Truck. Moving the camera, its tripod, and dolly to the left or right in a
motion that is parallel to the set. To truck right (TR), move sideways
and to the camera operator’s right while facing the set. This image is
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
103
Figure 4-19. Illustrations
of the camera movements
defined.
Arc right
Arc left
Pan right
Pan left
Pedestal Down
Tilt down
Pedestal up
Tilt Up
Dolly in
Dolly out
Truck right
•
Truck left
much like looking at people standing on a station platform while you
are on a train pulling away from the station. To truck left (TL), move
sideways and to the camera operator’s left, while facing the set.
Pan. Moving only the camera to scan the set horizontally; the dolly
and tripod remain stationary. Pan left (PL) is when the camera scans
to the camera operator’s left, and pan right (PR) is when the camera
scans to the camera operator’s right.
truck left (TL): To move
the camera, its tripod,
and dolly sideways and
to the camera operator’s
left while facing the set.
pan: Moving only the
camera to scan the set
horizontally, while the
dolly and tripod remain
stationary.
pan left (PL): Moving
the camera to the
camera operator’s left to
scan the set, while the
dolly and tripod remain
stationary.
pan right (PR): Moving
the camera to the
camera operator’s right
to scan the set, while
the dolly and tripod
remain stationary.
104
tilt: Pointing only the
front of the camera (lens)
vertically up or down
while the dolly and tripod
remain stationary.
tilt up (TU): Pointing
the camera lens up
toward the ceiling, while
the dolly and tripod
remain stationary.
tilt down (TD): Pointing
the camera lens down
toward the ground,
while the dolly and
tripod remain stationary.
pedestal: Raising or
lowering the camera on
the pedestal of a tripod,
while facing the set. The
tripod and dolly remain
stationary.
pedestal up (PedU):
Raising the camera on
the pedestal of a tripod,
while facing the set. The
tripod and dolly remain
stationary.
pedestal down (PedD):
Lowering the camera on
the pedestal of a tripod,
while facing the set. The
tripod and dolly remain
stationary.
arc: Moving the camera
in a curved truck around
the main object in the
shot—the main subject
never leaves the frame
of the picture.
arc right (AR): Rolling
the camera, tripod,
and dolly in a circle to
the camera operator’s
right (counterclockwise)
around the subject of a
shot.
arc left (AL): Rolling
the camera, tripod, and
dolly in a circle to the
camera operator’s left
(clockwise) around the
subject of a shot.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
Never follow a pan left with an immediate pan right, or vice
versa. The movement in the resulting image is not pleasing to
the viewer. You can cut to a different camera between a pan left
and a pan right without ill effects.
•
•
•
Tilt. Pointing only the front of the camera (lens) vertically up or
down; the dolly and tripod remain stationary. Tilt up (TU) by
pointing the lens up toward the ceiling and tilt down (TD) by
pointing the lens of the camera down toward the ground.
Pedestal. Raising or lowering the camera on the pedestal or tripod
while facing the set. The tripod and dolly remain stationary. Pedestal
up (PedU) is to raise the height of the camera. Pedestal down (PedD)
is to lower the height of the camera.
Arc. Moving the camera in a curved truck around the set, while
the camera remains fixed on the main object in the shot—the main
subject never leaves the frame of the picture. An arc right (AR)
involves rolling the camera, tripod, and dolly in a circle to the
camera operator’s right (counterclockwise) around the subject of the
shot. Rolling the camera, tripod, and dolly in a circle to the camera
operator’s left (clockwise) around the subject is an arc left (AL).
Visualize This
Think of an arc camera move like circling a car that you’d
like to buy. While looking at the car, you walk all the way
around it while facing the car as you walk.
Psychology of Presentation
Some television production techniques, if used properly, can actually
cause the audience to physically “feel” something. An example of this is
subjective camera, described in the previous chapter. The audience sees
images from a camera mounted in a stunt driver’s car as he drives up and
down large hills at high speeds. The audience can “feel” their stomachs
lurch as the car rockets down a steep hill. The videographer can also plant
attitudes in the minds of viewers merely by the way a picture is framed.
A program has the power to shape the viewers’ perception of someone or
something without expressly verbalizing an opinion. This is a significant
power to have over a large number of people. An experienced and talented
camera operator can influence an audience without the majority of individuals even realizing their opinion has been manipulated. This kind of
talent comes with great responsibility as well.
A low angle shot is created by placing the camera anywhere from
slightly to greatly below the eye level of the talent and pointing it upward
toward the talent, Figure 4-20. The talent appears to be above the audience.
Tilting the camera up while shooting a character makes the audience see
the character as powerful, feel respect for the character, and possibly fear
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
the character. On the other hand, tilting the camera down causes the audience to feel superior to the character. The character is perceived as weak
and insignificant. Shooting talent with the camera higher in the air and
pointed down at an angle is called a high angle shot, Figure 4-21.
Figure 4-20. In a low
angle shot, the camera is
placed low to the ground
and looks up at the
subject.
105
low angle shot: A shot
created by placing the
camera anywhere from
slightly to greatly below
the eye level of the
talent and pointing it up
toward the talent.
high angle shot:
Shooting talent with the
camera positioned higher
in the air and pointing
down at an angle.
Figure 4-21. The camera
is high off the ground in a
high angle shot and looks
down on the object in the
shot.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
A greater degree of tilting up or down heightens or lessens the degree
of emotion and perception felt by the audience. Making the audience feel
inferior or superior only occurs with consistent use of low or high angle
shots. Randomly using low or high angle shots on a character does not
evoke the same emotions from the audience. If this technique is performed
with extreme degrees of tilting, the entire effect is obvious to the point of
being comedic. Always experiment before recording the final image.
When doing news programming, getting shots using perceptionmanipulating camera techniques is extremely unethical. Using shots like
this is an intentional attempt at manipulating viewers to adopt the opinions of the news producers. This is sometimes called yellow journalism,
propagandizing, or brainwashing.
To impart a neutral feeling, the camera should be placed at the talent’s
eye level. News sets in professional television studios are on raised platforms. The goal of news programming is to have newscasters relate to the
audience and be believable as they report. Since newscasters sit in chairs,
the cameras would have to look down on them as they report. It is not
practical to have the cameras pedestal down to the eye level of the talent.
Camera operators would have to bend over to see through the camera’s
viewfinder for the entire duration of the shoot. Building platforms for the
newscasters is much less expensive than the medical care required for camera operators with back ailments from being bent over lowered cameras for
extended periods of time.
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
Wrapping Up
Ultimately, the camera operator is responsible for framing each shot
that is recorded for a program. In addition to camera focus and zooming,
the camera operator must consider camera movements, specific shots and
angles, and following the impromptu instructions of the director. An important
section of this chapter addresses selective depth of field and the factors,
controlled by the camera operator, that create selective depth of field. Only
the camera operator can affect depth of field by manipulating the lens.
Remember that the camera’s aperture affects depth of field, not lighting. If
the camera operator closes the iris down some, for example, the depth of
field increases, but the picture is dark. In this case, the lighting designer may
be asked to add additional lighting to the set. The set design and lighting
contribute to the production goals, but the camera operator must capture all
the program elements to realize the director’s vision.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. How does white balancing affect the images recorded by a camera?
2. List the steps in pre-focusing a zoom lens.
3. Explain why a camera’s depth of field should most often be as large as
possible.
4. Why is shallow depth of field used in a program?
5. How does the rule of thirds affect picture composition?
6. What is nose room?
7. How is a shot sheet created and used during production?
8. What is the purpose of an establishing shot in a program?
9. Describe a scene in which an over-the-shoulder shot would likely be
used.
10. Explain the difference between a dolly camera movement and a truck
camera movement.
11. How does the camera angle affect the audience’s perception of a
character?
Activities
1. Create a shot sheet for a three-camera production instructing viewers on
how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The shots must vary. No
single shot should last more than three seconds.
2. Choose one category of camera shots discussed in this chapter (wide
shots, individual subject shots, multiple subject shots, or specific view
shots). Create a display that illustrates each of the shots included in the
selected category.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
3. Use your own body to demonstrate the camera movements described in
this chapter.
Te
c
nc
e
hn
Sc
ie
ol
•
Pan Left: Stand perfectly still and turn your head to your left.
•
Pan Right: Stand perfectly still and turn your head to your right.
•
Tilt Up: Stand perfectly still and point your nose to the ceiling of the
room.
•
Tilt Down: Stand perfectly still and point your nose to the ground
between your feet.
•
Pedestal Up: Rise up on your tiptoes while facing forward (toward
the set).
•
Pedestal Down: Squat down while facing forward (toward the set).
•
Dolly In: Smoothly walk forward, directly toward the set.
•
Dolly Out: Smoothly walk backward while facing the set.
•
Truck Right: Walk sideways to the right while facing the set.
•
Truck Left: Walk sideways to the left while facing the set.
•
Arc: Walk in a circle around an object, keeping your eyes fixed on
that object. Walking to your right (counterclockwise) is an arc right.
Walking to your left (clockwise) is an arc left.
og
y
STEM
Integrated
s
at
ic
in
em
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g
at
h
ne
M
En
gi
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
1. Investigate how macro lenses work. Explain how the different millimeter
designations of macro lenses affect how the lenses are best used.
2. Print screen shots of 10 individual scenes from various television shows,
newscasts, or product spots. To follow the rule of thirds when shooting, the
on-screen talent should be positioned so that their eyes are 1/3 of the way
down from the top of the screen, or on the upper horizontal line of the tictac-toe grid. Using the rule of thirds model, draw a grid on each printout. Of
the 10 scenes, how many followed the rule of thirds for talent placement?
What percentage of scenes made proper use of the rule of thirds?
3. Research “yellow journalism” and choose one case of yellow journalism
that interests you. Write a paper that explains the story and why it is considered an example of yellow journalism.
4. Review several still photos and note the portion of the photo that your
eye is drawn to first. Draw a grid representing the rule of thirds on a
sheet of vellum or transparency film. Lay the grid over each of the photos. Which quadrant of each photo do you look at first? What do your
findings tell you about placement of the most important information contained in the television image?
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Understand how white balancing a camera
affects the picture.
•
Summarize how depth of field contributes to
composing a good picture.
•
Identify the composition of each type of camera
shot.
•
Illustrate a variety of camera movements.
•
Explain how a videographer can psychologically
and physically affect the audience.
Professional Terms
arc
arc left (AL)
arc right (AR)
bust shot
close-up (CU)
depth of field (DOF)
dolly
dolly in (DI)
dolly out (DO)
establishing shot
extreme close-up
(ECU/XCU)
extreme long shot
(ELS/XLS)
four shot
great depth of field
group shot
head room
high angle shot
knee shot
lead room
long shot (LS)
low angle shot
macro
medium close-up (MCU)
medium long shot (MLS)
medium shot (MS)
mid shot
minimum object distance
(MOD)
narrow angle shot
nose room
over-the-shoulder shot
(OSS)
pan
pan left (PL)
pan right (PR)
pedestal
pedestal down (PedD)
pedestal up (PedU)
pre-focus
profile shot
pull focus
rack focus
reaction shot
rule of thirds
selective depth of field
shallow depth of field
shot
shot sheet
three shot
tilt
tilt down (TD)
tilt up (TU)
truck
truck left (TL)
truck right (TR)
two shot
white balance
wide angle shot (WA)
Introduction
While learning to operate a camera is not
complex, becoming a talented camera operator
requires dedication and skill. Great camera operators:
•
Know the basic rules of composition.
•
Know the capabilities of their equipment.
•
Know the basic process of production
methodology.
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Composing Good Pictures
Composing good pictures begins with learning some basic principles.
These basic principles are the foundation on which experience is built, and
only experience can perfect camera composition skills.
One of the principles of composition is maintaining constant control
over the camera. The camera operator should never let go of the pan handles and should always have the pan and tilt unlocked during a shoot, but
with sufficient drag engaged to handle any movement necessary.
Another major principle of composition is that anything not shown
in the frame of the camera does not exist for the viewer. The frame of the
picture defines what the viewer experiences. On a news program, for
example, the audience sees a well-dressed news anchor sitting at a desk
in the studio delivering important news to viewers. The anchor is dressed
in a suit jacket, shirt, and tie, which helps establish his credibility with the
audience. Outside the frame of the picture, the audience cannot see that the
anchor is wearing Bermuda shorts instead of suit pants. This principle also
applies to the set of a program. Can a wide sandy beach in Florida be used
to shoot a scene that is set in the Sahara Desert? Yes! To make the shot realistic, the camera operator must be careful to avoid the ocean and condos on
the shoreline in the frame of the picture. If it is not seen in the frame of the
camera, then it does not exist for the viewer!
White Balance
white balance: A
function on cameras
that forces the camera
to see an object as
white, without regard to
the type of light hitting it
or the actual color of the
object.
Each time a camera is powered up, it needs to be “told” what white
is—this is called white balancing the camera. Every color is defined by its
relationship to every other color. So, when the white balance is properly
set, the camera “sees” all other colors correctly. Some cameras automatically perform a white balance, others require the white balance to be manually performed, and some cameras give the operator a choice of automatic
or manual white balancing. When given the choice, always manually white
balance the camera because it is usually more accurate. If white balancing
is not performed, the recorded image of indoor scenes usually has a yellowish tint and outdoor scenes in daylight have a bluish tint.
The white balance settings are not stored by the camera when it is
powered down. The camera must be “re-taught” next time it is powered
up. To perform a white balance:
1. Zoom in on a white object on the set that is lit for the shooting.
2. Activate the white balance circuit on the camera.
3. Zoom back out and shoot normally.
Assistant Activity
1. Attach a color monitor to the video output of a camera.
2. Point the camera at a white object.
3. Notice that it does not appear white on the monitor. It
may appear greenish, grayish, or even pinkish.
4. Press the white balance button on the camera.
5. Watch the monitor carefully to see the object
transformed to a true white color.
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Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
Pre-Focusing Zoom Lenses
A zoom lens cannot be focused while it is in the “zoomed out” position. Focusing a zoom lens is a three-step process called pre-focus. To prefocus a zoom lens:
1. Zoom in on the furthest object on the set that must be in focus in
the shot. The furthest object that must be in focus might not be the
background. For example, picture a cowboy on a horse in a prairie
with the Rocky Mountains in the background. The furthest object
in this shot that must be in focus is most likely the cowboy, not the
mountains.
2. Focus the camera on that object.
3. Zoom the lens back out.
After a pre-focus is performed, everything from about 6′ in front of
the camera to the furthest object focused on (in step 2) will be in focus.
Everything remains in focus until the camera is moved toward or away
from the object of the pre-focus, or until the lighting on the set is changed.
Many cameras offer a macro setting for the lens. The macro feature
allows the operator to focus on an object that is very close to the camera,
almost touching the lens. The relationship between a fully zoomed-in lens
and a macro lens is similar to the relationship between a telescope and a
microscope.
Depth of Field
The closest an object can be to the camera and still be in focus is the
minimum object distance (MOD). Minimum object distance contributes
to depth of field. Depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the closest
point to the camera that is in focus and the furthest point from the camera
that is also in focus, Figure 4-1.
pre-focus: A three-step
process to focus a zoom
lens. 1) Zoom in on the
furthest object on the
set that must be in focus
in the shot. 2) Focus the
camera on that object.
3) Zoom the lens back
out.
macro: A lens setting
that allows the operator
to focus on an object
that is very close to
the camera, almost
touching the lens.
minimum object
distance (MOD): The
closest an object can be
to the camera and still
be in focus.
depth of field (DOF):
The distance between
the closest point to the
camera that is in focus
and the furthest point
from the camera that is
also in focus.
Figure 4-1. The depth of field is the area in front of the camera, regardless of the distance, in which objects
are in focus.
In Focus
Out of Focus
Out of Focus
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Assistant Activity
To help clarify this concept, find the MOD of your eye.
1. Close or cover one eye.
2. Hold up your index finger about 12″ away from your face.
3. With one eye open, look at your fingerprint; you should be able to
clearly see it.
4. Slowly move your finger toward your face.
As you move your finger closer, there comes a point
when your eye can no longer focus on your finger and you
are unable to clearly see the fingerprint. This point is the
minimum object distance (MOD) of your eye.
great depth of field:
When a camera’s depth
of field is as large as
possible.
shallow depth of
field: A depth of field
technique that moves
the audience’s attention
to the one portion of the
picture that is in focus.
Figure 4-2. The pain
this young woman feels
is more powerful with the
background out of focus.
A shallow depth of field
compliments this image.
Most of the time, a camera’s depth of field should be as large as possible. This is called great depth of field. When using a great depth of field,
zooming and some camera movements (such as a truck or arc) do not cause
the image to go in and out of focus. However, when every element in the
picture is in focus, no one particular item stands out for emphasis.
Using shallow depth of field moves the audience’s attention to the
one portion of the picture that is in focus. A shallow depth of field allows
the program’s director to control exactly what the viewer looks at within
the frame of the picture. For example, scenes on television and in movies
where the foreground is in focus and the background is out of focus direct
the viewer’s attention to the item or action in the foreground, Figure 4-2.
The reverse is commonly used as well—the background is in focus and the
foreground is out of focus. When using a shallow depth of field, the camera
operator must refocus the camera if the talent moves toward or away from
the camera (even slightly), or if any camera movements are performed.
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
Selective depth of field is the technique of choosing to have a shallow
depth of field in a shot or scene. One dramatic effect that results from this
technique is changing the camera’s focus from the foreground to the background (or the reverse) while the camera is hot. The attention of the audience may be intently concentrated on a foreground image, but the camera
gradually brings something unexpected from the background into focus.
The process of changing focus on a camera while that camera is hot is called
rack focus, or pull focus. Keep in mind that selective DOF loses its impact
when overused in a program.
Visualize This
The following is a powerful example of the use of selective depth
of field. The scene described is an anti-war spot that was used during a
Presidential campaign in the 1960s.
A little girl wearing a yellow dress chases a butterfly around a beautiful
field of flowers. She giggles and is obviously having a grand, happy time. The
background is an out of focus greenish color. The viewer simply assumes that
the background contains vegetation of some kind. The camera moves toward
a shot of the girl’s smiling face, with her two small hands reaching toward
the butterfly a bit closer in the foreground. Right before the viewer’s eyes, the
camera’s focus shifts and brings the background of the shot into focus. The
background vegetation becomes a line of fifty or more soldiers with rifles ready
to fire, stealthily moving out of the trees and toward the camera. The little
girl is standing between the advancing soldiers and the camera/viewer and,
therefore, in apparent danger.
The use of selective depth of field makes the line of
soldiers surprising background material and increases the
impact of the scene.
Factors Affecting Depth of Field
•
•
•
Aperture—The size of the opening in the lens that allows light into
the camera.
Subject to camera distance—The distance between the camera and
the subject of the shot.
Focal length—The amount the lens is zoomed in or out.
Production Note
Remember: The f-stop indicates the size of the iris, which
creates the size of the aperture.
More movement in each of these three areas creates a more pronounced
effect for either shallow or great DOF, Figure 4-3. For example, the effect on
DOF produced by zooming in and increasing aperture size is not as great
as when the camera moves closer to the subject in addition to zooming in
and increasing aperture size.
Camera lenses are operated by camera operators. Even though depth of
field involves manipulating light, the lighting designer does not have a part in
this process. The camera operator creates depth of field by manipulating the
89
selective depth of
field: A technique of
choosing to have a
shallow depth of field in
a shot or scene.
rack focus: The
process of changing
focus on a camera while
that camera is hot. Also
called pull focus.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 4-3. Depth of field
chart.
Depth of Field
Director’s
Goal
Zoom
Technique
Dolly
Technique
F-Stop Setting
Obtain a
shallow depth
of field.
Zoom In
Dolly In
Use a lower f-stop
value:
• Reduces the iris
• Increases the
aperture; more
light passes
through the lens
Obtain a
great depth
of field.
Zoom Out
Dolly Out
Use a higher f-stop
value:
• Enlarges the iris
• Decreases the
aperture; less
light passes
through the lens
lens. Set lighting does not affect depth of field. Depth of field is affected by subject to camera distance, focal length, and aperture (not light). Understanding
how to effectively use depth of field is a valuable tool that can greatly affect the
impact and power of a scene for the viewer.
Since the majority of scenes in typical programs are shot using a great
depth of field, a smaller aperture is more commonly used. A smaller aperture requires higher light levels to capture a good quality picture. This is
why there are so many bright lights on the ceiling of a production studio.
Studio sets are saturated with light, which allows the aperture of cameras
to be reduced when necessary without affecting the picture quality.
Lines of Interest
rule of thirds: A
composition rule that
divides the screen into
thirds horizontally and
vertically, like a tic-tactoe grid placed over the
picture on a television
set. Almost all of the
important information
included in every shot
is located at one of the
four intersections of the
horizontal and vertical
lines.
The rule of thirds for television production divides the screen into thirds
horizontally and vertically; like a tic-tac-toe grid placed over the picture on a
television set, Figure 4-4. Almost all of the important information included in
every shot is located at one of the four line intersections. Studies have shown
that the human eye is drawn first to those four intersection points on any picture and not to the center of the screen, as is commonly assumed.
The most common shots on television are the close-up and medium
close-up. To follow the rule of thirds when shooting, the talent should be
positioned so that their eyes are 1/3 of the way down from the top of the
screen, or on the upper horizontal line of the tic-tac-toe grid. In broadcast
television, the important people and objects in a shot are slightly to left or
right of the center. The center of the tic-tac-toe box rarely contains the main
subject or important object of the shot.
Action
Nearly every shot in broadcast television includes some kind of action.
Either the main subject matter (objects or talent) in the picture provide
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
91
Figure 4-4. The rule
of thirds states that the
most interesting aspects
of a picture should be
positioned near the four
intersecting points on a tictac-toe grid.
action or movement, the camera moves to provide a moving shot, or both
the camera and subject matter move. There is rarely a shot without some
type of action. Audiences today have become accustomed to seeing one
action shot after another and typically lose interest quickly if this is not
the case.
Assistant Activity
Rent a movie you recently saw and thought was boring.
Watch it again and notice the percentage of shots having
little or no action. Does the lack of action contribute to your
overall feeling of boredom with the movie?
Head Room
The space from the top of a person’s head to the top of the screen is
called head room, Figure 4-5. This space should be kept to a minimum,
unless something important is going to happen above the head of the talent.
Nose Room
Nose room, or lead room, is the space from the tip of a person’s nose
to the side edge of the frame. Novice videographers often make errors in
framing with respect to nose room. The natural tendency is to place the
talent in the center of the screen with equal space on either side. That is
acceptable only if the talent is directly facing the camera. The more the talent looks to the right or the left, the more room should be placed between
their nose and that same edge of the screen, Figure 4-6.
head room: The space
from the top of a person’s
head to the top of the
television screen.
nose room: The
space from the tip of
a person’s nose to the
side edge of the frame.
Also called a lead room.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 4-5. Head room is
an important consideration
when framing a shot.
A—Excessive head
room usually indicates
that something is about
to happen above the
subject’s head.
B—Correct head room
spacing ensures that the
audience’s attention is not
diverted from the main
subject of the shot.
A
B
Correct use of nose room corresponds with the rule of thirds, in that
the most important portion of the image (the faces) are positioned at the
intersection of the gridlines instead of the center of the picture. Framing
a shot in this way creates a more interesting shot for the viewer. If the talent is walking parallel to the camera, for example, sufficient space should
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
93
Figure 4-6. Nose room
is another consideration
when shooting. A—With
too little nose room in a
shot, the audience expects
something to happen
behind the subject. B—
Correct nose room framing
leaves sufficient space
between the talent and the
edge of the shot.
A
B
be placed in front of the person as they walk. If the scene is shot without
enough nose room in this scenario, the talent appears to be pushing the
frame of the picture with their nose as they walk. Additionally, if the person is moving laterally, the shot should be enlarged to at least a mid shot.
Otherwise, the talent is likely to walk right out of the camera’s view.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Visualize This
Imagine a scene in a horror movie. One of the characters is about to
be attacked by a vampire approaching from behind. It would be appropriate
to leave space behind the talent in the frame so the vampire can enter the
picture. When space is left behind someone in a horror movie, however,
the audience expects a monster to jump in behind the talent. To mislead
the audience, place the space behind the talent in the frame and either:
•
make sure nothing happens from that direction, or
•
have action occur on the unexpected opposite side of the screen.
Doing this once or twice is effective and increases the
reaction of the audience. Using this technique too often
reduces its effect and will be laughed at by the audience.
Shot Sheets
shot: An individual
picture taken by a
camera during the
process of shooting
program footage.
shot sheet: A
numerical listing of each
shot to be captured by
each camera in a multicamera shoot. Shot
sheets are developed
specifically for each
camera.
A shot is an individual picture taken by a camera during the process
of shooting the program footage. In a typical studio shoot with three cameras, the output from each camera runs into a switcher in the control room.
The director must decide which image to place on the master program
recording and which camera to pull the image from. To do this, buttons on
the switcher are selected to cut from one camera to another. For example,
close-up shots of individual characters may be needed at various times
in the program. To capture the shots necessary, the director must know
what is going to be said and what actions are going to happen before they
occur on the set. This way, the camera operators can be directed into position to capture the necessary shot when it happens. This kind of planning
requires that the director be mentally 5–10 seconds ahead of the performers at all times.
Far less stress would be placed on the director if he did not have to think
far enough ahead in the program to tell the camera operators to move. It
would also be more efficient if the camera operators knew in advance what
their next shot is supposed to be. This would allow them to execute the
camera move before the moment arrives for their camera to be hot. Using
a shot sheet relieves some of this stress and makes directing a three-camera
shoot easier. A shot sheet lists each shot in a program numerically. The list
given to each camera contains only the shots that particular camera needs
to capture during the program. Each camera used in a production receives
a completely different shot sheet.
To use a shot sheet, the director reviews the script before the shoot,
plans each camera shot, and assigns a sequential number to each shot. The
numbered shots, with corresponding brief descriptions, are divided per
camera and written on separate sheets of paper, Figure 4-7. Again, only
the shots each particular camera is responsible for are on that camera’s
shot sheet. On the day of the shoot, the shot sheets are taped to the side of
the corresponding camera. During the shoot, the director can simply say,
“Take shot 4” instead of, “Camera 2, I want you to have a close-up of Mary
next so get your shot ready while I’m still on camera 3.”
As soon as the director cuts from camera 3 (shot 3) to the shot of Mary
on camera 2 (shot 4), the camera 3 operator looks at his shot sheet and sees
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Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
Figure 4-7. Shot sheets are developed for each camera involved in a shoot.
Camera 1
2–Mid shot John/Mary
5–Close-up John
7–Close-up of phone
Camera 2
4–Close-up Mary
6–Three shot John,
Mary, Bill
9–Close-up on fireplace
Camera 3
1–Close-up John
3–Wide shot entire set
8–Mid shot Mary
that his next shot is shot 8. The operator reviews the brief description and
readies the shot without being told to do so. Camera 1 was assigned shot
5 and had the shot set-up and ready to go. Camera 2 has shot 6 and shot 7
is back on camera 1 again. Using shot sheets makes a multi-camera shoot
much more efficient and less stressful for everyone.
Calling the Shots
There are many different types and sizes of camera shots that can be
taken of a person standing in a studio. It is imperative to learn the names
of individual shots and what each shot incorporates. Unfortunately, all
professional television facilities do not use exactly the same terms. While
working in the industry, it is important to know how your facility defines
its terms. The sections that follow present the most common definitions of
various “person” shots, but the terms are not universal. Obviously, there
are times when shots do not contain any people. The shot names still generally apply to the object(s) in the shot that is the main item.
Wide Shots
The extreme long shot (ELS/XLS) is also known as a wide angle shot
(WA). This shot includes a person’s entire body from head to toe, and as
much surrounding information as the camera can capture by dollying and
zooming out. This is generally considered to be the biggest shot a camera
can capture of the subject matter, Figure 4-8. Overusing the extreme long
shot, however, can prove ineffective. An extreme long shot of a crowd that
is viewed on a small television screen appears to be an image of a multicolored wheat field waving in the breeze. A shot that is too “long” creates
a picture without detail.
An establishing shot is a very specific type of extreme long shot. The
establishing shot is used to tell the audience where and when the program
takes place. For example, if the opening shot is of a dusty town with dirt
roads, cowboys riding horses, and a stagecoach approaching, the audience
can assume the program is set in the Old West, and not onboard the starship Enterprise. Directors periodically return to an establishing shot during a scene to reinforce the location and to prevent confusion.
A long shot (LS) captures a person from the top of the head to the
bottom of the feet, Figure 4-9. Much less of the surrounding details are
included, compared to the extreme long shot.
extreme long shot
(ELS/XLS): The biggest
shot a camera can
capture of the subject
matter. Also called a
wide angle (WA) shot.
establishing shot: A
specific type of extreme
long shot used to tell
the audience where and
when the program takes
place.
long shot (LS): A shot
that captures a subject
from the top of the head
to the bottom of the feet
and does not include
many of the surrounding
details.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 4-8. An extreme
long shot is the largest
shot the camera can get.
The ELS is usually a shot
of a person from head to
toe and includes as much
detail of the subject’s
surroundings as possible.
Figure 4-9. A long shot
includes the subject from
head to toe only.
medium long shot
(MLS): A shot that
includes the top of a
subject’s head to a line
just above or just below
the knee. Also called a
knee shot.
medium shot (MS):
A shot that captures a
subject from the top of
the head to a line just
above or below the belt
or waistline. Also called
a mid shot.
Individual Subject Shots
A medium long shot (MLS), sometimes called a knee shot, includes the
top of a person’s head to a line just above or just below the knee, Figure 4-10.
The medium shot (MS) is also referred to as a mid shot, Figure 4-11.
This shot captures a person from the top of the head to a line just above or
below the belt or waistline.
Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
97
Figure 4-10. The bottom
edge of a medium long
shot is just below or just
above the subject’s knee.
Figure 4-11. The medium
shot, or mid shot, includes
the subject’s head to
just above or below the
waistline.
A medium close-up (MCU), also called a bust shot, frames a person
from the top of the head to a line just below the chest, Figure 4-12. This is
the type of shot usually seen of newscasters on daily news programs.
A close-up (CU) shot is also known as a narrow angle shot. For a person, this shot captures the top of the head to just below the shoulders,
Figure 4-13. When framing a close-up shot, it is important to include the
medium close-up
(MCU): A shot that
frames a subject from
the top of the head to a
line just below the chest.
Also called a bust shot.
close-up (CU): A shot
that captures a subject
from the top of the
head to just below the
shoulders. Also called a
narrow angle shot.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 4-12. A medium
close-up captures a
person from head to just
below the chest.
Figure 4-13. The close-up
shot includes a subject’s
head and neck, and must
include the top of their
shoulders.
extreme close-up
(ECU/XCU): A shot
of an object that is so
magnified that only
a specific part of the
object fills the screen.
top of the shoulders. If the shoulders are not included, the image is a disembodied head at the bottom of the screen, Figure 4-14.
An extreme close-up (ECU/XCU) is a shot of a specific body part,
Figure 4-15. This may be used, for example, in a makeup ad showing how
mascara enhances the appearance of the eyes.
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Chapter 4 Video Camera Operations
Figure 4-14. A close-up
shot that does not include
the subject’s shoulders
leaves a “floating” head in
the frame.
Figure 4-15. On a person,
an extreme close-up is a
shot of a specific body part
or feature.
Multiple Subject Shots
•
•
A two shot includes two items of primary importance. A shot of two
news anchors sitting at the news desk is an example of a two shot.
A three shot frames three items. For example, a sportscaster joins the
two news anchors at the news desk.
two shot: A shot that
includes two items of
primary importance.
three shot: A shot that
frames three items.
•
•
Recall the purpose of and process for performing
a test record.
Explain the role of an RF converter in television’s
use of audio and video signals.
Introduction
Professional Terms
1/2″ tape
1″ tape
2″ tape
artifacts
Beta SX
Betacam
Betacam SP
control track
D-9
deck
Digital Betacam (Digi-Beta)
Digital S
digital video recorder
(DVR)
dropout
dubbing
DVCam
DVCPRO
DVCPRO50
DVCPRO100
DVD
head
helical scan
input
Mini-DV
monitor
monitor/receiver
output
P2
quadruplex (quad)
receiver
RF
RF converter
slant track
Super VHS (S-VHS)
tail
test record
tracking control
VHS
VHS-C
video heads
video noise
VTR interchange
Y/C signal
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Illustrate the process of cleaning video heads.
•
Identify professional quality videotape formats, as
well as other video media types available.
•
Summarize the function of the control track in
regulating the playback speed of videotape.
There are many formats of videotape and videotape
recorders. “Format” refers to the size of the tape in terms
of width, the materials used to make the tape, and
the way the signal is placed on the tape by the video
recorder. This chapter discusses many of the most
common formats and related information that applies
to professional video recorders.
As the video industry continues to keep pace with
and incorporate evolving digital technology, new methods
of recording video emerge. Using videotape as a primary
recording medium will probably not be practical in the
near future—facilities will soon be completely tapeless.
Currently, the most common tapeless recording options
are recording directly to portable hard drives, miniature
DVDs , full size DVDs, and solid-state memory. The
greatest advantages to tapeless options include,
•
Instant access to any point in a recording during
playback mode, rather than shuttling back and
forth on a taped recording.
•
No loss of video quality when copying video
from tapeless media to another media, such as
during editing and duplication. When copying
a videotape, however, the copy is always lower
quality than the original.
•
Importing video into an editor takes mere seconds
when using tapeless media. Importing from a
videotape is a real-time process, which means two
hours of recorded video takes two hours to import.
Even though changes in technology continually
affect video media and equipment, most facilities
do not update their equipment and technology until
the equipment in use becomes inoperable beyond
repair. To accommodate older equipment and media
still in use, manufacturers gradually phase out the
production and support of older equipment, supplies,
and technology. For example, a company may
discontinue manufacturing a particular analog model
video recorder, but continue to offer customer support
and replacement parts for several years.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Videotape Quality
The quality of videotape is directly related to how the videotape is
made, Figure 5-1.
General steps in the manufacturing process include,
1. Placing an adhesive on a long strip of plastic.
2. Sprinkling an oxide material over the adhesive that is capable of
holding a magnetic signal.
dropout: A tiny white
dot seen on the
television screen when
the medium has fallen
off an analog videotape
and the video head
passes over an “empty
spot” on the tape.
3. Pressing the oxide into the adhesive and rolling the tape onto a spool.
Both the plastic and the oxide material used on consumer VHS tapes
are relatively standard. The most common area for variances in quality
(and retail prices) of consumer VHS videotapes is the grade of adhesive
used on the tape.
“Gold” and “Platinum” designations on videotape packaging are not
indicators of the videotape’s quality. Several trade magazines and Internet
sites regularly research the various brands and types available and rate
the products. An inexpensive tape often has low-cost, low-grade adhesive
holding the magnetic recording material to the plastic base. Once the adhesive fails, the magnetic material comes loose from the plastic. Pieces of the
magnetic material then stick to the video heads of the VCR or fall into the
bottom of the VCR. The result is either tape heads that need to be cleaned
or circuit boards that are littered with magnetic material.
Once the medium falls off the videotape, a tiny white dot is seen on
the television screen when the video head passes over the “empty spot” on
the tape. This dot is called dropout. Once a tape starts showing dropouts, it
should be discarded. Dropouts are often confused with dirty heads. When
the heads of a VCR are dirty, the whole screen is affected by hundreds of
white spots. Dropouts, on the other hand, are individual white spots that
appear randomly.
Figure 5-1. All videotape is manufactured using relatively similar processes. The one variable is the quality of
the adhesive.
Tape spool
Adhesive
Oxide
Roller
Plastic
backing
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Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
111
Video Heads and Helical Scan
Video heads are the mechanisms inside a VCR, or deck that lay down
the video signal onto a tape when in record mode. When the VCR is in playback mode, video heads pick up the video signal from a tape. Consumer
VCRs typically have 2, 3, or 4 video heads located around the head drum.
Professional VCRs may have several more video heads depending on the
format and quality of the machine. The video head drum assembly inside
the VCR casing is tilted, while the tape transport system is horizontal. As
the video heads spin, the video signal is placed onto the videotape in a
slanted pattern, Figure 5-2. This slanted video track allows much more
information to be placed on the tape than if the heads were horizontal. All
videocassette tape formats utilize this slant track method of placing the
signal on a tape. Another name for the slant track system is helical scan.
The word “helical” comes from the Greek form of the word “helix,” which
means something in a spiral shape. The videotape is wrapped around the
video head and, because the head is slanted, a spiral effect is created.
Dirty Video Heads
Video heads should be cleaned only when they are dirty, not necessarily according to the manufacturer’s schedule. The very process of cleaning the heads has an effect on their life span. Do not clean a VCR’s heads
unnecessarily.
Usually, only two of the video heads around the head drum are used
for normal recording and playback. The others are used for still-frame
and/or slow-motion playback. Dirty video heads do not pick up the signal
well. On VHS and S-VHS recorders, dirty heads produce many white spots
on the television screen commonly referred to by consumers as “snow,”
Figure 5-3. The white dots seen on a screen when the videotape is blank or
the heads are dirty is professionally referred to as video noise. The quantity
of white dots is related to how dirty the heads are. If both heads are dirty,
the entire screen is noisy but the audio can still be heard. If the audio is
muffled or wavering, the audio head is dirty.
video heads: The
components inside a
VCR that lay down
the video signal onto
a tape when in record
mode. When a VCR is
in playback mode, the
video heads pick up the
video signal from a tape.
deck: The common
term used for a video
recorder/player.
helical scan: The
pattern in which a
video signal is placed
onto a videotape. The
videotape is wrapped
around the video head
and, because the head
is slanted, the video
signal is recorded
diagonally on the tape.
Also called slant track.
video noise: The white
dots seen on a screen
if the videotape is blank
or if the heads are dirty.
Figure 5-2. The video
head drum is tilted, yet
the tape moves across it
horizontally. This causes
the signal to be placed
on the entire width of the
videotape in a series of
“slant tracks.”
Video head tape
Slanted video track is produced
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 5-3. The picture
created by dirty heads
contains a great deal of
video noise.
Talk the Talk
The correct use of industry terminology is considered an initiation test
when working in the television production industry. For example, using the
consumer term “snow” to describe the white dots displayed
on a screen is not appropriate. This incorrect usage may
cause peers and superiors to question your knowledge. The
correct term is “video noise” or simply “noise.”
Verify that the video noise is not isolated to a particular videotape by
ejecting the tape and inserting another tape that is known to have clear
video images and good sound recorded. If the display on the screen clears,
the heads on the machine are fine and the signal on the other tape is bad. If
the video noise persists, however, it is time to clean the video heads.
Talk the Talk
A tape with clear video images and good quality sound
has a “clean signal.” A tape with a clean signal does not
produce any video or audio noise when played on a VCR.
Several factors can cause the heads to get dirty, but the four biggest
culprits are:
• Smoking near the machine. Tobacco smoke is actually made of tiny
particles that are very sticky and adhere to anything in the vicinity. In
this case, the tiny particles stick to the video heads.
Chapter 5
•
•
•
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
Using poor quality videotape. When low-cost, low-grade adhesive
fails, the magnetic medium comes loose from the plastic tape. Pieces
may then stick to the video heads of the VCR.
A family pet resting on top of the warm VCR. Pet hair and dander fall
into the machine.
Fingerprints on the surface of the videotape. Never touch the surface
of videotape. Skin has oils on the surface that transfer to the tape.
From the tape, the oils are transferred to the video heads.
Cleaning Video Heads in VHS and S-VHS
Recorders
Even though fewer and fewer VHS and S-VHS recorders and players
are being manufactured, hundreds of thousands of these decks are still in
use. The video head cleaning information in this section applies only to
VHS and S-VHS recorders and players.
Some head-cleaning kits are safe and effective. However, some headcleaning cassettes damage the heads in the process of cleaning them. Video
heads are very thin and fragile, and the best way to clean them is by hand.
Professionals in a production facility are very unlikely to use head-cleaning cassettes; they manually clean the video heads. The sections that follow
present this cleaning process, step by step.
Production Note
Suppose a friend’s eyeglasses were dirty and you offer to clean them.
The friend gratefully hands them to you to clean and you pull out a piece of
sandpaper to clean the eyeglass lenses. What do you think your friend would
say? “Stop!” Of course! There is no doubt that dirt can be removed from the
lenses using sandpaper, but the lenses would be scratched horribly
in the process. This scenario illustrates the potential problem
that exists when using some head-cleaning kits available in the
marketplace. Some head-cleaning cassettes will certainly clean the
heads, but may also damage them in the process.
Remove the Top Casing
All VCRs are designed to be opened quickly by technicians. Perform
the following to remove the top casing from a VCR:
1. Unplug the unit from the wall.
2. Remove the screws in the top, sides, and back of the VCR that hold
the top onto the machine, Figure 5-4. Some manufacturers may
engrave the chassis with small arrows pointing to these particular
screws. Do not unscrew every screw on the outside case. Loosening
every screw will cause the internal parts to fall away from the chassis.
3. Remove the top casing.
4. Place the screws in a secure place.
If you encounter any resistance while removing the top, STOP. The top
is designed to be easily removed. Check to make sure each of the screws
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 5-4. The arrows
indicate the most common
places where the top
casing is secured with
screws onto a VCR.
that secure the top have been unscrewed. Some tops do not lift directly off.
Some may slide back a little and then lift up.
Locating the Video Heads
With the cover off, the bright silver video head drum should be visible. The drum looks like two drums placed on top of each other with a
tiny crack between them. The bottom drum is stationary, but the top drum
spins. Gently turn the upper drum and look for a little protrusion, about
the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, in the space between the drums,
Figure 5-5. This protrusion is a video head. There is another video head
180° on the other side of the drum. If the machine has more than two heads,
look for the others around the circumference of the drum.
Cleaning Supplies and Steps
Video head cleaning fluid can be purchased at most electronic specialty supply stores. “Wood” alcohol or “denatured” alcohol may also be
used, but never use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Do not use cotton swabs
Figure 5-5. The video
heads are located on the
head drum assembly. This
assembly rotates at a very
high rate of speed.
Video
head
Chapter 5
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
115
to clean video heads. The fibers stick to the corners of the heads and can
cause problems worse than before cleaning began. Use foam swabs, with
a foam rubber tip, instead of cotton swabs, Figure 5-6. Swabs with a small
piece of chamois on the tip are also available for video head cleaning.
To clean the video heads:
1. Dip the foam swab into the cleaning fluid.
2. Rub the swab on each video head in a sideways motion, Figure 5-7.
WARNING: Rubbing the swab up and down will cause the head to
break.
After heads are cleaned, replace the outside cover of the VCR and
secure each screw that was removed. Plug the machine into an electrical
outlet and insert a tape with a clean signal recorded. If the image is clean
when displayed, the video heads have been successfully cleaned. If the picture is still noisy, repeat each step. This process applies to both consumer
and professional VHS and S-VHS machines.
Figure 5-6. Use only
video head cleaning fluid
or “denatured” or “wood”
alcohol and foam or
chamois swabs to clean
video heads.
Figure 5-7. Rub the swab
over the video heads in a
horizontal direction only.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Cleaning Video Heads in Digital Recorders
artifacts: Tiny,
rectangular distortions
that appear on the
screen in digital video
formats when a portion
of the digital signal is
corrupted.
The head drum in digital recorders is considerably smaller and more
fragile than the drums found in VHS and S-VHS recorders. In digital
recorders, the drums are usually difficult to reach and are often covered
by a delicate circuit board, which would need to be removed to manually clean the video heads. The potential for physically damaging parts of
the deck in trying to reach the heads by hand is greater than the possible
effects of commercially-made cleaning cassettes. The video heads in a digital recorder can be cleaned quite successfully if a high quality head cleaning cassette from a well-known manufacturer is used, and the instructions
provided are carefully followed, Figure 5-8.
Before cleaning the video heads, verify that the display problems are
not isolated to a particular videotape by ejecting the tape and inserting
a previously viewed tape that is known to have good quality video and
sound recorded. If the video displayed is clear, the heads on the machine
are fine and the other tape is bad. However, if the video displays artifacts
on screen, the video heads probably need cleaning. Artifacts are tiny, rectangular distortions that appear on the screen when a portion of the digital
signal is corrupted in some way. The two most common causes of artifacts
are dirty heads or a tape that has come to the end of its useful life and needs
to be replaced.
To clean the video heads in a digital recorder:
1. First, read the instructions on the head cleaning cassette.
2. Insert the cleaning cassette and press “Play.” The instructions typically recommend that the cleaning tape run for 7 to 15 seconds.
Follow the instructions provided.
3. Press “Stop” and eject the head cleaning cassette.
4. Insert and play the previously viewed “good” tape to ensure the display is satisfactory. If artifacts are still present on the display, repeat
the cleaning procedure one more time. If the tape does not play satisfactorily after a second cleaning, the machine must be serviced. Do
not continue cleaning the heads yourself.
Figure 5-8. A mini-DV
digital head cleaning
cassette.
Chapter 5
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
117
Videotape Widths and Formats
Several videotape formats are available; each is best suited for certain
applications or effects. Videotape formats are further categorized by the
actual width of the tape. There are definite differences between the consumer and professional varieties of videotape.
Videotape Reels
In the early days of video recording, videotape was not packaged in
tidy cassettes, as it is today. Videotape was on reels, much like film reels.
The tape on reels came in three widths:
• 2″ tape is used on machines called quadruplex, or quad, recorders. These
older machines are between the size of an oven and a refrigerator. Quad
recorders are rapidly being phased out and replaced with newer,
smaller machines of much higher quality.
• 1″ tape comes in three formats: Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type C
was the most common format.
• 1/2″ tape is found only in low-end, industrial equipment and is relatively
inexpensive. This type of videotape has been totally phased out.
Talk the Talk
When referring to reel formats, only the size designation
is used: 2″ or 1″. “That program was recorded on 1″.”
The words “videotape” or “reel tape” are understood and,
therefore, not actually spoken when industry professionals
use these videotape format terms.
2″ tape: A reel format
videotape used on
older machines called
quadruplex recorders.
quadruplex (quad):
A very large, older
videotape recorder that
uses 2″ tape.
1″ tape: A reel format
videotape available in
three formats: Type A,
Type B, and Type C.
Type C was the most
common format.
1/2″ tape: A reel format
videotape found only
in low-end, industrial
equipment.
Videocassettes
Videocassettes replaced reel-to-reel formats to become the industry
standard. There are, however, many types of videocassettes available.
Several of the types discussed are pictured in Figure 5-9. Many of the videotapes discussed are “upwardly compatible.” This means that a lowerend tape may be played in a higher-end machine, but a higher-end tape
may not necessarily play in a lower-end machine.
• VHS (Video Home System) is a 1/2″ format that emerged in the 1970s
as the preferred standard for consumer VCRs. VHS tape labeled
with a “T” and a number, such as T-120, indicates the tape’s run time
on a VCR’s highest speed setting. In the example “T-120,” the tape
lasts for 120 minutes at the highest speed setting. VHS tape can be
purchased in a variety of lengths, including T-160, T-120, T-90, T-60,
and T-30. Other formats of videotape also use this method to indicate
tape length. The VHS format is being phased out and replaced with
newer technology.
• VHS-C is the same tape format as VHS, but the tape is shorter and
packaged in a smaller cassette. The smaller cassette fits into some
consumer camcorders that are too small to handle a full-sized VHS
cassette. The “C” stands for “Compact.” These camcorders are no
longer manufactured, and the VHS-C format is being phased out.
VHS (Video Home
System): A 1/2″
videotape format
that emerged as the
preferred standard for
consumer VCRs.
VHS-C: A 1/2″
videotape format that
is shorter than regular
VHS and is, therefore,
packaged in a compact
cassette.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 5-9. Pictured are some of the most common types of videotapes.
Hi8 tape
VHS tape of various
lengths
S-VHS tape
Digital Betacam tape
DVC Pro digital tape
Super VHS (S-VHS): A
low-end, industrial 1/2″
videotape format that is
superior to VHS.
Y/C signal: The
professional name for
the signal placed onto
S-VHS videotape.
Betacam: A 1/2″
format, broadcastquality videotape.
Betacam SP: A 1/2″
videotape format that
used to be the best
format for professional
television use, but
digital video formats are
challenging this format
in professional markets.
DV Cam digital tape
•
•
•
Betacam SX tape
Digital S digital tape
Super VHS (S-VHS) is a 1/2″ videotape format that is far superior to
VHS. Many professionals consistently use this low-end, industrial
format. Y/C is the professional name for the signal placed on S-VHS
tape. An S-VHS videocassette does fit into a VHS recorder, but the
Y/C signal recorded onto the videotape does not necessarily play on
a consumer VCR. These decks are no longer manufactured.
Betacam is a 1/2″, broadcast-quality tape. Betacam is upwardly
compatible with Betacam SP, but is somewhat lower in quality and
cost than Betacam SP.
Betacam SP was considered to be the best format for professional
television use. However, digital video formats currently challenge
Betacam SP in professional markets. A Betacam SP deck is backward
compatible with Betacam tapes, but these decks are no longer
manufactured.
Digital Formats
There are two categories of digital recording formats—those that use
digital videotape and those that use no tape at all. Recording formats that
do not use videotape are called “tapeless” and record video directly onto a
hard drive or solid-state memory device.
Digital Videotape Formats
Digital videotape formats can suffer degradation problems similar to
dropout on analog tapes. Artifacts in digital media directly correspond to
dropouts in analog media.
Chapter 5
•
•
•
•
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
Digital Betacam (Digi-Beta) is a 1/2″ tape with higher quality than
Betacam SP. The cassette is the same size as Betacam SP, but allows
quality recording of digital signals, instead of analog signals.
Beta SX is a 1/2″ tape that uses digital MPEG compression. Beta SX
equipment also plays Betacam SP tapes.
Mini-DV is a 6mm digital video format used by many industrial
video producers. The mini-DV tape is metal evaporated tape that is
upwardly compatible with DVCPRO and DVCPRO50.
DVCPRO is an excellent 6mm professional digital video format. The
DVCPRO tape is metal particle tape that is upwardly compatible
with DVCPRO50. A DVCPRO deck also plays mini-DV tapes.
Production Note
Mini-DV tape is the size of a box of matches found at many
restaurants and costs about as much as S-VHS tape. This tape format may
be reused a maximum of nine times before artifacts begin to appear. A
DVCPRO tape costs about four times as much as a mini-DV tape, but may
be reused up to 100 times. DVCPRO can hold up to twice as
much video as mini-DV and fits snugly into the front pocket of a
men’s dress shirt. DVCPRO is more economical in the long run
than mini-DV. Most importantly, the DVCPRO’s metal particle
tape holds a much stronger signal than the metal evaporated
tape used in mini-DV tape.
•
•
•
•
DVCPRO50 is a 6mm digital format with even higher quality than
DVCPRO. A DVCPRO50 deck plays both DV and DVCPRO tapes.
DVCPRO100 is the high definition format of DVCPRO tape.
DVCam is a 6mm digital format that is proprietary for Sony
Corporation.
Digital S is a 1/2″ digital format tape that is broadcast quality, also
known as D-9. Decks for this format are no longer manufactured.
Tapeless Formats
The most familiar tapeless format is the DVD. However, other solidstate devices are also commonly used to record video footage, such as flash
drives and flash memory cards (Figure 5-10). Granted, these small cards
do not hold a tremendous amount of video but professional video memory
cards will record a substantial amount of video. Tapeless formats offer all
the advantages previously mentioned for digital television, with the added
benefit of having no moving parts to wear out or get dirty.
• DVD (Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc that can store a very large
amount of digital video data, as well as text and/or music. DVD is
currently the standard distribution medium.
• Flash memory devices
• P2 is a static memory card that is proprietary to Panasonic and used
in certain high end cameras, Figure 5-11. Depending on the recording
format, a 32 gigabyte P2 card can hold between 32 and 128 minutes of
video.
119
Digital Betacam
(Digi-Beta): A 1/2″
videotape with higher
quality than Betacam
SP and the capability
of recording of digital
signals instead of
analog signals.
Beta SX: A 1/2″
videotape that
uses digital MPEG
compression.
Mini-DV: A metal
evaporated tape, 6mm
digital video format
used by many industrial
video producers.
DVCPRO: A 6mm,
metal particle tape used
as a professional digital
video format.
DVCPRO50: A 6mm
digital format with even
higher quality than
DVCPRO.
DVCPRO100: The high
definition format of
DVCPRO tape.
DVCam: A 6mm
digital format that is
proprietary to Sony
Corporation.
Digital S: A 1/2″ digital
videotape format that is
broadcast quality. Also
known as D-9.
DVD (Digital Video
Disc): An optical disc
that can store a very
large amount of digital
video data, as well as
text and/or music.
P2: A static memory
card that is proprietary
to Panasonic and used
in certain high end
cameras.
120
Figure 5-10. Both
consumer and professional
flash memory devices are
solid-state and can hold
varying amounts of video
data, depending on the
capacity of the device.
Figure 5-11. A P2 card
is a lightweight, durable,
and reusable solid-state
recording medium.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Chapter 5
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121
Compatibility
VTR interchange refers to the ability of a tape recorded on one machine
to be played back on another machine. As long as both machines are the
same format, regardless of brand or model, tapes can be successfully
played on both machines.
DVD is the current standard distribution medium, Figure 5-12.
However, some duplication still occurs in VHS format. VHS format is the
most popular videotape distribution format for industrial and commercial
programming. While VHS tape does not provide a very robust signal, the
quality is sufficient for viewing on any television screen. Because of this,
nearly all videotape duplication begins with a high-quality master and is
then dubbed, or copied, to VHS.
VTR interchange:
The ability of a tape
that was recorded on
one machine to be
played back on another
machine.
dubbing: The process
of copying a video
recording.
Control Track
The control track is a series of inaudible pulses recorded onto a tape
that regulates the speed of the tape in playback. The function of the control
track generally applies to VHS and S-VHS formats only. A circuit in the
video recorder puts a little pulse signal, or blip, onto the tape 30 times per
second while recording. These blips create the control track. If the machine
is set for 2-hour speed (SP), the blips are spaced farther apart because the
tape moves relatively quickly through the machine. If the machine is set
for 6-hour speed (EP), the blips are much closer together because the tape
moves more slowly through the machine. A blip is placed on the tape
every 1/30th of a second, without regard to how fast the tape is moving,
Figure 5-13.
control track: A series
of inaudible pulses
recorded onto a tape
that regulates the speed
of the tape in playback.
Figure 5-12. This all-in-one
disc publishing system can
duplicate DVDs and print
on the discs in full color.
(Primera Technology, Inc.)
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 5-13. The control track pulses are placed further apart when recording in SP mode compared to EP
mode.
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Visualize This
Imagine you are driving a car on a flat, straight stretch of deserted
highway. You are driving down the center of the road and the white line
appears as a series of white dashes that disappear under the hood of the
car. It would take some practice, but you could regulate the accelerator so
that 1 dash disappears under the hood every 2 seconds. The white dashes
may come in too fast at first, but you slow the car down until
exactly 1 dash goes under the hood every 2 seconds. The
control track circuit operates the same way. It speeds up and
slows the tape down until the pulses occur at 1/30th of a
second intervals.
Common recording speeds are:
SP (Standard Play) records 2 hours of programming onto a T-120
tape. The “T-120” designation indicates the tape’s run time on a
VCR’s highest speed setting. The vast majority of pre-recorded VHS
movies are recorded at SP speed.
• LP (Long Play) is a 4-hour speed that is twice that of SP, but has been
phased out.
• EP (Extended Play) records 6 hours of programming onto a T-120
tape, which is three times that of SP. The quality of an EP recording is
noticeably less than an SP recording.
When a machine is in playback mode, the same circuit that placed the
pulses on the tape now “listens” for the blips or pulses. The tape is sped
up or slowed down accordingly to time the pulses at 1/30th of a second.
For example, a VCR that is manually set to EP speed will play an SP tape
perfectly because the circuit monitors the control track. The tape speed is
adjusted to correctly play the tape. Depending on the VCR, the audio may
cease and the screen may turn blue while this adjustment is made.
When watching a tape on a machine other than the one the tape was
recorded on, a series of nearly horizontal white lines may sometimes appear
on a portion of the screen, Figure 5-14. The white lines may even pulse, or
rapidly appear and disappear. In this case, the control track circuit is not able
to compensate enough to correct the display. The circuit only has a certain
•
Chapter 5
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
123
Figure 5-14. If horizontal
white lines persistently
appear on the screen,
manually adjust the
tracking control.
range in which it can speed up or slow down the tape. If using a professional
VCR the tracking control knob must be manually adjusted until the lines
disappear. The tracking control should be adjusted back to its normal position when finished watching the tape, otherwise every subsequent tape will
display the white lines. Many newer consumer VCRs have a built-in, automatic tracking control function that cannot be manually adjusted.
The control track circuit is extremely important. Some compare the
importance of the control track pulses to the sprocket holes found on
motion picture film—each is vital to viewing a program.
tracking control: A
knob on a professional
VCR that is used to
manually adjust the
tape tracking speed.
Digital Video Recorders
To this point in the chapter, information provided on digital (videotape) recorders involves units that require videotape as the recording
media. A digital video recorder (DVR) records a digital signal directly onto
either a hard drive or a solid-state memory module inside or connected to
the DVR unit. DVRs do not use videotape, and are, therefore, “tapeless”
recorders. These devices can record a large amount of video and audio in
both standard and high definition video.
Some units record onto hard drives attached to or installed within the
DVR, while others record using solid-state memory. Solid-state memory
digital video recorder
(DVR): A device that
records a digital signal
directly onto either a
hard drive or a solidstate memory module
inside or connected to
the DVR unit.
124
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
devices, such as flash drives, flash memory cards, and P2 cards, have no
moving parts and are usually considered more durable than hard drives. A
solid-state memory device is inserted into the designated slot on a camera
to record video and is removed after shooting. The card or drive can be
inserted directly into an editing system with corresponding slots to read
the device or into a separate reader accessory that is connected by a cable
to a port on the computer.
The DVR is rapidly becoming the recording system of choice in the
professional broadcasting industry. Professional units have many more
options and functions than consumer DVRs, which allow the DVR to process various video formats and “spruce up” the video and audio signals
using extended digital controls.
Recording Audio and Video
input: A port or
connection on a video
device through which a
signal enters the device,
such as the “audio in”
port.
output: A port or
connection on a video
device through which the
signal leaves the deck
and travels to another
piece of equipment,
such as the “video out”
port.
test record: The process
of using the video recorder
to record audio and
video signals before the
session recording begins
to ensure the equipment
is functioning properly and
to indicate any necessary
adjustments.
The very first thing a video operator must do before any recording
session begins, is label the videotape or recording media with appropriate identifying information: title of the program, director, scenes to be
recorded, etc. Labeling the recording media is very important and should
become second nature for everyone. Unlabeled recordings can be easily
misplaced or important footage may be accidentally recorded over because
the unlabeled tape was assumed to be blank.
If videotape is the recording media to be used, let the tape roll forward
in record mode for at least 2 minutes. Never record anything important in
the first 2 minutes at the beginning of a tape. If a tape is going to break, 9
times out of 10, it will break at the very beginning of the tape. By leaving
the first 2 minutes of a tape blank, the tape may be reattached to its hub if
a break occurs without losing any important footage.
Once the videotape has been labeled and the tape has rolled forward for
2 minutes, the video operator must perform a test record. Performing a test
record before each recording session verifies that the audio and video signals are not only reaching the recorder, but are also being properly recorded.
During a recording session, a monitor displays only what is going into the
machine, not what is actually being recorded. This step avoids certain disasters
that may be discovered in the editing room weeks after shooting.
Most recorders have a video AGC (automatic gain control), Figure 5-15.
This control automatically adjusts the video signal coming into the machine
to the best levels for recording. Inexperienced operators should leave the
video AGC circuit active.
A signal comes into the video recorder through an input on the back
of the deck, such as the “audio in.” The signal leaves the deck and travels
to another piece of equipment through an output, such as the “video out.”
This may seem obvious, but it is very easy to be careless and accidentally
attach a CD player to the “Audio Out” connector on a recorder.
Test Recordings
A test record is the process of using the video recorder to record audio
and video signals before the session recording begins. Many recording sessions
are lost and must be reshot because the test recording step was omitted. For
Chapter 5
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
125
Figure 5-15. The video
AGC should remain active
most of the time.
the technician, a test record indicates if the equipment is functioning properly and if any adjustments are necessary. For example, a test record lets the
technician know if the video heads are dirty before program taping begins.
To make a test record once all the equipment is connected and powered on:
1. Activate the “Record” function on the machine.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Record any available signal for 1 minute.
Re-cue the recorder to the beginning of the clip and play it back.
Listen for appropriate audio and watch for appropriate video.
Make any necessary adjustments before beginning the recording session.
Production Note
To avoid wasting tape or hard drive space, the video recorder is usually
placed in the “record” and “stand-by” mode. The record circuit is open and the
images are seen in the monitors, but no signal is actually being recorded—
the hard drive is not recording and/or no tape is actually moving. The video
recording operator must remember to take the recorder out of “stand-by”
when the director calls for a recording session to begin. If the recorder is left
in “stand-by” mode, the scene is not recorded. To complicate the situation
further, some inexperienced directors skip reviewing the recorded scene
before moving on. In the editing room weeks later, the director may realize
there is no recorded footage of a particular scene!
It is important to be certain that the recording machine is
properly set to record each scene. Footage should be reviewed
immediately to ensure that the scene has recorded and is of
acceptable quality.
Heads and Tails
The beginning of every take has a “lead-in” of at least 15 seconds,
called a head. The head usually consists of the display of the slate and the
head: A 15 second
“lead-in” recorded at the
beginning of every take.
126
tail: A 10 second “leadout” recorded at the end
of each scene.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
countdown (discussed in Chapter 20, Directing). Each scene should have a
minimum of a 10-second “lead-out” at the end, called a tail. While recording the lead-out, performers simply continue their action without dialog
for an additional 10–15 seconds until the director calls, “Cut.” The talent
does not ad lib lines during the tail, but continues the mood of the scene
through silent body language. The recorded head and tail on each take is
very important in the editing process, Figure 5-16.
Production Note
If you are using videotape, do not simply fast-forward the
tape at the end of a take instead of recording a tail. The portion
of tape that was fast-forwarded does not have control track. This
causes problems in the editing room and may prevent a successful
edit of the program.
A tail also serves as a safety feature. When a tape is stopped, it retracts
slightly into the cassette. If the tape is stopped immediately at the end of
a scene, it is quite possible that the beginning slate of the next scene will
record over the end of the scene just shot. Additionally, most camcorders
and recorders have a feature called “automatic backspacing.” This guarantees that the tape is about 3–5 seconds behind the initial stop point. As
a result, when recording begins again, the end of the previous scene will
be recorded over. A tail ensures that if any part of the previous scene is
recorded over, it is the tail and not the actual scene.
Even in tapeless facilities, the heads and tails practice is still followed. The
head and tail are quite necessary for clean editing on digital editing platforms.
Audio Levels
The video operator, or camcorder operator, is in control of the audio levels that are recorded onto the tape. In the studio, the audio engineer mixes
the audio signals into a single signal and sends it to the video recorder.
The video recorder displays the recorded audio levels on VU meters (see
Chapter 6, Audio Basics). The audio levels for an analog recording should
Figure 5-16. Heads and tails must be shot for all scenes.
Head–15 sec.
(slate and countdown)
Scene
Tail–10 sec.
Chapter 5
127
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
fluctuate between –3 and +3 dB on the meters. On a digital recorder, the
levels should hover near –20. The recorded audio levels are a crucial portion of the program and cannot be fixed in the editing room if they are
recorded improperly.
Radio Frequency
Video recorders create pure video and pure audio. Many consumer
television sets, however, cannot receive pure video and pure audio on two
separate cables. The video and audio must be combined into one cable and
converted into an RF (radio frequency) signal by a small box inside the
video recorder called an RF converter, Figure 5-17. Once combined as a
radio frequency, a cable carries the signal from the “Antenna Out” on the
video recorder to the “Antenna In” on the television set.
A television set that can receive only RF signals is a receiver. A television set that can receive only pure video and audio signals is a monitor.
A monitor/receiver is a hybrid television that can receive both pure video
and audio, as well as the RF signal. The types of connectors on the back of
the television indicate the television type, Figure 5-18. A monitor television
has RCA and/or BNC connectors. Connectors are discussed in Chapter 7,
Connectors. An F-connector for coaxial antenna cable or two screws for a
flat-lead antenna may be found on receiver televisions. Monitor/receiver
televisions have both RCA and/or BNC connectors and an F-connector or
the two screws.
Most new, higher-end consumer digital televisions are equipped with
multiple inputs. A signal can be connected to the RF connector and to
“Video In” and “Audio In” connectors. These multiple inputs may be used
for video games, additional VCRs, and DVD players. Television sets with
multiple inputs have a button or a menu option that enables the user to
switch from one input to another.
RF: Radio frequency
signal that is a
combination of both
audio and video.
RF converter: A small
module inside the VCR
that combines pure
video and audio into
one radio frequency.
receiver: A television
set that can receive only
RF signals.
monitor: A television
set that can receive only
pure video and audio
signals.
monitor/receiver: A
hybrid television that
can receive pure video
and audio signals, as
well as RF signals.
Figure 5-17. The RF
converter changes pure
video and pure audio
signals into one radio
frequency.
128
Figure 5-18. A monitor/
receiver has connectors
capable of receiving RF,
as well as pure video and
pure audio.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Screw terminals for flat-lead antenna
BNC
connectors
for video
F-connector
RCA connectors for audio
Chapter 5
129
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders
Wrapping Up
Due to the many different formats of videotape and videotape recorders,
it is important to remember that tapes created in one format are usually not
suited for playback on a machine of another format. The formats of digital
media continue to evolve. However, it seems certain that videotape will soon
become obsolete.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What are the possible causes of white spots appearing on the screen
while viewing a videotape?
2. What are some common causes of dirty video heads?
3. List the appropriate materials to use for cleaning video heads.
4. What is an upwardly compatible videotape?
5. How is the control track related to the playback speed of a videotape?
6. What is the purpose of a test record?
7. What is the purpose of the head and the tail at the beginning of each
scene?
8. How do monitors, receivers, and monitor/receivers differ from each
other?
9. What is the function of an RF converter?
Activities
1. Research the evolution of video media formats and create a timeline that
includes important dates, innovations, and events.
2. Inspect the television sets in your home and determine if each is a
receiver, a monitor, or a monitor/receiver.
Te
c
Sc
ie
nc
e
hn
o
lo
gy
STEM
Integrated
Curriculum
1. What are some of the environmental impacts of discarding old
videocassettes?
2. Research the evolution of recording media, from film to today’s digital
formats. Create a linear time line that notes the date, name, and price of
each recording media development.
3. In a small group, brainstorm ideas for a new method or product that
would improve the way video is recorded.
ne
er
in
at
ic
s
gi
g
at
he
m
En
M
STEM and Academic Activities
130
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
4. Compare the price of various recording media products when they were
first released to the retail market and the current retail price of each
product. What is the difference between the initial release price and the
current price for each product? What is the average price difference for
all products compared?
5. Research one of the television recording devices you have at home.
Write a review of the device, including standard and unique features,
how the device operates, and your opinion of the device.
6. Describe how the introduction of the consumer VCR changed the television viewing behavior of television audiences.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the function of audio for television
productions.
•
Identify the most common use of each type of
microphone presented.
•
Understand the importance of the pick-up pattern
classification when selecting a microphone.
•
Recall the appropriate VU meter readings for
both an analog audio system and a digital audio
system.
Professional Terms
audio mixer
automatic gain control
(AGC)
background sound
boom
boundary mic
cardioid mic
condenser mic
diaphragm
directional mic
dynamic mic
electret condenser mic
feedback
fishpole boom
generating element
hand-held mic
high impedance (HiZ)
hypercardioid mic
lapel mic
lav mic
line level
low impedance (LoZ)
mic level
mic mixer
microphone
natural sound (nat sound)
off-camera narration
omni-directional mic
on-camera narration
parabolic reflector mic
pick-up pattern
pop filter
potentiometer (pot)
power level
ribbon mic
room tone
shotgun mic
stick mic
supercardioid mic
uni-directional mic
voiceover (VO)
voice track
VU meter
wireless mic
Introduction
Audio is so important to the television production
business that it is placed first in the phrase “Audio/
Visual (A/V).” Watching television can be very
frustrating if the audio is muted. A chase scene in
a movie is nowhere near as entertaining without
screeching tires and exciting music. The low, muffled
sound of footsteps moving closer or a sudden, highpitched scream adds to the suspense and shock of
a horror movie. Audio is vitally important in getting
a message across in television and the movies.
Unfortunately, most students new to broadcasting
tend to think primarily about the video aspect
of a program and consider the audio only as an
afterthought. This type of thinking is a recipe for
disaster.
131
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
The Functions of Sound for
Television
voice track: The audio
portion of a program
created through
dialogue or narration.
on-camera narration:
Program narration
provided by on-screen
talent (seen by the
camera).
off-camera narration:
Program narration
provided by talent that is
heard, but not seen by
the viewer. Also called
voiceover (VO).
Without sound, programs become silent movies. All sounds on television serve one or more of the following four functions:
• Voice track
• Music and sound effects
• Environmental sound
• Room tone
The voice track is usually the primary means of getting a message to
the viewer’s ears and may be considered the most necessary audio of a
program. The voice track is the sound created through dialogue or narration. Narration takes two forms:
• On-camera narration
• Off-camera narration, also known as voiceover.
If the viewer sees the narrator speaking, this is typically called an
on-camera narration. Off-camera narration, also called voiceover (VO), is
when viewers hear but do not see the narrator of a program (Figure 6-1).
In broadcast journalism, the narrator may be the reporter or an on-thestreet eyewitness describing the event or situation that the videographer is
shooting. For example, a reporter asks one resident of a local neighborhood
Figure 6-1. The narrator often watches the video portion of a documentary and speaks the narration into a mic
attached to an additional recorder. In the editing phase, the narration track is synchronized and recorded onto
the same tape with the video.
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
133
to describe what the tornado sounded like as it bore down on his home. As
the resident talks, the camera pans the destruction caused by the tornado.
Production Note
On a remote shoot, sometimes the dialogue picked up by the mics is
weaker than the background sounds. In a dramatic program, for example,
the live background engine noise of race cars at a NASCAR race makes
the dialogue between two characters in the scene very hard to hear. Later,
the actors view the scene and re-record their dialogue in a sound
booth—essentially lip-syncing with themselves. This process is
called automatic (or automated) dialogue replacement (ADR), or
may simply be called “re-recording.” Look for the job title “ADR”
or “Re-recording” in the end credits of a movie.
Music and sound effects help set the mood and enhance the action of
a program. The emotion of a scene is dramatically enhanced with properly
selected and timed background music. Sound effects can be created by the
production team or be purchased on tape, DVD, CD, or downloaded from
the Internet.
Complete silence is artificial and should rarely, if ever, be found in
a television program of any type. Every location has a certain amount of
normal sound associated with that particular location. This is the existing
sound that a production crew may find in an environment when shooting
occurs. For example, the sounds in a scene that takes place in a classroom
may include papers rustling, pens tapping, the faint sound of hallway
noise, and the hum of fluorescent lighting fixtures. If the expected environmental sounds are not present during the shoot, they may be added during
post-production editing to help establish the setting in a dramatic production. Care must be taken to prevent the volume of environmental sound
from becoming distracting.
There are two terms used to describe environmental sounds: background sound and natural (nat) sound. The difference between these environmental sounds depends on their importance in a shot.
Background sound is environmental sound that is not the most important sound in a shot. If it’s in the background, some other sound is in the
foreground—such as the voice of actors performing the dialogue in a
dramatic production. Since background sound is not the most important
sound in the shot, it must not overpower the foreground sound in a shot.
The production crew must be aware of background sound and organize
the shoot to make sure the background sound remains effectively in the
background.
Natural sound, or nat sound, is environmental sound that is important
to the topic of the story; it may often be the most important sound in the
shot. For example, a feature story about a blacksmith should include some
shots with natural sound of his hammer hitting the metal on an anvil. Nat
sound is usually captured on a secondary recording called B-roll, either
before or after the shot containing the voice track. During the editing phase
of production, the nat sound is placed on a track underneath the primary
audio of the program.
background sound:
Type of environmental
sound that is not
the focus of or most
important sound in a
shot.
natural sound (nat
sound): Environmental
sound that enhances a
story and is important to
the shot.
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
133
to describe what the tornado sounded like as it bore down on his home. As
the resident talks, the camera pans the destruction caused by the tornado.
Production Note
On a remote shoot, sometimes the dialogue picked up by the mics is
weaker than the background sounds. In a dramatic program, for example,
the live background engine noise of race cars at a NASCAR race makes
the dialogue between two characters in the scene very hard to hear. Later,
the actors view the scene and re-record their dialogue in a sound
booth—essentially lip-syncing with themselves. This process is
called automatic (or automated) dialogue replacement (ADR), or
may simply be called “re-recording.” Look for the job title “ADR”
or “Re-recording” in the end credits of a movie.
Music and sound effects help set the mood and enhance the action of
a program. The emotion of a scene is dramatically enhanced with properly
selected and timed background music. Sound effects can be created by the
production team or be purchased on tape, DVD, CD, or downloaded from
the Internet.
Complete silence is artificial and should rarely, if ever, be found in
a television program of any type. Every location has a certain amount of
normal sound associated with that particular location. This is the existing
sound that a production crew may find in an environment when shooting
occurs. For example, the sounds in a scene that takes place in a classroom
may include papers rustling, pens tapping, the faint sound of hallway
noise, and the hum of fluorescent lighting fixtures. If the expected environmental sounds are not present during the shoot, they may be added during
post-production editing to help establish the setting in a dramatic production. Care must be taken to prevent the volume of environmental sound
from becoming distracting.
There are two terms used to describe environmental sounds: background sound and natural (nat) sound. The difference between these environmental sounds depends on their importance in a shot.
Background sound is environmental sound that is not the most important sound in a shot. If it’s in the background, some other sound is in the
foreground—such as the voice of actors performing the dialogue in a
dramatic production. Since background sound is not the most important
sound in the shot, it must not overpower the foreground sound in a shot.
The production crew must be aware of background sound and organize
the shoot to make sure the background sound remains effectively in the
background.
Natural sound, or nat sound, is environmental sound that is important
to the topic of the story; it may often be the most important sound in the
shot. For example, a feature story about a blacksmith should include some
shots with natural sound of his hammer hitting the metal on an anvil. Nat
sound is usually captured on a secondary recording called B-roll, either
before or after the shot containing the voice track. During the editing phase
of production, the nat sound is placed on a track underneath the primary
audio of the program.
background sound:
Type of environmental
sound that is not
the focus of or most
important sound in a
shot.
natural sound (nat
sound): Environmental
sound that enhances a
story and is important to
the shot.
134
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
In broadcast journalism, a reporter can record voiceover narration at
the studio in a sound booth or conduct an interview in a quiet location (to
ensure good sound quality) about a topic which includes action. In each
of these situations, B-roll shots with nat sound become very important in
the editing process to provide visuals and sounds of the action associated
with a story. The B-roll video with nat sound audio of related action shots
can be mixed with the voice track from the A-roll. As the clips with nat
sound are inserted into the story during the editing process, the nat sound
audio level can be controlled to ensure the volume doesn’t overpower the
reporter’s voiceover. A talented and experienced reporter can plan/pace
their voiceover to incorporate the nat sound during pauses in
speech (at commas or periods in scripted narration). This way,
the nat sound, which was recorded because it is an important
part of the topic/event covered, becomes an important piece of
raw material the reporter can use to build the story.
Nat sound is environmental sound that helps call attention to what a
reporter is saying and entices the viewer to continue paying attention to
the story. Nat sound is only the environmental sound that supports the
story. Where things get tricky is the processing that must sometimes be
done to make sure relevant nat sound is present in a recording, without the
unwanted background sound.
Visualize This
A busy roadway with holiday weekend traffic, horns honking, loud
music playing, and motors revving are all part of the background sound
to a traffic report. The reporter and photog must be very careful to make
sure the reporter’s audio is in the foreground and the traffic sounds are
in the background. However, this same traffic scene can be shot without
the reporter, taken back to the studio, and used as nat sound behind
the reporter’s voiceover. The traffic sounds can be coordinated with the
reporter’s voiceover, so that the honk of a car horn happens right when
the reporter finishes a sentence and acts as an “exclamation point” for the
story. When natural sound is used this way, it is placed with the visual that
accompanied it in reality.
If nat sound is extracted from a video recording and manipulated,
ethical issues arise about modifying reality. Using a shot and
its accompanying sound to illustrate the reporter’s narration
is ethical. The only acceptable alteration of audio in news is
to reduce the volume of nat sound to better hear the voices of
those speaking.
room tone: The sound
present in a room or at
a location before human
occupation.
Room tone is the sound present in a room, or at a location, before
human occupation. Room tone is the “sound of silence” in the shooting
environment. If shooting on location, it is important to clear the set for a
few minutes after the equipment is set up. Once all the talent and crew
have left the location set, turn on the recorder and record at least three
minutes of the existing environmental sound. Having the environmental
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
135
sound of each location recorded is useful when editing the program. The
environmental sound may be used to cover unwanted sounds in the background of a scene that were not noticed while shooting. Using the environmental sound of a location creates a much less noticeable audio edit than if
true silence were used.
Assistant Activity
Listen to the silence of a room. Although you have probably never
noticed it, the silence of different locations varies greatly. Go to your
bedroom; remain perfectly still and listen. Do the same in the family room
and in the backyard. You will soon realize that the “silence” is notably
different in each location.
Place a good pair of stereo headphones with full
earmuffs over your ears and do not turn on any sound.
Listen to that kind of “silence.” All of these “sounds of
silence” are surprisingly unique and they help to define the
video image’s environment from an audio perspective.
Sound Frequency
Sounds are generally divided into three groups: low-frequency sounds,
mid-range sounds, and high-frequency sounds. Most people are familiar
with common band instruments and the sounds they create. Common
instruments are used in the following examples of the three frequency
categories:
• Low-frequency instruments include the bass guitar, bass drum, and
the tuba. A bass vocalist is also categorized in the low-frequency
range.
• Mid-range sound frequency instruments are trumpets, clarinets, and
French horns. Alto and tenor vocalists fall within the mid-range. The
human speaking voice is generally in the mid-range, as well.
• High-frequency sound is created by flutes, piccolos, and soprano
vocalists.
Types of Microphones
A microphone is the piece of equipment that picks up sounds in the air
and sends them to the mixer or recorder. Fundamentally, all microphones
work the same way. Sound waves in the air hit a thin surface inside the
mic, a diaphragm or generating element, which then vibrates. In the most
common types of mics, the vibration moves a tiny wire back and forth
through a magnetic field creating an electrical signal, Figure 6-2. This electrical signal is sent through the mic cable to an amplifier or a recorder.
Talk the Talk
The term “microphone” is commonly abbreviated as
“mic” or “mike.”
microphone (mic): The
piece of equipment that
picks up sounds in the
air and sends them to
the mixer or recorder.
generating element: A
thin surface inside the
mic that vibrates when
hit by sound waves in
the air and creates an
electrical signal. Also
called a diaphragm.
136
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 6-2. This
illustration provides a
general representation of
how microphones work.
So
un
d
So
un
d
So
un
d
Generating
element
vibrates
Wire within
magnetic field
creates an
electrical
signal
Magnetic
field
Electrical signal
travels down
the cable to an
amplifier or
recorder
Microphones may be classified by the type of generating element (surrounded in a magnetic field) each uses:
• Diaphragm that vibrates a coil.
• Thin piece of coated film that vibrates a coil.
• Thin piece of metal foil.
Mics can be differentiated by examining the frequencies of sound each
best captures. Some mics pick up certain frequencies of sound better than
others. The audio engineer’s goal is to match the right mic to the right frequencies of sound. All microphones are not created equal—you typically
get what you pay for. Low-cost gear often yields results that are less than
satisfactory.
Wired and Wireless Mics
Another classification of mics is “wired” or “wireless,” which refers to
how the signal gets from the mic to the recorder.
A wired mic is attached to the recorder by a cable. Cables can span a
significant distance (at least 200 feet) without ill effects to the audio signal.
With extremely long runs of cable, such as from the press box in a football stadium to a remote production truck in the parking lot, an amplifier may be put in the line to keep the signal strong. Wired mics and their
cables are very reliable. However, the greatest disadvantage of wired mics
is their cables. Performers using wired mics must be mindful of the mic
cables and avoid tangling their feet in the cables. Additionally, when wires
are run along the floor, they pose a tripping hazard and must be taped
down securely. Removing the tape at the end of a shoot and re-coiling the
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
cables neatly is also a substantial task that must be done carefully to avoid
a huge spaghetti-like mess of wires, which would take a great deal of time
to untangle.
Wireless mics have a practical advantage over wired mics in that there
is no wire to run to the recording unit. A wireless mic has a short cable that
runs from the mic to a radio transmitter with an antenna. The transmitter
is sometimes built into the mic itself. The transmitter sends the audio signal through the air, via a radio wave, to a receiver that is on or near the
recorder. The receiver picks up the transmitted signal from the air and sends
it through a short cable to the recorder, Figure 6-3. A primary advantage of
a wireless system is the freedom of movement it allows the performers—
they do not need to be concerned with tripping over mic cables while performing. Additionally, the audio engineer does not need to lay many feet
of mic cable, tape it to the floor for safety, and pull up the cable to re-coil it
at the end of the shoot.
Some may consider wireless mics to be the best choice for all applications, but this is not the case. Wireless mics transmit and receive signals
using a radio frequency, which is very effective as long as no one else in the
vicinity uses the same radio frequency. Wireless mics are prone to interference from walkie-talkies, baby monitors, CB radios, heavy machinery, and
other wireless mics operating at or near the same frequencies. Use wireless mics whenever appropriate and practical, but always keep a backup of
wired mics and mic cable.
137
wireless mic: A mic
that uses a short cable
to connect the mic to a
radio transmitter with
an antenna, or the
transmitter may be built
into the mic itself. The
transmitter wirelessly
sends the signal to the
receiver, which sends
the mic signal through
a short cable to the
recorder.
Production Note
When recording a theatrical event, there is an excellent chance
that the stage performers or the theater’s tech crew will be
using their own wireless mics on the actors, as well as on the
stage crew’s headsets. Always check the frequencies used
by the theater and compare them to the frequencies of your
equipment. If the frequencies are close, use wired mics instead.
Figure 6-3. The wireless
mic allows a performer
to have freedom of
movement, without the
danger of tripping over a
mic cable.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Dynamic Microphones
dynamic mic: A very
rugged type of mic
that has good sound
reproduction ability. The
generating element is a
diaphragm that vibrates
a small coil that is
housed in a magnetic
field.
condenser mic: A type
of mic that requires an
external power supply
(usually a battery) to
operate. The generating
element is a thin piece
of metal foil or coated
film. Also called an
electret condenser mic.
Figure 6-4. A dynamic
mic is the perfect choice
for most applications. It
is extremely rugged in
design.
Figure 6-5. The
condenser mic requires
an external power supply.
In this example, the mic is
battery-powered.
The generating element in a dynamic mic is a diaphragm that vibrates
a small coil that is housed in a magnetic field. It is a rugged mic with good
sound reproduction ability, Figure 6-4. Dynamic mics are designed to
“hear” different sound frequencies—the pitch of a sound, not its volume
or strength. The dynamic mic most commonly found in a television studio is designed to pick up sounds best in normal speaking voice frequencies. They are not designed to mic musical instruments or accompanying
vocals. The dynamic mics used in a studio setting do not pick up high- and
low-frequency sounds as effectively as the mid-range sounds of speech.
Using a mic that picks up mid-range sounds to mic musical instruments
or singing stage performers would result in music that lacks good sound
quality and reproduction.
Condenser Microphones
The generating element used in condenser mics is a thin piece of metal
foil or coated film. This type of mic requires an external power supply
(usually a battery) in order to operate, Figure 6-5. Condenser microphones
are also called electret condenser mics. They can pick up a greater range of
sound frequencies than dynamic mics and good condenser mics are usually more expensive.
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
139
Ribbon Microphones
The ribbon mic is the most sensitive of all mic types used in television.
A thin ribbon of metal surrounded by a magnetic field serves as the generating element in this type of mic. At one time, ribbon mics were the only
type found in commercial radio stations. In television applications, a ribbon mic is most commonly placed on a talk show host’s desk. These mics
are now primarily used in music recording studios. Superb sensitivity is a
great advantage of this type of mic. However, the fragility of the generating element is an expensive disadvantage of the ribbon mic. An accidental
bump of the mic itself or the “pop” produced from the rush of air released
when pronouncing a “p” sound could break the ribbon inside the microphone. In recording studios, a barrier made of shaped wire covered with
a piece of nylon is placed between the ribbon mic and the talent. This pop
filter protects the mics from explosive “t” and “p” sounds, and catches
moisture and rushes of air before they hit and damage the diaphragm of
the ribbon mic, Figure 6-6.
Talk the Talk
ribbon mic: The most
sensitive type of mic
used in television. A
thin ribbon of metal
surrounded by a
magnetic field serves as
the generating element.
pop filter: A barrier
made of shaped wire
covered with a piece
of nylon that is placed
between a sensitive
mic and the talent to
avoid damage to the
diaphragm of the mic.
The pop filter is sometimes referred to as a “spit guard.”
Non-Professional Microphones
The microphone built into low-end camcorders should not be used in
professional recording scenarios. It has a very limited pick-up range and,
when inside a room, produces audio that sounds like the person speaking
has a bucket over his head. This microphone picks up the grinding sound
of the zoom lens motor, the rubbing or knocking sounds of the operator’s
Figure 6-6. Using a
pop filter protects the
generating element of a
microphone. The generating
element may be damaged
by the sudden rush of air
created when speaking or
singing “t” and “p” sounds.
(Popless Voice Screens)
140
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
fingers and hands operating the camera, and the sound of the operator
breathing. None of these are components of quality audio.
Specialized Microphones
boundary mic: A
microphone used to
pick up a sound on a
stage or in a large room
and is most commonly
a condenser type.
Boundary mics are
usually placed on a table,
floor, or wall to “hear” the
sound that is reflected off
hard surfaces.
parabolic reflector mic:
A very sensitive mic
that looks like a satellite
dish with handles and
is designed to pick up
sounds at a distance.
The boundary mic is most commonly a condenser type, previously
described. Boundary mics are becoming the most common way to mic
an entire stage or large room. These mics do not look like any others that
most consumers commonly see. They work on the principle that sound is
reflected off hard surfaces, and are usually placed on a table, floor, or wall,
Figure 6-7. They have a very low profile, rising no more than an inch above
the surface they are placed upon.
A parabolic reflector mic is a very sensitive mic that looks like a satellite dish with handles, Figure 6-8. This type of mic is designed to pick up
sounds at a distance. The operator simply aims the mic at what he wants
to hear and the sound is received very clearly. The pick-up range of a parabolic reflector microphone depends on the refinement of the electronics
on the inside of the mic. The sensitivity of the electronics inside the mic is
directly related to the cost—the more sensitive the electronics, the higher
the purchase price.
Figure 6-7. The boundary
mic is commonly used to
mic a stage for a dramatic
performance.
Figure 6-8. The parabolic
reflector mic is capable of
clearly picking up sounds
from a significant distance.
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
141
The parabolic reflector microphone is often seen on the sidelines of professional football games and picks up the grunts and crashes of bodies slamming against each other, which add to the excitement of the game. When
using these mics at a professional sporting event, an experienced operator
knows when to turn off the audio feed from the mic. Some of the vocalizations it can pick up are not likely to be appropriate for prime-time television.
Pick-Up Pattern
Microphones are further classified by their pick-up pattern. Pick-up
pattern refers to how well a mic “hears” sounds from various directions.
An omni-directional mic has a pick-up pattern that captures sound from
nearly every (omni) direction equally well, Figure 6-9. The only weak area
for this type of mic is the sound coming directly from the rear of the mic.
Mics with a uni-directional pick-up pattern pick up sound from primarily one (uni) direction, Figure 6-10. A uni-directional mic is also known
as a directional mic or a cardioid mic. The term “cardioid” is derived from
the shape of the pick-up pattern; it is shaped like a valentine heart. The point
of the heart is aimed at the source of the sound. Sounds from the sides and
rear of the mic are not heard as well, or not at all. The cost of a uni-directional
mic is usually proportionately related to how far away it can pick up sounds,
Figure 6-9. The omnidirectional mic picks up
sounds from nearly all
directions.
Figure 6-10. A unidirectional mic has a pickup pattern in the shape
of a heart, thus the name
“cardioid.”
pick-up pattern: A term
that describes how well
a mic hears sounds
from various directions.
omni-directional mic:
A mic with a pick-up
pattern that captures
sound from nearly every
direction equally well.
cardioid mic: A mic
with a pick-up pattern
that captures sound
from primarily one
direction. Also called a
uni-directional mic or
directional mic.
142
hypercardioid mic: A
directional mic with a
narrower and longer
pick-up pattern than a
cardioid mic.
supercardioid mic: A
directional mic with a
narrower pick-up pattern
than a hypercardioid mic.
shotgun mic: A
directional mic with an
extremely narrow pickup pattern.
feedback: A high-pitched
squeal that occurs when
a microphone picks up
the sound coming from a
speaker that is carrying
that microphone’s signal.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
and how much sound outside of the pick-up pattern is eliminated. The longer
and narrower the pick-up pattern, the more expensive the microphone.
In a noisy environment, a directional mic is a better choice for a narrator or reporter than an omni-directional mic. If an omni-directional mic
is used, the viewer may have a difficult time separating the talent’s voice
from the background sounds.
Directional mics are available in various degrees, or grades, of directionality, Figure 6-11. A hypercardioid mic has a narrower and longer pick-up pattern than a cardioid mic. A supercardioid mic has an even narrower pattern.
More directional still is the shotgun mic. Sometimes, the shotgun mic is literally
mounted on a rifle stock and even has a sight to help in aiming it at the sound
source. The parabolic reflector mic is a version of a directional mic.
Directional mics are most important when recording music. If the
performer uses an omni-directional mic and steps in front of the band’s
speakers, a high-pitched squeal is emitted. The squeal is called feedback.
Feedback occurs when a microphone picks up the sound coming from a
speaker that is carrying that microphone’s signal, Figure 6-12.
A feedback loop is created when:
1. Sound enters the microphone.
2. The sound is transmitted to an amplifier.
3. The signal from the amplifier is sent to a speaker.
4. The sound from the speaker goes through the air and back into the
microphone.
Each time this circle is made, the pitch gets higher and louder and more
painful to the human ear. If the cycle is not stopped, the speakers could be
Figure 6-11. The cardioid
mic can be purchased
with varying degrees
of narrowness in its
directional pick-up pattern.
Hypercardioid
Cardioid
Figure 6-12. Feedback
occurs when a mic “hears”
its own signal.
Supercardioid
Fee
dba
ck
d
un
So
Audi
os
proce igna
sse l
d
ck
ba
d
e
Fe
Microphone
Speaker
gnal
Audio si
Amplifier
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
143
permanently damaged. To prevent feedback, the sound coming from the
speakers needs to be blocked from hitting the mic. Using a directional mic
decreases the likelihood of feedback because of its narrow pick-up pattern.
Production Note
•
To stop the high-pitched squeal of feedback:
Move the mic away from the speaker.
•
Bury the mic in your armpit.
•
Turn down the amplifier.
•
Turn the speaker away from the mic.
Determine what caused the feedback and take precautions
to ensure it does not happen again.
Mics on the Set
A mic stand is the most commonly known device designed to hold
a microphone in place. In television, however, the mic stand is not often
seen. A talk show host may have a microphone on a desk stand, but that
mic is often only a prop.
A hand-held microphone is designed to be held in the hand, rather
than placed on a stand or clipped to clothing, but can be placed on a stand
or boom. Hand-held mics are sometimes referred to as a stick mics.
A boom used in television production is essentially a pole that is positioned over the set with a microphone attached to the end of the pole. The
mic picks up the sound of the talent performing on the set. Any type of
mic can be attached to the end of the boom as long as the connectors will
mate. The goal of the boom operator is to get the mic as close to the talent
as possible without dipping the mic into the top of the picture. A fishpole
boom is a type of boom that must be physically held over the heads of talent, Figure 6-13. This requires that one or both arms be extended over the
operator’s head and held in position for the duration of the shot.
Production Note
If using a fishpole boom, most operator’s arms tire quickly and the mic
begins to dip into the frame of the picture. A simple solution is to obtain
a microphone stand that can be raised to a height of 6–8 feet. Take the
fishpole boom to an audio store and purchase a microphone stand mic clip
that fits the shaft of the fishpole boom. Place the boom into the mic clip on
the stand, positioned about 4 feet from the back end of the pole. Let the
stand be a fulcrum to bear the weight of the pole, and you can adjust the
height of the mic by swiveling and raising or lowering the mic-end of the
boom. No more tired arms!
Large studios have the same type of stand for booms,
except the stand is often more like a camera tripod on a dolly
and can roll easily. If you have a spare tripod and dolly, you
may be able to be creative and devise something to hold the
fishpole boom securely onto the top of the tripod.
hand-held mic: A mic
that is designed to be
held in the hand, rather
than placed on a boom
or clipped to clothing.
Also called a stick mic.
boom: A pole that is
held over the set with a
microphone attached to
the end of the pole.
fishpole boom: Type
of boom that must be
physically held over the
heads of talent.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 6-13. A mic can be
positioned over a set using
a fishpole boom. (K-TEK)
Talk the Talk
Many students ask about a “boom mic” during class discussion. No
such piece of equipment exists. If you were to walk into a professional
audio store and ask where the boom mics are located, the
staff would have no idea what you are asking for. Any mic
that is attached to a boom is a boom mic. Therefore, the
phrase “boom mic” refers to how a mic is used and not a
piece of equipment.
lapel mic: The smallest
type of mic that can be
worn by talent and is
attached to clothing at
or near the breastbone
with a small clip or pin.
Sometimes referred to
as a lav.
Mics on Talent
The smallest mic worn by talent is the lapel mic, sometimes called a
lav. It is attached at or near the breastbone of the talent with a small clip or
pin, Figure 6-14. The cord is routed under the clothing to be less obvious.
The most common lapel mic is about the size of a pencil eraser.
Figure 6-14. A lapel
mic is quite small and
can be attached to the
talent’s clothing. A—The
mic cord is run under
or behind a piece of the
talent’s clothing. B—The
appearance of the mic on
the front of the talent is
discrete.
A
B
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
Handling and Care of
Microphones
Proper microphone etiquette requires that reasonable judgment be
used to ensure longevity of the audio equipment and the safety of staff
and talent. This applies to everyday use and handling, and the storage of
equipment. Microphones should be handled very carefully.
Production Note
Any noise or action that can damage a human eardrum
may also damage a microphone. Being slapped in the ear
with a cupped hand is the equivalent of slapping the head of
a microphone. This action could burst the eardrum. Treat a
microphone the same way you would treat the ears of someone
you care for.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Below are a few general guidelines:
Never blow into a microphone to see if it is working. A strong burst
of air can damage or tear the microphone’s diaphragm, just as it can
damage or permanently impair the human eardrum.
Do not shout into a microphone. Extreme sound vibrations can
stretch the diaphragm out of shape, just as these vibrations can
stretch the tissue of the eardrum. This causes a mic to receive sound
vibrations improperly, if at all. The tissue of the human eardrum can
be stretched by the extreme sound vibrations at a loud concert, which
results in temporary hearing difficulty for hours after the concert.
Never let anyone put their lips directly on the mic. The saliva that
enters the mic moistens and softens the diaphragm. This obstructs
the microphone’s ability to receive sound vibrations just as sound
vibrations are muffled to the eardrum when water is trapped in the
ear after swimming.
Do not slap the head of the microphone to hear the muffled thump
through the speakers. The increased air pressure can tear the
microphone’s diaphragm, just as being hit with a cupped hand over
the ear can burst the eardrum.
Do not exhale directly into or inhale through the microphone.
Exhaling into the mic forces moisture in and that moisture softens the
diaphragm. Inhaling through the mic transfers all the bacteria inside
the mic to you through your mouth. Inhaling through the mic also
creates a loud hiss in the sound reproduced.
Never swing a mic by its cord. The centrifugal force created can
easily separate wired connections inside the mic cable connector and
prevent any sound from being reproduced.
Proper Use of Microphones
Many amateur bands use mics that have a silver or black ball of mesh
on the tip, Figure 6-15. Beneath the wire mesh is usually foam that protects
145
146
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 6-15. A
microphone used for
music vocals is designed
to handle a wide range
of frequencies, while also
protecting the diaphragm.
This hand held microphone
is also wireless, with the
transmitter built into the
shaft of the mic.
the diaphragm of the mic. The foam provides a barrier to moisture and
rushing air when a performer places their lips directly on the mic. Speaking
or singing with your lips directly on a mic is not necessary for sound reproduction, but it is a style commonly seen in popular music videos. Amateur
bands, trying to emulate popular bands, imitate this style while performing. Singing enthusiastically with lips pressed on the mic pushes saliva
into the black foam under the surface of the wire mesh mic tip. After a performance, all of the mics are typically packed up and stored until the next
practice or show. The moisture on the foam surface is stored in the dark,
at room temperature, and away from any airflow. This is the perfect environment for bacteria growth. From practice to practice or show to show,
it is very unlikely that the same mic will be used consistently by the same
person. The next band member to use the mic will place his lips directly on
the bacteria-infested mic while singing. That person will very likely exhale
and inhale right through the mic while performing. In an effort to keep the
performers and equipment germ-free and healthy, do not allow talent to
place their lips directly on the surface of a microphone.
When using a hand-held mic, hold the mic firmly in your fist and keep
your hand and fingers still. Moving or adjusting your fingers produces a
very distracting sound that is picked up by the mic. Place the knuckle of
your thumb against the sternum of your chest to properly position the mic
while reporting, Figure 6-16. A common mistake made by novice reporters
when interviewing is to point the mic at the subject/guest when asking a
question, and then point the mic at themselves as the guest answers. Even
though this is backwards, it is a very easy mistake to make.
When interviewing children, do not stand over them. Being on their
level creates a much more pleasing picture and children are less likely to
be intimidated when an adult is physically at their level. A reporter should
squat down so that their head is at or below the level of the child’s head.
The child can also be raised up to the reporter’s level using a stool to
achieve the same effect.
When running cables on the ground, never place an audio or mic
cable beside an electrical cable. Electrical cables produce magnetic fields,
which can cause interference in the audio signal. The interference may be
detected as a persistent hum heard through the audio system. In some circumstances, it may be unavoidable for an audio cable to be near or have to
cross a power cable. Keep the runs of cable apart for as much of the length
as possible. Limit the portions of cabling that are close in proximity to as
few as feasible. If the cables must intersect, make sure it is at a 90° angle.
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Chapter 6 Audio Basics
Figure 6-16. This reporter
demonstrates the proper
position for a handheld microphone when
speaking.
Impedance
In television, a microphone’s purpose is to create a signal that is sent
through a cable to be recorded. There are two different kinds of signals that
mics can send: high impedance and low impedance. A high impedance (HiZ)
mic is typically inexpensive, low-quality, and cannot tolerate cable length
much longer than 8′. For these reasons alone, high impedance mics are not
usually found in TV studios. A low impedance (LoZ) mic is typically of highquality, more costly than a HiZ mic, and can tolerate long cable lengths.
Levels
It is important to know the three levels of audio, Figure 6-17, because the
output of one level cannot be connected into the input of another. The result is
either massive distortion or no sound at all. The three levels of audio are:
• Mic level. The level of audio that comes from a microphone. It is
designed to be sent to the “mic in” on a recorder or mixer.
high impedance (HiZ):
A type of mic that is
typically inexpensive,
low-quality, and cannot
tolerate cable lengths
longer than 8′.
low impedance (LoZ):
A type of mic that is
costly, high-quality, and
can tolerate long cable
lengths.
mic level: The level
of audio that comes
from a microphone. It
is designed to be sent
to the “mic in” on a
recorder or mixer.
Figure 6-17. The three levels of audio are mic level, line level, and power level.
Line level
Mixer
Mic level
Amplifier
Power level
148
line level: The level of
audio between pieces
of audio equipment.
For example, the level
of audio going from the
output of a CD player to
the input on an amplifier.
power level: The audio
level from the output
on an amplifier to the
speaker.
mic mixer: A piece of
equipment that combines
only the microphone
signals into a single
sound signal.
audio mixer: A piece of
equipment that takes the
sounds from a variety of
sources, such as mics, a
CD player, or tape player,
and combines them into
a single sound signal that
is sent to the recorder.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
•
•
Line level. The level of audio between pieces of audio equipment. For
example, the level of audio going from the output of a CD player to
the input on an amplifier.
Power level. The audio level from the output on an amplifier to the
speaker.
Mixers
A mic mixer combines only the microphone signals into a single- or
dual-channel sound signal. An audio mixer is designed to take the sounds
from a variety of sources, such as mics, a CD player, or tape player, and
combine them into a single sound signal that is sent to the recorder,
Figure 6-18.
In both the mic mixer and audio mixer, each signal coming into the
mixer can be controlled with a potentiometer, or pot for short. The operator can increase or decrease the strength of each signal, so each audio
source is properly balanced in the output signal. A pot is usually a knob or
a slider. As a knob, it functions like the volume knob on a stereo. The signal
coming in gets stronger as the knob is turned to the right. If the control is
a slider, the signal coming in gets stronger as the slider is moved farther
away from the operator.
Figure 6-18. The audio mixer has a different pot for each audio input. The volume unit (VU) meters indicate the
levels of the audio.
Audio input knob
potentiometers
VU meter
Main output
control
Audio input
slider potentiometers
Sub-master
controls
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Chapter 6 Audio Basics
Figure 6-19. In analog recording, the audio meter should fluctuate between –3 and +3. In digital recording, the
audio meter should hover in the area of –20.
Acceptable recording range
Acceptable recording range
A
When using either of the mixers, the operator gauges the signal
strength by watching a VU (volume unit) meter, Figure 6-19. VU meters
take two forms:
• One type looks similar to a car’s speedometer, with a scale and a
needle to indicate the signal strength.
• Another type is a series of LEDs that light as the signal gets stronger.
Production Note
Do not assume that red LEDs on a VU meter signify overrecorded sound. Different manufacturers use different colored
LEDs to mean different things. Always check the operator’s
manual for your mixer.
To operate either mixer type:
1. Activate the sound source. Play a CD or instruct the talent to talk.
2. Bring up a single pot until the sound reaches a desired level on the
VU meter.
3. Repeat for each individual microphone or sound source. All the pots
are typically not adjusted identically. The pot running a naturally
loud voice is set much lower than the pot for a soft-spoken person’s
microphone. All background music should be relatively low or it
drowns out the dialogue in the scene.
4. Bring up the pot labeled “master” to send the mixed signal out of the
mixer to the recorder.
By adjusting the potentiometer, the audio engineer makes certain that
the audio signal is appropriately strong. If the system uses analog technology, the master VU meters should fluctuate between –3 and +3 dB. If the
system is digital, the VU meters should hover near –20 dB.
B
potentiometer (pot): A
knob or a slider control
that regulates the
strength of a signal.
volume unit meter
(VU meter): A meter
on either an audio or
mic mixer that indicates
signal strength.
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Production Note
When monitoring the master VU meters, the needle should never
touch the far right edge of the meter. This is called “burying the needle,” or
recording “in the mud.” Burying the needle means the audio is being overrecorded. Over-recorded audio is distorted. This cannot be fixed in postproduction. Over-recording or under-recording the audio when shooting
raw footage is an error that a professional usually makes only
once. This mistake requires that everyone involved in the
production reconvene to re-shoot the otherwise perfect footage.
Calling everyone back for a re-shoot and gathering all the
necessary equipment is so expensive that most people do not
make this mistake a second time.
It is critically important for whoever is recording the audio to wear a
good set of headphones that cover the entire ear, like earmuffs. This is the
only way to accurately monitor the quality of the audio being recorded.
The small foam “ear bud” style or collapsible earphones many people use
with their personal audio players are totally inadequate for this purpose.
Production Note
A confusing situation that a novice audio technician may encounter
involves recording a stage performance. Do not take a direct feed off the
audio board of the theater, if offered by the theater’s audio engineer. Set up
your own microphones on the stage. While connecting to the audio board
is the easier option, you run the risk of recording poor quality audio. If
recording the audio from the theater’s audio board:
•
The recording has only the sounds picked up by the audio mixer’s
microphones. Any performers who are not specifically speaking or
singing into a microphone are not heard at all. The same holds true
for any instruments not playing into a mic. The live audience hears all
the instruments, but the audience of the recording hears only what is
played into a microphone.
automatic gain control
(AGC): A circuit found
on most consumer
video cameras that
controls the audio level
during the recording
process.
•
The audio mixer mixes the signals from the mics and sends them to
an amplifier to be sent out over the theater’s speakers. The purpose
of the theater’s audio mixer is to reinforce and amplify the sounds, so
the live audience hears them well. The live audience hears a blend
of live, electronically mixed, and amplified sounds. When recording a
performance, your purpose is to record all the sounds in the theater.
This is not possible when the mixer sends only some of the
sounds—just those picked up by microphones.
•
Any mistake made by the audio mixer is clearly evident in
your recording, but you will bear the responsibility and blame
for the audio quality.
Automatic Gain Control
The automatic gain control (AGC) is a circuit found on most consumer
video cameras that controls the audio level during the recording process. If
Chapter 6 Audio Basics
the sound is soft, the AGC turns the recording levels up, while also bringing up a noticeable tape hiss and background noise. If the sound is loud,
the AGC turns the recording levels down. While this function sounds very
helpful, the circuit is always about a second behind “real life.” Using the
AGC should be avoided in most analog recording situations.
The AGC circuit works quite well when it is part of a digital camcorder, whether consumer or professional. Because the AGC circuit used
with digital camera recording technology operates much faster than with
analog technology, the undesired tape hiss is not recorded. Therefore, disengaging the AGC circuit on a digital camcorder is not always necessary.
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Wrapping Up
Microphones can be classified in many ways. Understanding the features
of each classification is critical in choosing the right microphone for a specific
application or shooting scenario. The following chart summarizes the mic
characteristics and classifications discussed in this chapter.
Classifying Microphones
Mic Characteristic
Options
Frequency
Low, Mid-range, High
Cabling
Wired, Wireless
Type
Dynamic, Condenser, Ribbon, Specialized
(boundary and parabolic reflector)
Pick-up Pattern
Omni-directional, Directional/Uni-directional
(cardioid, hypercardioid, supercardioid, and
shotgun)
Mounting
Hand-held, Lapel (lav)
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the difference between background sound and nat sound?
2. Explain how microphones work.
3. List five types of microphones available and the unique characteristics of
each.
4. How does feedback occur? How can it be prevented?
5. What is the difference between high impedance and low impedance?
6. What are the acceptable VU meter readings for analog audio systems
and for digital audio systems?
Activities
1. Create illustrations that demonstrate the pick-up patterns of omnidirectional microphones, uni-directional microphones, and supercardioid
microphones.
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2. Research the prices for various studio-quality microphones and compare
the costs of different types of microphones. Why are some microphones
more expensive than others?
3. Find clips of comments made by celebrities or politicians when they
thought their mics were turned off. Prepare a presentation of some of the
embarrassing moments you discover.
4. Watch a scene from one of your favorite movies. Pay particular attention
to any background sound, nat sound, or room tone in the scene. Have
you ever noticed those sounds in the scene before? What kind of feelings
do these sounds emphasize? How do you think the scene would be different if those sounds were not present?
5. Record a few video clips of action only. Add voiceover narration to
describe the action and events in the clips.
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1. Investigate how sound frequency is measured. What is the audible range
of sound frequencies? Make a list of sounds common in your everyday
environment. Categorize the sounds as low, medium, or high frequency.
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www.aes.org The Audio Engineering Society is a professional audio technology
society whose membership includes audio engineers, creative artists, scientists,
and students.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain how connectors and adapters are used in
the broadcast industry.
•
Identify the types of connectors used in the
broadcast industry.
Introduction
Professional Terms
⁄ ″ connector
⁄ ″ connector
adapter
barrel adapter
BNC connector
cable end connector
cannon connector
chassis mount connector
connectors
DIN connector
F-connector
female connector
FireWire
HDMI
jack
18
14
male connector
mini connector
phone connector
phono connector
PL259 connector
plug
RCA connector
S-VHS connector
T-connector
USB
XLR connector
Y/C connector
Y-connector
The names of the various connectors must be
learned and used correctly. In the remaining chapters
of this textbook, connectors are referenced by name.
Having access to connectors, cables, and electronic
devices will reinforce your understanding and
recognition of the connectors and adapters used in
the broadcast industry. Upon completion of this text, it
is recommended that you review the connector names
and descriptions in this chapter before beginning to
work with production equipment in earnest.
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Figure 7-1. All connectors
are either permanently
attached to a piece of
equipment (chassis
mount), on the end of
a cable (cable end),
or designed to change
one connector type into
another type (adapter).
Cable
end
Chassis
mount
Adapter
Connectors
connectors: Metal
devices that attach
cables to equipment or
to other cables.
chassis mount
connector: A connector
that is built into a piece
of equipment.
cable end connector: A
connector found on the
end of a length of cable.
adapter: A connector
that changes the type,
or connector end, of an
existing connector.
plug: A connector
with one or more pins
that are designed to fit
into the holes of a jack
(female connector). Also
called a male connector.
jack: A connector with
one or more holes
designed to receive the
pins of a male (plug)
connector. Also called a
female connector.
BNC connector: A type
of connector commonly
used in television
production. The female
and male versions lock
together securely with a
simple 1⁄4-turn twist.
Connectors are metal or metal and plastic devices that attach cables to
equipment or to other cables, Figure 7-1. Any cable can carry any video or
audio signal, as long as the cable is adapted for the necessary connector. A
connector can be classified into only one of the following categories:
• Chassis mount connectors are built into a piece of equipment.
• Cable end connectors are on the end of a length of cable.
• Adapters change the type, or connector end, of existing connectors.
One type of connector end is referred to as the plug, or the male connector.
The other connector is a jack, or the female connector. Male connectors
have one or more pins that are designed to fit into the holes of a female
connector. Female connectors have one or more holes designed to receive
the pins of a male connector.
Talk the Talk
When referring to these types of connectors aloud, only the connector
name is used: BNC, DIN, 1⁄4″, mini, or Y/C. “Please bring
a female RCA to male PL259.” The words “connector” or
“adapter” are understood and, therefore, not actually spoken
when industry professionals use these connector terms.
BNC Connector
The female and male versions of a BNC connector lock together securely
with a simple 1⁄4-turn twist. A BNC is the most common connector used in
television production, Figure 7-2. BNC actually stands for British Naval
Connector, but this connector is simply referred to as a “BNC.”
Figure 7-2. This barrel
adapter consists of 2
female BNCs.
Chapter 7
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157
DIN Connector
“DIN” is a generic term that refers to any connector with four or more
holes/pins. DIN connectors are also commonly found on computer equipment
cables. In television production, use this term only if there is no other more
exact term available.
DIN connector: A term
that refers to any type
of connector with four or
more holes/pins.
F-Connector
The F-connector (Figure 7-3) comes in two styles: push-on and professional. With the push-on style connector, the male end simply pushes
onto the female connector. The professional style F-connectors have a
small nut that secures the male and female ends together. BNC connectors have almost completely replaced F-connectors in the industry. While
an F-connector requires tedious manipulation of a tiny nut to secure it,
a BNC requires only a ¼-turn. F-connectors are commonly found on the
back of consumer VCRs and TVs. The female chassis mount connectors are
marked “Ant. In” and “Ant. Out.” The corresponding male F-connector is
on the cable running from the VCR to the cable box or television.
F-connector: A type of
connector that carries
an RF signal and is
commonly found on the
back of consumer VCRs
and televisions.
Figure 7-3. This cable
end connector is a male
F-connector.
Phone Connector
A phone connector is ¼″ in diameter and single-pronged, with a little indentation near the end of the prong (Figure 7-4). It is also called a
Figure 7-4. 1/4″ phone
and 1/8″ mini connectors.
⁄ ″ phone
14
⁄8″ mini
1
phone connector: A
connector that is 1⁄4″
in diameter and singlepronged, with a little
indentation near the
end of the prong. This
type of connector is
commonly found on the
cord used with large
stereo headphones.
Also called a 1⁄4″
connector.
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¼″connector. Most large stereo headphones have a phone connector at the
end of the cord to connect with the stereo equipment.
Talk the Talk
When verbally referring to a phone connector, it is very
common to drop both the words “inch” and “connector.” For
example, “Please bring me a male quarter to a male quarter
6 feet long.”
Mini Connector
mini connector: A
connector that is 1⁄8″ in
diameter and singlepronged. It is most
commonly found on
headsets used with
mp3 players and other
personal audio devices.
Also called a 1⁄8″
connector.
phono connector: A
connector commonly
found on the back
of quality home
entertainment system
components. The
female phono connector
is usually a chassis
mounted connector. The
male phono connector
is usually a cable
end connector with a
single, center prong
surrounded by a shorter
crown. Also called an
RCA connector.
A mini connector is ¼″ in diameter and is single-pronged, Figure 7-4.
It is also often called a 1⁄8″ connector. The mini looks similar to the
¼″connector, but is smaller in size. This type of connector is most commonly
found on headsets for portable CD players, iPods, and MP3 players.
Phono Connector
Many of the components of a home entertainment system usually
have phono connectors, or RCA connectors, on the back (Figure 7-5). They
are labeled “audio in,” “audio out,” “left,” and “right.” The female phono
connector is usually a chassis mount connector, with the male then being
a cable end connector. The male has a single center prong surrounded by
a shorter crown.
Figure 7-5. A female RCA
cable end connector.
PL259 Connector
PL259 connector: A
connector that is similar
to the F-connector,
but much larger. The
male end has a single
prong with a large nut to
tighten.
The PL259 connector is similar to the F-connector, but is much larger.
A CB radio is very likely to have a PL259 connector for the antenna. The
male end has a single prong with a nut to tighten, like the F-connector,
Figure 7-6. The nut is larger and easier to handle, but must still be turned
Figure 7-6. A male PL259
to female BNC adapter.
Chapter 7
Connetors
159
many times to secure the connection. The PL259 has also been replaced, for
the most part, by BNC connectors.
Y/C Connector
A Y/C connector has four tiny round pins and a rectangular plastic
stabilizing pin. This connector may be nickel or gold plated. Because of the
fine pins, it is a fragile connector for video inputs and outputs. The consumer term for Y/C connectors is S-VHS connectors or S-connector.
XLR Connector
An XLR connector is usually a 3-pin connector for microphones, but
can be 4-pin, 5-pin, and other pin configurations, Figure 7-7. This connector
may also be called a cannon connector. When it is a 3-pin connector, it is
simply called an “XLR connector.” If there are more than 3 pins, it is referred
to by the number of pins. For example, “4-pin XLR” or “5-pin XLR.” The
advantage of an XLR connector is that the male and female ends fit together
and a hook automatically locks the two together, Figure 7-8. The male and
female ends do not separate once locked. Depressing a button on the connector disengages the hook, and the ends separate easily.
Figure 7-7. A female XLR
(circled) to male 1/4″ phone
adapter.
Figure 7-8. Male (left)
and female (right)
XLR connectors.
Y/C connector: A
video input and output
connector that is
characterized by four
tiny round pins and
a rectangular plastic
stabilizing pin.
S-VHS connector: The
consumer term for a Y/C
connector.
XLR connector:
A connector for
microphones that usually
has 3-pins, but can
have 4-pins, 5-pins, and
other pin configurations.
The male and female
ends lock together with
a hook. Also called a
cannon connector.
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Figure 7-9. Various
configurations of FireWire.
4-pin FireWire
6-pin FireWire
9-pin FireWire (FireWire 800)
FireWire Connector
FireWire connector:
A type of connector
designed to carry digital
signals and available
with 4-pin (audio and
video only) and 6-pin
(audio, video, and
power) connections.
This connector is also
known as IEEE 1394.
USB connectors:
A durable digital
connector for video,
audio, and power. The
electrical contacts are
enclosed in a metal
housing and buffered by
a plastic plate.
FireWire is made of copper cable and is available with 4-pin (audio
and video only), 6-pin (audio, video, and power), and 9-pin (audio, video,
and power) connections, Figure 7-9. This connector is also known as IEEE
1394. FireWire connectors and cables are designed to carry digital signals.
USB Connector
A USB is a digital connector for video, audio, and power, Figure 7-10.
This type of connector is most often found on computers. The USB is durable connector, with the electrical contacts enclosed in a metal housing and
buffered by a plastic plate.
Figure 7-10. A USB
connector.
HDMI Connector
HDMI connector: This
connector is designed
to carry high definition
video and audio, as well
as power. HDMI stands
for High Definition
Multimedia Interface.
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, Figure 7-11.
This connector is designed to carry high definition video and audio, as well
as power. HDMI connectors are commonly found on consumer Blu-ray and
high definition DVD players, but the HDMI connector is also extremely
common on all professional, high definition production equipment.
Adapters
An adapter is used to connect two different types of connectors,
Figure 7-12. For example, a cable that ends in a male BNC needs to plug
Chapter 7
Connetors
161
Figure 7-11. HDMI cable
end connectors.
Figure 7-12. Several types of adapters.
Female BNC male RCA
Female PL259 to male BNC
Female RCA to male BNC
into a female RCA chassis mount connector. Using a female BNC to male
RCA adapter, the two connectors can be joined. Most studios have a wide
variety of adapters, with almost every conceivable combination available.
Production Note
It is best to have as few adapters as possible in runs of
cable. A little bit of the signal is lost at every adapter connection
in the run. Think of it as a leaky hose—each adapter in the run
is like poking another hole in the hose.
T-Connector
A T-connector is a special kind of connector that takes its name from its
shape; it looks like the capital letter T, Figure 7-13. It is made of metal and
Figure 7-13. This
arrangement of this
T-connector is two female
BNCs to male BNC.
T-connector: A
connector that is
shaped like the capital
letter T and is made
entirely of metal.
The three ends of a
T-connector are used to
split one signal into two
signals, or to combine
two signals into one.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
does not flex. The three ends of a T-connector are used to split one signal
into two signals, or to combine two signals into one.
Y-Connector
Y-connector: A
connector that has three
wires with a connector
on the end of each.
All the wires are tied
together in the middle.
The three ends of a
Y-connector are used to
split one signal into two
signals, or to combine
two signals into one.
A Y-connector is very similar to the T-connector, except it has three
connectors separated by wires or all molded together. In either case, the
device looks like a capital letter Y, Figure 7-14. A Y-connector serves the
same function as the T-connector.
Figure 7-14. A two
female RCAs to male RCA
Y-connector.
Barrel
barrel adapter: A type
of adapter that has the
same type of connector
and connector end on
both sides.
A barrel adapter has the same type of connector and connector end on
both sides, Figure 7-15. The barrel has a specific purpose—it allows two
identical short cables to be connected together and make one long cable.
For example, suppose you need a cable with a male RCA on each end to
connect two pieces of gear together. The problem is the two pieces of gear
are 10 feet apart and you have two 6-foot cables with male RCAs on each
end. If you have a female RCA barrel adapter, you can connect the two
cables to each other creating a 12-foot cable with a male RCA on either end.
Problem solved!
Figure 7-15. This barrel
adapter has 2 female
RCAs.
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Chapter 7 Connectors
Wrapping Up
Knowing the appropriate use of and name given to each of the
connectors is an important step in learning how to record quality audio.
The importance of memorizing the names of all the connectors cannot be
stressed too much. If a supervisor asks a P.A. to obtain a certain cable or
adapter from the storage area, the P.A.’s job may actually depend on bringing
back the correct item.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. List the three categories of connectors.
2. What is the difference between male and female connector ends?
3. Which connectors combine multiple signals into one?
4. Which connectors are specifically designed to carry high definition and
digital signals?
5. How are adapters different from other connectors?
Activities
1. Inspect the connectors on various pieces of electronic equipment in your
home. List several of the items and identify the type of connector(s) used
with each.
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2. What do you think the next generation of A/V connectors will look like?
How will they operate? Write a summary of your vision for the next generation of A/V connectors and sketch a prototype.
3. For one day, make note of every time you use a connector of some type
(cell phone charger, mp3 player dock or headphones, portable DVD
player, gaming system controller, etc.). You may be surprised at the number of connectors involved in your daily life!
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1. Connectors are made of or contain metal to conduct signals between the
cables they connect. Research the conductivity of various metals. Which
metals are the best conductors? Which metals are commonly used in
A/V cables and connectors?
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www.studenttelevision.com The Student Television Network aims to support
and enhance broadcasting and video production education in schools by
providing a network of students and instructor resources and activities.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify each of the program formats presented
and summarize the unique characteristics of
each.
•
Identify the expected components of a program
proposal.
•
Explain the format of a program treatment.
•
Recall the elements in each type of script used in
television production.
Introduction
Professional Terms
actors
big talking face (BTF)
concert style music video
documentary
drama
format script
interview
lecture
lecture/demonstration
magazine
montage
music video
newscast
nod shots
outline script
panel discussion
program proposal
public service
announcement (PSA)
script
story style music video
storyboards
talking head
treatment
visualization
word-for-word script
Too many students experience anxiety when they
hear the word “writing.” One of the best things that can
be said about television scriptwriting is that it bears
little resemblance to the writing style required for
academic courses. Although scriptwriting is relatively
simple to do, good scriptwriting takes talent and skill.
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Program Formats
script: An entire
program committed to
paper, including dialog,
music, camera angles,
stage direction, camera
direction, and computer
graphics (CG) notations.
A script is an entire program committed to paper. It includes dialog,
music, camera angles, stage direction, camera direction, computer graphics (CG) notations, and all other items that the director or scriptwriter feels
should be noted. There are many different kinds of television programs,
each with unique requirements of the script. Most programs fit into one
of the following categories: lecture, lecture/demonstration, panel discussion, interview, documentary, newscast, magazine, drama, public service
announcement/ad, and music video.
Lecture
lecture: A program
format in which the
talent speaks and the
camera shoots almost
entirely in a medium
close-up. Also known as
big talking face (BTF)
and talking head.
lecture/demonstration:
A program format that
provides action and
makes use of props
in addition to lecture.
Examples of this format
include cooking shows,
how-to shows, and
infomercials.
Figure 8-1. A single
individual speaking from
behind a podium provides
little visual interest or
action. Because of this,
the lecture format has the
lowest viewer retention
rate of all the programming
formats.
The lecture program format is the easiest format to shoot—the talent
speaks and the camera shoots almost entirely in a medium close-up. All
that is needed for this format is the talent, a camera, and perhaps a desk or
podium for the talent to sit or stand behind, Figure 8-1. Other names for
the lecture format are BTF (big talking face) or talking head. The lack of
either camera movement or talent action creates a very dull and uninteresting program. This format has the lowest viewer retention of information
and is often the mark of an amateur production team.
Lecture/Demonstration
The lecture/demonstration format lends itself to the numerous cooking shows, how-to shows, and infomercials seen on television today. This
format is more interesting to watch than a lecture alone because of the
action and many props used by the performers, Figure 8-2.
Chapter 8
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167
Figure 8-2. The lecture/
demonstration format adds
action that corresponds
to the lecture and is more
interesting for viewers to
watch.
Panel Discussion
The many Sunday morning network programs that bring a group
of professionals together to discuss current news and political topics are
examples of the panel discussion format. Also included are the popular
daytime talk shows. These programs are not difficult to produce, as long
as there are a limited number of people on the panel, Figure 8-3. Panel discussions are driven by the program’s content, not action. As more people
panel discussion:
A program format
that presents a group
of people gathered
to discuss topics of
interest. Daytime talk
shows are an example
of this format.
Figure 8-3. The panel
discussion format is
relatively easy to shoot
and provides viewers with
interesting information,
depending on the talent
and the topic.
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are added to a panel discussion, the group shot to include all members
gets rather wide. A wide shot is also a tall shot, which increases the risk
of shooting off the top of the set. To keep the top of the set in the shot, the
camera may need to tilt down and inadvertently make the studio floor
the most prominent item in the picture. As the industry moves more and
more to shooting in 16:9 screen format, one or two people can be added to
the ends of the panel. The 16:9 screen shape provides more width and less
height than the 4:3 screen format.
Interview
interview: A program
format that involves a
conversation between
an interviewer and an
interviewee.
nod shots: A cutaway
shot often used in
interview programs and
usually recorded after
the interviewee has left
the set. In a nod shot,
the interviewer does not
say anything, but simply
“nods” naturally as if
listening to the answer
to a question.
On location or in the studio, the two-person interview can be electrifying. People like Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey have built entire
careers on making a simple conversation a compelling program for the
audience. The interview format is often shot with only one camera. To get
various camera angle cuts between the interviewer and the interviewee, the
interviewee is shot for the entire duration of the interview. The audio picks
up the questions asked by the interviewer, but the camera only shoots the
interviewee’s face. After the interviewee has left the set, the camera shoots
the interviewer asking the same questions a second time and records
some nod shots. Nod shots are a special kind of cutaway (discussed in
Chapter 19, Production Staging and Interacting with Talent). The interviewer
does not say anything, but simply “nods” naturally as if listening to the
answer to a question. When collecting nod shots, the interviewer faces the
direction where the interviewee was positioned during the interview. Nod
shots are critical to the editing process when an interview, which may have
originally taken 30 minutes, must be cut to 12 minutes in order to fit into
a time slot between spots. In the editing room, the angles and nod shots
are cut together to create what looks like a conversation between the interviewer and interviewee.
Documentary
documentary: A
program format that is
essentially a research
paper for television. The
audio in the program
may include both oncamera and off-camera
narration. The video
footage used in the
program is determined
by the topic research
and should support the
audio of the program.
A documentary program is essentially a research paper for television.
The program topic is researched, the information is outlined, and the script
is written. See Figure 8-4. The audio in a documentary may be either offcamera narration, on-camera narration, or a combination of both. A documentary may also contain interviews. The audio portion of the script
should be roughly written out before any shooting begins. In the process
of writing, a shot sheet is developed. For a documentary program, a shot
sheet is like a grocery list of shots needed to support the audio portion of
the script. In addition to capturing the shots on the list while shooting, the
director watches for other shots that include specific items, people, or anything that adds to the program’s content and would be interesting to the
viewers. Shot sheets are only a guide and are rarely long enough to provide
enough footage to assemble an entire program. Always shoot more footage
than is listed on the shot sheet.
newscast: A program
format that is a
collection of individual
news stories.
Newscast
By definition, a newscast program is a collection of individual news
stories. Each story within the program may be developed with a different
Chapter 8 Scriptwriting
169
Figure 8-4. A documentary script combines research information on a topic and shots that support the
information presented.
Documentary Script
Video
Shot
number
Camera
direction
Audio
592a Channel 9 sign
Television
592b Channel 7 sign
Production trains
592c Channel 4 sign
students for
593 DW TV studio sign on door.
Door opens on studio in production
entry-level positions in television studios as production
assistants.
594 Shot of SEG, tilt up to monitors
It also provides students with a greater
595 Waveform adjustment
hands-on background than most colleges
596 Shoot studio camera viewfinder.
ZO rack focus to interview in studio set
offer. Students write, direct, shoot, edit,
597 Operate editors
and deliver their own programs.
598 Focal Point title on CG, run title program
A 30-minute program is produced by students
599 Music video clip
each week for the Fox Cable
600 Passive switcher
System.
601 Dark studio, switch on lights, light
board in foreground
We produced the program you are watching right now.
602 A crew shooting a program on location
Location shooting with portable equipment is
603 Loading a car with equipment
a favorite of the students.
604 Drum solo tape
So are music videos.
605 Rayburn music video
Students may work for
606 Channel 10 control room
Channel 10 while taking the class.
607 Wedding
We frequently accept jobs working for the
608 Floor manager gives cue
community as fund-raisers. The students
609 Open barn doors
even earn a salary.
610 Operate audio mixer
The class is run like a real video production
611 Director talks into headset. Shot from
studio into control room. ZO to see studio
camera perform pan to aim at “us”
company, so student responsibility and dependability
are strongly emphasized.
613 AFI book
Students in this class are considered to be
college-bound.
614 College survey form
The instructor provides considerable help
615 Place lapel mic on student
in matching student interest
616 Move platform
with schools of communications.
617 Hall of fame plaque
If you are interested in the lucrative,
618 “Digital Wave Productions” rolls up
on screen. Student stops tape.
glamorous, and demanding field of
619 CU hands taking tape out of machine.
Slow ZO. Hands place into case. MS of
person smiling at camera and walking
out of control room
Television Production, check us out.
170
magazine: A program
format comprised of
feature packages, each
addressing a different
story for seven to eleven
minutes.
drama: A program
format that includes
both dramas and
comedies and requires
actors to portray
someone or something
other than themselves.
actors: Individuals who
participate in a drama
or comedy program,
performing as someone
or something other than
themselves.
public service
announcement (PSA):
A program that is 30 or
60 seconds in length
and aims to inform the
public or to convince
the public to do (or not
to do) something in
the interest of common
good.
Figure 8-5. A drama
requires that talent with
acting ability be used in
the program.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
script style, but the overall program has its own script. As a script style,
news is practically in a category all of its own. News scripts are discussed
in Chapter 9, Broadcast Journalism.
Magazine
The magazine format originated from programs like “60 Minutes,”
but has become more than news-oriented programming. A regular news
broadcast presents each story in two minutes or less. A magazine format
program is comprised of feature packages and each package addresses a
different topic. This allows more interesting detail to be included about
each story, but fewer stories to be included in each program.
Drama
This term includes both drama and comedy programming, Figure 8-5.
The drama format requires a different kind of talent—actors. Actors take
on a role in a program and perform as someone or something other than
themselves.
Public Service Announcement (PSA)/Ad
Generally, public service announcements/ads are 30 or 60 seconds in
length. The purpose of a PSA is to inform the public or to convince the
public to do (or not to do) something in the interest of common good,
Figure 8-6. A typical television ad, on the other hand, attempts to convince
the public to purchase goods or services. Examples of some PSA themes
include “Just Say No” (anti-drug), “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive
Drunk,” “Keep America Beautiful” (litter prevention and waste reduction),
“Rock the Vote” (voter registration), “Get Caught Reading,” “Buckle Up
Chapter 8
Scriptwriting
171
Figure 8-6. A PSA
provides the public with
information or tries to
persuade the public to do
or not to do something.
America,” and “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery” (changing batteries in smoke alarms).
Music Video
The music video has become a common and influential force in our
culture. Items such as clothing, shoes, fashion accessories, and hairstyles
gain popularity when seen in a music video. Music videos also serve to
promote a band or a new song or album, in the hopes of increasing sales of
CDs and concert tickets. Most music videos are one of three types:
• Concert Style Music Video. The audience sees the band perform
the music that is heard. A concert style music video may include a
compilation of different concerts the band has performed, a studio
performance, or various locations.
• Story Style Music Video. The audience hears the music, but never
sees the band. Instead, actors act out a story line that is supported by
the lyrics of the song.
• A hybrid of a concert style and a story style music video.
Production Note
When producing a music video, copyright permission is the
first and foremost consideration. Do not break the law! More
information about music copyright is presented in Chapter 12,
Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums and Chapter 13,
Music.
music video: A
program format in which
all or most of the audio
is a song.
concert style music
video: A type of music
video in which the
audience sees the band
perform the music that
is heard.
story style music
video: A type of music
video in which the
audience hears the
music, but does not
see the band perform.
Instead, actors act
out a story line that is
supported by the lyrics
of the song.
172
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Visualization
visualization: The
ability to mentally
picture the finished
program.
Visualization is the ability to mentally picture the finished program.
Visualizing a program is similar to daydreaming. The visualized details of
a program should be put on paper, so that others can share the vision. Only
when everyone—the crew and cast included—shares the vision for the
program can it become a reality. George Lucas waited to make The Phantom
Menace, the fourth Star Wars film, until computer graphics technology was
sophisticated enough to realistically reproduce onto the screen the creatures and worlds he visualized in his mind.
The Program Proposal
program proposal:
A document created
by the scriptwriter
that contains general
information about the
program, including the
basic idea, applicable
format, message to
be imparted to the
audience, intended
audience, budget
considerations, shooting
location considerations,
and rough shooting
schedule used to
present the program to
the executive producer
to obtain permission
and funding for the
production.
The program proposal is created by the scriptwriter and provides general information about the program, including:
• The basic idea of the program.
• The applicable program format.
• The message to be imparted to the audience.
• The program’s intended audience.
• Budget considerations.
• Shooting location considerations.
• A rough program shooting schedule.
The program proposal is presented to an executive producer for
approval, either in written form or orally in a meeting. A program proposal
is presented before writing a full script, to avoid wasting time and expense
on a script that may be completely rejected by the executive producer. The
program proposal allows for an initial “green light” on the project.
It is important to think through a script idea during the initial proposal
stage. Using visualization, the scriptwriter can get a feel for the program
and determine the direction of the script. The executive producer may
reject the proposal, make suggestions, ask for further details, or accept it.
Depending on the selected program format, the next step may vary.
Research
Both documentaries and interviews require that the program topic be
researched. When interviewing someone, it is important to be proficient
enough on the topic to hold a conversation that is interesting and informative. When developing a research paper, the research information is often
organized on note cards. The notes are then turned into individual paragraphs of the paper. In television, the individual paragraphs become scenes.
Storyboards
storyboards: Sketches
that portray the way
the image on television
should look in the
finished program.
Some professionals use storyboards to help with visualization,
Figure 8-7. Storyboards resemble comic books, in that they present a sketch
of the way the image on television should look. Storyboards aid a director
in communicating his vision to everyone on the production staff who sees
them. They also help the director and camera operators to plan intricate
camera moves. The disadvantage in using storyboards is the considerable
172
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Visualization
visualization: The
ability to mentally
picture the finished
program.
Visualization is the ability to mentally picture the finished program.
Visualizing a program is similar to daydreaming. The visualized details of
a program should be put on paper, so that others can share the vision. Only
when everyone—the crew and cast included—shares the vision for the
program can it become a reality. George Lucas waited to make The Phantom
Menace, the fourth Star Wars film, until computer graphics technology was
sophisticated enough to realistically reproduce onto the screen the creatures and worlds he visualized in his mind.
The Program Proposal
program proposal:
A document created
by the scriptwriter
that contains general
information about the
program, including the
basic idea, applicable
format, message to
be imparted to the
audience, intended
audience, budget
considerations, shooting
location considerations,
and rough shooting
schedule used to
present the program to
the executive producer
to obtain permission
and funding for the
production.
The program proposal is created by the scriptwriter and provides general information about the program, including:
• The basic idea of the program.
• The applicable program format.
• The message to be imparted to the audience.
• The program’s intended audience.
• Budget considerations.
• Shooting location considerations.
• A rough program shooting schedule.
The program proposal is presented to an executive producer for
approval, either in written form or orally in a meeting. A program proposal
is presented before writing a full script, to avoid wasting time and expense
on a script that may be completely rejected by the executive producer. The
program proposal allows for an initial “green light” on the project.
It is important to think through a script idea during the initial proposal
stage. Using visualization, the scriptwriter can get a feel for the program
and determine the direction of the script. The executive producer may
reject the proposal, make suggestions, ask for further details, or accept it.
Depending on the selected program format, the next step may vary.
Research
Both documentaries and interviews require that the program topic be
researched. When interviewing someone, it is important to be proficient
enough on the topic to hold a conversation that is interesting and informative. When developing a research paper, the research information is often
organized on note cards. The notes are then turned into individual paragraphs of the paper. In television, the individual paragraphs become scenes.
Storyboards
storyboards: Sketches
that portray the way
the image on television
should look in the
finished program.
Some professionals use storyboards to help with visualization,
Figure 8-7. Storyboards resemble comic books, in that they present a sketch
of the way the image on television should look. Storyboards aid a director
in communicating his vision to everyone on the production staff who sees
them. They also help the director and camera operators to plan intricate
camera moves. The disadvantage in using storyboards is the considerable
Chapter 8
Scriptwriting
Figure 8-7. Storyboards assist the crew in creating the director’s vision of the program.
(Courtesy PowerProduction Software)
time and talent required to hand draw each scene. However, storyboarding computer software is also available, which draws storyboards using
templates and “click and drag” elements. Several storyboarding software
products are now available at prices that are reasonable for both professional and academic environments.
The Outline
If a program proposal is accepted, creating an outline is usually the
next step. All dramas, lectures, lecture/demonstrations, and documentaries use the same kind of basic outline. The outline is very brief, not like
the outline written for a research paper. An outline for a program includes
comments that note the direction of the program.
Assistant Activity
Find the last research paper you wrote. Reduce the
major theme of each paragraph to a single, brief sentence.
In doing this, you would create something very similar to
the outline for a documentary on the topic of that research
paper.
173
174
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Basic Outline
A basic outline breaks each major event in a program into the fewest
number of words possible, and places each on a different line. Each line
begins with one or two words that identify the shooting location. Figure 8-8
is an example of an outline for a drama called “Little Red Riding Hood.”
It is a brief, chronological listing of the program’s progression. The dialog is either nonexistent or minimal—just enough to relay the main point
of each scene. The normal progression for lecture, lecture/demonstration,
and documentary program outlines follows the outline of most research
papers—introduction, body, conclusion. A standard way of starting is with
the “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em” type of introduction. Then,
“Tell ‘em” in the body of the program outline. Complete the outline with a
“Tell ‘em what you told ‘em” conclusion.
Panel Discussion or Interview Outline
The outline for either an interview or panel discussion does not list
major events or show progression. In these outlines, the only necessity is
a list of at least twenty questions to ask the interviewee. “Who,” “what,”
“where,” “when,” “how” (not “how long”), and “why” are the best kinds
of question-starters to use. Think of questions that will get the talent to
start talking, instead of just answering a question. The questions should
spark and guide the conversation. Any questions that can be answered in
ten words or less, with a number, or with a “yes/no” response should not
be counted in the twenty question minimum. Short answers make for an
uninteresting program. For example, the question “How long have you
been…?” is widely overused in student-produced programming, but is
almost unheard of in professional programming. Unless the answer to
“How long have you been…” is unusual and sparks interest, viewers often
do not pay attention to the answer.
Figure 8-8. The outline
script for a drama is
a brief, chronological
presentation of a program.
House: Mom gives basket to LRR.
Warns not to stray from path.
Doorstep: Kiss goodbye, wave.
Path: LRR walking.
Path: Wolf sees LRR.
Path: LRR walking.
Path: Wolf running ahead to GM’s house.
Path: LRR walking.
GM’s house: Wolf breaks in and eats GM.
GM’s house: LRR arrives and goes into bedroom.
Bedroom: LRR and Wolf conversation “what big....”
Bedroom: Wolf jumps up and chases LRR.
Bedroom: Woodsman bursts in and kills wolf.
Bedroom: Out pops GM.
The end.
Chapter 8
Scriptwriting
175
Production Note
A 7-year-old child who has just played a piano concerto
at a major concert hall is asked how long he has been playing
the piano. If the answer is “5 years,” the question is worthwhile.
However, if a 50-year-old man is asked the same question and
responds “30 years,” it is not particularly interesting.
Every question listed may not be asked in the course of the interview
or panel discussion program. A particularly interesting answer to a question may lead to one or more impromptu follow-up questions. However, if
the conversation lags, standby questions can jump-start the conversation.
Music Video Outline
Concert style music videos do not require an outline. However, story
style music videos do require an outline. The second step in producing a music
video may be to obtain copyright permissions, then begin outlining and scripting. (Permissions are discussed in Chapter 12, Legalities: Releases, Copyrights, and
Forums and Chapter 13, Music.) By this point, the executive producer should
have approved the quality and suitability of the lyrics and music. The lyrics
of some songs are wholly inappropriate for broadcasting to the general public. The Federal Communications Commission has some detailed regulations
regarding obscenity and decency on the public airwaves. Moreover, the school
administration probably has regulations governing acceptable language for
broadcasting student produced programming over in-house cable systems.
Expanding an Outline
Once completed, it may be necessary to expand your outline to include
more detail about the program. To do this, review each line of the outline and list details related to that line. Much like the outline created for a
research paper, list sub-topics and supporting details for each main topic
line of the outline, Figure 8-9. Provide five to seven lines of detail for each
main topic. When the outline has been sufficiently expanded, it is ready to
be developed into a script.
Treatment
A treatment must be created for some types of programs, particularly
dramas and long documentaries, before going to a full script. A treatment
is, essentially, a narrative written from the outline that tells the story in
paragraph form, Figure 8-10. Dialog is not included in a treatment. Each
scene listed in the outline is expanded to an entire paragraph that details
what happens in the scene. Creating a well thought out treatment makes
script development much easier.
Writing the Script
It is recommended that all scripts be written using a computer word
processing program. If written with a word processing program and saved,
treatment: A narrative
written from a program
outline that tells the
program’s story in
paragraph form.
176
Figure 8-9. Use Roman
Numerals, letters, and
numbers to create an
expanded outline.
Figure 8-10. This is a
treatment for scene 22 in
the drama script featured
in Figure 8-13.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
I. Topic
A. Sub-topic
1. Supporting detail
B. Sub-topic
1. Supporting detail
2. Supporting detail
3. Supporting detail
II. Topic
A. Sub-topic
B. Sub-topic
1. Supporting detail
2. Supporting detail
C. Sub-topic
1. Supporting detail
Scene 22—Interior apartment, late night:
Lenny and Christine are snuggled on the couch,
watching a movie on TV. Evan comes home from the
theatre. Greetings and small talk. Evan asks how the
day went. Not understanding the question, Lenny and
Christine launch into a litany of the frivolous things they
did all day until they mention lunch. Evan interrupts.
They didn’t mention something Lenny was supposed to
do. It becomes apparent that Lenny forgot to go to an
audition Evan set up for him. Lenny and Christine sit in
stunned embarrassed silence. There is a long pause as
the camera lingers on Evan’s face, which is full of fury.
Composing himself, Evan asks Christine to leave. She
does. Evan and Lenny are alone. Evan switches the TV
to the channel of the security camera feed from the
lobby of their apartment building. Lenny tries to
apologize several times. Evan will not listen.
Chapter 8
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177
any alterations and changes requested by the executive producer or client
are easily made without rewriting multiple pages of script.
Production Note
Make sure to keep a copy of each revised version of
scripts. After your revisions are complete, do not simply press
“Save.” Choose “Save As” and rename the file to reflect the
revision sequence, such as “Scene 4 revision 3.” Otherwise,
the previous version cannot be retrieved for future review or if a
previous version is preferred later in the process.
Unlike film scripts, television scripts are always written in two columns. The left column is reserved for the video and technical information.
The right column holds the audio and stage direction. The information in
the right-hand column of a television script is exactly what is contained in
a “play-style” script for a theatrical performance.
The right and left columns are not the same size. The video column
is narrower than the audio column, taking only 1/3 of the page width,
Figure 8-11. The audio column (right column) occupies 2/3 of the page,
because there is always more audio detail to include than video information.
Each line of the video column lines up horizontally with the corresponding line in the audio column. The result may appear to be a lot of
wasted space on a page, but the empty space makes the page very easy and
clear to read. When video and audio events occur simultaneously, they line
up together on the script page.
The video portion of the script can make use of many abbreviations,
as long as the director and crew all understand the meanings. All camera
movements on the script should be abbreviated. There is not enough time
to speak full-sentence directions over the headsets. For example, “ZO-2S
Brian/Mike” is the equivalent of “zoom out to a two shot of Brian and
Mike.”
Types of Scripts
•
•
•
In television production, there are three types of scripts:
Word-for-Word
Outline
Format
Word-for-Word Script
In a word-for-word script, every word spoken by the talent is written out, Figure 8-12 and Figure 8-13. This type of script is used in dramas,
music videos, lectures, and documentaries.
When writing a word-for-word script, write the right-hand column
material first (audio and stage direction for performers). While writing the
audio, visualize how the program will look. When you imagine a camera
angle switch, move to the left column of the next line in the script and note
“switch” in the video box. A change in camera angle can even occur in the
word-for-word script:
A program script in
which every word
spoken by the talent is
written out.
178
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 8-11. A television script is always written in two columns, with the video in the left column and the audio
and stage direction in the right column.
PSA Word-for-Word Script
Stay In School!
Video
Audio
Music Note: Rowdy rock instrumental at significant volume in
beginning. Slowly lower the volume of the music track to zero
when the narrative indicates the band broke up.
WS amateur band performing
I WAS GONNA BE A ROCK STAR.
CU wall of beige tile. Very slow pan/tilt.
It’s ok if the audience is not quite sure
what the image is.
CU of Neil (lead singer) performing
I HAD MY ACT DOWN.
CU wall of beige tile. Very slow pan/tilt
I WROTE A LOT OF STUFF.
CU Neil writing at a keyboard
ME AND MY BUDDIES WERE NEGOTIATING A RECORD
DEAL.
CU wall of beige tile. Very slow pan/tilt
WE HAD A LOT OF IDEAS OF WHAT WE’RE GONNA DO
AND WHO WE’RE GONNA BE.
LS Neil walking out of a school directly
toward the camera, ending with a MCU
of his smiling face.
(Neil walking out of school in direction of camera)
AND I FIGURED, “HOW IS HISTORY OR SCIENCE GONNA
HELP ME IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?” SO, I DROPPED
OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. (Tosses notebook in trash can,
looks at camera and gives “thumbs up” sign)
CU wall of beige tile. Very slow
pan/tilt. Cut music.
THEN THE RECORD DEAL FELL THROUGH AND THE
BAND BROKE UP (Music ends)
MLS as Neil watches fellow band
member drive off
CAUSE EVERYONE WENT OFF TO COLLEGE.
CU wall of beige tile. Very slow pan/tilt.
THAT’S OKAY, WHAT’S RIGHT FOR THEM ISN’T
NECESSARILY WHAT’S RIGHT FOR ME.
Continue CU wall of beige tile. Very
slow pan/tilt bringing ECU of 3/4 side
view of Neil’s face into the picture.
He speaks to the camera
(Music Note: Bring in “elevator music” noticeable)
THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO, EVERYONE HAS A JOB
NOW. ME, I FINALLY FOUND ONE, TOO.
(Audio: loud Beep)
ZO to MS as Neil turns profile to face
a computer screen revealing that he is
wearing an intercom headset on the
previously hidden side of his face
(startled by the beep)
(To camera) OH! (Neil turns to computer screen and speaks
to the microphone of the headset) I’M SORRY, DID YOU WANT
FRIES WITH THAT? OKAY, PULL UP TO THE SECOND WINDOW.
Graphic
STAY IN SCHOOL.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME CHOICES.
179
Chapter 8 Scriptwriting
Figure 8-12. A word-for-word music video script with time code.
Word-for-Word Music Video Script
Empire of the Sun
Seconds
Video
Audio
1. 0.00-0.05
Intro shot beats 1, 2, 3, 4
PC Walking beats 5, 6
Blaine walking beats 7, 8
Opening music
2. 0.05-0.10
Andy walking beats 9, 10
Phil walking beats 11, 12
PC MCU pose beat 13
Blaine MCU pose beat 14
Andy MCU pose beat 15
Phil MCU pose beat 16
Music
3. 0.11-0.16
Phil hits cymbal-beat 17 shot starts zoomed in on
cymbal and zooms out for the rest of bar ends in a
LS of whole band
Music
4. 0.16-0.21
New LS of whole band
Music
5. 0.22-0.26
MLS of Chapin and Rachel on bench from front
Now you’ve left me to die in this
forgotten cell
6. 0.26-0.31
LS of Austin and Matt throwing football
You’ve left me a bitter man or can’t
you tell
7. 0.31-0.36
LS of Matt throwing ball too high over Austin’s hands
Well I’m here now girl and from
grace I have fell
8. 0.36-0.41
LS of Chapin and Rachel as ball lands next to them
To you I’d have given up my
soul to sell
9. 0.42-0.46
LS of Rachel getting off bench to grab ball
But you rejected my love, told me
to stay away
10. 0.47-0.51
Quick shot of Austin walking toward her as she picks
ball up and turns into a subjective shot
Well I’m back to offer my love for
just one day
11. 0.51-0.55
CU of Rachel’s eyes, and then Austin’s eyes
So you got this last chance, think
about it please
12. 0.56-1.00
MLS Rachel walks over to Austin and they hold
hands, quick CU of Chapin looking mad
Don’t waste your time on that guy,
besides I’ve heard he’s a tease.
13. 1.01-1.04
LS of whole band from front
Music
14. 1.05-1.09
MS of Blaine
Music
15. 1.10-1.14
MS of Andy
Music
16. 1.15-1.18
MS of Phil
Music
180
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 8-13. A word-for-word drama script based on the treatment in Figure 8-10.
Word-for-Word Drama Script
Scene 22
Video
Fade in
Cam 2, 2S, ZO for 3S
Cam 1, 2S Christine and Lenny
Cam 3, MS of Evan
Cam 1, 2S C & L
Cam 3, MS of Evan
Cam 2, 2S of C & L
Cam 1, move to CU of Lenny
Cam 3, MS Evan
Cam 1, CU Lenny
Cam 3, Begin ZI to MCU Evan
Cam 2, 2S L & C
Cam 3, MCU Evan
Cam 2, 2S L & C
Cam 3, MCU Evan
Cam 2, 2S L & C
Cam 3, MCU Evan
Cam 1, CU Lenny
Cam 3, CU Evan
Cam 1, CU Lenny
Cam 3, CU of Evan
Cam 2, 2S L & C
Cam 3, Move to 2S of L & E
Cam 3, 2S L & E
Cam 1, CU Lenny
Cam 2, CU of Evan
Cam 3, 2S E & L
Fade out
Audio
(We are inside the apartment. Christine is snuggled up against Lenny.
They are watching a movie on TV. A Christmas tree is in the
background. Evan comes into the apartment from the theater.)
Evan: (singing) Hello young lovers, wherever you
Evan: are.
Lenny and Christine: Hi, Evan!
Lenny: How’d it go tonight?
Evan: Knocked’em dead. Watcha watchin’?
Christine: A Summer Place
Lenny: At Christmas! Can you believe it?
Evan: (laughs) Easter Parade would be worse. Hey, (interrupting as
they turn back to watch the movie) tell me about today.
Lenny: Well, we started out by pretending we were rich.
Christine: Yeah, dressed up in our finest and walked into Saks.
You should have seen the saleslady when Lenny told her he
didn’t like the $25,000 fur coat I had been fawning over.
Lenny: I thought she was going to have heart failure. (laughs)
Then we came back to the apartment for lunch and -Evan: (interrupting) Lunch!
Lenny: Yeah. And then we -Evan: You didn’t do anything else this morning?
Lenny and Christine: No.
Evan: Do you know what day this is?
Lenny: Sure, it’s Tuesday.
Evan: (evenly) The audition.
(Lenny freezes. Christine slowly looks from Evan to Lenny.
Silence. Lenny looks frightened.)
(Evan looks from one to the other.)
Evan: Well, what happened at the audition?
Lenny: Evan, I...it was an accident. I mean -Evan: You mean what? What about the audition I set up for you?
Lenny: (Unable to face Evan) I forgot about it. (silence)
Evan: (Calmly enraged) Christine, would you excuse us please?
Christine: Well, it is getting kinda late. Call me tomorrow?
(Lenny nods and helps her on with her coat.)
(In a whisper to Lenny) Are you sure I should leave?
(Lenny nods; Christine exits.)
Lenny: Evan, I–
Evan: I don’t want to hear it, Lenny.
Lenny: But, I–
Evan: Lenny, I don’t want to hear it now.
Lenny: But Evan, I want to ex–
Evan (With quiet fury. Turning to Lenny) Lenny, no.
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181
middle of a sentence. Be sure to make a quick note of the visualized switch
before moving on with the audio column.
Once the entire right column is complete, allow the content specialist
to review the script, if applicable. With the content verified, begin determining the shots needed for each audio box in the script. In the left column,
describe each shot needed including the size of the shot, subject of the shot,
the camera movements, and all other information pertinent to the video.
Remember that a box in the script only contains the video or audio for a
single shot. For example, one sentence of audio may include five shots.
Therefore, that one sentence should span five boxes in both the audio and
video columns.
Outline Script
The outline script usually has a word-for-word introduction and conclusion, but an outline for the body of the script. For example, some interviews may not be news-oriented and may be completely pre-planned. For
a pre-planned interview, the questions may all be scripted, Figure 8-14. In
the initial draft, the scriptwriter does not know how the interviewee will
respond and the answers cannot be scripted. The interviewee’s response
is noted in the audio column of the script as “the talent answers,” “talent
response,” or a similar phrase.
For an interview program, consider holding an informal rehearsal of
the questions with the interviewee. Record the audio of the conversation
to use as a reference when writing the script. Keep in mind that the interviewee probably will not give exactly the same responses during the actual
interview. But, this prepares you for the type of responses to expect and
helps you to better understand how the program will flow. It may also
prompt some additional follow-up questions, or may lead to an entirely
new direction for questions. This information is important in developing
the video column of the script. Plan to cut to a different image about every
seven seconds. This requires a variety of shots planned in the video column of the script to obtain many cutaways.
A cooking show is another program that uses an outline script. When
writing the script for a cooking show, each step involved in the preparation of a dish is detailed, including the exact measurement of each ingredient, in the right-hand column of the script. Each step should be placed in
a separate box of the audio column. When the script is complete, the chef
should review it to ensure every step is included and is accurate. After
the audio is verified, determine the shots needed for each step. The credit
roll for cooking programs should include the recipe(s) featured and corresponding ingredients for each dish prepared.
outline script: A
program script that
usually has a wordfor-word introduction
and conclusion, but an
outline for the body of
the script.
Format Script
The format script is very brief and is used for panel discussions,
talk shows, game shows, and other programs where the format does not
change from episode to episode. See Figure 8-15. The on-screen talent and
lines may change, but the shots are predictable from a production point of
view. The order of events in programs of this type is predetermined and
the sequence of every episode is consistent.
format script: A program
script that is very brief
and used for programs in
which the order of events
is predetermined and
the sequence of each
episode is consistent.
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Figure 8-14. An outline
script for a television
interview with notations for
interviewee responses.
Outline Format Television Interview Script
Ttile: Movie Theaters in the 21st Century
Scene 23
Video
Audio
Host walks past the camera.
Pan right as he walks into the
stairwell and up the stairs.
Host: Now that you’ve had some insight on
running a theater, I’m going to show you
where all the magic happens,
Host walking from the
stairwell into the projection
room.
the projection room. We’ll talk to the
projectionist.
Pan right and zoom to MS
of Host walking up to the
projectionist.
Host: Hello, (projectionist’s name). Can we
hang with you for a while and see how you
do your job?
Cut ELS left side angle
shot of projectionist and
host.
Projectionist: Sure.
Cut between host and
interviewee every time a
question is asked.
Host: What kind of training does a
projectionist need?
Projectionist answers.
Get many cutaways for
editing variety.
Host: What kind of training does a
projectionist get?
Answer.
Host: How long is the film for most movies?
Answer.
Host: Do you need to clean the film
before loading it?
Answer.
Host: What can you do if the film is
damaged?
Answer.
Assistant Activity
Write a format script as you are watching a late night talk show. If
everyone in the class writes one for a different episode
this week, you will discover that all the scripts are nearly
identical. The only variations are the faces on the screen
and the dialog. The format/order of events remains constant
from episode to episode.
Chapter 8 Scriptwriting
Format Script
Late Night Talk Show
Video
Audio
Segment 1
Intro
LS Walk on
MS Host during monologue
Cutways of audience reactions
Host welcomes audience to show
Lists guests
Opening monologue
Segment 2
Guest 1
Intercuts between MCU of host,
MCU of guest, 2S of both, and
cutaways of audience
Host and guest chat/interview
Segment 3
Guest 2
Intercuts between MCU of host,
MCU of guest, 2S of both, and
cutaways of audience
Host and guest chat/interview
Segment 4
Musical Group
Variety of MLS, MS, MCU, and
CU of performers
Band plays
Segment 4
Guest 3
Intercuts between MCU of host,
MCU of guest, 2S of both, and
cutways of audience
Host and guest chat/interview
Segment 5
Wrap-up
MCU host then WS to include
all guests
Host thanks guests and audience all
guests
Writing Style
In most academic writing situations, students are encouraged to carefully choose their words, be mindful of the rules of sentence structure, and
abide by the rules of composition. In general, students are expected to follow the commonly accepted grammar and usage rules. This type of writing
is called “formal.” Formal writing is difficult for some people. Nearly all
school textbooks are written with a formal writing style. Formal writing is
not used in script writing. Scripts are written the way people talk, using
contractions and slang. Sometimes scripts do not even contain complete
sentences.
The television script is written in an informal style to aid in easy
understanding. For example, if you are reading a book and find a passage
that you do not understand, you go back and reread it. This cannot happen
on television. On television, if a concept or sentence is missed, it is gone.
Therefore, on television, sentences are short, simple, and easily understood.
Those who have anxiety about writing can try dictating scripts into a
voice recorder. After dictation is complete, the recording can be transcribed.
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Figure 8-15. A format
script for a late night talk
show program.
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Another option is “voice-to-text” computer programs, which automatically types what is spoken into a microphone connected to the computer.
Production Note
Do not waste words! The audience only sees what you show them.
If showing a close-up of a rose, do not waste words by having a narrator
state the obvious: “As you can see, here we have a rose.” It is
not necessary to describe what the audience is seeing, unless
providing information they may not be able to acquire with
their own eyes. With complex visuals, on the other hand, some
explanation may be necessary for the audience to understand
what they are seeing.
Montages
montage: A production
device that allows a
gradual change in a
relationship or a lengthy
time passage to occur in
a very short amount of
screen time by showing
a series of silent shots
accompanied by music.
A montage is a script/production device that establishes a setting,
allows a gradual change in a relationship, or depicts a lengthy time passage in a very short amount of screen time. Montages are usually set to
music and do not include any dialogue. The following is an example of
shots in a montage, presented in shot sheet format:
Shots of:
A couple having dinner.
The couple going to a museum.
The couple playing in the park.
The couple coming out of a movie theater.
The couple swimming at a public pool.
The couple raking leaves.
The couple at a Halloween costume party.
The couple shoveling snow.
The couple decorating their home for the winter holidays.
The couple assembling kites in the park for their children.
A love song accompanies the series of shots. As a result, two minutes
of real time shows that a year has passed in the couple’s lives and depicts
how their relationship has grown.
Chapter 8 Scriptwriting
Wrapping Up
Organizing your ideas and developing a script, however brief, helps to
focus your thoughts. Never shoot a program without a script of some kind.
When this rule is broken, the crew inevitably ends up reshooting on location
because the first shoot lacked a plan. Few people would attempt a crosscountry auto trip without planning the trip on a map ahead of time. At the
same time, people don’t often strictly adhere to the original plan. Traffic
backups, taking side trips on a whim, and road construction are just some
of the things that may sidetrack a journey. The same is true for a script.
Few scripts are shot exactly the way they are written. They do, however,
provide the backbone structure to hold the director’s creative vision together.
Deviations from the script are common during the shooting process, but the
basic structure of the program is constant because a script exists.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What are nod shots? How are they used?
2. What items are included in a program proposal?
3. What is a script outline?
4. How is a program treatment developed?
5. List the three types of scripts used in television production and the
unique characteristics of each.
6. Why are television scripts written using informal language?
7. What is a montage?
Activities
1. For each of the program formats listed below, name a television show
currently on the air that serves as a format example:
•
Lecture
•
Lecture/Demonstration
•
Panel Discussion
•
Interview
•
Newscast
•
Magazine
•
Drama
•
Music Video
•
PSA
Be prepared to explain the characteristics of the selected television show
that qualify it as an example of the corresponding program format.
2. Record an episode of your favorite sitcom and create an outline for the
program. Remember that an outline for this type of program breaks each
major event in the story into the fewest number of words possible and
progresses chronologically.
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Curriculum
1. Explain how word processing programs have impacted the process of
writing scripts.
2. When expanding an outline for a program, you should provide five to
seven lines of detail for each main topic. For an outline with 15 main topics, how many lines of detail will you need to provide?
3. Choose a 12-hour block of programming for a network or cable channel.
On the programming schedule, categorize each program as lecture, lecture/demonstration, panel discussion, interview, documentary, newscast,
magazine, drama, or public service announcement/ad. What is the overall percentage of programs in each category?
4. Watch a 30-minute television program and record it for reference. Write a
treatment for the program that lists each scene and tells the story of the
program in paragraph form.
5. Choose a current event topic and select a person to interview who is
involved in or related to the topic. Write relevant and interesting “who,”
“what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” and “why” questions for the interview.
Objectives
Professional Terms
beat
evergreen
extended package
feature
feature package
hard news
IFB
live shot
mainstream media
news
news feature package
news package
non-mainstream media
outro
package
patter
personality feature
reader
rundown
soft news
SOT
sound bite
stand-up
tabloid media
TRT
VO
VO-SOT
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the responsibility broadcast journalists
have to the viewing public.
•
Identify news programs as mainstream, nonmainstream, or tabloid.
•
Recall the news elements used to judge the
newsworthiness of a story.
•
Recognize the different story types broadcast
during a newscast.
•
Explain the elements of a package.
•
Identify the various abbreviations used on a
newscast script.
•
Recall the workflow and responsibilities involved
in a typical day in a newsroom.
Introduction
The general public turns on the television and
watches the news, typically without considering
everything involved in creating that news program. The
audience merely sees and hears the news program and
usually accepts what they see and hear as fact. News
programs have an awesome responsibility to the public.
Broadcast journalism is the profession that brings
television news to the public. “Broadcast” refers to the
television production necessary to technically bring
the video and audio to the viewers’ television screens.
“Journalism” refers to the careful determination of facts
included in the stories presented during the newscast.
This chapter introduces the broad area of journalism
in “broadcast journalism.” Many schools that offer courses
in broadcast journalism also assign that class the task
of producing a news-type program. This program may
then be sent throughout the school building on a regular
basis—as often as once a day, several times a week,
or several times a month. The student-produced news
program should not only be a presentation of school
appropriate news, but also a practical demonstration
of the skills students learn in the broadcast journalism
course. For this reason, many broadcast journalism
courses are modeled after a newsroom in the real world
of broadcast journalism. In mirroring the operation of
a professional newsroom, many students in broadcast
journalism classes are actually participating in career
training to enter the field of broadcast journalism.
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The News Media
news: Information
people want to know,
information they should
know, or information
they need to know.
News is information people want to know, information they should
know, or information they need to know. Television news may be classified
as one of three basic types: mainstream media, non-mainstream media,
and tabloid media. There are subdivisions of these categories, but this section concentrates on the three basic areas.
In carefully examining the characteristics of the three types of news
media, the gray nature of some television “news” programs is easily recognized. In the past, it was easy for the public to identify news that was biased
and that clearly presented a particular point of view. These opinion pieces
represent only the speaker’s point of view and were clearly labeled and
announced as “commentary.” Unfortunately, the practice of announcing
“The following is commentary” before airing an opinion piece has become
inconsistent or nonexistent. As a result, the public may be unaware when a
news story is biased or unbiased, unless they switch between various news
programs to see how several different reporters report on the same story.
Good journalism requires that every effort be made to present stories factually and allow the audience to form their own opinions based on the facts
they are given. Ethically, any commentary should be labeled or noted as such.
Mainstream Media
mainstream media:
Television news
programming that is
expected to provide
a fair and unbiased
presentation of facts,
without any particular
viewpoint.
Mainstream media is programming that is expected to provide a fair
and unbiased presentation of facts, without any particular viewpoint.
Mainstream media is the most highly respected form of broadcast journalism. This type of news programming includes 24-hour cable news networks,
the network-level news programs broadcast on major television networks, and
local news programs broadcast by network affiliates. Therefore, the early
morning news, news at noon, evening news (airing between 5 and 7 p.m.),
and the 11 p.m. news are all considered mainstream media.
Production Note
•
•
The public has two absolute expectations of the news media:
The public expects the news media to report on what is happening in
the world around them.
The public expects that they will not be told what to think about what is
happening in the world around them. If the audience is told
what to think, or facts are presented in a way intended to
influence the opinions of viewers, it is no longer news—it is
propaganda. Always be wary when television news begins
to tell viewers what they should think.
24-hour cable news networks, such as FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC,
do not always provide news 24 hours a day. Scheduled hard news broadcasts are separated by extended commentary and news/talk programming, which may be described as current event discussion and opinion.
In times of crisis or breaking news, these networks interrupt the regularly
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
189
scheduled programming to provide extended news programming. It is
important for viewers to recognize that opinion and discussion programming is not news programming. Hard facts and truth are often diminished
when opinion is the focus of a program.
Non-Mainstream Media
Non-mainstream media is programming that is expected to report
news from a particular point of view. For example, the news presented on
a religious-oriented cable station is expected to examine the news from a
religious perspective. Additionally, news on a sports channel is expected to
provide sports-oriented news programming.
non-mainstream
media: Television news
programming that is
expected to express a
particular point of view.
Tabloid Media
Tabloid media stretches and exaggerates facts by dealing with sensational stories. The news stories presented on tabloid media programs are
often so far removed from unbiased truth, that they are nearly fiction stories using real people’s names. These programs can be found on fringe
cable stations and even on local broadcast stations during non-network
programming hours. However, tabloid programs are usually not networkprovided programming. Tabloid media is generally considered more
entertainment than news. Tabloid media is sometimes derogatorily called
“gotcha journalism.” Print versions of tabloid media can often be found
near grocery store checkout counters and often include sightings of UFOs
and Elvis, and stories about celebrities who have gained or lost weight.
tabloid media:
Television news
programming that
stretches and
exaggerates facts by
dealing with sensational
stories; generally
considered more
entertainment than
news.
Ethics and News Judgment
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the
freedom of the press, Figure 9-1. At first glance, many falsely interpret this
to mean that journalists can do anything they want to do. In reality, all
rights come with responsibilities.
Ethics in Journalism
While the law covers many situations, other content and production
decisions are guided by ethics. Technology provides the incredible ability
to capture reality, and modern editing equipment gives journalists tools to
alter reality. Recording in almost any environment (openly or secretly) is
quite easy, as is sharing the recording with a worldwide audience.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the
right of the people peaceably to assemble; and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.
The Constitution of The United States of America,
Bill of Rights—Amendment I
Figure 9-1. The First
Amendment to the
Constitution of the United
States of America provides
for five freedoms: speech,
press, religion, assembly,
and petitioning the
government.
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Production Note
Just because you have the right to do a story does not
mean you should do the story.
Journalists, both professional and student, capture reality, process
information, and prepare a valid, edited story for their viewers. The viewing public demonstrates trust in broadcast media and expects truth and
reliability. Journalists must meet viewers’ expectations and serve the viewers by making the “right” decision in tough call situations. Sometimes the
“right” thing to do is complicated, given the legal freedom journalists have
and all the technological tools at their disposal. Even student journalists
must make judgment calls in deciding what to cover and how to cover it.
Following established guidelines for ethical journalism is a basic step in
learning the skills to become a credible journalist, Figure 9-2. Following a
strong industry code of ethics early in your education sets a beneficial pattern of behavior for your professional career.
Visualize This
The negative ramifications of making the story public may far outweigh
the “glory” a reporter would receive for getting the “scoop.” In a time of
war, for example, a reporter discovers a story that would reveal classified
information if broadcast. The classified information would be harmful to
national security and helpful to the enemy. Should the reporter do the
story? The line between what news organizations have
the right to do and what is right for them to do has become
blurred in recent years. A good reporter is willing and able to
make ethical decisions based on the “greater good.”
News Judgment
News programs have a finite and unmovable amount of time to report
on the most important stories of the day. To conform to the time frame of
a newscast, some stories do not make it to broadcast. Sometimes, a story
idea may be rejected or postponed because it is deemed not as newsworthy as other available stories. Other well-produced stories do not make
the newscast simply due to the run time constraints of a newscast. Unlike
a newspaper, which may add additional pages or use a condensed font to
squeeze a story in, minutes cannot be added to a television news program.
In a professional broadcast journalism environment, the producer
and news director make decisions about which stories will be covered by
journalists. The producer and news director positions are typically held
by long-time industry professionals with many years of experience in
reporting. Most professional journalists are required by their superiors to
produce a mandatory number of sources to verify a story before it can be
broadcast. Appropriate sources must be trustworthy and knowledgeable
about the story topic. Multiple sources (at least two) should be required in
an academic broadcast journalism environment, as well.
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
191
Figure 9-2. The Student Television Network adopted a code of ethics appropriate for use in school broadcast
journalism programs; it is reprinted here with their permission. The STN code of ethics was adapted from the
Radio and Television Digital News Association and the Student Press Law Center’s codes of ethics.
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In an academic broadcast journalism environment, the instructor often
fills the role of producer and/or news director in the classroom. As the producer or news director, the instructor makes programming decisions and
helps students understand the basis for these decisions, which assists students in developing a sense of news judgment. Modeling and teaching these
skills may lead to increased student involvement in decisions, but a teacher
functioning as the news director maintains authority for final story approval.
In judging the newsworthiness of a story, various news elements must
be considered. It is critical that a reporter recognize these news elements to
effectively develop a news story.
• Proximity. Is the story important to viewers because it concerns their
immediate environment? Building a new freeway in Washington,
DC might be very important to residents of Washington, DC and its
suburbs, but the story means very little to residents of Phoenix, AZ.
• Timeliness. Does the story report an event that just happened, which
viewers need to know about right now? Such as, the “just-in” election
results of the town’s mayoral race or a breaking news report of an
Amber alert for a missing child.
• Prominence. Is the principal character in the story a well-known
(prominent) individual, making the story newsworthy? The town
mayor has decided to run for governor. A celebrity quits Hollywood
to enlist in military service.
• Consequences. Does the story directly affect a significant number of
viewers? If taxes are not raised by the city council, the salaries of all
public workers (including firefighters, police officers, teachers, and
city employees) will be reduced next year. Do the consequences of
the story require the public to act or react in a specific way? Tornados
have been sighted five miles outside of town. Schools are closing
three hours early due to inclement weather.
• Conflict. Does the story contain a controversy, struggle, or issue with
two or more sides? Is the final outcome of interest to the public? For
example, political campaigns, crime stories, governmental votes, and
sporting events.
• Unusualness. Is there a particular aspect that makes the entire story
unusual? A four-year-old boy is a piano prodigy and has been asked
to perform at Carnegie Hall. Someone in the community celebrating
a birthday is ordinary, but someone celebrating her 105th birthday is
unusual and interesting.
• Emotion. Will the story “pull at the heartstrings” of the public? A
young soldier endured a two-year tour of duty in a war-ravaged land
and finally returned to his hometown. He was crossing the street at
the bus station to greet his wife and infant son, and was killed by a
drunk driver who ran a red light.
• Achievement. Does the story involve an amazing effort that leads
to an outstanding achievement? The story of a young athlete who
suffered a devastating injury and was told he would never be able to
play his sport again. Sheer determination and training brought him
back from his injuries to win a spot on the US Olympic Team.
• Contrast. Does the contrast of two elements in the story create
general interest? A story of two very different families celebrating the
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
same religious holiday. A story detailing the life of a carnival worker
30 years ago, in contrast with the life of a carnival worker today.
Determining which of these news elements is the strongest helps
establish the angle needed for the story. (A story’s “angle” is discussed
in Chapter 10, Newswriting for Broadcast.) When more news elements are
included in a single story, the bigger the story becomes. The first five news
elements listed (proximity, timeliness, prominence, consequences, and
conflict) are usually associated with hard news. The last four news elements
(unusualness, emotion, achievement, and contrast) are usually associated
with soft news. However, there are no firm and fast rules dictating which
news elements define hard and soft news. Hard news stories and soft news
stories are two classifications of content in a newscast.
Hard news is characterized by seriousness and timeliness. These stories may address politics, economics, war, crime, health crises, weather crises, and governmental messages to the public. Hard news stories contain
information that viewers need to have immediately. “Breaking news” bulletins and stories are examples of hard news.
Soft news is characterized by information that may be interesting,
but is not necessarily something viewers need to know—these stories may
focus less on timeliness. Soft news often consists of human interest stories
and may include sports, updates on celebrities, entertainment, consumer
tips, and gardening hints. In many cases, these stories may be appropriate
to be told any time there is room in the news program. A story that may
be broadcast at any time is called an evergreen story. However, soft news
stories may also have a degree of timeliness. For example, a story about
a friendly competition between two neighbors for the most extravagant
holiday lights display is appropriate for broadcasting only in December.
Ethically Funding the News
The news is not a fund-raiser for a television station. A news operation requires many paid employees, whose salaries and equipment must
be funded by some revenue source at the station (Figure 9-3). Most television stations have a studio in the building. The sole purpose of the studio is
often to present the news. Revenue earned by airing local ads throughout
the entire day must fund the operation of the studio. Most ads for local
car dealerships or restaurants are produced by advertising production
companies or by a television station’s production department. The ad is
then aired by the station according to the contract held with the advertiser.
Sometimes, the television station’s studio may produce ads for clients as a
way of increasing revenue. Each time the ad airs on the station, even more
funds are generated.
To ethically fund a news operation, the news cannot have any relationship to the station’s advertisers and cannot be influenced by advertisers.
Advertisers cannot be given special treatment merely because they have
purchased a substantial amount of ad time on the station. If a scandal was
uncovered, for example, involving the owner of a local restaurant bribing a health inspector, the newsroom must not be unduly influenced to
avoid covering the story because the restaurant advertises on the television
station. The news operation must be kept separate from the advertising
department to maintain the untarnished appearance of unbiased news.
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hard news: Type
of news story that
contains information
that viewers need to
have immediately;
characterized by
seriousness and
timeliness.
soft news: Type of
news story that contains
information viewers may
find interesting, but not
necessarily information
they need to know.
evergreen: A story that
is appropriate to be
broadcast at any time,
regardless of season or
time of day.
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Figure 9-3. From the
control room to the
studio floor, all the staff
and equipment require
funding to operate.
(Countryside High School,
Clearwater, FL)
Airing Stories
IFB: Interrupted
feedback; a line of
communication between
the anchors and the
producer in the control
room. An earpiece
worn by the anchor
is connected to the
producer’s headset,
allowing the producer
to speak directly to an
anchor while the anchor
is on the air live.
Figure 9-4. An IFB fits
snuggly in the ear and
provides a direct line of
communication from the
producer to the talent/
anchor.
A topic can be covered, from a technical standpoint, in a variety of
ways. The type of coverage often depends on how quickly a story needs to
be aired, how big the story is, and how much information/footage is available to work with.
The fastest way to get a story to the public is through an IFB (interrupted feedback), Figure 9-4. The anchors on a news broadcast wear an
earpiece with a wire that runs behind their ear and down their back (typically under the anchor’s shirt or jacket). This earpiece is particularly noticeable if a camera shoots the anchor from a side angle. In the news industry,
the earpiece worn by an anchor is the IFB. The IFB is connected to the headset worn by the producer in the control room of the studio. Under normal
conditions, the anchor’s earpiece carries the audio of the news program as
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195
heard by the television audience. However, the producer can break into
the IFB feed and speak directly to the anchor who is on the air live. The
anchor immediately repeats what the producer is saying without embellishment. It may be challenging to maintain composure on camera when
“channeling” the words of the producer. The producer must speak clearly
and concisely because there is no filter between the producer’s words and
the words the anchor broadcasts.
Production Note
Footage of newscasts from any of the major networks
on September 11, 2001 and the following three days provide
excellent examples of news covered as it happens and anchors
relying solely on the words fed to them by producers through
the IFB.
Assistant Activity
Sit in front of a mirror and call a friend on the phone.
Ask your friend to read a newspaper or magazine article
aloud to you. Try to repeat what your friend is saying to you
while they are saying it. Maintain a normal facial expression
and repeat your friend’s words accurately.
Types of Stories
Many different types of story formats are used in a single newscast.
Each type has unique characteristics and complexities, which allows stories to be told in different ways and with varying depth.
Reader
A reader is a story that an anchor simply reads aloud from the teleprompter for the viewing audience to hear, Figure 9-5. A reader does not
include video to support the story.
VO
A VO (voiceover) is a type of story that incorporates B-roll video
rolled-in from the control room, in addition to the script read by the anchor.
The audience hears the nat sound on the B-roll behind the anchor’s voice,
Figure 9-6. A VO takes the reader story one step further with the addition
of supporting video.
Talk the Talk
When speaking the term VO aloud, simply say the
letters “V-O,” just as you might say “OK” in response to the
question, “How are you?”
reader: A story, written
by a reporter or anchor,
that does not have
video to accompany the
story. The anchor simply
reads the text on the
teleprompter aloud for
the viewing audience to
hear.
VO: Voiceover; a type of
story that incorporates
B-roll video rolled-in
from the control room,
in addition to the script
read by the anchor.
196
Figure 9-5. A—An example
of a reader script in twocolumn format. B—The
audio portion of the reader
script is uploaded to the
teleprompter and read by the
anchor during the newscast.
(South County Secondary
School, Lorton, VA)
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Video
Audio
Cam 2—Med shot
Anchor 1
CG—Lower third super
identifying anchor 1
Anchor 1: The Randolph Community Theater is
now in rehearsal for their spring musical. This
year’s production is “Murder by Lottery.” It is a
dark comedy and with a cast of 23 locals. Karen
Telesco will play the lead—a 70-year-old eccentric
millionaire. The director is Jim Smythers. Opening
night is set for April 15 in the Randolph Auditorium.
A
B
Figure 9-6. A sample VO
script that an anchor reads
as the audience sees
B-roll footage.
Video
Audio
Med shot Anchor 1
Anchor 1: The Randolph Community Theater is
now in rehearsal for their spring musical.
Wide shot of several
actors on stage in
rehearsal with nat
sound in background
This year’s production is “Murder by Lottery.” The
three-act play is a dark comedy with a touch of
suspense. All of the 23 cast members are local—some
with experience and some totally new to the stage.
Full shot of Karen
Telesco on stage with
nat sound
Karen Telesco will play the lead—a 70-year-old eccentric millionaire. In reality, Karen is a much younger lady
who will have a complete makeover to play the role.
Med shot of Jim
Smythers sitting with
director’s notebook in lap
The director is Jim Smythers. Smythers has
directed several community theater productions,
but this will be his first with The Randolph Group.
Med shot Anchor 1
Opening night is set for April 15 in the Randolph
Auditorium.
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
197
VO-SOT
VO-SOT (voiceover–sound on tape) is a type of story that is one step
higher in complexity than a VO. The audience sees B-roll video and hears
the anchor reading from the teleprompter, followed by footage of a comment from a principal player in the story. The B-roll is one file and the
comment (SOT) is another. SOT, also called a sound bite, is footage of a
principal player connected to the story and includes voice that supports the
reporter’s story. This footage is often the answer to a reporter’s question
and should be a reliable source that is connected to the story in some way,
such as an official person from the event or an eyewitness to the event. SOT
footage is usually between 5 and 10 seconds in length, but rarely more than
15 seconds. The B-roll is seen by the viewers as the anchor reads and, at the
appropriate time, the switch is made to the comment footage, Figure 9-7.
Talk the Talk
VO-SOT: Voiceoversound on tape; a type
of story in which the
audience sees B-roll
video and hears both
the anchor reading from
the teleprompter and
footage of a comment
from a principal player
in the story.
SOT: Sound on tape;
footage of a principal
player connected to a
story, which includes
voice/audio that
supports the story. Also
called sound bite.
When speaking the term SOT, pronounce the letters as a word
(“sot”)—rhymes with “got” and “not.”
When speaking the term VO-SOT, pronounce the letters
“VO” as a word (rhymes with “toe”) and “SOT” as described
above—“voe-sot.”
Video
Audio
Med shot Anchor 1
Anchor 1: The Randolph Community Theater is
now in rehearsal for their spring musical.
Wide shot of several
actors on stage in
rehearsal with nat
sound in background
This year’s production is “Murder by Lottery.” The
three-act play is a dark comedy with a touch of
suspense. All of the 23 cast members are local—
some with experience and some totally new to
the stage.
Full shot of Karen
Telesco on stage with
nat sound
Karen Telesco will play the lead—a 70-year-old
eccentric millionaire. In reality, Karen is a much
younger lady who will have a complete makeover
to play the role.
Med shot of Jim
Smythers sitting with
director’s notebook in
lap
The director is Jim Smythers. Smythers has
directed several community theater productions,
but this will be his first with The Randolph Group.
Med shot of Jim
Smythers (talking head)
CG: Lower third
super identifying Jim
Smythers as director
SOT
Jim Smythers: “The challenge of this production is
that three different locations must be used, which
calls for creative set building and quick changes. I
guarantee the audience will enjoy the fast pace of
this show.”
Med shot Anchor 1
Anchor 1: Opening night is set for April 15 in the
Randolph Auditorium.
Figure 9-7. This sample
VO-SOT script includes
scripted anchor lines,
B-roll footage, and
recorded comment
footage.
198
package: A story that is
about 1 1/2–2 minutes in
length, contains its own
intro and outro, is edited,
and can be inserted into
a live program at any time
the producer chooses.
Figure 9-8. A package
script contains an intro,
body of the story, and the
outro, in addition to all
of the shots, lines, and
footage.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Packages
If a story is shot and edited prior to the newscast, the story is called a
package. A package is a complete unit that can be inserted into a live program at any time the producer chooses; it is simply rolled-in after the anchor
introduces it. A package is fully thought-through, usually 1 1/2–2 minutes in
length, contains its own intro and outro, and is edited, Figure 9-8. It is called a
“package” because the beginning, middle, and end of the story are neatly tied
together to create a complete packet—the story can stand alone. The topic
and content of packages range from in-depth news stories to human interest
Video
Audio
Wide shot of two actors
on stage choreographing
a fight with nat sound
Reporter VO: The Randolph Community Theater
is now in rehearsal for their spring musical.
Wide shot of several
actors on stage in
rehearsal with nat
sound in background
This year’s production is “Murder by Lottery.” The
three-act play is a dark comedy with a touch of
suspense. All of the 23 cast members are local—
some with experience and some totally new to the
stage.
Full shot of Karen
Telesco on stage with
nat sound
Karen Telesco will play the lead
Karen Telesco: “I’ll be playing a 70-year-old eccentric millionaire.
Med Shot Karen
Telesco (talking head
from interview)
CG: Lower third identifying Karen Telesco as
female lead.
Just getting the makeover will be a challenge, but I
also have to become arthritic and grumpy. I’m sure
my high school English students will be glad I’m
not REALLY like that when they see me.”
Med shot of Jim
Smythers sitting with
director’s notebook in lap
Reporter: The director is Jim Smythers. Smythers
has directed several community theater productions, but this will be his first with The Randolph
Group.
Med shot of Jim
Smythers (talking
head)
CG: Lower third
super identifying Jim
Smythers as director
Full shot of reporter
on set holding a prop
gun and a heavy
candlestick
Jim Smythers: “The challenge of this production is
that three different locations must be used, which
calls for creative set building and quick changes.
I guarantee the audience will enjoy the fast pace
of this show. AND I guarantee most of them won’t
identify the murderer until the very end of the show.”
Reporter Stand-up: Was THIS the murder
weapon? Or was it THIS? Only the cast knows,
and they’re not telling. If you want to know, you’ll
have to buy a ticket. Opening night is set for April
15 here in the Randolph Auditorium.
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Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
to sports. A package includes a reporter’s audio track, one or more sound
bites, and may have a stand-up by a reporter. An extended package may be
2–4 minutes in length and typically provides more in-depth coverage of a
specific story. A documentary, 6–10 minutes in length, may also be considered a type of package.
A package that covers hard news/current events is often called a news
package. For example, a local reporter might produce a package about a
fire that occurred this morning in the town. The package shows the damage, includes comments from owners of some damaged buildings, and
comments from firefighters on the scene. This type of package is produced
very quickly—the reporter and camera operator get to the scene, shoot,
write, and edit the package so it can air while the event is still current.
Another example is a recall issued by a toy manufacturing company. The
news package shows the toy, a demonstration of the danger, and tells the
audience how to return it for refund.
A news feature package, also called a feature package or feature, covers soft news stories that are connected to current events. For example, a
news feature on the celebration events taking place for the fifth anniversary of a local food bank may be included in the day’s newscast. The story
may include comments on the center’s growth from the director of the food
bank, as well as comments from people who have donated to the food bank
and people who have benefitted from the food bank. Another example may
be the rebuilding efforts of a family business destroyed by a fire last spring.
This would be a follow-up type of story. After being in operation for three
generations, the family is rebuilding—bigger and better. The news feature
has the “now factor” because rebuilding is in progress, but also addresses
the decision to rebuild, changes being made, and the emotions associated
with starting over.
Other packages may not be related to current events and may not have
any relevant consequences for the viewer. These are human interest stories,
which may simply be interesting and entertaining. News elements typical
of human interest stories include unusualness, emotion, achievement, or
contrast. One type of human interest story is a personality feature, which
focuses on one person. A personality feature introduces viewers to a person
and explains why that person is newsworthy. Stories about people being
honored for service, accomplishment, overcoming adversity, or having an
unusual job or home are examples of personality features.
Packages are often roughly outlined before the crew arrives at a location to begin shooting based on research and previous knowledge of the
story topic. The outline provides a list of the video and audio to obtain at
the location, and may include some preplanned interview questions. With
this rough outline, the crew is more likely to return to the studio with usable
footage for the story. Once the required footage is obtained, the crew may
gather additional footage and record other things of interest at the location.
In post-production all the footage is examined. It may be determined that
the footage supporting the original story outline is not very compelling,
but some of the other footage reveals a different and interesting angle on
the story. In this case, a new story is written to match the new footage.
A stand-up is footage in a package that depicts a reporter standing in
front of the camera, speaking directly to the viewers from the location of a
extended package: A
2–4 minute story that is
shot and edited before a
newscast and typically
provides more in-depth
coverage of a specific
story.
news package: A
package that covers
hard news/current
events.
news feature package:
A package covering soft
news stories that are
connected to current
events. Also called a
feature package or
feature.
personality feature:
Type of human interest
story that focuses
on one person and
why that person is
newsworthy.
stand-up: Footage in
a package that depicts
a reporter standing in
front of the camera,
speaking directly to
the viewers from the
location of a story.
200
TRT: Total running time;
industry abbreviation.
Figure 9-9. A stand-up
places the reporter at a
location related to the
story.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
story, Figure 9-9. The stand-up is shot at a location connected to the story
topic, and may be used at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a
package story. The purpose of the stand-up is to establish for the audience
that the news team was actually at the location to cover the story or to
demonstrate action relevant to the story. A stand-up is a story-telling tool.
The stand-up is a very common element of a package and allows the
audience to see what is happening with their own eyes. For example, a
story on severe winter weather has greater impact with a shot of a snow
plow truck stuck in the snow. In some soft news stories, the reporter actually takes part in the story, which effectively allows the audience to take
part in the story. A reporter that takes a test-drive in a NASCAR racing
vehicle, for example, can take the audience on the ride by shooting from
inside the vehicle while driving. Another use of a stand-up is to demonstrate a particular aspect of the story or to show the inner workings of an
object or event.
If a reporter includes a stand-up in the report, there must be a reason
for the shot. It should not be used simply because there is not enough B-roll
to fill the package. Never do a stand-up from a location that is not linked
to the story. Including footage from an unrelated location will confuse the
audience or raise doubts about the reporter’s integrity. A reporter’s credibility will disappear in an instant if the audience realizes the reporter tried
to “fool” them.
Editing Packages. A reporter needs a strong ethical standard when
editing a package that contains sound bites. In a package story about a
campaign speech made by a political candidate, for example, the sound
bites must be edited extensively to complete the story and keep it to a TRT
(total running time) of 2 minutes. The context of the candidate’s speech
must not be altered in the process of editing, regardless of the reporter’s
personal political views. The news media must remain truthful in all the
stories reported.
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
201
Visualize This
A reporter is assigned to cover the speech of a political candidate.
The candidate says, “I do not support giving consideration of any kind to
drug dealers. These parasites feed on the innocence of our youth and we
should place them behind bars and throw the key away” (the audience
erupts in thunderous applause). An unscrupulous reporter could edit the
footage so the candidate says, “I [edit here] support giving consideration
[edit here] to drug dealers [edit out the rest of the speech]” and cut to
audio of thunderous applause and shots of young people
shouting approval. In distorting what the candidate said and
broadcasting what the reporter knows is blatantly untrue,
the reporter has breached ethical standards. That breach of
ethics may ultimately cause the defeat of the candidate.
Live Shot
A live shot is a story that is introduced by the anchor and delivered
through a live feed by a reporter on location. Typically, the word “Live”
is displayed somewhere on the screen or someone will mention that the
reporter is “Live from the scene.” The reporter tells the story and delivers
a standard outro, the closing at the end of a story. Lines such as “Back to
you, Jim” or “This is Lisa Thompson, EyeWitness News,” are commonly
used to send the viewers back to the anchor in the studio. The anchor in the
studio and the reporter in the field may have a live conversation on the air
before the anchor continues to the next story. This conversation between
anchor and reporter is usually set up in advance of the live shot and is often
scripted. The live shot is more complex than other story types because the
reporter must deliver a report live using notes on the spot, usually without
a teleprompter. Sometimes, live shots include live interviews and may even
include action happening as the report is delivered. An extreme example of
a live shot is war correspondents giving live reports from the battle front.
Production Note
High school journalists rarely broadcast a live shot story due to lack
of technical ability. However, students can produce a live shot
style story. This type of story is called “look-live.” The footage
is taped on location and a reporter speaks from notes. The
footage is then edited to look like it is a live feed. When this
type of story is included in a newscast, the audience should not
be led to believe that it is an actual live feed.
Investigative Reporting
Investigative reporting is a difficult and complex type of reporting. It
often involves a reporter digging into a topic, searching for wrongdoing
by an individual or organization. This type of reporting may be viewed
as exciting, particularly by students, but is typically both physically and
legally dangerous. Investigative reporting (and the defamation of character that possibly results) is the foundation for many lawsuits. The National
live shot: A news story
that is introduced by an
anchor and delivered
through a live feed by a
reporter on location.
outro: The salutation
at the end of a story;
opposite of an intro.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Television Academy recommends there be executive-level approval (above
the level of news director) before a reporter pursues an investigative story.
The primary concern is to determine if the story will expose something of
significant public concern, reveal a wrongdoing by a head official, or if the
investigative report will profoundly harm the reputation of an innocent
individual or group. These are very serious and significant issues.
Investigative reporting is sometimes associated with hidden-camera
footage. To be justified, a compelling case must be made that there is no other
possible means of acquiring the necessary video and that no laws will be
broken in obtaining the video. Hidden-camera journalism typically involves
many legal issues, the most notable being privacy rights. (See Chapter 12,
Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums.) This is not to say that journalists
cannot cover controversial topics, analyze statistics to draw conclusions, and
gain access to information of public record in order to develop stories. The
level of investigation should be commensurate with the reporter’s experience, skill, and position.
Visualize This
You have come to the conclusion that local police drive too fast for no
apparent reason and set out to prove your theory. You cruise the streets of
your town with a friend in the backseat of your car. Your friend has a video
camera and is ready to start shooting. You find a police car on the road,
pull behind it, and follow, maintaining the same speed. Your friend shoots
video of your speedometer in the foreground, and the police car you’re
following in the background. You feel this is your “proof” that the local police
regularly speed in non-emergency, normal driving. The problem with your
investigation is that you have broken the law by speeding yourself and
have made a video of yourself breaking the law! If you use that video in
your story, you publicly admit to the community and local law enforcement
officials that you broke the law. Your story about local police
driving too fast will be lost in the uproar caused by a reporter
who put the community in danger by driving recklessly to get
a story. Also, you can certainly expect a visit from the local
police concerning your illegal activity.
The Newscast Script
patter: The
spontaneous on-air
conversation or small
talk between anchors or
anchors and reporters.
Most television stations use scripting software that prints the script
in different formats for different members of the production team. For
example, the lighting director may receive a script that contains only lighting cues instead of the all-encompassing script generated for the technical
director. Some newscasts also include portions that are not fully scripted.
The patter, spontaneous conversation or small talk, between an anchor
and a reporter on location is an example of unscripted dialog in a newscast.
For student newscasts, a two-column script with all the directions
noted helps students see the “big picture” and understand how all actions
are synchronized, Figure 9-10. The text in the right column of the script is
displayed on the teleprompter. When a script is set up in a two-column table,
each row indicates a change in video source—either a different camera
or switching to a pre-recorded piece. A change in audio source may or
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
203
Figure 9-10. A script sample of a fully-scripted newscast.
Video
Audio
VPB—Show Open
SOT
Cam 2: 2 shot
SOT soft light in background
Anchor 1: Good Morning! Thanks for joining us. I’m Andrew Kendall.
Anchor 2: And I’m Sandra Bailey. One Roane County football player has
an artistic side and we’ve found a student that YOU might want to hire.
Anchor 1: Raider Television starts right NOW.
VPB Show Open
SOT
Cam 1: MED shot Anchor 2
SOT fade
CG: Lower third super with name
of Anchor 2
Anchor 2: There have been some changes made to the Writing Assessment. The Writing Assessment will take place March 31st through April
10th. The BIG change this year is that Juniors and Freshmen will be
taking the test, in addition to Sophomores. Yes, you heard right. Grades
9, 10, and 11 will take the state Writing Assessment right after spring
break. The test will be administered online in the library computer lab.
So, the lab will be closed to other classes during testing time.
Cam 3: MED shot Anchor 1
Anchor 1: While we’re on the topic of writing, we have the winners of
this year’s Young Writers’ competition.
CG: Lower third super with name
of Anchor 1
FSG (still pictures and text)
VO Anchor 1
Amanda Jackson
Freshman Amanda Jackson took first place for Grades 9 and 10. The
title of her short story is “Lady”. The story is about an older woman who
is dying, but has a great impact on her granddaughter.
Miriam Hottle
Senior Miriam Hottle took first place for grades 11 and 12 with her story
about a middle-aged man who has lost his factory job and faces traumatic changes.
Cam 2: 2 shot
Anchor 1: Congratulations and good luck to the winners. They will
represent Roane County at the state competition in mid-May.
Cam 1: MED shot Anchor 2
Anchor 2: While some students are competing indoors, others are
gearing up for a national competition outside. The FFA land judging
team has qualified for the national competition in Oklahoma. Students
on the team are Justin Braddon, Chad Macklin, and Logan Philips.
(left of center)
CG: OSG (FFA logo)
Cam 3: 2 shot
Anchor 2: Another group of students has been preparing to entertain
an audience.
Cam 3: Med shot Anchor 2
Anchor 2: The Roane Arts and Humanities Council is sponsoring a
comedy play titled “Marriage by Indecision.” The play will take place
April 3rd through the 6th at the Spencer Middle School auditorium. The
play has 28 cast members, including some high school students that
you’ll recognize. Rick Bradley has the story.
VPB—Community Theater
SOT
Outcue—“…director says no one will want to miss “Marriage by Indecision” coming to this stage in April. This is Rick Bradley reporting for
Raider Television.”
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
may not accompany the change in video source. Cues, like SOT, VO, and
Outcue, may or may not be included, depending on the preference of the
crew. There are many abbreviations that may be used in a newscast script.
Newscast Script Abbreviations
Abbreviation
Meaning
VPB
Video playback. Indicates that a pre-recorded, edited
piece should be inserted into the show. The words
following “VPB” on a script identify the filename of the
piece to be played at that time.
SOT
Sound on tape. Instructs the audio technician to get audio
feed from the pre-recorded, edited piece. “Tape” is still used
in the term even though the material is on a computer—this
has carried over from the days of tape technology.
CG
Character generator. Directions to the person responsible for displaying graphics at the appropriate time.
FSG
Full screen graphic. Directions to the person responsible for
displaying graphics. FSGs may be a colored background
with still pictures, text, graphs, maps, or diagrams.
VO
Voiceover. Lets the audio technician know to keep
anchor mics open for audio, even though the anchors
are not seen on-screen.
OSG
Over the shoulder graphic. Directions to the person
responsible for displaying graphics. An OSG may be
a box or a design with text overlaying about 1/3 of the
screen. The shot of the anchor is moved to the side of
the screen to allow room for the OSG.
Outcue
When audio comes from a pre-recorded piece, the last
few words of the piece are noted in the script so the
director can give a stand-by to the anchors and crew.
On-Air Appearance
The familiar phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is generally a
true statement. However, a newscaster’s appearance and behavior directly
affect their credibility, as perceived by the viewing public. Therefore, management judges these qualities quite critically. Newscasters’ ability to speak
correctly, clearly, and intelligently also affects their credibility.
Assistant Activity
Flip around from one newscast to another on both
broadcast and cable network channels. What do you notice
about the appearance of newscasters and reporters?
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205
Newscasters diligently work to make themselves as visually attractive as
possible by remaining physically fit and maintaining a mainstream appearance, which includes makeup, hair style, and clothing. A mainstream appearance does not include visible body piercings, tattoos, and radical hair styles
and colors. Nothing about the on-air talent should distract from the news being
reported. It is important that on-air talent does not alienate any segment of the
viewing audience by appearing extreme in any direction. Alienated viewers
will tune into a rival news program, which results in lost revenue for the entire
television station. Presenting an appropriate and acceptable image is so important that some stations provide consultants and expense accounts for makeup
and clothing for the on-air news talent.
Newscasters must dress professionally when on camera. Mainstream
business attire that is neat, clean, and pressed is generally appropriate. A
coat and tie is common for male newscasters. Conservative business attire
is acceptable for women, which does not include plunging necklines, short
skirts, or tight-fitting clothing. A short skirt, gym shorts, or torn jeans worn
by talent seated behind an anchor desk is never seen on camera, Figure 9-11.
However, skirt length on female talent becomes very critical if she is sitting
on a chair, sofa, or stool for an interview with knees and legs included in
the shot. In addition to a professional appearance, business attire offers
many options for unobtrusive placement of a lapel-style microphone.
There are some situations when the requirement for professional attire may
be relaxed slightly. A reporter interviewing a champion swimmer poolside in
the heat of summer, for example, may dress more casually than when reporting
from the studio set. Appropriate clothing is still required—the reporter would
not wear swim apparel to conduct the interview. Brief, playful moments may
also be reason for more casual dress. For example, an anchor may wear gag
glasses with long, springy eyes to introduce a light, human interest story about
the Halloween festival sponsored by local merchants.
Figure 9-11. When
seated behind a desk, the
anchor’s waist and legs
are not visible to viewers.
Whether the anchor is
wearing swim trunks or
pajama pants, it won’t be
seen on camera. (South
County Secondary School,
Lorton, VA)
206
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
A Day in a Television Newsroom
beat: A specific area
(topics or geographic
location) regularly
covered by a reporter.
The assignment editor arrives early in the morning to review potential
stories. These stories come from several sources—wire feeds from national
news organizations, stories the graveyard shift reporters have been working throughout the night, press releases for events happening during the
day or in the near future, listening to police radio scanners, reputable
Internet sites, and other sources.
The morning meeting is held with all early evening anchors, reporters, producers, news directors, and, often, photogs are also present. At this
meeting, everyone offers story ideas and participates in the discussions.
Prior to the morning meeting, reporters do their own research and know
what is happening in their own beats. A beat is an area that a reporter is
assigned to cover regularly, and may include a police beat, a city council
beat, an education beat, etc. A beat may also be a specific geographic section of the viewing area. At the end of the meeting, the news directors and
producers make decisions on which stories will be covered for the newscast. The assignment editor hands out assignments to the reporters and, if
necessary, pairs them up with photogs.
Production Note
In an academic broadcast journalism class, typical beats
might include the English department, Guidance department,
Student Government Association, sports, student activities,
theater, co-op, cafeteria, school administration, music, etc.
rundown: The
organization of stories
and sequence of a
newscast in written
form.
After the morning meeting, reporters usually begin to “work”
their stories by making phone calls to arrange interviews. They complete the research necessary to effectively interact with their interviewees. Meanwhile, the producer begins to organize the newscast with the
assumption that the assigned stories will be complete before air time. The
organization of the newscast script is called the rundown, and is extremely
general in its first draft. The rundown is a constantly changing outline of
time slots in the news program. A common, but not universal, sequence for
a local news program is:
1. Hard local news
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Hard national news
Lighter news
Sports
Weather
Arts, entertainment, and evergreen filler
As reporters head into the field to shoot their stories, they keep in
communication with producers at the station. The producers continuously
update the rundowns and begin to determine the TRT necessary for each
story. They must also consider the amount of time consumed by ads that
run during the newscast. The early evening anchors work with the rundowns and constantly update and revise the script for their part of the
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
207
early evening newscast. The entire newscast must fit into the allotted block
of time.
Reporters commonly work at least two stories each day. This is a
critical issue. If reporters are required to produce more stories each day,
the amount of time available to work carefully and accurately is directly
affected. Even so, attention to detail and accuracy must be consistently represented in a reporter’s work in order to remain employed.
During the afternoon, late evening anchors arrive at the studio and
begin planning for the late evening newscast. At this time, reporters from
the morning meeting are coming back into the station to write up their
stories, record narration, and begin editing their packages. As the afternoon progresses, the packages are viewed and approved or tweaked, as
necessary, to fit into the story’s allotted time. The anchors and producers
pull the script together for the early evening telecast, and the teleprompter
is loaded with necessary text (Figure 9-12). The anchors rehearse with the
teleprompter, if there is time.
The early evening newscast is broadcast while the daytime newsroom
staff ends their workday, and the late evening shift takes over to prepare
for the late night news. The same process begins during the late evening
news broadcast, as the overnight shift comes in to prepare for the next
day’s early morning newscast.
As a result of the media convergence taking place in the broadcast
news industry, most newsroom staff have the additional responsibility to
place news content on the station’s website. This means that a reporter
must learn to write audio for TV, as well as text for the Web. The station’s
website may include graphics, maps, or footage related to a story, but not
used in the original newscast. The reporter may even blog on the website
about the development of the story. Many consumers have their personal
electronic devices (cell phones, computers, etc.) set up to receive news
Figure 9-12. The scripted
lines for the anchor(s) are
entered into a computer
to be displayed on a
teleprompter. (South
County Secondary School,
Lorton, VA)
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alerts and updates 24 hours a day. While the day in a newsroom is spent
preparing for the next newscast, the website is updated continuously.
The previous information is a general plan for a normal day, but days
in the television news business are rarely normal. Breaking news stories
can throw any normal schedule into chaos. The television news business
constantly adapts to the news of the world. This continuous state of change
is part of the allure and excitement that surrounds the television news business, but is also the cause of high stress levels. Working in the broadcast
journalism business is not a 9-to-5 job. The hours industry professionals
work are the hours necessary to get the job done, regardless of when or
how many hours that may be.
Chapter 9 Broadcast Journalism
Wrapping Up
Broadcast journalism professionals have an awesome responsibility.
Most of the viewing public believes that if they see something on the news, it
must be true. Every member of the television newscast team must contribute
to telling the truth in its most unbiased form. They must determine what the
audience needs to know and wants to know, without expressing what the
audience should think about any topic. A good reporter can tell a story without
revealing how he personally feels about the story or individuals in the story.
This unbiased approach extends even further to the entire news program.
Fair coverage of a wide variety of stories and providing balanced coverage
(presenting different sides of a story) is important to maintain credibility. The
news media has the public’s trust and must do everything in its power to
maintain that trust, because once lost, it is nearly impossible to regain.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is broadcast journalism?
2. Define mainstream media. Give examples of mainstream media
programming.
3. What are characteristics of an appropriate story source?
4. Explain how “consequences” factors into judging the newsworthiness of
a story.
5. Which news elements are usually associated with soft news?
6. What is an evergreen story?
7. What is the function of an IFB?
8. How is a reader different from a VO story?
9. What is an outro? Give examples of typical outro lines.
10. What is the purpose of a stand-up?
11. What are the characteristics of a package?
12. Identify the challenges in investigative reporting.
13. List and define some of the common abbreviations used in newscast
scripts.
14. What is a beat?
Activities
1. View several different types of news programs and identify which of the
three basic categories (mainstream media, non-mainstream media, and
tabloid media) the program falls into. List at least one program for each of
the categories and be prepared to share your list with the class.
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Curriculum
1. Explain how satellite communication has changed how the news media
covers stories.
2. Research the salaries of the various broadcast journalists, both cable
and network. Compare the salaries to determine if there is a connection
between the journalist’s salary and the program’s rating.
3. If reporters commonly work two stories a day and work six days per
week, how many stories will a reporter have worked on after a year on
the job?
4. Record three local news programs and compare the number of hard
news stories to the number of soft news stories each program airs. What
is the average number of hard news stories aired? What is the average
number of soft news stories aired?
5. Discuss how the Internet has affected broadcast journalism on a local
and national level.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify ways to find newsworthy stories.
•
Explain how the angle of a story affects how the
story is written.
•
Summarize the concept of “writing for the ear.”
•
Apply the guidelines for good news story writing.
Introduction
Professional Terms
attribution
angle
close
hard lead
lead
reporter track
soft lead
Whether a news story appears on a newscast as
a reader or as a fully prepared and edited package,
the story first needs to be written. This chapter
presents many topics a reporter must consider in
writing a story for broadcast, aside from the video
footage (Figure 10-1).
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Figure 10-1. A reporter must manage the entire process of writing a news story.
Find the
Story
A local retail
plaza
prepares for
the first
official day of
holiday
shopping.
Identify the Angle
Log Video
Hiring temp staff for
sales, security, and
maintenance with hope
of increased holiday
spending.
Comments
from:
• Retail plaza
manager
• Retail store
manager
• Temp staff
members
B-roll with nat
sound.
Research
• Seasonal staffing
increase statistics.
• Holiday sales history.
• Post-holiday layoff
statistics.
Write the
Script
Edit the
Story
Write and
record
reporter track.
Organize shot
sequence.
Note big As
and little As in
footage.
Produce the
completed
story
according to
the script,
with reporter
track, primary
video, and
B-roll.
Finding Stories
It may be difficult to imagine how reporters can find stories to write
about day after day. Whether in a small town of 1000 people or a metropolitan area of 2 million people, local television stations manage to run news
programs with new stories several times a day. Stories are out there for a
reporter to find. In determining if a story is newsworthy, ask yourself:
• Is there some conflict in the story to sustain viewer interest?
• Is the story unusual?
• Is someone well-known involved in the story?
• Is there a segment of the audience that will be impacted by the story?
• Can the story be brought “home” to the local audience?
• Does the story include emotion or human interest aspects?
Reporters have a well-rounded base of general knowledge, are particularly aware of their immediate surrounding environment (local government
and politics, locations and geography, various agencies, current issues affecting
the local population), and understand which topics of public interest motivate,
excite, worry, and concern the audience. Reporters listen, read, watch, and ask
questions. Remember: Who? What? When? Where? How? A reporter should
always be thinking, “What is the story?” Anytime there is a lively conversation in the reporter’s vicinity, he should be alert to the topic and recognize it as
a possible story idea. It doesn’t matter if people involved in the conversation
are arguing, laughing, sharing, or discussing; if those people are interested in
talking about something, it is a potential story. Also, any story or program on
television is a possible springboard for a local story.
Production Note
People are often somewhat self-centered—interested only
in what they are interested in. An effective reporter must be
interested in what other people are interested in, and be able to
recognize and develop those topics.
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In developing a human interest story, for example, consider that nearly
everyone has something that is particularly interesting to them. This interest may be a hobby, craft, leisure activity, relative, living environment,
physical location, memory, or an object (such as a special antique, heirloom, car, recording, or collection.). The reporter’s job is to find the “thing”
about a person, ask questions to get the most interesting information, and
turn it into a story.
Assistant Activity
Begin a conversation with a classmate and do not end
the conversation until you have discovered five new and
interesting things about that person. The longer you talk,
trying to find something to say, the more both of you will
open up and share interesting information.
Finding Stories in an Educational Environment
Reporters watch what is happening around them—in school, in the car,
on the bus, in the cafeteria, at the mall, on television, and on the Internet. Any
event, visitor, poster, bulletin board, or classroom assignment is a potential
story. Student reporters should tour the school and try to view it as someone who has never been there before, Figure 10-2. Story ideas may come
simply from the surroundings. For example, passing the classroom where
the yearbook is produced might spark a story about the new yearbook staff
and this year’s yearbook theme. Walking past a student wearing a trendy,
branded t-shirt may inspire a story about brand status or the shopping habits of students. The activities director or master calendar in the school is a
great source of information on upcoming events. Knowing about events that
are scheduled provides a direction or source to gather more information,
such as the organizations sponsoring an event, and write a story.
Figure 10-2. Pay attention
to activity in the school
hallways. From activity
banners to the students
themselves, potential
stories may be right in
front of you!
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Visualize This
You see that there is a shoe drive scheduled for next month, but you’ve
never heard of a shoe drive. Bingo! If you’ve never heard of it, many other
students at your school probably have never heard of it either. Just the
name, “shoe drive,” sounds odd enough to make you curious to find out
more. You note the event information and seek out the sponsors.
It turns out that the shoe drive is a request for students to bring in old
shoes they no longer wear. The shoes are collected and donated to a charity
that gives them to people who need shoes.
You could write a story that merely announces the upcoming drive. Or, you
could use your curiosity to create an interesting package that might actually
increase the number of shoes collected in the drive. Perhaps you can go to the
charity shoot on-camera interviews with those involved in the drive. Maybe you
can contact some people who have been helped by the charity—they may not
be willing to have their faces on camera, but the story is about donating shoes,
anyway. Get footage of feet of all sizes, both with and without shoes.
You can either simply make an announcement, or you can
develop a thought-provoking feature story. And remember, it
all started with two words on an activity calendar in an office:
“shoe drive.”
Go into the community outside the school building to discover people and events in the local area. Visit craft fairs where artists and crafters sell their work. Read the local newspaper to find stories about local
people, events, and retailers. A story from the newspaper may be further
researched and enhanced with video to make a compelling package.
There are innumerable stories that can be written based on interviews
and activities surrounding the sports, music, theater, and art programs at
your school. Competitions are almost always news story topics because
they contain the element of conflict. Competition stories may include
Mathletes, science fair and social studies projects (may also showcase students for achievement), or the band preparing for a marching competition,
and a follow-up story with the results of the competition. Any course that
involves visual classroom or laboratory activities, such as career and technology classes, can provide compelling video.
As course registration time comes around, small features may be written about the guidance department and the various elective classes offered.
Additionally, consider an in-depth interview with a teacher who has an
interesting, but little-known characteristic, pastime, or life experience.
• The English teacher who is a weekend paintball aficionado.
• The drama teacher who was once in the New York cast of CATS.
• The math teacher who just returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East.
Student reporters may also be assigned different beats that cover all
areas of the school. Covering a beat involves developing a relationship
with people in that area of the school, knowing the purpose and responsibilities of the group or department, and knowing their calendar of regular
and special events. The reporter should check-in on a regular basis to keep
up-to-date with any new or unusual changes or events. For example, a
new science credit is required for graduation. The student assigned to the
science department beat should be on top of the story. Which class is now
required? Who will be teaching it? What will the class cover? The student
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assigned to the guidance department beat should also be involved in the
story. When will the requirement go into effect? Which students will be
affected? When can students begin registering for the class? Ideally, both
student reporters would get this information by diligently covering their
beats and would bring up the topic in the pre-production morning meeting. The producer or assignment editor decides if it is a story, who will do
the story, and from what angle the story should be developed.
Researching Stories
Once a story is determined, research begins. The purpose of research
is to gather all the information necessary to frame a story responsibly,
fairly, accurately, and completely for viewers. There are usually several
ways to get information, and the reporter should be persistent in finding
out everything possible about the story and getting the facts straight. The
information and details of a story should be double-checked to ensure that
every word is verifiably truthful and factual. Hearsay is as unacceptable in
reporting as it is in courtrooms; hearsay is gossip, not reporting.
The amount of research necessary can vary a great deal depending on the
story type and approach to a story. In the previous “Shoe Drive” example, the
research could be as brief as getting the details of the drive in a quick conversation with the event sponsor, or may be as involved as researching the charity, its
operation, and its clients. A story may cover an accident on the main highway through town, which caused the road to be closed in both directions
and will affect hundreds of local residents. Researching the exact road location
and other details with the police department may be as simple as listening to
a police scanner and making a follow-up phone call. In this case, the story can
be written and put on the air as soon as possible. Or, the news director may
choose to send a camera crew out to the location and do a live feed or produce
a package of the story for a later newscast. The actual research necessary for this
story is very minimal, but is absolutely necessary to verify the facts of the story.
Deadlines are a constant concern for reporters trying to be diligent
about responsible research. An approaching deadline should not compromise a reporter into writing and airing a story that has not been fully
researched. Once a story is aired, incorrect information cannot be taken
back without embarrassing the reporter, news program, and higher administration. Airing incorrect information may also have legal consequences
for the station and can endanger viewers. Reporters should always work
under the assumption that they will have to prove everything they say or
write. Attribution (crediting the source of information) should always be
given for the quotes, information, and facts of a story.
Two important concepts in developing a news story are “KISS” (keep
it simple, silly) and “be complete.” These seem to be in opposition with
each other, so reporters must carefully balance both concepts at all times.
To keep a story simple, write with simple sentence structure using simple
language. A story should not be cluttered with insignificant or irrelevant
details. A complete story leaves viewers with no unanswered questions.
A reporter needs to fully understand the story and find an angle before
writing the story. An angle is the approach used to tell a story, which helps
the viewer understand why this story is important, why the viewer should
attribution: Crediting
the source of
information used in a
story.
angle: The approach or
point of view used to tell
a story.
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care, and what makes this story unusual or different. In the previous “Shoe
Drive” example, using feet and shoes as the main images in the story could
be an interesting approach to the story for both the reporter and the viewer.
The language used to write the story should allow the audience to understand and care about the story, as well.
One angle that is frequently used is to tell a story through a character. The
reporter chooses a person who is part of the event or affected by the topic of the
story and uses that person as the “face” of the story. Taking this angle personalizes events, issues, and conflicts, and allows viewers to identify with the character. For example, a story about minimum wage jobs could focus on statistics
(such as income, living expenses, and number of people with minimum wage
jobs). However, when the topic is examined through a day in the life of a single
mother with a minimum wage job, statistics become personal and the story has
a face and significance with the viewing public. The character can tell the story
from firsthand experience, which the reporter cannot do.
Newswriting Fundamentals
Chapter 8, Scriptwriting addressed the type of writing necessary for various kinds of non-news programs. Newswriting is different from the writing style used for other program types. However, one concept that applies
to all types of scriptwriting is the kind of language used. In scriptwriting,
informal language is used to write the way people speak. This also applies
to writing stories for news programs and is called “writing for the ear.”
Reporters should have command of language, sentence structure,
grammar, and vocabulary, and should actively search for the precise right
words to use in a story. The language used in a news story needs to be
simple and direct, so the meaning is understood the first time it is heard.
Sentences should be short and should not contain long clauses. Remember,
not all television viewers can rewind the program and re-play something
they did not understand the first time. While some viewers may use their
DVR to rewind and replay something they want to hear again, viewers
should not need to listen twice to understand the information.
For newswriting, use simple sentences written in active voice, rather than
passive voice. Also, use simple subject-verb-object sentence construction.
• Active: “The stunt car hit the ramp, flew through the air, and landed
in the pile of hay bales. The driver climbed out and waved to the
crowd.” “The mayor called a city council meeting.”
• Passive: “After going up the ramp, through the air, and landing in
hay bales, the driver climbed out and waved to the crowd.” “A city
council meeting has been called by the mayor.”
Try to avoid using forms of the verb “to be” coupled with a past participle,
such as “has been called.” These phrases typically make a sentence passive.
Use present tense as much as possible. The very nature of news does
not always lend itself to telling a story in present tense, but using the present tense engages the interest of the audience.
• “The police are investigating last night’s accident on Route 13, which
resulted in one fatality.”
• “Governor Jones says that…”
• “The Health Department urges consumers to …”
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Newswriting for Broadcast
Assistant Activity
Write a news story. Keep “writing for the ear” in mind while writing and
revising your story. Read the story out loud to a friend or family member. At
the end of the story, simply stop talking and wait. If your listener asks a single
question about the topic, that question needs to be addressed in the story.
Perhaps you need to word something differently or you accidentally
left something out. Fix your story and read it to another person—do not read
it to the same person again. Continue to read aloud and revise your story until
your listener has no questions at the end. Television does
not allow conversation between the reporter and viewers;
the audience cannot ask the reporter questions. Television
is similar to a lecture format, without the opportunity for
questions and answers at the end.
With the very first line of a story, viewers decide if they will continue
paying attention. Phrasing is crucial in delivering your message to the
audience. To effectively communicate with viewers, the content of a story
should be stated as clearly and accurately as possible. The following are
suggestions for good news story writing.
• Never start a story with a participle or word ending in -ing: “Saving
the resources of the Chesapeake Bay was always in the thoughts of
the conservation group.” The listener must unscramble the sentence
to make sense of it—it’s just not the way people talk.
• Avoid introducing a story by asking viewers a question: “How do
you feel when you receive a speeding ticket in the mail?” Instead,
make an attention-grabbing statement: “Drivers caught by traffic
cameras are speaking out.”
• Do not begin a story with a quote read by the reporter.
• Do not scare the audience with your words. Say: “Officials urge you
to go into your basement and move near a masonry wall until the
tornado passes.” Don’t say: “The tornado will destroy your house and
everything in it. Hide in your basement until the danger has passed.”
• Give suggestions that repeat the message of officials; do not give
orders. If an order needs to be communicated, turn the mic over to an
official to state the order.
Visualize This
A snowstorm has started and the reporter goes on air with a
story about the local transportation officials mobilizing the snowplows,
drivers, and salt spreaders. Viewers are usually interested in stories
about preparations for weather events that may affect them personally.
In the newscast, the reporter passes along a request from the head
of transportation, “Transportation officials request that citizens stay off
the roads during the snow clean-up efforts.” The reporter is not actually
telling the public to do or not to do something, but is passing a message
along from the officials. The reporter attributes the action
to the official who gave the recommendation, which takes
the reporter out of the story. It would not be acceptable for
a reporter to tell the audience to do something on his own
authority.
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•
•
•
Use action verbs, when possible.
Do not offer your opinion by commenting that something is bad,
good, interesting, or shocking.
A person’s name should never be used at the beginning of a story,
unless the person is well-known. When a person’s name is used
in a story, always provide an identifying title or the reason the
person is in the news story. Mention the person’s title or reason for
involvement before stating their name, so viewers understand the
importance or context of the person.
Visualize This
You are a single male at a party. Many of your friends have been trying
to “fix you up” with potential prom dates. You’ve already been introduced to
four ladies at this party. Your friend Chuck arrives and introduces another
woman, Christine. Christine is the most attractive woman you’ve met so
far. It would certainly be important to mention that Christine is Chuck’s new
girlfriend, right at the beginning of the introduction. Knowing Christine’s
title or connection to the event/person (Chuck) is a great deal
more important than knowing her name, considering all the
attempts at fixing you up at this party. Having this information
immediately would avoid a very embarrassing situation.
A reporter has a finite amount of time to tell a story and relay all the
information viewers need to know. It is important to purposefully choose
the most effective words to tell the story.
• Do not use a long word when a short one will do. Say: “The colors
on a plasma television match the colors of things in real life.” Don’t
say: “The chrominance and luminance on a plasma television are
reproduced accurately.”
• Do not start a story with trite and cliché phrases that do not provide
any useful information, such as “Once again,” “In the news,” “A new
development,” “As expected,” and “In a surprise move.”
• Mention a person’s age only when it is relevant to the
newsworthiness of the story. For example, “A ten year old graduates
from Harvard.”
• When footage or images are included in a news story, the reporter
should not waste words by narrating with information the viewer
can plainly see, or stating the obvious. Phrases like, “As you can see,”
“Here is a,” and “This is an” typically describe what the viewer can see
for themselves. A picture is worth a thousand words. The reporter’s
time and words are better spent in providing viewers with more
relevant information that may not be obvious in the image on screen.
Preparing a News Package
The fundamentals of newswriting, including simple sentences and
language, present tense, and active voice, apply to any type of news story.
A package story that incorporates interview footage with narration by
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the reporter poses additional writing challenges. For example, a reporter
extensively researched the designer of a new high school theater and contacted the designer to schedule an in-person interview. After conducting
the interview, the reporter and photog return to the studio with interview
footage and notes. The reporter must now put the story together.
The first step is to log the video footage. Logging the footage is necessary so the reporter can quickly find each statement on the recording during
the editing process. The reporter first views the recorded interview footage
and notes the time code (specific location address code) for each question,
each answer, and, if necessary, the main point of each answer. Also, all the
comments made by the interviewee should be transcribed with the corresponding time code noted. By reviewing a written copy of the interviewee’s comments, the reporter can easily decide which comments to use as
sound bites and where to find the video and audio for the comments. After
logging the interview, the reporter logs the B-roll footage to review other
footage that may be inserted to support the story. Nat sound is also logged
at this time for use later, as necessary.
Everything spoken by the reporter in a package is the reporter track,
Figure 10-3. The reporter track connects all the interview sound bites used
in the story and provides viewers with additional information not contained in the sound bites. A package rarely includes audio of the reporter’s
original question. A novice reporter may be tempted to ask interviewees
to restate the question in their answer, but this is not recommended. This
technique results in unnatural and awkward responses from interviewees.
A good reporter can write the reporter track and cut sound bites together
so that the meaning of the interviewee’s statement is clear without hearing
the original question.
Some of the interviewee’s comments recorded on the footage may
phrase things better than the reporter can. These are noted as “big A,” or
“big answer,” comments. “Big A” comments may be emotional statements
made by interviewees, narration, or simply a good turn of a phrase. Other
recorded comments may be more efficiently and clearly summarized by
the reporter. These are noted as “little A” comments, and they become the
basis for the reporter track.
reporter track:
Everything spoken
by the reporter in a
package.
Production Note
Experienced reporters can actually begin writing a story in their mind
while on location or even while an interview is in progress. They envision
the presentation sequence for information and recognize which comments
from an interview should be used as sound bites in the package.
Experienced reporters can often write and shoot stand-ups
while on location for a story. However, beginning reporters need
to work through the process of logging the tape and studying
the information and footage to determine the best way to
present a story to the viewer.
After the video footage has been logged, the reporter can begin writing
the story. The very first sentence of a story is the lead. A hard lead begins
the story abruptly and does not waste words. It contains a straightforward
lead: The very first
sentence of a story.
hard lead: The first line
of a story that begins
the story abruptly and
immediately presents
the most important
information.
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Figure 10-3. The reporter track is presented in the audio column of a package script. In this package example,
the reporter track is highlighted in three cells of the audio column.
Video
Audio
Wide shot of reporter Stephanie
Carter standing on stage in new
auditorium
Stephanie Carter
Raider Television
Super
Doug Miller
Sound Engineer
B-roll of sound board
B-roll of rehearsal
Su Kiki
Lighting Technician
Stephanie Carter/Stand-up
The programs are printed. The tickets are on sale. Tonight is dress
rehearsal for the first performance in the new Roane County High School
auditorium. This new facility is equipped with features that will enhance any
production. Senior Doug Miller is the sound engineer. While others have
studied their lines, Doug has been busy learning everything he will have at
his fingertips to make those lines sound perfect.
SOT Doug
Every cast member will have wireless microphones like these placed at
their temples, sort of like this. They will be almost invisible. I have a volume
control here on the sound board for every person, and I’ve had to learn the
settings for each to make them all even. Then, I also have to deal with the
music and sound effects. This new sound system has the potential to be
perfect, but only if I’m perfect at MY job. I’m pretty nervous.
Reporter VO
Doug has been at every rehearsal, fine-tuning those settings. He’s
not the only one who has to learn some new technology. When the
curtains open and the lights come up…
SOT Su Kiki
That will be me, I’m running the lights. We’re using a total of 75
different lights for this production. This is my light board and I have
a play script with all my lighting cues marked. Some of them are
programmed in for different combinations for certain scenes, but I still
need to have my timing just right to make everything happen.
Stephanie Carter/Stand-up
Making everything happen—that’s what it’s all about. Tomorrow night,
we’ll meet the cast of “The Execs” as they get ready for opening night
on Saturday, right here at Roane County High School. This is Stephanie Carter for Raider Television.
soft lead: The fi rst
line of a story that
communicates the
general idea of a story,
but does not offer any
facts.
action verb and is active, not passive. The most important information is
presented immediately. For example, “A bomb threat caused the evacuation of City Hall today.” A soft lead communicates the general idea of
the story, but does not offer any facts. It often sets the scene or introduces
the characters. For example, “It’s noon. It’s quiet. That’s about to change.
In less than three hours, the Cowboys will take the field in front of thousands of fans and the quarterback decision will be history. The controversy
started last week when…”
The reporter scripts a package by writing the reporter track to connect the “big A” comments. A good reporter does not write, “We asked Joe
about the new theater and this is what he said” as a lead in to Joe’s answer
(big A). A more eloquent and interesting lead in may be, “Visitors to the
new theater at Roane County High School find several features especially
nice.” The script then cuts to the “big A” of Joe talking about the surround
Chapter 10
Newswriting for Broadcast
sound system of the theater, with a lower third key identifying him by
name and title. The B-roll footage is reviewed to determine which images
may be inserted into the script to make it stronger and provide visuals during the audio of the reporter track. The time code of the B-roll is entered
into the story script, as well.
The ending of a story, or the close, may look to the future—what will
happen next, who will be called to testify next, or when is the next game?
Sometimes the close may be a “punch line” that sums up the story.
Once the story is written, the reporter usually records the reporter track
or VO. The written story, reporter track, primary video, and B-roll tapes
are then sent to the editor to put the story together. In smaller studios, the
reporter may be responsible for editing the video and story together. The
package is given to the producer when complete, and the reporter moves
on to the next story.
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close: The conclusion
of a story.
Reporting the News
Viewers choose a preferred news program for a variety of reasons.
Aside from the availability of channels, some viewers may choose a news
program because they like the “look” of the set (Figure 10-4), the personalities
of the anchors and reporters, or the physical appearance of the on-air personnel. Some choose to get the news from websites for convenience and
may access additional information and features not included in a regular
on-air newscast. News professionals hope viewers choose their news program because the content of their news show is the best produced in that
time slot—excellent video and audio, near perfect performances by reporters and anchors, and the most pertinent, complete, and accurate news. No
matter the viewers’ reasons for watching, reporters have an obligation to
the audience—report the news truthfully. Reporters obtain information,
Figure 10-4. An attractive
set may attract loyal
viewers. (Countryside High
School, Clearwater, FL)
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process and organize the information, and give facts to viewers in the most
understandable way. Viewers then make their own decisions and form
their own opinions.
Visualize This
Today is April 15—Federal Tax Day. A reporter does a story about
people who wait until the last minute to file their taxes. Video for the story
includes a long line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot of the post
office, which is completely full. The reporter simply reports that taxes are
due and does a human interest piece with video of people who waited until
the last minute to file. Included may be man-on-the-street interviews with a
few drivers commenting on why they waited until the last minute to file.
The reporter does not launch into an opinion piece about taxes being
too high, blaming all the ills of the country on the current
administration, and suggesting that citizens rebel by not
paying their taxes at all. It is unacceptable and unprofessional
for reporters to present their own opinion in a news story.
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Chapter 10 Newswriting for Broadcast
Wrapping Up
Finding stories in the world around you is easy once you realize that
a story can be anything that keeps people, including yourself, engaged. If
something is interesting to one person, it is likely interesting to others, either
as participants or observers. The reporter is responsible for bringing topics
of interest to the viewers. Reporters diligently research subjects and doublecheck facts before passing information along to ensure earnest reporting, not
gossiping. To write a story, reporters find just the right angle to keep viewers
interested in the story and choose words purposefully to avoid interjecting the
their own opinions. A story that is told truthfully and well, informs the public
and supports the reporter’s professional reputation.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What questions should you ask yourself to determine if a story is
newsworthy?
2. What are some story sources in an educational environment?
3. What is the purpose of researching a story?
4. What is attribution?
5. Explain “writing for the ear.”
6. What is the reporter track?
7. What is a hard lead? Give an example.
Activities
1. Watch several news programs and choose five stories that you find interesting. For each story, identify what makes the story newsworthy, what
the angle of the story is, and note any attribution given during the story.
Be prepared to share your findings in class.
Te
c
ie
nc
e
hn
Sc
ol
og
y
STEM
Integrated
Curriculum
1. Identify the technological advancements that have made the process of
researching stories easier. Explain how each advancement is used to
research stories.
2. Create a list of possible news stories that can be written about your
school. Of the topics on your list, what percentage of the stories are
sports topics? What percentage are academic topics? What percentage
are entertainment topics?
3. Choose three current event news stories and write a soft lead for each
story.
ne
er
in
at
ic
s
gi
g
at
he
m
En
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STEM and Academic Activities
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
4. Watch three local news programs on different stations. Which of the three
news programs do you prefer? Why do you prefer one program over the
others? Compare and contrast the news set designs and on-air personalities when explaining your preference.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the purpose of gathering background
before an interview.
•
Create interview questions and topics based on
background research.
•
Identify the differences between shooting an
interview that is aired live and shooting an
interview that will be edited into a package story.
•
Explain the function of B-roll.
•
Recognize effective techniques for conducting an
interview.
Professional Terms
Introduction
background
B-roll
lead
The interview is the most common element of
television news. Nearly every story involves either
an on-camera or off-camera interview with someone
involved in the story (a major participant or person
affected by events). Light-hearted interviews may be
simple and require little preparation, such as man-onthe-street interviews asking people what they bought
their significant other for Valentine’s Day. Interviews
with reputable individuals that address serious topics
require considerable preparation and should provide
viewers with in-depth information. Reporters who
competently conduct substantial interviews find their
credibility with peers and viewers increases with each
successful interview.
This chapter addresses how a reporter should
prepare for and conduct a successful interview, the
journalistic skills involved in a productive on-camera
conversation, and technical aspects of recording an
interview.
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Preparing for an Interview
Once the assignment editor or news director assigns an interview to a
reporter, the reporter must become acquainted with the topic and the interviewee. A topic that is relatively unknown to the public is probably also
unfamiliar to the reporter. Properly preparing for an interview involves thorough research and development of informed and well-crafted questions.
Research
background: All the
information gathered
through research
prior to conducting an
interview.
Figure 11-1. Speaking
directly with people who
are knowledgeable or
involved in a topic is
a common research
resource for interviews.
As with a regular news story, research is the first step in preparing
for an interview. All the information gathered through research prior to
conducting an interview is called background. Thorough research demonstrates to the interviewee that the reporter put forth effort to obtain knowledge about the topic. Sufficient background allows the reporter to hold
up his end of the conversation with an interviewee, rather than absently
asking questions without interest in the answers.
The sources available for research depend on how well-known the
interviewee is. While much of the research for some interviews may be
accomplished by talking to a few people (Figure 11-1), other sources for
background research may include residential, business, and government
agency listings in the telephone directory, the library, the Internet, newspapers, and magazines. Additionally, the reporter should always research
what has already been reported by other media outlets.
Research for a story about a successful gymnast named Michael
Christopher, for example, who sustained a serious injury at the last gymnastics meet may involve finding the answers to the following questions:
• What is Michael’s past gymnastics record?
• Which event Michael was participating in when the injury occurred?
• How common is this injury?
• How did Michael’s injury occur?
• What is Michael’s prognosis?
Chapter 11
Interviews
This information could be gathered during the interview with Michael,
but having thorough background information allows the reporter to better
formulate the interview questions. The reporter may find this information
in previous media reports, on Web sites, earlier newscasts, or in sports stories of newspapers. Michael’s family or coach may also be helpful sources
while researching this story. In this example, the reporter should also get
information on the type of injury Michael sustained and the coach’s opinion of how Michael’s gymnastics future may be affected by the injury. If
information about Michael’s injury is available to the reporter, talking to a
sports medicine professional may provide details about the nature of the
injury and the approach doctors typically take for treatment. However, the
reporter is unlikely to get information from Michael’s personal doctors due
to privacy issues.
While researching a person or topic, a reporter may encounter technical or topic-specific jargon. When speaking to the gymnastics coach, for
example, words or phrases specific to the sport of gymnastics may be used.
The general public is probably not familiar with these phrases. The reporter
must become acquainted with this jargon in order to research and conduct
an effective interview. In researching the gymnast story, the reporter might
visit a gymnastics practice to observe the particular gymnastic event and
the environment in general.
Taking the time to gather appropriate background for a story prevents insulting the interviewee and sends the message that the interview
is important. By properly researching the topic or person, the reporter
can avoid asking questions the interviewee may interpret as uninformed
or offensive. For example, asking Michael, the gymnast, about executing
backward flips on the balance beam is not appropriate because men do not
perform on the balance beam—it is a women’s event. Intelligent questions
will flatter the interviewee and contribute to building rapport, which helps
the person want to carry on the conversation. If the reporter has not properly prepared for the interview, the interviewee will sense the reporter’s
lack of interest and knowledge; the reporter will find it very difficult to get
candid, in-depth answers.
Preparing Interview Questions
A good reporter does not let an interviewee control the direction of
the interview. Developing a list of interview questions based on the background obtained helps the reporter remain in control during the interview.
Given the background research, the reporter should also be able to anticipate some of the interviewee’s answers to the questions listed. This allows
follow-up questions to be developed before conducting the interview.
Questions that can be answered in just a few words should be avoided.
With proper preparation, a reporter can formulate questions that are more
likely to provide good material for sound bites, such as
• “What will probably be the next step?” (prediction question)
• “How do you feel about…?” (opinion question)
• “Tell me just how this happened.” (narration question)
Some of the planned questions may not be asked as written or may not
be asked at all during the interview. However, having a list of interview
questions can certainly save a stalled interview, Figure 11-2. Some may
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Figure 11-2. Reporters
may refer to written
questions during an
interview, but should not
read questions directly
from the card or list.
say that a reporter should never go into an interview with a list of questions, but even Barbara Walters has a few index cards visible in many of
her interviews. An interview may go in unexpected directions that can be
more interesting than the direction originally planned. Reporters are free to
follow the unplanned direction with questions. During Presidential press
conferences, White House press corps reporters can be seen actually reading their questions to the President off of cards. These questions are carefully prepared and worded to get the most information possible from the
President’s answer. For student journalists, writing the questions before an
interview helps to mentally prepare the student interviewer.
After questions are written and thoroughly reviewed by the reporter,
the questions can be shortened to just a few words that represent specific
topics or categories the reporter can explore with questions. For example,
a reporter is preparing for an interview with a broadcast attorney about
issues related to music copyright releases for television. One of the items on
the list of interview questions is, “If I produce a video yearbook, is it legal
to include popular music in the audio track?” The abbreviated topic for
this question may simply be “video yearbook.” Since the entire interview is
about music releases, the two-word topic is enough to remind the reporter
to ask the question during the interview. The reporter can formulate questions on the spot, rather than appearing to read questions off of a page.
Reading questions word-for-word from a list is uninteresting and does not
engage the interviewee or the viewers—the interview will quickly fall flat.
Scheduling an Interview
Once background work is complete and the interview questions are formulated, the reporter must contact the interviewee and schedule the interview.
Chapter 11
Interviews
Professional phone etiquette should always be observed. During the phone
conversation, the reporter should speak confidently about the interview
topic, having the knowledge gained through background research. How to
approach an interviewee varies from topic to topic, person to person, and
reporter to reporter. Experience is the best teacher in this area. The following are some possible approaches for capturing an interviewee’s interest
and cooperation.
• “I am doing a story on <the subject> and have information about <be
specific>. I’d like to hear your side of the story.”
• “A friend told me that you have a technique for saving all the small
slivers of soap that remain when a bar of soap is almost used up. As a
consumer reporter, I’d like to let the public know…”
• “I’d like to do a human interest story that focuses on your gymnastics
career and recovery from your injury.”
• “I just saw a story in the local paper about the art award you won. I’d
like to do a feature about you and show how you create your stained
glass pieces. I’m sure our viewers have no idea exactly how these
works of art are made.”
• “I was looking through our old yearbooks for a possible story
about how sports have changed, and I noticed that your father was
on the state championship football team in 1985. Now, you’re our
quarterback! Can I do an interview with both of you about playing
football at this school?”
• “We all know you as one of our math teachers, but I heard you were
on the winning paintball team last weekend! Most of the students here
would be surprised to find out that you play paintball, and play it quite
well. I’d like to do a story about you. Could we set up an interview and
maybe go out to the paintball field to talk about your strategies?”
Not all interviews are completely pre-planned. For example, a reporter
might do a story on a local band playing a popular venue. After the reporter
completes the stand-up, he may decide to approach a few patrons to ask
their opinions on the band or the performance. The reporter creates questions on the spot for these interviews.
Shooting an Interview
Sometimes, an interview happens on location with little preparation time. Even on short notice, the goal remains to provide quality video
and audio signals. The reporter and camera operator should arrive at the
location prior to the scheduled interview time to allow for proper setup,
Figure 11-3. For example, lighting instruments must be in place and turned
on, and the camera operator must have the camera set up and white-balanced
before the interview begins.
In general, journalists conduct two types of interviews for broadcast:
• An interview that is either aired live or recorded to be shown in its
entirety, without editing.
• An interview that is designed to be edited into a package story.
An interview that is either aired live or recorded to be shown in its
entirety may be very formal and lengthy. This type of interview takes place
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Figure 11-3. Proper setup
is necessary for every
shoot to capture quality
video and audio.
on a set in a television studio or at a location related to the topic of the
interview. To shoot an interview on location, the crew arrives in advance
and arranges portable lighting instruments to ensure the lighting is even
in the interview area. Each person involved in the interview, including the
reporter, is outfitted with a microphone (probably a wireless lapel mic) that
likely goes into an audio mixer. In some cases, more than one microphone
can be fed into a camera to provide even audio. More than one camera may
be used for this type of interview, and the shots switch between cameras in
the final, broadcast interview. The reporter is treated as on-camera talent
during the interview, and must look and act accordingly. This type of interview may also be conducted as a shorter, live-feed interview from a remote
location that is broadcast during a newscast. In this situation, the reporter
and interviewee stand together in front of one camera, with the reporter’s
handheld microphone shared with the interviewee—the reporter alternately points the mic at himself and the interviewee.
In an interview designed to be edited into a package story, the reporter
is not usually seen asking questions. Instead, the interviewee’s answers are
recorded so the responses can be used as sound bites in the package. This
type of interview is short in length and is shot with one camera. The interviewee is the only person wearing a lapel microphone. If the reporter uses a
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handheld microphone, the shot should be framed to show very little, if any,
of the microphone. Raw footage of the interview includes the reporter’s
voice asking questions, as picked up by the interviewee’s mic. However,
the reporter’s voice will be edited out, so sound quality of the reporter’s
question is not important. These interviews are usually shot using only
natural lighting. However, a reflector or on-camera light may be used to fill
shadows on the interviewee’s face.
Reporters and photographers position themselves differently when
interviewing one person to obtain sound bites for a package. The reporter
faces the interviewee with his back to the camera, so that the reporter and
interviewee can make eye contact, Figure 11-4. The photographer stands
behind and slightly to the side of the reporter, and shoots the entire interview as an over-the-shoulder shot. The photographer can zoom in slightly
to frame the interviewee’s face so it fills most of the frame, while leaving
enough room below the interviewee’s chin to add a lower third graphic.
The shot should leave only a little head room and some nose room on the
side of the screen that the interviewee is facing. Remember: the interviewee
should be making eye contact with the reporter, not the camera. The resulting visual effect is that the viewer is a spectator to the conversation between
the reporter and the interviewee—the viewer is not addressed directly.
Photographers may get creative with the shots for this type of interview,
such as including related items in the foreground or background of a shot
for impact or clarification. However, what the interviewee says is the most
important part of the shot for a sound bite. If the camerawork is too creative, the visual image will override the verbal message.
Interview Audio
Depending on the type of interview conducted, one or two lapel mics
or only one hand-held mic may be used. Regardless of the interview type,
Figure 11-4. An interview
for a package story is
typically shot over the
shoulder of the reporter.
232
lead: Basic information
provided by the
interviewee that is
recorded at the beginning
of every interview. The
lead typically includes
the interviewee’s name
and proper spelling,
title (if pertinent and
applicable), and contact
information.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
the mics must be cabled, attached to the clothing of both the reporter and
interviewee, and batteries checked (if applicable).
At the beginning of the interview, the reporter prompts the interviewee
to provide lead information that is recorded with the interview footage. The
reporter asks the interviewee to state his name and spell it, state his title (if
pertinent to the story), and state contact information for a possible future
follow-up. Starting the recording with lead information should become a
routine habit for reporters. This information should always be placed at
the beginning of the recording for every interview so that the reporter and
editor know where to find the information, if it is needed. For example, a
lower third graphic of the interviewee’s name and title should appear the
first time the person is seen on-screen in the final, edited version. With the
lead information at the beginning of the recording, it is easy for the CG title
to be created in post-production.
Production Note
An additional benefit to hearing an interviewee speak
his name for the lead information is that the reporter gets a
refresher on the exact pronunciation of the name from the
person who knows it best!
Recording the lead is also an effective method to get a reading on the
interviewee’s normal speaking voice, so the audio levels can be properly
set. When interviewees are asked to, “Give me an audio level,” “Count to
ten,” or “Say something” to get an audio reading, they often speak louder
than normal. When providing information as common as their name and
address, interviewees will likely speak in their normal tone of voice.
Interview B-Roll
B-roll: Footage
that includes shots
of anything visual
mentioned during the
interview or that is related
to the topic, and any
natural sound associated
with the story.
B-roll should be shot immediately after shooting the interview, while
the interview information is still fresh in the minds of the camera operator
and the reporter. The B-roll should include shots of anything visual that
was mentioned during the interview and any natural sound associated
with the story. The importance of recording B-roll cannot be overstated.
Representational video should also be shot as part of the B-roll. For
example, a reporter is covering the story of drastic changes in local funding
for schools in the community. The reporter will detail the changes in funding allocation and how the changes impact local schools, while viewers see
shots of local school buildings, school busses entering the school parking
lots (Figure 11-5), and playground equipment. Representational shots help
to visually communicate the meaning and focus of the story. Footage of the
flashing blue lights on a police car is an example of representational video
for a story about a traffic accident on a major expressway.
The more variety in B-roll shots, the better the finished product will be.
The camera operator should shoot a wide, medium, and tight shot of every
B-roll shot to triple the variety of shots. Nod shots should be shot while
on location, as well. (B-roll is further addressed in Chapter 19, Production
Staging and Interacting with Talent.)
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Figure 11-5. Representational video of school busses in front of a school provides a visual that is related to
the school funding news story.
In the editing room, the interview is cut into pieces of the most relevant information that will fit into the allotted time, and shots of the interviewee speaking will be full of jump cuts. These jump cuts can be removed
and covered with B-roll, only if there are appropriate B-roll shots available.
Using the same piece of video twice or more in a story because inadequate
video was recorded while on location is considered highly unprofessional.
There is usually no time to revisit the location and shoot more B-roll, so the
final product will suffer without sufficient footage.
Conducting an Interview
Reporters have many options for conducting the interview itself. Each
interview requires different methods depending on the reporter’s relationship with the interviewee, the topic, and the personalities of the reporter
and the interviewee. The following are some suggestions for conducting a
successful interview. As reporters gain experience, they also develop their
own collection of effective interview techniques.
Putting Interviewees at Ease
If an interviewee is nervous, make small talk while the camera operator is setting up the equipment. This allows the interviewee to see the
reporter as a person instead of a threat, and keeps the interviewee’s attention off of the camera. A good reporter can perceptively choose small talk
topics—the interviewee’s car or job, an unrelated news item of interest, or
things the reporter and interviewee have in common.
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Begin the interview with “easy” factual questions that confirm the
background research. The reporter should not put the interviewee onthe-spot at the beginning of the interview. If the interviewee feels that
he is being attacked, he may end the interview abruptly or become very
guarded and defensive. Tips for combating talent nervousness are further
addressed in Chapter 19, Production Staging and Interacting with Talent.
Asking and Listening
Reporters should word all questions neutrally and state all questions
in an even, objective tone of voice. Neither the interviewee nor viewers
should be able to detect a reporter’s personal feelings about the topic of
discussion. Questions such as “You didn’t really do that did you?,” “How
could you act so irresponsibly?,” or “How could the Republicans ever
vote against such a wonderful Democratic piece of legislation?,” reveal the
reporter’s personal opinions and feelings. Also, interview questions should
not contain words or phrases that imply a value judgment (“irresponsibly”
and “wonderful”). A reporter should report, not judge.
The reporter should be engaged in conversation at all times with the
interviewee. Under no circumstances should the reporter look at the index
card of abbreviated question topics while the interviewee is answering a
question. If the reporter looks at the cards while the interviewee is speaking, both the interviewee and the viewers are made aware that the reporter
is not listening and is being rude.
Production Note
Some beginning reporters rely too heavily on their notes and are so
concerned with asking the next question on their list that they don’t listen to
the answer being given. Looking at your notes while the interviewee is giving
an answer sends the message: “I’m not listening to you because I’m thinking
about something else.” The lack of eye contact immediately dampens the
interviewee’s enthusiasm and he will probably cut his answer short. Relying
too heavily on notes may also cause you to miss information in
an answer. Perhaps the interviewee is giving information now
that you planned to ask in another question later. Because you
are looking at your notes, you aren’t listening. When you later
ask the planned question that has already been answered, your
credibility as an interviewer is ruined.
The interview should “feel” like a natural conversation that viewers
are allowed to listen to. The reporter should listen carefully to the interviewee in order to take advantage of opportunities for pertinent followup questions. An interview that is purely question and answer is often
deadly boring and, in some cases, can feel like an interrogation to both the
interviewee and the viewers. Never interrupt an interviewee’s answer. For
interviews that will go through post-production, the editing process can
interrupt the interviewee, if necessary. If conducting an interview live, the
reporter must exert more control to keep the interview within the allotted
time.
Chapter 11
Interviews
Allow a short pause between the end of the interviewee’s answer and
the beginning of the reporter’s next question or comment. In doing this, the
reporter does not “step on” the words of the interviewee and avoids ruining
the recorded answer—making editing much easier. Every noise the reporter
makes while the interviewee is speaking will be heard during a live interview or will create a headache while editing the piece. Any sounds made by
the reporter may cause the entire SOT to be unusable in the package.
An interviewee may say something that is not very clear during an
interview, and asking him to say it again often results in the exact same,
unclear words being repeated. Instead of repeating the question or asking
another question, the reporter may try to remain silent and seem puzzled
by what the interviewee just said. When interviewees “feel” silence, they
typically react by talking more, which may serve to explain their point
more clearly. The expanded explanation may provide a much better sound
bite than the interviewee’s original response.
Interviewees may try to deflect questions they do not want to answer
by talking around the answer and trying to lead the interview in another
direction. By simply repeating the question, the reporter can remain in
control of the interview and note that the interviewee did not answer the
question. If the question is avoided a second time, the viewers will realize
the interviewee is dodging the question. To avoid this, the interviewee will
likely answer the question when repeated. This technique is particularly
effective when interviewing politicians.
Near the end of an interview, the reporter should confirm any questionable impressions picked up during the interview and ask for clarification on points, as necessary. When the interview concludes, the reporter
should ask the interviewee if there is anything he would like to add. The
reporter might say, “What is the most important point you’d like to make
for our audience?” Quite often, the interviewee will concisely sum up the
main point of the interview, which may provide the reporter with the best
sound bite of the day. If the interview has been cordial and polite, this may
give the interviewee a chance to address something the reporter had not
thought to ask about. If the interviewee’s response is valuable, it can be
used. If the response is not valuable, it can be removed during the editing
phase of production and it cost the reporter only a few minutes of time.
Body Language
The reporter’s body language must communicate interest in the interviewee’s answers, Figure 11-6. Eye contact is one of the most important
ways to convey interest. The reporter should maintain eye contact with the
interviewee as much as possible. The reporter can keep eye contact with the
interviewee while he’s talking, react to what the interviewee has just said
with a follow-up question or comment (if appropriate), and thoughtfully
glance down at a notes page for a prompt to the next question, if necessary.
A glance down at the notes page is a logical pause that indicates a shift in
the train of thought and does not unduly slow the pace of the interview. If
the reporter must look away, the only direction to look is toward the page
or index card of questions. If the reporter looks in any other direction, the
interviewee will want to see what the reporter is looking at and turn his
head in that direction, as well.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 11-6. An
interviewee should have
a reporter’s complete
attention.
With experience, a reporter may be able to look directly at the camera
(and viewers) during an interview. However, it is tricky to do this without
seeming awkward. Also, looking at the camera is not appropriate for all
types of interviews. Looking at the audience implies to the interviewee
and the viewer that everyone should be in on this conversation, like family.
Some interview topics do not lend themselves to this type of informality
and may seem inappropriate or even offensive.
The reporter should give positive nonverbal feedback, such as nodding, smiling, and maintaining eye contact, while the interviewee is speaking. This feedback often fuels the conversation and keeps the interviewee
talking.
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Interviews
Wrapping Up
The interview is a primary element of many news stories. Before an
interview takes place, the reporter needs to know enough about the interview
topic to hold up his end of the conversation/interview. The quality of answers
given in an interview is directly related to the reporter’s ability to prepare,
establish rapport, and ask the right questions. It is incredibly important
that a viewer watching an interview feels that the interviewee is treated
professionally, fairly, and politely. Reporters should always try to maintain a
good relationship with their interviewees, as they may need to contact the
interviewee for follow-up or another interview.
Review Questions
1. What is the purpose of gathering background for an interview?
2. List some examples of technical or topic-specific jargon that a reporter
may encounter when researching for an interview.
3. Identify the benefits of preparing a list of questions in preparation for an
interview.
4. What are the two types of interviews that journalists conduct for broadcast?
5. What is included in the lead information recorded at the beginning of an
interview?
6. How is B-roll footage used in a news story?
7. Explain how a reporter should phrase interview questions.
8. What is an effective method in getting interviewees to clarify a response
without repeating themselves?
9. What is one of the most important ways a reporter can communicate
interest in an interviewee’s answers?
Activities
Te
c
hn
nc
e
1. Watch a local newscast and make note of each interview included in the
news program. For each interview noted, indicate whether the interview
was aired live or edited into a package. Was there a sound bite from the
interview used in the newscast or in teasers for the newscast? Be prepared to share your findings with the class.
Sc
ie
ol
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Keep a log of newsworthy and interesting information you hear of or
read about over the course of three days. Determine what percentage of
news and other information you receive comes from television, from print
media, and from the Internet.
at
ic
g
at
h
em
er
in
M
1. Identify several forms of technology that can be used when researching
for an interview. Explain how technological advancements have changed
how research is performed.
s
gi
ne
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
3. Create a list of interview questions for an on-the-street (or in-the-hallway)
interview with another student about an upcoming event at your school.
Phrase your questions so that the interviewee responds with more than
just a few words.
4. View a recorded two-person, student interview. Did the interview feel like
a natural conversation? How often did the interviewer look at notes? Did
the interviewer remain objective throughout the interview? Did the interviewee appear to be at ease? Were there any moments when the body
language of the interviewer or interviewee communicated more than their
words?
Objectives
Professional Terms
Copyright Law
Fair Use
limited public forum
non-public forum
passive talent release
public forum
private property
property release
public domain
public property
release
talent release
Trademark Law
transformative use
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the different types of releases used in
broadcast journalism and television production,
and explain purpose of each.
•
Recognize the differences between public and
private property.
•
Explain how Copyright Law applies in broadcast
productions.
•
Recognize how educational Fair Use applies in
the classroom.
•
Illustrate transformative use of material.
•
Identify the criteria for public domain status.
•
Summarize the characteristics of each type of
public forum.
•
Explain how the First Amendment applies in
the organization and operation of a broadcast
journalism course.
Introduction
This text does not offer legal advice; none
of the information in this chapter should be
construed as legal advice. Most of the legal
information contained in this chapter was obtained
during an extensive interview with an attorney at the
Student Press Law Center, and is offered as general
guidelines. In this country, a lawsuit can be mounted
against an individual or a school for any reason—
with or without merit. Once a lawsuit is filed, legal
counsel must be retained, which costs money. Even
defendants who are successfully cleared of wrongdoing must pay legal fees for their attorney’s time,
work, and expenses.
This chapter addresses many legal topics that
affect broadcast journalism and television production,
and includes:
•
Talent and property releases
•
How copyright applies in broadcasting
•
Other rights and permissions, and how to obtain
them
•
Forum and free speech issues
239
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Releases
release: A grant of
permission that is
commonly provided
in written form with
signatures of all the
people involved.
property release: A
signed document that
grants a video team
permission to shoot on
private property.
public property:
Property that is owned
by local, state, or
national government
organizations. It is
usually legal to be on
the premises of public
property.
Figure 12-1. It is usually
legal to have a video
crew setup and shoot
on a public sidewalk
(green area). The private
walkways and driveways
(red area) connected to a
public sidewalk, however,
are off limits unless a
property release is signed
by the property owner.
A release is a grant of permission that is commonly provided in written
form with signatures of all the people involved. While legal release documents have a variety of applications, property releases and talent releases
are commonly used in the broadcasting industry.
Property Release
A property release grants the video team permission to shoot on private property. It may be difficult to determine whether a video team has a
right to be present at a location when the difference between public property and private property is not clearly defined.
Public property is property owned by local, state, or national government
organizations, and generally includes parks, streets, and public sidewalks.
It is usually legal to have a video crew shooting on public property. If the
production involves many people, vehicles, and pieces of production equipment, there may be a negative impact on the property or to other people on the
property. Most localities require that a permit be obtained before location shooting begins. The cost and process involved in getting a permit varies by location
and may be based on the production’s overall impact on the public property.
A permit typically holds the production company responsible for the cost of
handling any resulting traffic problems, property clean-up, security issues, etc.,
instead of leaving those expenses to the public property operators.
A public sidewalk is usually the sidewalk that runs parallel to a public
street. However, walkways or driveways that lead from the sidewalk to a
house are not public property—these are private property (Figure 12-1).
Additionally, not all streets are public streets. A public street is maintained
Chapter 12
Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
241
by the city, county, or state transportation department. During a snowstorm, for example, large, publicly-funded Department of Transportation
dump trucks fitted with plows and salt spreaders clear and maintain public streets. The parking lot of a local shopping center, however, is most
often cleared by a smaller, private company using pickup trucks with plow
attachments. The private snow removal company is hired by the owner or
manager of the private property.
Production Note
Ever since the death of Princess Diana, the term paparazzi has come into
the public focus. “Paparazzi” refers to the photographers and reporters who
generally do exposé-type stories on celebrities for tabloid media organizations.
In fictional television and film entertainment programs, the paparazzi are
often depicted doing things that are not legal in the real world, but that propel
the plot of the film. Doing something you saw paparazzi do in a movie is
not a valid defense against a trespassing charge. If paparazzi set up on a
public sidewalk, it is legal. If they take one step into someone’s yard, they
can be arrested for trespassing. However, if the owner of the
house steps out onto the front porch and motions to the paparazzi
to come up to the house, the owner has given property release by
conduct. His motion to the paparazzi was also likely recorded by
their cameras, which documents permission.
Private property is property that is owned by an individual or private organization. Before a video production takes place inside a building that is open to the public, the building owner has the right to require
that permission to be on the premises be obtained before shooting begins.
However, unless there is a sign near the doorway or public entrance stating that cameras and recording devices are prohibited within the building, a video crew can shoot without permission until told otherwise by an
authority figure from the building. At that point, security personnel may
require the crew to leave the building. Practically speaking, it is not a good
idea to sneak into a building in hopes of completing a shoot before the crew
is discovered. Once the crew is told to leave the premises, they cannot continue shooting. The crew, most likely, will not finish shooting everything
needed and, therefore, the effort is a waste of everyone’s time. Asking
permission to shoot on premises beforehand may help preserve positive
public relations and elicit cooperation instead of confrontation from the
property owner or manager.
Even when the crew thinks they are “not hurting anything” by shooting on private property, property owners take a dim view of video crews in
their buildings. A video crew can be very disruptive to the normal environment—people stop working to watch the camera crew and some individuals do everything they can to be in front of the camera so they can be seen.
Another reason crews are not often welcome involves liability. If a crew
member falls and is injured while shooting in the building, the property
owner’s liability insurance is involved in the medical expenses and other
compensation that results.
private property:
Property that is owned
by an individual or
private organization.
Permission is required
to be on the premises.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
Choose your shoot location wisely! Let’s say you’re shooting an antishoplifting PSA and you want to shoot some footage inside a drug store.
Carefully consider exactly what you need in the shot. If the purpose is to
show someone getting caught lifting merchandise off a store shelf, do you
really need to shoot in the national chain drug store in town? The manager
there may need to get permission from the corporate level,
which might take days to obtain. Instead, you may be able to
shoot the same video in a small pharmacy owned and operated
by someone who lives in your town. Go to the locally-owned
store and ask permission. You are much more likely to be given
permission from someone local.
Getting a Property Release
Obtaining a property release is quite simple—go to the property owner or
manager and ask. Prepare a simple letter stating that the named person grants
permission for the video crew to shoot on the property specified, Figure 12-2.
Ask the property owner or manager to sign the letter, print their name and title
(to ensure legibility), and provide a contact phone number and address.
It is important to get written permission, not just a verbal agreement.
Having a signed piece of paper is immediate proof of permission. If you
are shooting and a security guard approaches the crew demanding that
you leave the property, showing the guard a signed property release letter
can resolve a difficult situation instantly.
Talent Release
talent release: A
document that gives
video producers
permission to
photograph the talent
and/or to use audio of
the talent’s voice.
A talent release is a document that gives video producers permission to photograph the talent and/or to use audio of the talent’s voice,
Figure 12-3. A talent release form should be obtained for all the talent in
every production. Talent releases protect the producers from litigation,
should the talent later state “I never gave you permission to photograph
(or record) me.” If the producer can provide a signed talent release form,
the proof of permission is on paper and invalidates the talent’s challenge.
In practice, talent releases are always obtained before a production
begins, whether entertainment or fictitious in nature (dramas, comedies,
advertisements, etc.). If performers portray someone other than themselves, a talent release is absolutely required. The talent release must be
signed before the cameras begin recording. If a producer records without
a signed release and the talent later refuses to sign the release, all the time
and money spent in shooting anything that includes the talent is wasted. A
re-shoot without the talent is then required.
In the news world, talent releases are not required, but can still relieve
many headaches. In a normal interview, the interviewee is quite aware of
the presence of a microphone and camera. The interviewee should be asked
to do a mic check or state his name and spell it while looking at the camera.
This activity is recorded on camera and constitutes “consent by conduct”
to be photographed. Of course, it is also necessary that the interviewee be
of ordinary intelligence and without developmental disabilities to ensure
they are capable of recognizing that recording is taking place.
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Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
ABC Production Company
1234 Industrial Parkway
Any Town, USA
(555) 555-9999
I, ____________________________,
owner/manager of
Vernon Janson
__________________________,
Anne St. Claire
Janson Hardware give permission to ________________________
from ABC Production Company to shoot ______________________________
PSA footage
on the property at the following address
____________________________________________________________________
150 Main Street Any Town, USA
on ______________________________.
September 29, 2011
Signed,
Vernon Janson
_______________________________________________ Date _______________
9/8/2011
Print name and title: _________________________________________________
Vernon Janson, store owner
Contact address and phone number: ___________________________________
150 Main street
___________________________________
Anytown, USA
(555
_____ ) ____________________________
555-7799
Production Note
You cannot get a signed talent release from people recorded on a hidden
camera before shooting begins. There is no place for hidden microphones
or cameras in an education environment. All laws regarding the
use of hidden cameras are state-specific. Every state makes
its own laws on this issue; there are no federal laws. Woe to the
person who tries to use a hidden camera in a news environment
without first checking the applicable state regulations.
People who appear in the background of a shot (on the street, in the
stands of a football stadium, in school hallways) are not required to sign a
talent release form, Figure 12-4. If people are in a location that a reasonable
person would deem to be a public place, a talent release is not necessary to
record the activity of people doing what they would normally be doing in a
public place. On the other hand, a release is required if a person is recorded
243
Figure 12-2. A signed
property release is tangible
proof of the agreement
between the property
owner and the production
company.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 12-3. A signed
talent release form should
be obtained for all the
talent in every production.
ABC Production Company
1234 Industrial Parkway
Any Town, USA
(555) 555-9999
Date ____________________________
August 17, 2011
Production title: ______________________________________________________
Parkside Center Anniversary Events
I, the undersigned, grant the ABC Production Company of Any Town, USA,
permission to use my name and likeness (with or without my voice) in whole or
in part from the photographed, taped, videotaped, and/or digitally recorded
material obtained on this date. I understand that the material may be edited,
reproduced, exhibited, copyrighted, or otherwise published and circulated for
any lawful purpose. I agree to waive compensation for providing this consent and
agree that no other compensation is required.
By signing this consent, I waive any and all claims in connection with the above.
(Please Print)
Full Name __________________________________________________________
Jennifer Wilson
Address ____________________________________________________________
171 Second Street
____________________________________________________________
Anytown, USA
____________________________________________________________
(555) 555-0101
Jennifer Wilson
Signature ___________________________________________________________
Note: If the person photographed is a minor, the signature of a parent or legal
guardian is required on the signature line.
Guardian’s name (Printed) ____________________________________________
Guardian’s Signature _________________________________________________
in a location where a degree of privacy is reasonably expected. A story
about the interesting little things people put in their offices and on their
desks to personalize the space, for example, requires signed talent releases.
The people featured rightfully expect a small degree of privacy. The same
applies to a story on graffiti that is shot in a school restroom—anyone in
the restroom undoubtedly expects privacy. No one in the restroom can be
photographed without their written permission.
Many of the guidelines regarding consent and releases involve what
a “reasonable person” perceives and understands. When dealing with
minors and members of special populations, carefully consider how they
perceive and understand events and experiences. Parents and guardians
are not legally required to sign a talent release form as long as the individual is able to recognize the function of the video camera and understand
the intended use of the video being taken. Minors must sign their own talent release form if they are old enough to understand the nature and probable consequences of the program. However, the release forms should also
Chapter 12
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245
Figure 12-4. A talent
release is not required for
people in the background
of a shot in a public place.
be signed by a parent or legal guardian as a safeguard for the producers.
While there is no legal requirement to obtain permission from the parents
of special population individuals, it is reasonable to assume that permission should be obtained. The parents or guardians of these children will
likely believe they should be asked before video is made of their child.
Video producers can head off many unnecessary problems by simply asking for talent release forms to be signed by the parents or guardians.
Passive Talent Release
Many school systems use a passive talent release document, which
is a general notice given to all parents indicating that, from time to time,
organizations outside the school system may request permission to video
record inside the school building. This request may be made for a variety
of reasons, including news stories, yearbook pictures, or documentaries on
some aspect of education. If a parent does not want their child to appear in
the footage shot by these third-party organizations, the parent must sign
the document and return it to the school principal. Any organization that
enters the building must abide by the requests and ensure certain children
are not seen on camera. If the passive release form is not returned to the
principal, it is assumed that the student is “cleared” and permission to
photograph the child is granted.
Passive talent releases apply only to third-party organizations, not to
in-school organizations. Broadcast journalism students can video record
other students doing various activities, such as participating in football
practice, for the purpose of doing a story for a student news program. A
school is a public place and the broadcast journalism students are legally
on the premises of the school building and property. In the interest of being
polite, however, the students on-camera should be asked for permission
passive talent release:
A document that
serves as a general
notice indicating that,
from time to time,
organizations outside
the school system may
request permission to
video record inside the
school building. Parents
acknowledge the release
by not responding to the
notice.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
before shooting them as primary figures in a video. Shooting video of people who do not want to be recorded likely results in video that is unusable.
Recording students in this situation is legal, but is a decision of conscience.
Just because you can do a shoot, doesn’t mean you should do the shoot.
Visualize This
You are recording video in a hallway between classes. The reporter
and quarterback of the football team are in the foreground. In the
background are students walking and at their lockers. This is perfectly
legal. The fact that the student at locker #489 in the background is in the
special education program is not an issue. That student is just like every
other student in the hallway—in the background of a shot in a public place.
Now imagine the same shot with a special education teacher instead
of the quarterback. As the teacher is talking, the camera operator zooms
in on locker #489 and the special education student. This is picking an
individual out in a crowd, and is neither acceptable nor legal.
In the first example, the student was as anonymous as any of the
other students in the background and may only be known to some
of the viewers. In the second scenario, the student was
literally pointed out by the camera. This clearly states to the
viewership that this student is part of the special education
population. In doing this, the story makes public disclosure of
private facts, which can quickly lead to liabilities and litigation.
Due to the legal consequences involving permissions and releases, it is
wise to have a blanket policy requiring talent release forms be signed by a
parent or guardian of all minors and minor members of special populations
who are seen prominently in any video program. Signed releases are not
legally required where passive talent releases apply, but can prevent misunderstandings and challenges by leaving no question that permission was
granted. A safe policy is to require that everyone have a release—period.
Copyright
Copyright Law:
Set of laws that
protect the creators
of original materials
from having their
materials and creative
work used without
proper permission and
compensation.
Copyright law can be confusing and is updated without warning.
Fundamentally, copyright laws protect the creators of original materials
from having their materials and creative work used without proper permission and compensation. A predominant example of copyright violations is
downloading music and videos from the Internet without permission from
the copyright holders. This activity is both legally and morally wrong.
Copyright infringement is a federal crime.
Visualize This
John bought an older car and spent hours of his free time and thousands
of dollars fixing up his car with body work, replacement parts, and various
accessories and personal touches. After all his work to make
the car both amazing and unique, someone stole his car.
Would John be justified in complaining loudly about his loss?
Would he be entitled to press charges against the thief? Theft
is theft, whether it is theft of an idea, a creative work, or a car.
Chapter 12
Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
Fair Use is a section of the Copyright Law that provides guidelines
for the limited use of copyrighted materials without obtaining permission
from the copyright holder(s). Among other provisions, Fair Use makes
certain allowances for educational use of copyrighted materials. There
is a common belief that Fair Use allows any copyrighted material to be
legally used in or duplicated for any school or classroom purpose. That is
a myth. In truth, some materials may be used in a certain way with a particular audience. If a student is doing a presentation in a speech class about
rock-and-roll music, for example, some snippets of relevant music may be
included as examples. A teacher showing a movie clip in a television production classroom to illustrate the subjective camera technique is also an
acceptable educational Fair Use of copyrighted material.
Educational Fair Use stipulates that copyrighted material may be used
without permission, only for direct teacher-to-student contact within a classroom (Figure 12-5). However, if the copyrighted material is “aired” outside
the classroom, the material is no longer an educational tool between a teacher
and the students of an individual classroom. “Airing” the program, whether
as a newscast or for entertainment, is the result of the education the students
received in the classroom. This is true even if the material is aired over a
closed circuit system within the school building. Additionally, showing student-created programs is not educational Fair Use, in its own right.
247
Fair Use: A section of
the Copyright Law that
provides guidelines
for the limited use of
copyrighted materials
without obtaining
permission from the
copyright holder(s).
Production Note
The purpose of the television production or broadcast
journalism class is to train students to enter the profession.
Educational Fair Use does not apply in the television
production or broadcast journalism industries. Students need to
learn about and operate under the rules of the real world when
learning about a profession.
Figure 12-5. Educational
Fair Use only applies
within the walls of a
classroom.
248
transformative use:
Using a work (image
or other material) for
an entirely different
purpose than it was
originally created and
intended to be used.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
In some cases, copyrighted material may be used without permission
outside the classroom if the material is used in a transformative manner.
Transformative use means a work (image or other material) is used for an
entirely different purpose than it was originally created and intended to be
used. The work is, therefore, “transformed.” A diagram of the interior of a
clothes washer, for example, was originally created to illustrate the parts and
construction inside the machine. Using the diagram for the same purpose
in a program about washing machines is not transformative of the original
purpose, and requires permission for use. Alternately, using the diagram
as an illustration of a style of graphics in a program about the career field
of graphic arts may be acceptable as transformative use of the diagram.
However, unless the original artist is contacted to determine the original
purpose of the material and how it was intended to be used, there is no
way to positively make a case for a transformative use.
Copyright issues emerge in television production and broadcast journalism in several areas, including logos, pictures obtained from other media
(including the Internet), and music. The copyright information in the sections that follow assumes that a program containing copyrighted material
will be “aired,” at minimum, on a closed circuit system within a building.
Logos
Trademark Law: A set
of laws that protects
a company’s brand
identification in an effort
to avoid confusion in
the marketplace. These
laws ensure that when
a consumer sees a logo
or label on a product,
the consumer knows
who makes that product.
Logos are developed by companies to create recognition for their
products and services. With product recognition comes a reputation the
company has built and marketed. Because companies rely on the public’s
opinion of their brands for sales and profit, unauthorized use of a logo can
have significant consequences. Company and product logos are typically
both trademarked and copyrighted. Trademark law protects a company’s
brand identification, which represents their products and services. Because
of trademark law, transformative use may not apply to logos, particularly
those that are considered “famous.” Logos that are recognized worldwide are
typically considered “famous,” and are protected against third party use except
to refer to an item the trademark is used to identify. For example, the ACME
Soap Company logo could be used in a story about favorite soap products,
if ACME products are discussed in the story.
Clothing with Product Logos
Shooting a person wearing a shirt with a product logo may seem acceptable, especially if the action in the program is not related to the product and
does not make statements, true or false, about the product or the company.
Now consider the production of a PSA that addresses shoplifting, with the featured shoplifter wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo for a major brand of
athletic apparel. Even though the producers consider the program neutral or
unrelated to the product logo, the company may not agree. In the example of
the shoplifting PSA, the company could decide that having the shoplifter seen
in a shirt bearing their product’s logo may be perceived by the viewing public
as an endorsement of shoplifting. If the company believes this negative publicity will or has negatively affected their product sales, legal action will likely
be initiated by the company’s legal team. It is best to avoid shooting someone
wearing logo apparel. If the logo is completely unrelated to the video, then it
doesn’t need to be seen to help get the message across anyway.
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Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
Product Placement
Brand name products are often used as props and clearly seen on television programs and in movies. Manufacturing companies are usually very
particular in how their product is used in a production, so that only positive publicity is generated for the product and the company. For example,
you will not see a psychotic ax murderer drinking a Coke® on a television
program or a person drink a Pepsi® and immediately keel over dead in a
movie. Both of these situations are horribly negative advertisements for
the products. Additionally, manufacturers pay a large sum to production
companies for product placement in chosen movies and programs, as a
type of advertisement. These companies are not likely to pay for product
placement in small, independent, or student productions.
Instead of using a brand name product in the program, take a more
generic approach. For example, pour a major brand soft drink into a plain
glass or cup with ice and a straw instead of having the character drink from
a can of Pepsi® or Coke® (Figure 12-6). The time necessary to make this
change in the program far outweighs the possible consequences of inappropriately using a brand name product. However, this does not mean that
every product name must be removed from a shot. If, for example, there is
a Ford vehicle in the program, you do not need to cover up the Ford logo
on the trunk. But, the program should not include a prominent close-up of
the word “Ford.”
Figure 12-6. Using a
glass of soda instead of
a branded can of soda
in a production avoids
complicated product
placement issues.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Signage
When shooting outside the studio, there may be buildings and business
signs of national stores in the background of shots. These signs can be seen
by anyone driving down the street in an ordinary public environment, and
are placed specifically to be seen publicly. Including business signs in the
background of shots is not a copyright or trademark violation. For example,
the shoot for a video on how to change a car tire takes place in someone’s
driveway. Across the street is a shopping center with signs for some of the
stores clearly visible in the background of the shot. It is okay to include the
signs in the shot because they are intended to be seen by the public.
Pictures from Other Media
Except for fair use situations, it is not legal to use pictures from any
published work without obtaining permission from the copyright holder.
This includes printed works, such as books, magazines, and newspapers,
as well as digital media, such as the Internet, movies, and video games.
Print Media
Before planning to use a photo from a printed work, contact the publisher of the work. The publisher may own the rights to the image, or may
have received permission from the copyright owner. For example, many
photographers hold the copyright to their pictures and grant permission to
publishers for their use. Request permission to use the work directly from
the copyright owner. Be prepared to answer questions about how the work
will be used, how many times it will be “aired,” and the size and nature
of the viewing audience. If you cannot find the copyright holder, do not
assume it is acceptable to use the material—find other material.
The Internet
Images found on the Internet are not free for anyone to use. Some Web
sites require a subscription to download images from their collection, while
other sites make images available with stipulations on how they are used.
But, most images found on the Internet are subject to standard copyright
requirements and protection.
Movies
Programs that provide critics’ review of movies typically have movie
posters displayed in the background and present clips of the movies
reviewed. Both of these are copyrighted materials, but may be used in a
program with certain stipulations.
The movie posters on the set of a critic’s review program must be only
those that are discussed in the episode being recorded. If the movie review segment includes just one movie, then only the poster for that single movie may
be displayed on the set. However, if the program includes reviews on multiple movies, posters for all the movies discussed during the episode may be
displayed. In either case, the posters must be obtained legally (purchased or
received from the production company). Using movie posters in this manner
is transformative—the original purpose was to advertise the film, but during a
movie review program, the poster provides a visual representation of the film
while the critic provides thoughts and opinions about the film.
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Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
Production Note
Be certain to change movie posters on the set with
each episode, so only posters for the films discussed are
displayed.
Movie clips may be used during a movie review program or a news
segment, but only if the clips were originally obtained from the official
source of the film. The official source may be the official Web site for the
film, which may provide a download link for the film’s trailer. Using a
trailer clip from the film’s official site is transformative.
Production Note
Before downloading video from the Internet, consider the
quality and size of the image once it is placed into the program
to be aired. The quality of the image may be substantially
degraded by the process.
Video Games
Transformative use also applies to using screen shots from video games
in a program. For a video game review segment of a newscast, for example,
brief screen shots of a game may be used to illustrate the review (making certain that the language, content, and violence levels of the game are
appropriate for the audience). On the other hand, a scene in an entertainment program depicting a character playing a video game with the screen
visible or the music track of the game audible to viewers is not transformative use of the video game. The game is used exactly as it was intended to
be used—as a game to be played—and a license must be obtained to use
the video game in the production.
Talk the Talk
When you request permission, the permission you
receive is a license. Permission is the consumer term for
what you ask for; license is the professional term for what
you get.
Music
The majority of entertainment programs utilize music to enhance the message, mood, excitement, drama, pace, and emotion of the program. Without
it, the audience feels that the program is missing something. To use music in
a production, the appropriate permissions must be secured. Copyright laws
are established by the federal government, as provided in the United States
Constitution. Violations are dealt with harshly in the Federal court systems.
Placing full music in the background of news segments to enhance the
story (whether reporting on a local event, special interest piece, montage,
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or sporting event) is using the music exactly as the original artist intended
it to be used—to create a mood. In fact, using music to enhance a news
story is not good journalism; a news story should be able to stand alone.
Additionally, this does not constitute transformative use of the music. To
use music in this way, the television station or network must obtain permission to broadcast the music and pay large fees to the copyright holders.
Placing full music credits at the end of a program is not an acceptable alternative to getting the proper permission. In fact, including credits for music
used in a program without permission indicates knowledge that someone
else created the music that was used without permission. The car thief who
publicly admits to stealing cars, but hasn’t been caught, is still a thief.
Educational Use of Music
Even though some music may be free when used for certain educational purposes, this is never a safe assumption. Some pieces of music,
especially those found on the Internet, may have different rules for usage
than other pieces of music. Always verify permission with the rights holder
before using music in any production. Educational Fair Use does not apply
to every type of use within a school building; only in direct student-teacher
contact within a classroom as part of a lesson. Using music in student productions is likely not transformative use of the music either. The music
was composed and originally recorded to be listened to and evoke some
kind of feeling in the viewer. Music used in a student production is usually intended to excite the audience into paying attention to the program,
which is not a transformative use of the music.
Music used in productions that are not broadcast school-wide is subject to copyright regulations, as well. Copyright regulations apply to material that is distributed to the public in any form. To use music on a senior
class memory video, for example, copyright permission must be secured
from the record labels for each piece of music planned to be used. This is
true whether DVDs of the program are sold or are given away.
Public Domain
public domain: A
status designation
applied to material that
is no longer copyrighted
due to the passage of
time (relative to the date
of creation) or when
rights are relinquished
by the copyright holder.
Public domain is the designation applied to material that is no longer
copyrighted due to the passage of time (relative to the date of creation) or relinquished rights by the copyright holder. When material enters the public domain,
anyone may use it at any time without obtaining copyright permission. The
rules determining whether something is in public domain are multifaceted.
• Every work created prior to 1923 is in the public domain.
• Every work created from 1923–1963 that has not had a copyright
renewal is in the public domain.
• Every work created from 1923–1977 that does not appear with a
copyright notice is in the public domain.
• Every work created from 1978–March 1, 1989 that does not appear
with a copyright notice and has not had a subsequent copyright
registration within 5 years of creation is in public domain.
• For works created after 1977, the copyright lasts for the lifetime of
the author/creator, plus 70 years. In the case of joint authors, the
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copyright lasts for the lifetime of the longest surviving author/
creator, plus 70 years. For corporate works, the copyright lasts 95
years from the date of first publication.
Production Note
The following are some resources that offer access to various media
online. Many of the works available are in the public domain. Always check
the Terms of Use statement and copyright restrictions from any online
media source.
•
Smithsonian Institution: www.photography.si.edu
•
Project Gutenberg: www.gutenberg.org
•
LibriVox: www.librivox.org
•
Prelinger Archives: www.archive.org/details/prelinger
Once a work is in the public domain, it can be used by anyone. Even
though the work is in the public domain, the use or performance of
that work may be copyrighted (Figure 12-7). For example, Ludwig van
Figure 12-7. An
orchestra’s performance
of a piece of music in the
public domain is very likely
copyrighted.
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Beethoven died over 175 years ago and his music compositions are in public domain. However, to use his Ninth Symphony from a CD recorded by
the London Philharmonic Orchestra, permission must be received from the
London Philharmonic Orchestra. Their performance of Beethoven’s work
is copyrighted.
Public Forums and Broadcast
Journalism Courses
public forum: An
environment or location,
typically public property
or media, where an
individual can stand
and publicly speak
their mind. The content
discussed in a public
forum is not restricted,
but the speech cannot
incite a riot, violence, or
similar activity.
Much of what television production personnel and broadcast journalists can and cannot do is determined by laws covering issues, such as
releases and copyrights. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States of America also has a major effect on the media. Freedom of
speech and freedom of the press are among the five freedoms guaranteed
in this amendment. The First Amendment guarantees that journalists can
report on topics they choose, including the government, its people, and its
actions, without fear of retribution by the government. This freedom has
permitted journalists to probe, analyze, criticize, and report on topics they
deem worthy.
The First Amendment was intended to prevent the government from
controlling what the press reports. Since the press operates without governmental oversight, it must be self-policing and enforce its own high
ethical standards. Historically, the United States has been tremendously
affected by the work of journalists and their ability to seek out information
and ask difficult questions on behalf of the public.
Another aspect of the law that affects the press is forum status. A forum
in ancient times was merely a place to talk, as in the Roman Forum. Today,
forum refers to the delivery and format of mass communication. Student
newscasts are generally considered to be a public forum. There are three
types of public forums:
• Public forum
• Limited public forum
• Non-public forum
Forum issues are present in both print journalism classes and broadcast journalism classes. There are significant differences between how print
media and broadcast media deal with free speech and newscast content.
Since this text is concerned with television media, only issues from the
television media environment will be discussed.
Public Forum
A public forum is an environment or location, typically public property
or media, where an individual can stand and publicly speak their mind—
pure free speech. The content discussed in a public forum is not restricted,
but the speech cannot incite a riot, violence, or destruction of property.
A public forum, in its truest sense, does not apply to broadcast journalism because television programs are finite in length and scope and cannot
include everything and everyone who wishes to speak. There is no place in
broadcast journalism to allow absolutely anyone say anything they want
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for as long as they would like to say it. A television newscast, for example,
cannot run longer than its allotted time. Editing is a key component of
journalism.
Limited Public Forum
A limited public forum is public property or media that is made available for a specified use. In a limited public forum, the topic or content of
speech is restricted to the business at hand or objectives of the particular
group. An example of this may be a financial planning seminar held in the
conference room of a local park district building. The park district officials
can prohibit the discussion of any topics other than financial planning.
In a broadcast journalism course, a limited public forum can allow free
expression by the student producers. Student producers may make final
decisions on topic choice and content. Students may also fill the role of
news director. A different model of limited public forum in broadcast journalism courses may be standards-based. For example, student newscast
stories are deemed acceptable as long as the story is similar to the style and
technical quality found on the local or national programming of the “big 5
networks.” In this model, the standards are enforced by the student.
limited public forum:
Public property or
media that is made
available for a specified
use; the topic or content
of speech is restricted
to the business at hand
or objectives of the
particular group.
Non-Public Forum
A non-public forum is either public or private property or media that
is not typically used or made available for public expression. Regulation on
speech is allowable in a non-public forum, but must be reasonable and not
intentionally exclude any particular or opposing viewpoint. Non-public
forums typically include military bases, public schools, and courtrooms.
A broadcast journalism class that operates as a non-public forum may
be managed by the teacher, who assumes the role of news director and
decides which stories are included in the program (unless the program is
long enough to include every story). For example, a teacher reviews all the
stories and narrows them down to the top seven. From those seven stories,
student producers pick their top five. With this method, students have a
say in the decision, but the final decision rests with the teacher. In this
example, the teacher is the news director of the program and the process
follows the industry model. This classroom management example may
also apply in reverse order—student producers make the initial story decisions (as a newscast producer in industry would), and the teacher evaluates the stories after the first cut.
Another model of non-public forum in the broadcast journalism classroom is to apply standards-based criteria. For example, stories are acceptable as long as they match the style and technical quality of local or national
programming found on the “big 5 networks.” In this model, the standards
are enforced by the teacher.
In the Classroom
While the First Amendment grants that the government cannot control the press or free speech, it says nothing about private citizens exerting
control. No one in the real world of broadcast is given free reign to say
whatever they like. Producers, news directors, station managers, station
non-public forum:
Either public or private
property or media that
is not typically used
or made available for
public expression.
Regulation on speech
is allowable in a nonpublic forum, but must
be reasonable and not
intentionally exclude
any particular or
opposing viewpoint.
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owners, network executives, and the FCC all have the ability to exert some
control over what is transmitted over the airwaves in this country. The First
Amendment applies to broadcast journalism courses with respect to the
teacher’s authority in the classroom.
Broadcast journalism courses are usually operated to emulate the
broadcast journalism industry. Courses are designed to train students to
enter the broadcast journalism industry, or at least acquaint them with
the possibilities and demands of broadcast journalism careers. Students
learn to make news judgment calls, practice technique, and develop skills.
The teacher helps students perfect their skills and technique as they are
practicing.
Visualize This
On the first day of class, your broadcast journalism teacher gives
you access to the school’s closed-circuit broadcast system and all the
equipment needed to air a program. The only instruction provided is, “Do
anything you want and air it to the school. I’ll let you know if you’ve done
anything wrong after your program airs.” While you may be elated with the
amount of freedom this opportunity allows, as an inexperienced broadcast
journalism student, you have not acquired the necessary knowledge and
skills to be successful. What if you become the subject of ridicule after
your program airs? What if you cause offense to others with what you
say or how you say it? What are the consequences of unintentionally (or
intentionally) saying or doing something illegal on the air?
Just as a student learning to be a trapeze artist uses safety cables
and a safety net while practicing stunts, broadcast journalism students
learn and practice the “moves” of the trade with the guidance and safety
net provided by a teacher in the classroom. The time to make mistakes
and learn from them is when all the safety precautions are in
place. No one would expect a student who had never been on
a trapeze to perform 100 feet up in the air in front of an arena
audience without a safety net. Learning about your mistakes
after the fact can have serious consequences.
The content and quality of the newscast produced by a broadcast journalism class is a by-product of teaching broadcast journalism standards.
The newscast itself is not the objective of the course. Because the First
Amendment guarantees free speech and press rights, a teacher cannot control the content or quality of journalism. The newscast is a demonstration of
the skills students have learned, which means that the teacher can require
a story be reworked until it reaches acceptable journalistic standards. Even
though a story is not illegal and will not cause a riot or other disruption,
a teacher may decide the story is journalistically indefensible and assign a
low grade accordingly. The First Amendment does not grant the right to
a good grade in broadcast journalism class for bad journalism. In a classroom, indecency and “prime-time standards” are legitimate journalism
concerns that may be enforced through grades.
A teacher can, however, control the technical video and audio quality
of stories appearing in the newscast. Technical quality disqualifiers may
include out of focus images, under- or over-recorded audio, glitches, jump
cuts, shaky camerawork, and inadequate lighting. The minimum standards
Chapter 12
Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
for technical quality are part of the skills students acquire in a broadcast
journalism course. Teachers do have the right to set a standard minimum
level of technical quality to qualify a video project for broadcasting. To
differentiate between the content of a story and the technical quality, ask
yourself “Can the product be improved to meet the technical standards
without altering the intended message of the program?”
In general, a broadcast journalism teacher’s role mirrors that of a production’s news director. Both provide training and guidance to help the
production staff make good news judgments, check facts before broadcasting a story, credit people in stories correctly, write stories that are balanced
and fair, spell titles accurately, and discuss the newsworthiness of a story
idea. As with any training, initial assignments are rather simple. As students’ skill set grows, so does the complexity of stories and responsibilities
given. Increased responsibilities are earned with successful completion of
tasks, as determined by the teacher/news director.
As students take more responsibility in class productions and decision-making abilities are proven over the course of the academic term, the
forum status may gradually evolve from a non-public forum to a limited
public forum. A student newscast will not evolve to an open public forum
because the newscast team is limited to the students in the broadcast production class. It is important to note that forum status is granted in a broadcast journalism course, and can be taken away if abused.
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Wrapping Up
There are many legal issues concerning television production and
broadcast journalism, and this chapter has addressed many of the most
common issues in both the classroom and the broadcast journalism industry.
One of the most important rules to take from this chapter is that you must ask
for and receive permission.
While the First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech and
press, these rights come with awesome responsibilities. Broadcast journalism
classes are ground zero for learning these rights and responsibilities and how
to appropriately apply them.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the difference between public property and private property?
2. What permission does a talent release provide and when should it be
obtained?
3. How does passive talent release apply in a school setting?
4. How does Fair Use apply to the use of copyrighted material in
education?
5. Describe problems that may arise from including product logos and
brand name products in a program.
6. What is transformative use? Give an example.
7. When does material become part of the public domain?
8. Identify and explain each type of public forum.
9. Explain how a broadcast journalism teacher’s role in the classroom mirrors the responsibilities of a news director in the broadcast journalism
industry.
Activities
1. Investigate what a copyright protects and what it does not. Create an outline summarizing the information you discover.
2. Learning to apply good judgment in journalism and following established
journalism standards are key skills in being successful in the broadcast
journalism industry. Research the career-changing judgment calls made
by the following two broadcasting figures while at their “former” jobs. Be
prepared to discuss your findings in class.
•
Don Imus, former host of “Imus in the Morning” radio program
•
Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News
Te
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Chapter 12 Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums
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2. Research the total number of copyrights issued per year in the last 15
years. Create a graph that depicts the yearly totals and illustrates the
change in numbers over time.
3. Choose a brand name product that could be used in a program you are
producing or have produced. Contact the corporation’s public relations
department to find out what is required to get a release to use the product in your program. Be prepared to explain the production and specifically how their product will be used or featured.
4. Create a display of some graphic-only corporate logos. Present your
display in class and ask your classmates to identify the company represented by the logo
at
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1. Find several websites that offer royalty-free images, but require a subscription to download the images. Investigate the guidelines provided by
each company for use of the images and note the specific permissions
granted to subscribers.
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www.splc.org The Student Press Law Center provides free legal advice to high
school and college journalists, and low-cost educational materials for student
journalists on a wide variety of legal topics.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Summarize the difference between background
and foreground music.
•
Identify the guidelines for using background
music in a production.
•
Explain how copyright licenses apply to studentproduced programs.
•
Recall the types of contracts available when
using a music library service.
•
Recognize the unique characteristics of the
different music rights available.
Professional Terms
Introduction
background music
broadcasting rights
cablecasting rights
cover music
foreground music
recording rights
The vast majority of programs utilize music to
some extent because without it, the audience feels
that the program is missing something. This chapter
presents general items to consider when selecting
music for a production, but does not offer legal advice.
None of the information contained in this chapter
should be construed as legal advice.
re-recording rights
streaming rights
synchronization rights
transitory digital
transmission rights
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Using Music in a Production
foreground music:
Music in a program that
is the subject of the
production.
background music:
Music in a program
that helps to relay
or emphasize the
program’s message by
increasing its emotional
impact.
Figure 13-1. The music
is the primary element
in a music video and is
considered foreground
music.
The music used in any type of program can be categorized as either
foreground music or background music. Foreground music in a program is
when the music itself is the subject of the production. The song in a music
video, Figure 13-1, is an example of foreground music—the music is the
primary element and the video is secondary. Background music helps relay
or emphasize the message of a program by increasing its emotional impact.
A common example is the exciting or intense music heard during a chase
scene.
Foreground Music
Foreground music is the focus of a production, such as in music videos
and a critics’ music review. In making a music video, typically the artist
and/or recording label hold the copyright. If the person making the music
video holds the copyright to the music, acquiring permissions is not necessary. In the case of a music review program or segment, the question of
copyright permission can be complex. There are no laws that define a specific percentage of music, number of measures of music, or number of seconds of music that may be used without copyright permission. However,
only a small portion of the entire piece should be played—typically, about
ten seconds. In addition to possible copyright violations, it is bad journalism to play the entire piece of music during a program or segment.
Choosing which portion of a music piece to play is an important decision, as well. The “heart” of a song may not be used without permission.
The “heart” of a song is the most recognizable portion, which may or may
not contain lyrics. For example, the rhythm “stomp, stomp, clap; stomp,
stomp, clap” makes most people think immediately of Queen’s We Will
Rock You. Carefully consider which portion of a song to include in a program, as the recording industry won a lawsuit over the unauthorized use
of only 15 notes of music!
Chapter 13
Music
Background Music
The following is a list of general guidelines regarding the use of background music in television productions:
• Avoid music that is widely recognized. When the audience hears
a piece of music they recognize, they reminisce about things they
associate with the song, such as special events, particular people, or
childhood memories. But, while the audience recalls these moments,
they are not watching and paying attention to the program.
• Avoid music containing lyrics during a dialog scene. The audience will
find it difficult to separate the music lyrics from the talent’s dialog.
• Use music only to enhance a mood. Music should not be placed in a
program merely because “it is a really good song” or someone “just
wanted to put it somewhere in the program.” Sometimes, no music is
best. The sound of silence has a powerful effect on mood.
• Do not use catchy or busy music during a dialog scene. Once again,
if the music distracts attention from the dialog, the audience has to
consciously separate the dialog from the music.
• Do not mix styles of music within a program. In other words, do not
include heavy metal, rock and roll, country, opera, classical and blues
all within the same program. A wide array of styles within a single
program produces an amateur-sounding audio track.
Exceptions to the Rules
As with almost any set of guidelines or rules, there are exceptions.
Breaking the rules is not something teachers usually encourage, but there
are often valid reasons for doing so. The following are examples of some
legitimate reasons to break the rules:
• Use music that is widely recognized. Recognizable music is
sometimes required in a program. The famous nostalgic music used
in the classic movie American Graffiti reinforced the program’s era
setting and increased the impact of action in the program.
• Play music with lyrics during a dialog scene. If a scene takes place
in a nightclub, for example, it is very unlikely that the music playing
would be exclusively instrumental music—vocals accompany most
popular music. In this situation, the audio engineer’s challenge is to
keep the music levels far below the level of the talent’s dialog.
• Use music for reasons other than mood enhancement. Breaking this
rule often produces effects that are jarring to the audience, but also
demands their attention. For example, playing Johann Strauss’ Blue
Danube waltz in the background of a scene that depicts a bombing
run during World War II, makes the effects of the bombs even more
horrifying.
• Use catchy or busy music during a dialog scene. A myriad of
background sounds may be necessary to create a convincingly real
setting, depending on the environment in which a scene is set. If the
scene takes place on the midway of a carnival or on a beach boardwalk
during the summer, the environment is naturally full of many different
sounds, including music. Omitting these sounds is an error that leaves
the audience questioning the realism of the setting. The challenge for
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•
the audio engineer becomes keeping the dialog clearly audible over,
called “on top of,” the natural sound of the setting.
Mix styles of music within a program. Various styles of music may
be used in a program to be consistent with the action and setting of
particular scenes. In a documentary about an opera star, it is expected
that opera music be in the background of most scenes. In a scene that
portrays the opera star having dinner in a country-western themed
restaurant, the most appropriate background music is countrywestern style music. To have opera music playing in this type of
restaurant would be laughably wrong.
Music in Student and School Productions
Student videos shown only in the classroom as part of a class project may include copyrighted music with instructor approval. However, if
the video will be played outside the classroom, copyright licenses must
be obtained for the program. The phrase “outside the classroom” literally
means any location beyond the walls of the television production or broadcast journalism classroom. This includes showing the video
• on a school-wide distribution system (CCTV), such as a studentproduced newscast or “morning announcement” program, Figure 13-2.
• as part of a film festival in an auditorium or theatre-type
presentation, whether or not admission fees are charged.
• over a cable system to the community.
• on the Internet, such as on YouTube or SchoolTube.
• at an outdoor event on a projection screen.
• at any public location, including in a church.
Broadcasting Student Productions
The issues of copyright and permissions must be addressed for any
student production that contains music and is presented or broadcast outside the classroom.
Figure 13-2. Student
newscasts are considered
“outside the classroom.”
Appropriate permissions
are required to use
copyrighted music in a
student newscast.
Chapter 13
Music
In a student-produced program of a school football game that will be
cablecast, for example, the music played by the band at the game will be
heard in the program, even if the band is not seen on camera. The cable
company carrying the football game may have a blanket license for music,
which may allow the music to be included in the program. If the cable station has a blanket license with ASCAP (American Society of Composers,
Authors, and Publishers) or BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), for example, that
license might provide legal permission to record music from ASCAP or
BMI in the program. Examine the cable company’s license to verify that it
covers music that may be recorded incidentally in the student production.
If the cable company does not have a blanket license that extends to the
student production, the production team should reconsider recording the
music under any circumstances. If the band plays only a small portion of
a song during a timeout or other short break in the game and the camera
continues recording activity on the field, it may be acceptable to include the
music in the program. However, shooting the band while they are playing
(such as during the half-time show) is considered synchronizing the music
with video of the performance. Without permission from the music publisher, synchronizing the music and video is a serious copyright violation.
When sheet music is sold to the band, live performance rights are granted
to the band at the same time. Live performance rights do not extend to the
video production crew and do not include video rights.
Production Note
To get permission to record the band’s half-time show performance,
ask the band director for the name and contact information for the music
leasing company used for the band’s performance music. Contact the
company’s licensing department and explain that you want to video
record a half-time show where their music is being played. If the licensing
department says you can record the half-time show, get the permission in
writing before you shoot the show; a faxed letter of permission
is sufficient. On the other hand, if the band director tells you
the music is ASCAP or BMI, you may be covered by the cable
station’s blanket license with ASCAP or BMI. Ask to see a copy
of the cable station’s contract and verify it yourself.
How the footage containing music is used in a program may affect the
necessary permissions. Consider the music played by marching bands and
other groups during a parade, Figure 13-3. Using the parade footage in a
news story that is a package in a larger newscast is acceptable, because the
music heard is background to the reporter’s stand-up or interview with
bystanders or parade officials. If the parade moves continuously, only a
small piece of larger compositions will be heard in the background, with
the interview dialog remaining more prominent in the video. However, if
the entire parade is shot for cablecasting, the recording industry states that
a license must be obtained for each piece of music played on the video.
Again, check with the cable company to see if they have a blanket license
that covers the student-produced recording of the parade.
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Figure 13-3. The music
from a marching band can
be heard in the footage of
a parade.
Production Note
When networks cover events like football games and
parades, the network pays for blanket rights to use an almost
unlimited amount of music. It is usually not financially possible
for a broadcasting class to purchase blanket rights to music.
Sources of Music
The music used in productions may come from various sources:
Professional and commercial recordings.
Unrecorded sheet music.
Original music.
Music in the public domain.
Music libraries.
Using any of these sources requires that specific permissions be
obtained before the music is placed in a program.
•
•
•
•
•
Production Note
In the industry, the director is involved in choosing music
for a production and works closely with the composer in making
decisions about original music. The production company’s
attorneys are responsible for acquiring the necessary
permissions and handling the corresponding contracts.
Recorded and Copyrighted Music
If it is absolutely necessary to use copyrighted music from any analog
or digital recording of a live concert, you must contact the company listed
on the recording label. Remember, a recording you made with your own
Chapter 13
Music
equipment at a live concert is not a legal recording for duplication and
distribution. Some professional rock bands give the audience permission
to record their live concert, but that permission applies only to a single,
personal recording. You can find the company name on the label of the CD
and contact information can likely be found on the Internet, Figure 13-4.
Production Note
The Library of Congress Online Catalog (http://catalog.
loc.gov) is a searchable resource that provides quite a bit of
information on songs, including the name of the recording
company.
Contact the recording company’s licensing department and request a
“copyright license” for each piece of their music you would like to use.
You will need to explain exactly how you want to use the music and that it
will be recorded onto video media and synchronized with visual images.
Inform the company where the program will be seen and provide an estimate of the size of the potential audience. It is also important to indicate
whether anyone will receive payment for their work, or whether you (the
production company) are creating the video for a profit. The licensing
department will also want to know if duplications will be made and sold,
and what the price of the duplications is expected to be. After making initial contact with a recording company, follow-up with a letter that clearly
states the intended use of the music. Do not proceed with video recording
until the recording company has provided a letter granting the copyright
Figure 13-4. The
recording company’s name
can be found on the CD
label.
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licenses. The program cannot be aired without confirmation of the copyright licenses.
It is not recommended that amateurs attempt to get permission from
major recording artists for use of their music in student projects. The process is lengthy and can be discouraging. Most often, the result is a resounding “no” or a very high usage fee, Figure 13-5.
Production Note
Small, independent record labels are typically easier to
deal with than major recording companies. You are more likely
to speak to an actual person when contacting smaller recording
companies, instead of an automated answering system or
recorded voice message. Smaller labels are also typically faster
in responding to rights requests.
Music heard on a radio broadcast is also copyrighted, which means
that a recording of an actual radio station broadcast cannot be used as background music. Copyright permission is required to use the music played
on a radio station, as well as the voice of the announcer or DJ. Instead,
approach a few local bands and get recordings of their music, with written
permission to use the music. Create a radio station recording with the local
bands’ music and a friend pretending to be a radio DJ. Add the “radio station” background to the scene in the editing phase of production.
Sheet Music
If music is published in sheet music form, but not already recorded
(such as the music used in a school band concert that will be shown on
cable), permission must be obtained from the sheet music publisher.
Contact the publisher directly, provide the requested program information, and request that permission be provided in writing.
Figure 13-5. The
fees charged for using
copyrighted music depend
on various factors.
Music Usage Fees
●
There is no standard in the amount charged to use a piece
of copyright music.
●
The fees are often set by the agency or the artists themselves.
●
The fee may depend on the size of the potential viewing
audience.
●
Whether a program is “for profit” (has commercials), “not for
profit,” or public access programming affects the fee amount.
Chapter 13
Music
269
Original Music
Using original music from local musicians is a less complicated way
to acquire music for a program. Most local artists love the free publicity of
having their music included in a television program and, in some cases,
will not charge you for recording it. Permission from the band is required
to use their original music in the production. The letter of permission
should include:
• the broadcast medium for the program (CCTV or cable television, for
example).
• the date permission was granted.
• the duration of time permission is granted.
• signatures of the composer(s), lyricist(s), and musicians, accompanied
by legibly printed names.
• contact information for each person that signed the letter of
permission.
Only the band’s original music may be used in the production. The
band’s rendition of a copyrighted song, often called a “cover,” cannot be
used. Cover music may sometimes be used legally, but assistance from an
attorney is required to navigate the process. Musical works that are in the
public domain, however, may be performed by a local band and legally
used in a program.
Assistant Activity
Choose a popular song that would be appropriate
for use in a student production that is broadcast locally.
Research the necessary permissions and fees involved in
using that song. Record each step of the process, including
names, dates, and all the information provided to you.
Music Libraries
Another effective and less complicated source of music for programs
is a music library service. An Internet search for “music library” will return
dozens of options. Many large music libraries contain various types and
styles of music that can be purchased by a studio facility, Figure 13-6. Prerecorded music libraries vary widely in size and cost. These companies use
several types of contracts with their clients:
• With a “buy-out” contract, the production facility purchases music and
is free to use the music as often as they like without additional fees.
• “Needle-drop” is a term left over from the days of vinyl records. In
a “needle-drop” contract, a fee is paid to the music library company
every time a piece of music is recorded for a program (drop the
phonograph needle on a record).
• When using a “lease” contract, a flat fee is paid for unlimited use of
certain CDs in the music library or a specified number of downloads
from the company’s website. For online access to music downloads,
clients typically must establish a user name and password. A lease
term is usually one year. When the lease is up, all the CDs must be
cover music: A band’s
rendition of another
band’s copyrighted
song.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 13-6. There are
dozens of music libraries
available for purchase.
Once the music is
purchased, depending on
the contract, the user is
free to use the music at
any time.
returned, access to online music downloads is terminated, and music
from the library can no longer be used in any new videos.
Production Note
After the first year of a lease contract, it may be possible
to negotiate a better rate for a longer contract, such as a 3 or 5
year lease contract. At the very least, you can usually “freeze”
the yearly lease fee for a multi-year contract, making it
inflation-proof.
Make Your Own Music
Using your own original music in a program requires no permissions,
rights, or licenses. Music composition and creation computer programs
allow you to create original pieces of music. Many software companies
offer trial downloads to “test drive” the program before purchasing it.
Necessary Rights
recording rights:
Permission to record
music from a live
performance.
There are several different types of rights available to use copyrighted
music. There are also different types of rights necessary to provide television programs to the public by any means. The combination of television and music rights is called a “rights package.” The applicable package
depends on how copyrighted music will be used in the program.
• Recording rights. Permission to record music from a live
performance.
Chapter 13
•
•
•
•
•
•
Music
Re-recording rights. Permission to copy music from its current format
to a video medium. Re-recording rights are included in a majority of
rights packages because nearly everything done in the video industry
involves copying material from one medium to another.
Synchronization rights. Permission to synchronize video with the
music. This means that video of something other than the creation of
the music itself is added to the music. This is the difference between
radio and television—pictures!
Broadcasting rights. Permission to broadcast the music to the public.
Cablecasting rights. Permission to cablecast the music to the public.
Streaming rights. Permission to stream material on the Internet
with settings that do not allow the material to be downloaded or
recorded—it can only be streamed.
Transitory digital transmission rights. Permission to place material
on the Internet in a format that permits downloading and recording
from the Internet.
Production Note
When you contact a record label for permission to use
music and provide all the information on how you will use
the music, the company will tell you which rights package
applies.
271
re-recording rights:
Permission to copy
copyrighted material
from its current format
to a video medium.
synchronization
rights: Permission to
synchronize video with
the music.
broadcasting rights:
Permission to broadcast
copyrighted material to
the public.
cablecasting rights:
Permission to cablecast
copyrighted material to
the public.
streaming rights:
Permission to stream
material on the Internet
with settings that do not
allow the material to be
downloaded or recorded.
transitory digital
transmission rights:
Permission to place
material on the Internet
in a format that permits
downloading and
recording from the
Internet.
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Wrapping Up
Many novice producers choose to use music for the wrong reasons in
their television programs. Because a piece of music is a favorite or is popular
for the moment are not justifiable reasons to use it in a video program. It is
important to remember that background music has one purpose—to increase
the impact of the scene. “Favorite” music likely did not become the producer’s
favorite because it blends into the background. The guidelines for using music
in a program should be followed at all times.
Copyright issues related to music typically do not apply to teacherassigned programs that are seen only within a single classroom. Copyright
permission must be obtained, however, for use of music in programs shown
in any manner to viewers outside of that single classroom. If you use music
without obtaining the appropriate copyright license, you are liable for legal
action initiated by the copyright holder. “Your honor, I couldn’t locate the
copyright holder,” is not an excuse that will stand up in court. If the CD in your
possession doesn’t have a label, it is likely a bootleg CD and you’re on the
wrong side of the law to begin with.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the purpose of background music?
2. What is the “heart” of a song?
3. List three of the guidelines for using background music in a program.
4. Explain the challenge created in using catchy or busy music in a dialog
scene.
5. How do copyright laws apply to student and school video programs?
6. Identify the elements that should be contained in a letter of permission
from a local musician.
7. What types of contracts are available to use the services of a music
library?
8. Which music rights apply to use on the Internet?
Activities
1. Go to the Public Domain Information Project website and review the various songs considered to be “in the public domain.” Make a list of song
titles that you were surprised to see included on the website.
2. Research Title 17 of the U.S. copyright code. Locate Chapter 1, Subject
Matter and Scope of Copyright and read Section 115. Write a composition that explains Section 115 and how this portion of copyright law
applies to using music in student productions.
Te
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ce
hn
ol
ie
n
Music
Sc
Chapter 13
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Research the contracts available through three different music library
companies. Compare the cost of the same type of contract from each
of the three companies. What is the difference in contract prices?
Determine the per song price for each contract. Which company offers
the lowest cost per song?
3. Write a formal letter to a band requesting permission to use a piece of
their music in one of your productions. Provide details about your program, explain how their music will be used, and follow standard guidelines and format for writing a formal letter.
4. Identify a movie where the use of background music breaks the guidelines discussed in this chapter. Explain the effect the use of music has on
the scene or message of the movie.
at
he
g
M
ne
er
in
m
at
ic
s
gi
1. Choose an Internet-based music file sharing or download site. Review
the site’s Terms of Use. To what extent may the downloaded files be
shared? What conditions apply to the use of downloaded files?
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
www.school-video-news.com School Video News is an online magazine that
provides television and video production information and resources for schools,
students, and teachers.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the appropriate use of still photos in a
video production.
•
Understand how fps affects the television image.
•
Recall the guidelines for creating text to display
on a television screen.
•
Summarize the application of aspect ratio in
creating the television image.
•
Explain how contrast ratio affects television
graphics.
Professional Terms
aspect ratio
character generator (CG)
contrast ratio
crawl
credits
digital intermediate
essential area
film chain
film island
film scanner
fps
graphics
hot
luminance
pop the contrast ratio
roll
telecine
titles
Introduction
Graphics include any artwork required for a
production, from paintings that hang on the walls of a
set to the opening and closing program titles. Charts,
graphs, sports scores and statistics, election results,
weather statistics, and any other electronic text that
is part of a visual presentation are also considered
graphics in a program. Most graphics are computergenerated, but some are still created on paper or
canvas with ink, paint, or other medium used by the
artist.
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276
graphics: All of the
“artwork” seen in a
program, including
the paintings that
hang on the walls of a
set, the opening and
closing program titles,
computer graphics,
charts, graphs, and
any other electronic
representation that
may be part of a visual
presentation.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Talk the Talk
In some facilities, the terms “visuals” and “graphics” are
used interchangeably.
Copyright
Any picture taken from a magazine or book, Web site, or a motion
picture still frame is almost always copyrighted. This means that these
images may not be used in a video program without the copyright owner’s
permission. The simplest way to obtain images for a production is to create your own—take original photographs or make unique pieces of art. If
existing copyrighted works must be used, find the copyright holder and
get permission. Refer to the copyright information in Chapter 12, Legalities:
Releases, Copyright, and Forums.
Still Photos
If used sparingly, still photography can work well in a video program.
Excessive use of still photography, however, makes a television program
look like a slide show. To make interesting use of still photos, move the
camera around on the picture to create a sense of motion.
Assistant Activity
Watch a few documentaries to see this “roaming the
camera on a still photo” technique. Also notice that sound
effects and music are added while the camera roams across
a still image. The net result is quite effective.
Photos may be used in a video production, if certain precautions are
taken. Take the picture holding the camera horizontally. A horizontallyoriented picture more closely matches the shape of the television screen
than a vertically-oriented picture, Figure 14-1. A horizontal picture is a
rectangle with the long side on the top and bottom, just like a television
screen. If using a photo print, use a satin finish instead of glossy. Glossy
photo paper reflects the glare of lights into the lens of the video camera.
Photographic slides may be used instead of printed photos, which
eliminate the issue of lighting glare. A photographic slide must be oriented
in the slide projector horizontally, rather than vertically.
With the prominence of digital video, many non-linear editors (discussed in Chapter 24, Video Editing) accept image files in various formats,
such as .jpg, .tif, and .gif. There are also computer programs available that
allow the user to crop and change a photo in many ways before sending it
to a non-linear editor, Figure 14-2.
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277
Figure 14-1. The
horizontally oriented
picture is more closely
shaped to a television
screen than the vertical
image.
Figure 14-2. Some
computer programs allow
photographs to be cropped
and otherwise manipulated
before placing them in a
program.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Talk the Talk
Adobe® Photoshop® is one of the most well-known
image manipulation software programs. This product is so
well-known, in fact, that the verb “photoshopped” is now
used in common language. For example, “He photoshopped
his girlfriend into the picture.”
telecine: A device that
facilitates the transfer
of film images onto
videotape. Telecines
are used, for example,
to transfer theatrical
motion pictures to DVDs
for purchase or rental.
Also called a film chain
or film island.
film scanner: A digital
device designed to
copy/scan motion
picture film.
digital intermediate:
A high quality digital
version of a motion
picture created by
digitally scanning
motion picture film.
fps: The rate at which
individual pictures
are displayed in a
motion picture and on
television, expressed as
frames per second.
Still images that are not manipulated by a computer must be shot with
a video camera. Printed photographs should be placed on an easel to be
captured by the video camera. With photographic slides, the camera captures images that are projected onto a screen. The video camera must be
positioned with the lens pointed directly at the center of the photo. If it is
not “dead on” the center, the image captured will be distorted. Neither of
these low-cost techniques produces the high quality video image output of
a telecine (pronounced “tell-eh-seen”).
In concept, a telecine is a slide projector or movie projector pointed
directly at the television camera lens. A telecine is also referred to as a film
chain or film island. This machine is quite expensive and large; about the
size of a full-size refrigerator. Many optical maneuvers must be performed
to actually get an image onto the recording medium. The most advanced
telecines take theatrical motion pictures and convert them to video media
for broadcast, purchase, or rental. A telecine can work in two directions—it
can create a video of a film and it can create a film of a video.
A film scanner works like the scanner connected to a desktop computer and is used for motion picture film. Each frame of the film is digitally
scanned and typically creates a high-quality, digital version of a motion
picture called a digital intermediate. Many films are transferred to video
for editing purposes, particularly if digital effects will be added. The digital
intermediate of a motion picture may be transferred back to film, if desired,
for further processing, duplication, and distribution.
Motion Picture Film
While the majority of television production today involves digital
media, a great deal of film is also used. A piece of motion picture film is a
series of still pictures. Each picture is only slightly different from the next.
When projected rapidly, one picture after another, the illusion of motion
is created. When you watch a movie, 24 individual pictures are projected
per second. This rate is expressed as 24 fps (frames per second). Each individual picture is actually flashed twice, for a total of 48 pictures per second.
However, there are only 24 different frames. Each frame is projected for
a flash, is followed by black, and projected again for a flash followed by
black, while the projector advances one frame and flashes a new picture.
The pictures flash in such rapid succession, the blackness is not perceptible
to the viewer’s conscious mind.
The television picture also uses the concept of frames. The television
image frame is not something you can actually see, like a frame of film.
Individual pictures are not visible on a piece of videotape. Videotape simply
Chapter 14
Image Display
looks like a ribbon of brown or black. The television signal is either a magnetic signal on a videotape or an optical digital signal on a DVD, and is
recorded one picture at a time. The frame rate for television is 30 fps.
The difference between motion picture frame rate (24 fps) and television frame rate (30 fps) causes the image on a CRT television or computer monitor to flicker or roll when seen in a movie. A CRT television
or computer monitor uses a picture tube to create the image. Newer, flatpanel televisions and computer monitors are digital and do not use a picture tube. Instances of the “black” between motion picture frames and the
“black” between frames of the television picture can coincide so the image
on screen is black long enough to be detected by the human eye. The viewers’ minds register this blackness as a roll, seen in different places on the
picture.
High-definition television (HDTV) technology can use the motion picture frame rate of 24 fps, as well as the television frame rate of 30 fps. The
24 fps capability of an HDTV is the reason that image flicker or roll is now
rarely seen in a movie. Image flicker and roll may still be seen in home videos, unless a digital camera and monitor are used—digital equipment may
eliminate the effect entirely.
Text
Most of the text seen on the television screen is created on a computer
and electronically fed into the video switcher to be recorded with the program. Relatively small text is easy to read when viewed on a computer
screen, because the viewer is less than three feet away from the monitor.
When sitting further away from the monitor, however, the letters of small
text are too small to read and the words seem to run together. Most television viewers sit between 8′ and 15′ feet away from the television screen.
Any words that appear on screen must be large enough to be clearly read
at that distance, and should remain on the screen long enough to be read
out loud twice.
Letters on a television screen need to be relatively large, with only a
few words on the screen at a time. No more than 5 lines of writing and
no more than 5 words per line should appear on the screen, Figure 14-3.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. The most notable example of an
exception is the opening text narrative of the Star Wars films. In these movies, there are more words per line and more lines per page in the opening
sequences than the rule states. However, if the words or lines are revealed
to the audience one at a time, more lines and words can be placed on a
page. When the producer forces viewers to look only at a certain place on
the screen, more words can be displayed than the rule states.
Production Note
Misspellings on graphics are an announcement to the
viewing public that you cannot spell. Viewers will likely make
immediate assumptions about the program or product, as well
as your credibility and intelligence.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 14-3. A basic
rule for using text on the
television screen.
Never use more than five
words per line on the
television screen.
Nor should you use more
than five lines per page.
aspect ratio: The
relationship of the width
of the television screen
to the height of the
television screen, as in
4:3 (four by three) or
16:9 (sixteen by nine).
If many lines of text are presented on screen at once, the audience will
find it very difficult or impossible to read. For example, the “fine print”
displayed at the end of a car sale or lease promotional spot on television
explains the details of the advertised deal. By law, the advertiser must display this information in the spot. But, the text is created in such small type
and is displayed so briefly on the screen, it is unlikely that many viewers
have ever been able to read the contents. The law does not specify that the
information must be presented in an easily legible format.
Just as in word processing programs, numerous font styles are available
for creating television titles. Many of the fonts, however, should not be used.
Only bold, simple letters can be clearly read on the television screen. Fancy
and elaborate fonts simply do not display well on television, Figure 14-4.
Even though these fonts appear clear and crisp on a computer monitor, they
may not translate well to the poorer quality of some television receivers.
While many consumers purchased new, digital television receivers, several
million television viewers opted to use converter boxes for their analog televisions. Therefore, graphics must be created for viewing on lower-quality,
analog television screens. With titles created on a computer, always view the
titles on a television monitor to verify that they are readable.
Aspect Ratio
Aspect ratio refers to the relationship of the width of the television
screen to the height of the television screen. From the early 1950s to the
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Image Display
281
Figure 14-4. Fancy or thin
fonts are not clearly visible
on the television screen,
even though they appear
clear on a computer
monitor.
present day, television sets common in most homes had an aspect ratio
of 4 units wide by 3 units high, or a 4:3 aspect ratio, Figure 14-5. This
ratio applies to any unit of measure, such as centimeters, inches, feet,
or yards.
Talk the Talk
When referring to aspect ratios while speaking, it
is proper to say “four by three” or “sixteen by nine.” For
example, “Is that program in sixteen by nine or four by
three?”
The recorded video images of a motion picture are approximately 16
units wide by 9 units high, or in 16:9 aspect ratio. See Figure 14-6. Images
this size cannot be viewed in their entirety on a 4:3 aspect ratio television
screen. The original video image is too wide to completely fit on the television screen. Only about three-fourths of the video image actually appears
on the television screen, Figure 14-7. Currently, the only way to see the
entire image on a 4:3 screen is to “letterbox” the image. Letterboxing displays the entire image, from left to right, on the television screen. The top
of the image is pushed down and the bottom of the image is pushed up.
The result is a narrow horizontal strip on the screen, with a black bar on the
top and bottom of the screen, Figure 14-8.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 14-5. A television
screen with an aspect ratio
of 4:3 (4 units wide by 3
units high).
4
3
Figure 14-6. The standard
format for broadcast
television is 16:9.
16
9
Chapter 14
Image Display
4
283
Figure 14-7. About onequarter of a 16:9 picture
does not fit on a 4:3 aspect
ratio screen.
3
Figure 14-8. An entire
movie image can be scaled
to fit on a 4:3 screen by
“letterboxing” the picture.
Visualize This
You are sitting in a classroom and your teacher is setting up a film to
show on a film projector. The screen at the front of the room is square, and
the film is wide screen format. The movie starts. The picture fills the screen
from top to bottom, but the left and right edges of the picture (almost two
thirds of the total image) are projected off the screen, onto the blackboard
behind the screen and are difficult to see. To solve the problem, the teacher
moves the projector closer to the screen, so the left and right edges of the
picture are completely on the screen. However, the entire
image is now smaller and there is now a dark gray bar at
the top and bottom of the square screen (where nothing is
projected at all). This is an example of the result of letterboxing.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Note
The recorded images on 35mm and 70mm theatrical film
are much larger than the older 4:3 aspect ratio. The 16:9 aspect
ratio format incorporates as much of the original film image as
current technology permits.
The standard format for broadcast television is 16:9. The 16:9 aspect ratio
is more closely shaped to a 35mm motion picture or still photo image. On
16:9 format televisions, viewers see much more of the original film images
when watching movies at home. On a digital television, viewers also see
digital images, which are strikingly clear. The clarity of images viewed on
a computer monitor is noticeably sharper than the average picture on an
analog television set. Consider that images on a digital television are greatly
improved from the display on a high-resolution computer monitor.
Production Note
The 16:9 aspect ratio is not synonymous with large, “home
theater wide-screen” television sets. Many 16:9 screens are large,
but they can be rather small as well. The 16:9 ratio refers to the
shape of the screen, not the amount of real estate it occupies.
The federal government organized a digital conversion project that
provided a schedule and guidelines for all broadcast stations in the United
States to convert from broadcasting an analog signal to broadcasting in
digital format. To view television after the conversion on June 12, 2009,
viewers needed a digital television or a converter box connected to an analog television. Many cable and satellite systems offer to convert the digital
signal to analog before sending it on to subscribers. The converter equipment takes the superior digital image, changes it into an analog image, and
sends that signal to an analog television set.
Essential Area
essential area: The
area of an image or
shot that must be seen
on any television set,
regardless of aspect
ratio or age, and must
include all the words in
a graphic.
The concept of aspect ratio is very important when generating graphics.
While all graphics need to be in 16:9 format, the essential area of the graphic
must be in 4:3 aspect ratio. Essential area is the area that must be seen on any
television set, regardless of aspect ratio or age, and includes all the words in
a graphic. Words cannot be cut off by the left and right margins of a television set. For example, a graphic created to advertise a local business does not
communicate the correct information if the essential area is not considered,
Figure 14-9. The background of a graphic is not included in the essential
area. Therefore, the background may be created in 16:9 aspect ratio.
Talk the Talk
The 4:3 aspect ratio essential area that is centered
horizontally on a 16:9 screen is referred to as the “4 by 3 hot
spot.”
Chapter 14
Essential area
9
3
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Image Display
Robert’s Towing
Service
555-1234
Figure 14-9. The essential
area is the region that
must be seen by the
viewer. A—Even when
created in 16:9 aspect
ratio, a graphic must stay
within the essential of a
4:3 television screen.
B—Graphics formatted for
16:9 display fall outside
of the 4:3 aspect ratio
essential area.
4
16
A
9
Robert’s Towing Service
3
555-1234
4
16
B
Character Generator
The character generator, or CG, essentially creates letters (generates
characters). Think of a CG as a video word processor. The letters and characters generated by the CG are used to create titles. Titles may be very
simple pages that appear on the screen, or they can move across the screen.
For example, the titles may move around on the screen in seemingly threedimensional motions or the letters used in the titles can be animated. The
degree and style of movement should contribute to the overall effect of the
character generator
(CG): A device that
creates (generates)
letters (characters),
primarily for titles.
titles: The letters and
characters generated by
a CG that are displayed
on-screen.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
video program, rather than being a display of the CG operator’s capabilities, Figure 14-10.
Talk the Talk
The term “CG” also means “computer generated.” When used in this
context, CG is usually mentioned in conjunction with special
effects. When referring to computer generated special
effects, one might say “those effects are CG.” The context of
the sentence indicates how “CG” is used in conversation or
direction.
credits: The written
material presented
before and after
programs, listing the
names and job titles
of the people involved
in the program’s
production.
roll: Titles in a program
that move up the
screen.
crawl: Words that
appear either at the
top or the bottom of
the screen and move
from the right edge of
the screen to the left,
without interrupting the
program in progress.
Figure 14-10. The CG
creates titles for television
programs.
The simplest and most common types of titles are a credit roll and a
crawl. Credits are the written material presented before and after programs.
Credits list the names and job titles of people involved in the program’s
production. In a roll, titles move up the screen, as if they were printed on
a long roll of paper. A credit roll, for example, usually occurs at the end of
a program. In order to be easily read by the audience, the titles must move
up the screen. If titles move down the screen, the viewers must constantly
jerk their eyes up and down to read the titles. This creates a feeling of discontent with the audience. A crawl appears either at the top or bottom of
the screen, without interrupting the programming or footage. Words move
from the right edge of the screen to the left edge of the screen, presenting
the words the way we naturally read—from left to right. Running a crawl
from the left to the right also creates a feeling of discontent with the audience. Local news programs typically use a crawl to display current traffic
conditions and weather updates at the bottom or top of the screen.
There are many different CG computer programs available. Some are
independent hardware and software units, others are programs that can be
loaded onto a desktop computer, and many non-linear editing programs
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have built-in modules with CG capabilities. The titles are created on a computer and edited into the video program.
Many CGs and CG programs have customizable templates that can
be used to create graphics for weather forecasts and sports scores. A variety of premade backgrounds are also available; both still backgrounds and
dynamic, moving backgrounds. Premade graphic backgrounds are, generally, extremely affordable and offer nearly limitless possibilities.
Contrast Ratio
Contrast ratio is the relationship between the brightest object and
the darkest object in the television picture. The human eye can see 100%
contrast between black and white objects, expressed as a contrast ratio of
100:1. This means that we have no difficulty seeing black objects on a
white background or white objects on a black background. The text of
this book is black on a white page, for example. Some digital cameras
actually have a contrast ratio of 100:1. Some extremely high-end video cameras produce a contrast ratio of 55:1. Consumer and most professional cameras
produce a contrast ratio of 40:1. Some 35mm motion picture film stock can
produce a contrast ratio of up to 90:1. Differences in the ability to capture
and display varying contrast ratios partially accounts for the difference
in the “look” of film and video. For the foreseeable future, the television
industry must operate within the constraints of the 40:1 contrast ratio. It is
vitally important to understand what 40:1 contrast ratio actually means.
On a scale of 1 to 100, “1” represents no-luminance (black) and “100”
represents total luminance (white). Luminance is the brightness or lightness of the video image. Imagine a long board with equal sections marked
and numbered 1 to 100, and a shorter board with sections of the same size
numbered 1 to 40. The board that is 40 units long represents the television
scale of 40:1. The 100-unit board represents a realistic scale of 100:1. The
first unit on each board is black. Each subsequent unit is a lighter shade
of gray, with the last unit on each board being white, Figure 14-11. Even
though each board begins with black and ends with white, the 40:1 television scale is missing many shades between.
If number 1 (black) on the television contrast ratio scale is lined up
evenly with number 1 (black) on the realistic contrast ratio scale, the difference in the color range is apparent. See Figure 14-12. The right end of the
contrast ratio: The
relationship between
the brightest object and
the darkest object in the
television picture.
luminance: A measure
of the brightness or
lightness of a video
image.
Figure 14-11. With the 40-unit board beside the 100-unit board, the ends of the 40-unit board represent the
upper limit of “lightness” and the lower limit of “darkness” possible on the television set.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100
Realistic Scale
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Television Scale
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Figure 14-12. The lightest end of the television scale falls in the medium-gray range on the realistic scale.
Anything lighter than unit #40 on the television scale is seen as white.
1
1
100
40
television scale is white, but the corresponding realistic color is medium
gray. If there is a substantial amount of black in the picture, that medium
gray color is what the television can display for the lightest object in the
picture. In this scenario, any object that truly is a medium gray color displays as white on the television screen, because white is the lightest color
a television set can produce. Any object lighter than medium gray on the
realistic scale in the picture will glow with an otherworldly light.
If number 40 (white) on the television contrast ratio scale is lined up
evenly with number 100 (white) on the realistic contrast ratio scale, the
black end of the television scale aligns with a lighter medium gray on the
realistic scale, Figure 14-13. The lighter medium gray is the darkest object
a camera can see when the majority of the picture is white. Objects of this
color appear black on the television screen. Anything darker than lighter
medium gray on the realistic scale appears solid black and without detail;
like a flat, black silhouette of an object.
In most cases, the middle of the television contrast ratio scale (20)
should be aligned with the center unit of the realistic contrast ratio scale
(50). To produce a quality, realistic image, the picture should not contain
anything lighter or darker than the shades of gray on the realistic scale that
correspond to the units at either end of the television scale (unit 31 through
unit 70 in Figure 14-11). If an object is darker, it appears black. If an object
Figure 14-13. The darkest end of the television scale falls in the light-gray range on the realistic scale.
Anything darker than unit #1 on the television scale is seen as black.
10 0
1
1
40
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is lighter, it appears white. The further away an object falls from either end
of the 40-unit stick, the more negative attributes (black or white) the object
acquires.
Visualize This
A student decided to produce a program about the degrees of wear
and tear on automobile tires as her class project. In preparing for the
shoot, she painted the backdrop of the set a relatively bright yellow. The
tires were arranged on the set against the yellow background and the
studio lights were turned on. But, the tires were solid black shapes on the
monitor. The student realized that the camera could not “see” any detail of
the tire treads because she exceeded the contrast ratio in the
image. There was too much bright yellow in the image. The
iris closed so much to prevent over-exposure of the yellow
that the details of the black tires were lost.
There are two ways to control movement of the television contrast
ratio scale.
• Place the camera in auto-iris mode. The camera will position the scale
automatically, considering the amount of lightness or darkness in the
total picture. With more of one or the other of these extremes in the
picture, the camera adjusts the television contrast ratio scale further
down or up the realistic contrast ratio scale. To control movement of
the scale, alter the brightness of objects in the picture.
• Put the camera in manual iris mode to manually override the
automatic setting. Even though you can force the camera to accept an
image higher than 40:1, there will be negative side effects. Blacks may
be flattened and have no detail; whites may glow and have no detail.
Production Note
For scenes that require a greater amount of darkness, like exploring a
cave, remember that the television contrast ratio scale has moved
down the realistic contrast ratio scale. The talent should not be
dressed in bright white costumes. If shooting in an extremely
light environment, such as Antarctica, the television contrast
ratio scale has moved to the upper end of the realistic contrast
ratio scale. The actors should not wear dark navy blue parkas.
Popping the Contrast Ratio
Exceeding the contrast ratio limitations, or popping the contrast ratio,
of video results in an image that contains glowing light-colored objects
(Figure 14-14) or flat, dark-colored objects without detail, like silhouettes.
When the contrast ratio is popped, cameras equipped with a zebra stripe
circuit display diagonal zebra stripes on the viewfinder to indicate that
an object in the scene is too brightly lit, Figure 14-15. When zebra stripes
appear, it is not always necessary to make adjustments. The image is not
pop the contrast ratio:
When the brightness
or darkness of objects
in a shot exceeds the
contrast ratio limitations
of video.
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Figure 14-14. Popping
the contrast ratio of a
predominantly dark picture
causes light-colored items
to glow.
Figure 14-15. The
camera operator sees
zebra stripes through the
camera’s viewfinder when
something in the shot is
too brightly lit.
considered “bad” unless the negative effects intrude on the main focus of
the picture. The zebra stripes only indicate that there may be a problem.
The zebra stripe circuit is typically found on higher-quality cameras,
and is not available on low-end cameras. In mid-grade cameras, the circuit
is pre-set at the factory and operates as described in the previous paragraph. Adjustable zebra stripe circuits can be found in higher quality (and
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cost) cameras. An adjustable circuit allows the user to manually set the
level at which zebra stripes appear. For example, the factory preset may
prompt zebra stripes to appear when any object in the picture reaches the
40:1 contrast ratio. The factory preset of 40:1 indicates that the image is
now distorting due to contrast ratio problems. There is no warning that
the image is getting close to distortion. An adjustable zebra stripe circuit
allows the operator to set the zebra stripe display threshold to a different
level, such as 35:1. At 35:1, the operator has a safety margin. In this case, the
zebra stripes are a warning that the image is close to distortion.
Production Note
Zebra stripes appear only on the camera’s viewfinder. They
will not be seen on any other monitor in the recording system
or in the recorded program.
The camera operator must alert the director when zebra stripes
appear; the program’s director decides if the problem is worth correcting.
For example, the director may choose to dismiss a “glow” that appears on
the visible part of white shirts on a group of men wearing black suits. If
these men are relatively minor characters in the scene, the zebra stripes on
the small portion of their shirts can be ignored to continue shooting.
When shooting outside a ski lodge, however, the entire image is quite
hot (very bright) due to all the white snow in the environment. The main
character skis into the frame of the camera wearing a dark green outfit.
Both the character’s face and outfit appear completely black because the
outfit has popped the contrast ratio. This is not an acceptable shot. One
solution is to paint the snow a gray color, but this is not a sensible or realistic option. Practical solutions to this problem include the following:
• Shoot the scene at night. This, however, might not work for the scene.
• Close the aperture of the camera or place filters on the camera lens to
reduce the amount of light coming in. As the amount of light coming
in is reduced, the television scale moves lower on the realistic scale.
The costume and talent’s face will eventually be visible.
• Change the character’s costume.
• Zoom in on the subject of the shot. Zooming in reduces the amount of
bright snow in the picture and magnifies the center of the picture—
there is less white snow and more dark green clothing. This lowers
the contrast ratio.
• Increase the shutter speed. “Light eating” is a negative consequence
of increasing shutter speed. In this situation, however, the
consequence becomes an advantage. Excess light from the bright
snow can be “eaten” by the increased shutter speed until the contrast
ratio and exposure on screen is acceptable.
The concept of contrast ratio also applies to production graphics. High
contrast ratios should be avoided for television images, such as white letters
on a black background. Additionally, colors with similar luminance values
should not be used together in a picture. Luminance refers to the degree of
lightness in a picture related to the degree of darkness. For example, red
hot: A term used to
describe an image or
shot that is very bright.
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and green are two colors most associated with the winter holiday season.
Therefore, these colors are very likely to be included in a written graphic—
red letters on a green background or green letters on a red background.
On a black and white television, this graphic appears as an almost entirely
gray screen, Figure 14-16. The shades of red and green used in the graphic
may have identical levels of luminance, which makes them appear to be
the same color on a black and white television screen.
Colors of contrasting luminance should be used in graphics, but the
contrasting colors cannot exceed the 40:1 contrast ratio in luminance.
Many professional cameras are equipped with a black and white viewfinder, which allows the camera operator to easily evaluate the quality of
any graphic shot. However, if graphics are generated on a computer, they
should always be fed into a black and white monitor for review before
being recorded.
Production Note
If a black and white monitor is not available to review a
computer-generated graphic, a color monitor may be used.
Simply adjust the image to black and white by turning the “color”
or “chroma” down using the accessible controls on the monitor.
Television systems reproduce most colors very well. However, in
analog television production, the colors red, pink, and orange are difficult to accurately reproduce for technical engineering reasons. Avoid large
amounts of these colors as much as possible in analog television production. These colors do not pose a problem in digital television production.
However, consumers with analog television sets will still be affected by the
red, pink, and orange colors.
Figure 14-16. Different colors with the same luminance value appear to be almost the same shade of gray on
a black and white screen.
Chapter 14 Image Display
Wrapping Up
Graphics for television are an important aspect of production because
they include anything the viewer needs to read. In order for viewers to read
the information, the graphic must be simple enough and sufficiently large
to be seen from a couch or chair that is 8′ to 15′ away from the screen.
Graphics should also be displayed on the screen long enough to be read out
loud twice. The contrast ratio of the graphic must remain within the limits of
the television system. Due to the emergence of digital television, graphics
must be generated to fit on the screen of every style and size television
set. Graphics must appear satisfactorily on both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio
television screens.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What are the conditions for using still photos in a video program?
2. How is a digital intermediate produced?
3. Why does the image displayed on a CRT television or computer monitor
flicker or roll when shown in a movie?
4. What is the maximum number of lines of text that should be displayed on
screen at one time? What is the maximum number of words per line?
5. What is aspect ratio?
6. What are some benefits of 16:9 aspect ratio displays compared to 4:3
aspect ratio displays?
7. What is the difference between a roll and a crawl?
8. What is contrast ratio? What is the greatest contrast ratio possible with
analog television systems?
9. What is luminance?
10. What happens when an image pops the contrast ratio?
11. Why should color graphics be evaluated on a black and white television
monitor?
Activities
1. Watch 15 minutes of two versions of the same movie: one in full screen
format (4:3 aspect ratio) and one in wide screen, or letterbox, format
(16:9 aspect ratio). Write down the noticeable differences in various
scenes. Be prepared to share this information in class.
2. Visit an electronics retail store. Compare the picture on several digital
televisions that are tuned to the same image feed, in both standard
definition and high definition. Make note of the various specifications on
several digital and HDTV models and indicate the prices of each. Be prepared to share your findings in class.
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Curriculum
1. Research how home movie recording technology has changed. Describe
important technological advancements and products in the evolution of
home movies.
2. Investigate the technology behind image manipulation software products.
How does image manipulation software edit or alter still photos?
3. When you watch a movie, 24 individual pictures are projected per second, which is expressed as 24 fps (frames per second). Each individual
picture is actually flashed twice. How many pictures are flashed per second? Between each frame, there is an instance of black. Including the
24 individual pictures that are flashed twice and the instances of black
between each frame, how many total images are flashed per second?
4. List some television programs that display a crawl on screen. For each
program, identify the information presented in the crawl. How is this information useful to the viewing audience?
•
•
•
•
Explain how the color temperature of light affects
the video image.
Recall methods to control lighting intensity.
Identify the steps in the procedure to light a set.
Describe the television lighting techniques
presented and identify the instruments used with
each technique.
Introduction
Professional Terms
3200° Kelvin (3200K)
back light
background light
barndoors
basic hang
bounce lighting
C-clamp
cross-key lighting
diffusion
dimmer
fill light
flag
flood light
floor stand
fluorescent lamp
four-point lighting
Fresnel
gel
grid
hard light
honeycomb
incandescent lamp
instrument
Kelvin color temperature
scale
key light
lamp
light hit
light plot
limbo lighting
raceway
rough hang
scoop
scrim
soft light
spotlight
three-point lighting
triangle lighting
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the various types of lighting instruments
and cite unique characteristics of each.
•
Compare the characteristics of incandescent lamps
with the characteristics of fluorescent lamps.
There are two main functions of lighting for
television production:
•
To meet the technical requirements of the
camera. There should be enough light to produce
an acceptable picture on the screen.
•
To meet the aesthetic requirements of the
director. Sufficient lighting is necessary to create
the desired mood, from an artistic standpoint.
A romantic dinner, for example, should have a
different lighting design than a football game.
Ultimately, the television screen is a flat piece of
glass. Industry professionals try to create the “illusion” of
a three-dimensional image by manipulating many objects
and aspects of a program. To create three-dimensions:
•
Shoot a person in a three-quarter angle, rather
than straight on or in profile.
•
Apply makeup to the talent to create lines of light
and shadow.
•
Paint a production set to create the illusion of
three dimensions.
•
Arrange set elements to create a foreground,
middle ground, and background.
•
Make certain areas more prominent on the screen
through the creative use of light and shadow.
•
Creatively use a shallow depth of field when
shooting.
Special lighting is necessary in television
production because, typically, the lens aperture is
closed significantly to accomplish great depth of field.
Closing the lens aperture requires that the light level
be increased, or a wonderfully focused picture will be
a wonderfully focused dark picture.
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Using Professional Terms
instrument: The device
into which a lamp is
installed to provide
illumination on a set.
It is imperative that consumer terms not be used in a professional studio environment. Using the correct terminology is considered an entrance
exam for broadcasting employees. You risk losing respect and credibility
among industry peers and superiors if you use consumer terms or misuse professional terms in the workplace. The importance of correctly using
industry terms cannot be overstated.
Average consumers call the lighting fixture on the side table in their living room a “lamp” and the part inside that glows a “lightbulb.” Television
production industry professionals do not use these terms. The lighting fixture is called an instrument and the part that glows is a lamp. In the industry, a lamp illuminates a set when installed in a lighting instrument.
lamp: Part of a lighting
instrument that glows
when electricity is
supplied. The consumer
term for this item is
“lightbulb.”
Talk the Talk
When referring to a lighting instrument, just the word “instrument” is
typically used. “This instrument needs a new lamp.” The word “lighting” is
understood and is not actually spoken when industry professionals use
this term. Other terms used to refer to a lighting instrument
are “fixture” or “head.” Sometimes, the name used refers
to the wattage of the lamp, such as “1K,” “2K,” or “baby.” It
is important to learn the naming conventions used in your
workplace when you are a new employee.
•
•
In the television production industry, the word “light” has two definitions:
“Lights” refer to the collection of all the instruments used in
the studio or on location. “Let’s turn the lights on now.” Most
professionals say “instrument” only when referring to a specific
lighting instrument.
“Light” also refers to the illumination created by turning on a lamp.
For example, the lighting engineer may use a light meter to measure
the amount of light hitting or reflecting off an object on the set.
Types of Light
hard light: Type of
illumination used in
a studio that creates
sharp, distinct, and very
dark shadows.
soft light: Type of
illumination used in
a studio that creates
indistinct shadows.
The two types of illumination used on a studio set are defined by the
type of shadows they produce—hard and soft. See Figure 15-1.
Hard light creates a sharp, distinct, and very dark shadow. Hard light
is the type necessary to create shadow puppets against a wall. If a hard light
instrument is hung from the ceiling of a TV studio and pointed straight
down onto an object, a perfectly-shaped shadow is created on the floor
below the object. The line on the floor between areas of light and shadow
is thin and distinct.
Soft light creates indistinct shadows. Pointing a soft light instrument
straight down onto an object creates an indistinct shadow pattern on the
floor. There is no definitive line between areas of light and shadow. The
lighted area gradually fades into shadowed area.
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Figure 15-1. Hard light
creates sharp, distinct
shadows. Soft light creates
indistinct shadows.
Hard light
Soft light
Types of Lighting Instruments
Nearly all studio hard lights are a type of spotlight, Figure 15-2.
Spotlights create a circle of light in varying diameters. These instruments
can be fixed to a pipe on the ceiling or wall, placed on a stand, or be very
moveable. Moveable spotlights can be moved by hand or be motorized
and operated by remote control. Moveable spotlights, “spots” for short, are
often used in theatrical presentations when the spotlight follows a person
walking around the stage.
Convertible spotlights have a sliding lever on the body of the instrument, Figure 15-3. These instruments may be referred to as “focusing fixtures” or “focusable fixtures.” The instrument is a hard light in one setting
and converts to a somewhat softer lighting instrument by sliding the lever.
The Fresnel, pronounced “fruh-NEL,” is a hard lighting instrument,
Figure 15-4. It is a lightweight instrument that is easily focused and can
spotlight: Type of hard
light instrument that
creates a circle of light
in varying diameters.
Fresnel: A hard light
instrument that is
lightweight and easily
focused.
298
Figure 15-2. Spotlights
are instruments that create
hard light.
Figure 15-3. A convertible
spotlight is very versatile
because it can create hard
or soft light.
Figure 15-4. A Fresnel is
a lightweight, focusable,
hard lighting instrument.
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Chapter 15
Lighting
produce a great deal of light. Fresnel instruments are named for the inventor of the Fresnel lens, Augustin-Jean Fresnel. Because the instrument is
named after a person, “Fresnel” should always be capitalized.
A flood light is a soft lighting instrument that provides general lighting
in a large area. One of the most common flood lights is a scoop, Figure 15-5.
It is a half-spheroid shaped instrument that creates a great deal of light.
Accessories
Some situations may require light to be projected in a specific shape or
be blocked from hitting a particular object on the set. Barndoors are the most
commonly used items to shape and block light, Figure 15-6. Barndoors are fully
moveable metal flaps that attach to the front of an instrument. The operator
moves the barndoors into the beam of light to block or reshape the light.
299
flood light: A soft light
instrument that provides
general lighting in a
large area.
scoop: A common type
of flood light with a halfspheroid shape that
produces a great deal
of light.
barndoors: Fully
moveable black metal
flaps attached to the front
of a lighting instrument;
used to block or reshape
the light.
Figure 15-5. The scoop
lighting instrument is
named for its domed,
or scoop, shape.
(Mole-Richardson Co.,
Hollywood, CA)
Barndoors
Figure 15-6. Barndoors
allow the light to be
shaped, rather than merely
projecting light in a large
circle.
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Safety Note
The entire lighting fixture gets extremely hot when turned
on, including the barndoors. If the instrument is on or has
recently been turned off, wear gloves when handling the
barndoors.
!
Cinefoil™ and Blackwrap™ are two professional products used by
most lighting designers to reshape light. These products are flexible, rolled
sheets of aluminum that can be wrapped around the front of an instrument.
Cinefoil and Blackwrap are flat black in color, so they do not reflect light.
Budget-conscious production environments often use aluminum foil to produce the same effects as Cinefoil, Blackwrap, and barndoors, Figure 15-7.
Use heavy-duty foil instead of regular aluminum foil—heavier foil resists
accidental tears better and can withstand the extreme heat of the instruments for a longer period of time. While aluminum foil works to reshape
light, aluminum foil is shiny and reflects light—sometimes uncontrollably.
Be aware of wayward reflections and correct any lighting problems and
hot spots on the set.
Some very interesting and creative shadow patterns can be created
using inexpensive aluminum foil on instruments. To use aluminum foil to
shape or block light:
1. Tear off a sheet several feet long.
2. Shape the aluminum foil into a cylinder.
3. Attach the cylinder to the front of the instrument with metal paper
clips (not plastic or vinyl coated clips).
4. Turn the lighting instrument on.
5. Shape the foil by hand.
Safety Note
Do not use transparent tape, masking tape, or duct tape to attach foil
to an instrument. The tape may ignite! This poses a serious safety risk
to every person on the set and in the building. Also, if a fire
ignites, water from the sprinkler system will damage every piece
of video equipment, the set, costumes, props, and all other
valuable items in the studio.
light hit: A white spot
or star shaped reflection
of a lighting instrument
or sunlight off of a
highly reflective surface
on the set.
flag: A flexible metal
rod with a flat piece of
metal attached to the
end; used to block light
from hitting certain
objects on the set.
!
Brightly polished objects, like a silver serving tray or brass lamp, may
be among the elements included in a shot. However, highly reflective surfaces create a white spot or star-shaped reflection of a lighting instrument
or sunlight, which can be reflected into the camera lens. This reflection is
called a light hit and is generally considered an undesirable effect. The easiest solution is to remove the reflective object from the set. If this is not an
option, a flag needs to be placed between the lighting instrument and the
reflective object, Figure 15-8. A flag is a metal rod with a flat piece of metal
attached to the end. The metal rod is flexible, about 2′–3′ long, and has a
clip on the end. This rod is attached to the side of a lighting instrument
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Lighting
with the excess length extending in front of the instrument. A small, flat
piece of metal cut into a shape is attached to the clip. The lighting designer
bends the rod until the flag is positioned between the light source and the
reflective surface on the set. The flag blocks light from the reflective object,
but the rest of the set remains illuminated by the lighting instrument.
Figure 15-7. Heavy
aluminum foil can be used
to shape the light projected
from an instrument.
Figure 15-8. A flag prevents light hits by blocking light from hitting a particular item on a set. A—Shiny surfaces
on a set reflect light from the lighting instruments used. B—A flag is placed between the lighting instrument and
the reflective surface on the set. (Courtesy of Matthews Studio Equipment) C—With the light blocked from shiny
surfaces, light hits are avoided.
Lighting
instrument
Flag
A
B
C
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Safety Note
Do not use wooden dowels or cardboard to make a flag.
When exposed to the heat of a lighting instrument, these
materials become a fire hazard.
•
•
!
Other ways to remove a light hit include:
Spray the item with dulling spray available from photo supply stores.
The spray can be removed with a damp cloth after the shoot.
Spray the item with inexpensive hair spray. Hair spray is also water
soluble for easy removal.
Fluorescent Lamps
incandescent lamp:
Type of lamp that
functions when
electricity is applied and
makes a filament inside
the lamp glow brightly.
fluorescent lamp: Type
of lamp that functions
when electricity excites
a gas in the lamp, which
causes the material
coating the inside of the
lamp to glow (fluoresce)
with a soft, even light.
Figure 15-9. Fluorescent
instruments can hold
multiple lamps and can be
hung from a grid or placed
on lighting stands.
(Photo courtesy of LowelLight Mfg., Inc.)
The types of instruments discussed to this point in the chapter use
incandescent lamps. Incandescent lamps contain a filament inside the
lamp that glows brightly when electricity is applied. Incandescent lamps
used in television production are usually tungsten, tungsten halogen, or
quartz halogen.
A fluorescent lamp functions when electricity excites a gas in the lamp,
which causes the material coating the inside of the lamp to glow (fluoresce)
with a soft, even light. Older fluorescent lamps were unsuitable for use in
television production environments due to the bluish or greenish color temperature of the lamps. Professional television lighting fluorescent lamps are
available in various shapes, sizes, and color temperatures, Figure 15-9. The
most important color temperature in the television industry is 3200° Kelvin.
Color temperatures are discussed in detail later in this chapter.
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Fluorescent instruments and lamps have several advantages over
incandescent varieties.
• Fluorescent lamps cost less to purchase, cost less to replace, and
provide tremendous energy savings.
• Fluorescent lamps typically produce three to four times more light
per watt, compared to tungsten halogen sources.
• Fluorescent lamps produce only a fraction of the heat generated
by incandescent lights. With less heat produced by lights, the air
conditioning system does not have to work as hard to keep the studio
at a cool, comfortable temperature.
• Fluorescent lamps are longer-lasting than incandescent lamps.
While lamp life is usually rated by the manufacturer between 8,000
and 10,000 hours, lamps gradually darken with age, reducing their
efficiency, and should be inspected periodically.
• Fluorescent lamps can be touched with a bare hand while turned on.
The lamp is warm, but not warm enough to cause any discomfort.
To the human eye, a fluorescent lamp appears considerably less bright
than an incandescent lamp. While the illumination is less bright, the images
created under fluorescent instruments appear beautifully on video. This is
because professional video fluorescent lamps provide the exact frequency
of light required by the camera. An incandescent lamp spreads a wide
frequency of light, most of which the camera does not need. Also, since
fluorescent lamps are not as bright as incandescent lamps, talent is less
likely to squint at the camera due to bright lights on the set. Incandescent
instruments are still needed on a set, but using fluorescent instruments
can reduce the number of incandescent instruments needed and, therefore,
reduce the cost of operation.
Supports for Lighting Instruments
Lighting instruments may be attached to floor stands in the studio. A
floor stand has three or four legs and a long vertical pole to which a lighting instrument is clamped. Studio floor stands often have wheels on the
legs for ease of movement. Even though floor stands are convenient, they
have several disadvantages (Figure 15-10):
• They are top-heavy when an instrument is attached to the top of the
pole and may be tipped over easily.
• The power cord for the instrument lies on the floor of the shooting
area and is a tripping hazard. To be safe, the power cords should be
taped to the floor.
• They occupy valuable floor space.
• Studio personnel can accidentally cast a shadow on the entire set by
walking in front of a floor stand and instrument.
On a remote shoot, however, floor stands are a necessity. The crew
should be aware of where the floor stands are positioned and be cautious
around them. Some smaller, portable lighting systems come with large
spring-loaded clamps. The clamps allow instruments to be attached to a
flat, steady object, like the edge of a bookcase, door, or table, Figure 15-11.
In the studio, the best mounting option for lighting is to use a grid,
Figure 15-12. Most studios have a grid hanging about twelve inches below
floor stand: A lighting
support with three or
four legs and a long
vertical pole to which
a lighting instrument is
attached.
grid: A pipe system that
hangs from the studio
ceiling and supports the
lighting instruments.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 15-10. A floor
stand can support small
lighting instruments,
but there are several
precautions the crew must
observe.
Attached instruments
can make a floor stand
top-heavy.
Staff walking past a
floor stand can cast a
shadow on the set.
Power cords should
be taped to the floor.
Figure 15-11. This
large clamp allows an
instrument to be attached
to a sturdy shelf, door,
or table.
Chapter 15
Lighting
Figure 15 12. A grid is the
pipe system that hangs from
the ceiling and supports the
instruments. The raceway
supplies electricity for the
instruments.
Grid
Raceway
305
the ceiling. The grid is made of pipe that is at least two inches in diameter.
Lighting instruments attach to the grid using a C-clamp, Figure 15-13, which
is built into the instrument. The bottom of the “C” attaches to the instrument and the top hooks onto the pipe. A large threaded screw is tightened
to firmly press against the pipe and secure the instrument safely to the grid.
C-clamp: A clamp in
the shape of a “C” that
is used to attach lighting
instruments to the grid.
Safety Note
Any instrument hanging on the grid should have an additional safety
chain attached. The chain should loop around part of the instrument and
around the grid pipe. If the C-clamp comes loose, the safety chain prevents
the instrument from falling to the ground and possibly injuring someone
standing beneath it. Since barndoors can be removed if desired,
some barndoors also accommodate a safety chain to prevent
them from accidentally falling off an instrument.
!
Figure 15-13. A—C-clamps
are used to attach lighting
instruments to the grid.
B—This fluorescent
instrument is hung from a
grid by a C-clamp and can
be swiveled in any direction.
(Photo courtesy of LowelLight Mfg., Inc.)
B
A
306
raceway: The system
of electrical cables and
outlets used to power
lighting instruments on
the grid. The raceway
either hangs beside the
grid pipes or is mounted
to the ceiling above the
grid.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
The raceway either hangs beside the grid pipes or attaches to the
ceiling above the grid, Figure 15-12. The electrical cables and outlets that
power the instruments on the grid are part of the raceway. Each of the
many outlets on the raceway is numbered and corresponds to a dimmer
or switch on the lighting board. The lighting instruments are plugged into
the outlets and are powered selectively from the lighting board. This eliminates the need to climb ladders to turn the instruments on and off. The
electrical wiring is not placed within the grid piping due to the possibility of puncturing or crushing the pipe while tightening a C-clamp. If a
C-clamp is overtightened and punctures a grid pipe, the electrical current
that might be running inside the wiring would pose a great danger to the
lighting director or gaffer on the ladder.
Safety Note
Placement of instruments on a grid must be carefully considered in
studios with a ceiling-mounted sprinkler system. Instruments that get very
hot cannot be positioned near sprinkler heads. Heat from the
instrument can melt the sensor in a sprinkler head, which will
activate the entire sprinkler system. This would be a real danger
for studio personnel and a disaster for all the electronic gear.
!
Colors of Light
Colors reflect different frequencies of light. A frequency is measurable
and can, therefore, be graphed. In 1848, the scientist Lord Kelvin devised
a system to quantify and measure color. At that time, a black carbon rod
was considered the blackest item available. Using the concept that black is
the absence of color, Lord Kelvin applied heat to the black rod. Each time
his eye could discern a color change, he noted the color and measured the
amount of heat applied to produce that color, Figure 15-14. Based on the
Figure 15-14. Approximate
values of the Kelvin Color
Temperature Scale.
Temperature
Color
2000K
Red
2500K
Yellow
3000K
Pale Yellow
3200K
White
4000K
Green
4500K
Greenish Blue
5000K
Blue
6500K
Cobalt Blue
7000K
Violet
10,000K
Black
Chapter 15
Lighting
data collected, Lord Kelvin created a scale for measuring colors known as
the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale. The Kelvin Color Temperature Scale
measures color temperatures in degrees Kelvin.
Modern technology allows us to use combinations of materials, such
as tungsten, quartz, and halogen gas, to produce light of the same color
temperature without applying the extreme levels of heat Lord Kelvin used.
However, some instruments that use lamps made of these materials still
get incredibly hot and will immediately burn the skin if touched after
being on for as little as 15 seconds. As mentioned earlier, the fluorescent
lamps used for television lighting do not produce a great amount of heat
while operating.
307
Kelvin Color
Temperature Scale:
A scale developed by
the scientist Lord Kelvin
for measuring color
temperatures of light in
degrees Kelvin.
Production Note
The colors of light are not similar to the colors of paint. The
principles that apply to each are different. With light, the color
white is created when all the colors of light are combined. Black
is the absence of all colors. A television screen is black until it
is turned on. The screen becomes bright white, even though
the lights creating the image are red, green, and blue.
White Light
The most important result of Lord Kelvin’s research to television production is that 3200° Kelvin (3200K) equals white light. In order to reproduce colors and flesh tones properly on television, the light hitting an
object must be white.
Talk the Talk
When temperature is written in degrees Kelvin, the word
“Kelvin” is replaced with an upper case “K,” such as 4500K.
When this same temperature is spoken aloud, the
last two zeroes of the temperature reading and the word
“degrees” are omitted, as in “45K.”
Most home videos taken indoors have a yellow hue to them,
Figure 15-15A. This is because the lamps inside the instruments in most
homes are considerably cooler than 3200K and produce light that is less
than white. The Kelvin temperature of most incandescent lightbulbs for
home use is about 2000K. On the other hand, video taken under regular
fluorescent ceiling lights has a greenish hue, Figure 15-15B. The fluorescent lights used in classrooms and professional buildings are considerably
warmer than 3200K. These lights are between 4000K and 4500K. Light in
that temperature range is blue greenish and produces a gray, unhealthy
look on natural flesh tones. Video shot outside under sunlight appears to
be tinted with a shade of blue, Figure 15-15C. Sunlight is 5000K and up,
which produces various shades of blue.
3200° Kelvin: The
temperature of white
light in degrees Kelvin.
Also noted as 3200K or
“32K” when spoken.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 15-15. A—Color temperatures below 3200K cause the yellowish tone of pictures taken in consumer
house lighting. B—A standard fluorescent light creates a blue-greenish tint due to a color temperature in the
4000K–4500K range. C—The camera sees sunlight in a bluish tint.
B
A
C
Visualize This
Think of the Bunsen burner used in science classes. The
hottest part of the flame is blue in color and the coolest part of
the flame is yellow in color. This corresponds to the colors of light.
Light sources warmer than 3200K create images with a blue tint.
Light sources cooler than 3200K create images with a yellow tint.
Production Note
In art classes, reds and yellows are referred to as “warm” colors and
blues and greens are referred to as “cool” colors. The terms “warm” and
“cool” in art class refer to the emotional feeling attributed to a particular
color. Using the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale, however,
warm and cool colors are opposite from those in art class.
To create an “emotionally” warm color with lighting, we have
to reduce the temperature (make it cooler) of a 32K light.
To create an “emotionally” cool color, like blue, we have to
increase the temperature (make it warmer) of a 32K light.
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Lighting
309
Objects on television appear as their actual color only when pure
white light, 3200K, is used. Most television lamps are rated at 3200K. This
temperature rating refers to the color of light emitted by the lamp, not the
brightness of the light emitted. Brightness is indicated by the wattage of
the lamp. A 1000-watt, 3200K lamp is much brighter than a 300-watt 3200K
lamp. However, both produce the same white light.
To get the necessary 3200K white light at home or when shooting outside, two options are available:
• Bring enough lighting instruments to flood the shooting area with
white light and overcome the natural light of the area.
• Trick the camera into thinking it is getting white light, even though it
is not.
To “trick” the camera, activate the white balance circuit while the camera is pointed at a white object on the set that is under the lighting you are
balancing for, such as sunlight, incandescent light, or studio lights. The
camera is forced to see the object as white, without regard to the type of
light hitting it. The camera then sees all other colors correctly because it has
been balanced to one color—white. Other colors then fall into place on the
scale. For example, assume that the color orange is two shades up (warmer)
from red and two shades down (cooler) from yellow on the Kelvin scale.
Each color is identified by its relationship to adjoining colors. Accurately
identifying one of the colors places all the other colors into their proper
position because the one color specified is used as a reference point.
Interesting effects can be produced by intentionally throwing off a
camera’s white balance circuit. For example, point a camera at a red object
and white balance on it. The camera tries to turn anything red in color
into white. In the process, every other color of the spectrum shifts, as well.
This effect can only be achieved when the camera is in “manual” white
balance mode. If the camera is in “automatic” white balance mode, the
camera operator cannot control the circuit in any way. The automatic white
balance circuit can be disabled on some high-end consumer cameras and
all professional cameras.
Colored Light
Some programs or specific scenes require colored lights to be used on
the set. For example, a rock concert typically has many different colored
lights on the set. For a nightclub scene in a dramatic production, the audience expects to see various mood-enhancing colored lighting instruments.
To turn the white light from a lamp into a colored light, a heat-resistant
plastic sheet called a gel is used. Gels can be purchased from theatrical
lighting stores and are available in hundreds of shades and colors. The
plastic material is cut into a small rectangle that fits into a special gel holder
on the front of a lighting instrument, Figure 15-16. The white light passes
through and becomes the color of the gel.
Because colored lighting instruments are often used to create a specific
mood or effect, it is important that the audience is able to see the colored
lighting on the screen. In order for the audience to properly perceive the
colored lights, the camera should be white balanced with the colored lights
turned off and only white lighting instruments turned on. When the colored lights come on, the camera sees each color. White balancing on an
gel: A heat resistant,
thick sheet of plastic
placed in front of a
lighting instrument to
turn white light from a
lamp into a colored light.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 15-16. A gel can
change the color of the
white light emitted from an
instrument.
object that is under a colored light throws off the camera’s color reproduction circuits.
A production location may have a window or glass door to the outside.
If the program is shot during daylight hours, blue sunlight will stream into
the room while shooting. One solution is to place a CTO (color temperature
orange) gel on the inside of the window. The CTO gel converts sunlight
coming in the window from 56K to 32K. Another solution is to convert all
the lighting instruments at the location to sunlight using CTB (color temperature blue) gels. CTB gels convert the 32K of the lighting instruments
to 56K. When all the light at the location is the same color temperature,
perform a white balance and the recorded image will appear correctly lit.
Lighting Intensity
Once lighting instruments have been set up, either on a set or on location, controlling the intensity of the light becomes an important task. For
example, if a person or object is too brightly lit in a shot, they may appear
to glow. Depending on the time of day, natural sunlight may cast dark
shadows on the talent’s eyes, nose, and chin. If the lighting instruments are
the convertible type, the easiest solution is to move the lever from “spot” to
“flood” or “flood” to “spot.” If the lighting intensity issue is not resolved,
several other techniques are effective in reducing the amount of light that
hits an object on the set.
Move the Instrument
Moving lighting instruments farther away from or closer to the set is a
simple solution to control the intensity of light. Move a lighting instrument
farther away from the set to reduce the amount of light hitting objects on
the set and decrease lighting intensity. To increase the lighting intensity,
move the instrument closer to the set.
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Lighting
311
Replace the Lamp
Replacing the lamp with one of lower wattage decreases the intensity
of the light. For example, remove a 1000-watt lamp from an instrument
and replace it with a 400-watt lamp. Make certain the new lamp is rated at
3200K. A lower-wattage light rated at 3200K will provide the same color of
light, but less light overall.
Use Diffusion or a Scrim
Diffusion material is placed on the front of a lighting instrument to soften
the light and reduce lighting intensity, without reducing the color temperature. When placed in front of a lighting instrument, diffusion material appears
translucent, Figure 15-17. These devices are most commonly attached using a
gel holder, but metal paper clips may also be used.
diffusion: A translucent
material that is placed
in front of a lighting
instrument to soften and
reduce the intensity of
light, without altering the
color temperature.
Production Note
A piece of spun fiberglass cloth may be used as diffusion material. The
fiberglass material may be found at an auto parts store, as it is commonly
used to repair fiberglass car bodies. Fiberglass cloth cannot
be placed in a gel holder, however. Heat from the lamp is too
intense for the fiberglass and can darken or melt the material.
Fiberglass cloth should only be used with lamps that are less
than 1000 watts. Clip the fiberglass cloth to the front of the
barndoors with metal paper clips.
A scrim is a device used to reduce the intensity of light, Figure 15-18.
Scrims are made of wire mesh or black woven, heat resistant-material and
may be purchased from a theatrical supply house. Metal window screening (not nylon) may be used as an economical scrim and is available at
scrim: A wire mesh or
woven material placed
in front of an instrument
to reduce the intensity
of light.
Figure 15-17. Diffusion
material reduces and
softens the light coming
from an instrument.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 15-18. A wire
mesh scrim is mounted
in a frame that snaps into
the front of an instrument.
(Photo courtesy of LowelLight Mfg., Inc.)
hardware stores. Metal window screening may be cut to size and inserted
into a gel holder.
Use Bounce Lighting
bounce lighting: A
lighting technique where
a lighting instrument is
not pointed directly at
the subject of the shot,
but the light is bounced
off of another object,
such as a ceiling, wall,
or the ground.
Bounce lighting is produced when an instrument is pointed at a photographic reflector, the ceiling, a wall, or the ground instead of directly at
the subject of a shot, Figure 15-19. Two things occur when light is bounced
off another object:
• The light takes on the color of the object it was bounced off. Always
bounce light off a white or light gray object.
• The light’s intensity is reduced.
One technique is to bounce light off a highly reflective surface, such
as a mirror. This increases the distance between the light source and the
object, which reduces the light level.
A white tablecloth or bed sheet placed on the ground at the talent’s
feet reflects light back at the face from below. The reflected light fills in
dark shadows created by the sunlight. In addition to their use for bounce
lighting, white tablecloths and bed sheets are handy sources for white balancing a camera.
Other common tools used for bounce lighting are vehicle sunshields
and aluminum foil. Many people place a folding vehicle sunshield inside
the windshield to reduce the effects of direct sunlight and heat when a car
is parked. The reflective side of a sunshield is an effective bounce lighting
tool. A reflector may also be made using regular kitchen aluminum foil.
Chapter 15
313
Lighting
Figure 15-19. A white surface can bounce light to help fill in a dark shadowed area of the subject.
Key light only
Bounce lighting
Final image
Crumple up the foil, flatten it out into a rough rectangle, and tape the foil
to a piece of cardboard. If it is not crumpled first, the foil will be too reflective, like a mirror. The wrinkled foil creates a more subtle reflective surface.
Bouncing light off a mirror or other highly reflective surface is a technique that may compensate for insufficient lighting in certain areas on a
set. For example, if it is not possible to place a lighting instrument in a particular spot, hang a mirror in that spot and position it to add illumination
to the area needed.
Production Note
Mirrors can be used with cameras, as well. If there is not enough room
to position a camera in a tight space, a mirror can be placed
where the camera needs to be. The mirror reflects the image
you want to record and the camera shoots into the mirror.
When using a mirror in this way, do not include any items in the
shot that contain writing; letters are reversed when reflected in
a mirror.
Use a Dimmer
A dimmer is attached to the power control of a lighting instrument and
can reduce or increase the amount of electricity flowing through the instrument. Dimming an incandescent instrument is the least desirable solution.
A lamp glows because the electricity flowing through it heats the filament.
In television production, that filament glows white. Using a dimmer to
reduce the amount of electricity flowing through the lamp causes the light
to dim and cool. When a lamp cools, it progressively takes on a reddish
tint. The reddish tint becomes perceptible to the camera if an incandescent
instrument is dimmed more than 10%. This is why many television studios
do not use the dimmer function on the lighting board. Instead, the instruments are simply turned on or off. Fluorescent lamps may be dimmed with
no negative effects.
dimmer: A device
attached to the power
control of a lighting
instrument that
regulates the amount of
electricity that flows to
the lamp.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Preserving the Life of
Incandescent Lamps
Exercise extreme care to ensure that incandescent lamps last as long as
possible to avoid costly replacement. Incandescent lamps operate at very
high temperatures because their glow is created by a white hot metal filament. The high operating temperatures of these lamps require that some
basic precautions be taken for use and handling.
Never turn incandescent lamps on and off in rapid succession. Regular
studio lamps burn out in a very short time if they are flashed on and off. To
achieve a strobe light effect, use a strobe light.
Do not move incandescent instruments while the lamp is hot, whether
turned on or recently turned off. The filament in an incandescent lamp is
very fragile when hot—any jarring movements can cause it to break. If the
filament breaks, the lamp must be replaced.
The barndoors should never be completely closed with the lamp
turned on. The lack of ventilation and build-up of heat can cause the lamp
to burn out prematurely.
Some instruments may be swiveled in any direction, including upside
down. With instruments of this type, ensure that the heat of the lamp is not
directed at the base of the instrument, so the heat does not go into the base.
Consult the manufacturer’s material for information and cautions about
this issue.
An incandescent lamp should never be handled with bare hands or
fingers. Handle the lamp using the foam it is packed in, a paper towel, or
tissue paper, Figure 15-20. No matter how clean, there is always a certain
amount of oil on the skin that is transferred to the surface of the lamp.
When the lamp is turned on and reaches high operating temperatures, the
oil boils to the point of evaporation. This creates a cooler spot on the hot
glass surface of the lamp, which may cause the hot glass to shatter. Many
instruments have a special groove in front of the lamp to accommodate a
wire safety mesh that will trap glass fragments in case the lamp shatters. If
a lamp is accidentally touched, it should be wiped clean with alcohol and
a soft cloth before being turned on.
Figure 15-20. Oils on the
skin will ruin a lamp. Never
touch a good lamp with
your bare fingers.
Chapter 15
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Lighting
Planning the Set Lighting
Before the set is built, the lighting designer meets with the set designer
and program director. In this meeting, the director describes what the set
looks like, provides a set diagram, and explains the movement of the talent
on the set. The director may also express specific lighting preferences.
During set construction, the lighting designer (LD) studies the set diagram and determines the placement and aiming of lighting instruments.
When the lighting decisions are final, the LD develops a diagram for instrument placement, or light plot (Figure 15-21).
After the set is built and dressed, the LD lights the set. Instruments are
hung over the set according to the light plot and plugged into the raceway.
light plot: A diagram
developed by the
lighting designer that
indicates the placement
of lighting instruments
on the set of a program.
Figure 15-21. A light plot indicates the placement, color, and aiming of the lighting instruments.
B
B
Window
Hallway
Bookshelves
Chair
Chair
Door
Coffee table
B
B
B
Window
Table and
chairs
Table
Counters and
kitchen appliances
B
Couch
Camera 1
Camera 3
Camera 2
Key:
–750w flood
B–Blue gel
–1500w flood
–250w spot
–500w spot
316
basic hang: The initial
process of hanging
instruments over the set
according to the light
plot and plugging them
into the raceway. Also
called a rough hang.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
This is called the rough hang, or basic hang. The goal of a rough hang is to
place instruments in the general location they need to be for the production. After the rough hang is complete, the LD notifies the crew and turns
out all the lights in the studio. The set must be completely dark so the LD
can evaluate the placement and see the effect of the moving each instrument. To light the set, the LD and crew follow a general procedure:
1. The LD turns on one instrument.
2. The LD or a gaffer puts on heavy work gloves, climbs a ladder, and
manually aims and focuses the instrument on a specific area of the
set. Move the instruments very gently when hot. If jarred sharply, the
incandescent lamp may burn out.
Safety Note
Always wear protective gloves when adjusting a lighting instrument
that is turned on to prevent fingers from being burned, Figure 15-22.
Do not use gloves with rubberized palms or finger grips. The
rubber will soften or melt when in contact with a hot instrument.
Inexpensive work gloves with leather palms and finger tips are a
good option.
!
Figure 15-22. Always
wear protective gloves
when handling hot
instruments.
Chapter 15
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317
3. Once aimed, the instrument is turned off.
4. The next instrument is turned on and adjusted. The steps are
repeated for each instrument on the set.
5. When the entire light plot has been aimed and precisely focused, all the
instruments are turned on at once and any final adjustments are made.
Production Note
Some lighting designers prefer to light the set with general illumination
using mostly floodlights, turn off all the general lighting, and
then position spot lighting in the specific areas that talent will
be moving or standing. General lighting is then turned back on
and final adjustments can be made. Other lighting designers
prefer to start with areas specific to the talent and then set up
the general lighting. Both techniques work well.
Techniques of Television Lighting
Each of the following basic lighting techniques may be used in production studios of any size. Properly using each technique is crucial to creating
quality shots for a program.
Three-Point Lighting
Three-point lighting, sometimes called triangle lighting, is the most
commonly used photographic lighting technique in television production.
Three-point lighting is designed to both make a person look attractive and
create the appearance of three-dimensionality on the flat, two-dimensional
television screen. Three-point lighting uses three instruments for each person/object being photographed:
• key light
• fill light
• back light
Each of the three instruments performs a specific function, Figure 15-23.
three-point lighting:
A common lighting
technique that
uses three lighting
instruments for each
person or object
photographed: a key
light, a fill light, and a
back light. Also called
triangle lighting.
Key Light
The key light provides the main source of illumination on an object,
Figure 15-24. It is usually in front of and above the object, and on an angle
to the left or right. A key light is never placed directly above or directly in
front of an object. Imagine the face of a clock. The subject of the shot stands
in the center of the clock and the key light is located at either four-thirty or
five o’clock on the right side of the stage or at seven o’clock or seven-thirty
on the left side.
When placing the key light, location of the primary light source must
be considered. If lighting a living room for a scene that is supposed to take
place at noon, the primary source of light would probably be the windows
of the room. If the window is on the talent’s right side, the key light is
placed on the talent’s right side to augment the sunlight coming in from
the window.
key light: The lighting
instrument that provides
the main source of
illumination on the
person or object in a
shot.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 15-23. This
illustration presents the
general placement of
instruments in a threepoint lighting setup.
12 Back light
9
3
6
Key light
Key light
Figure 15-24. The key light is a hard light that supplies the primary source of illumination on an object. The fill
light somewhat reduces the harsh shadows created by the key light. The back light illuminates the top of the
head and shoulders. The proper use and placement of each of the three instruments produces a well-lit, threedimensional subject.
Key light
Fill light
Back light
Three-point lighting
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Lighting
A key light is a hard light—it produces sharp shadows. If a person is lit
only with a key light, the side of their face opposite the key light will have
heavy nose and chin shadows and their eye will be completely shadowed.
Fill Light
The fill light is placed opposite the key light and above the talent to
light the other side of the talent’s face, Figure 15-24. If the key light is positioned at five o’clock, for example, the fill light is placed at seven o’clock.
The fill light is a softer light that is lower in intensity and reduces the dark
shadows created by the key light to a certain extent. If the fill light completely eliminated the shadows created by the key light, it would be a second key light and would create a flat image on the television screen. The fill
light must be lower intensity than the key light to leave some shadows that
create a three-dimensional appearance. Notice the difference in brightness
between the key light and fill light in Figure 15-24.
fill light: A lighting
instrument that is
placed opposite the
key light and above
the talent to provide
illumination on the other
side of the talent’s face
or object in the shot.
Back Light
The back light is placed above and behind the talent at the twelve
o’clock position, Figure 15-24. It must be positioned fairly high so that none
of the cameras on the set shoot directly into the instrument. The purpose
of the back light is to provide some illumination on top of the talent’s head
and shoulders. It also serves to separate the talent from the background.
Inexperienced lighting personnel often confuse a back light with a
background light. However, these instruments pointed in opposite directions on a set. A background light is pointed at the background of the set,
but a back light is pointed at the back of the talent.
When using three-point lighting, there is a three-point lighting setup
for every member of the cast, at every spot on the set they move or remain
stationary. This is why there are so many lighting instruments on the lighting grid of a television studio.
back light: A lighting
instrument that is
placed above and
behind the talent or
object in a shot, at the
twelve o’clock position,
to separate the talent
or object from the
background.
background light:
A lighting instrument
that is pointed at the
background of a set.
Assistant Activity
The areas on a set where talent or important objects will be
positioned for a period of time are lit using three-point lighting.
Look back to Figure 15-21. Locate the instruments configured
for three-point lighting and determine where talent or important
objects will be most consistently positioned on the set.
Four-Point Lighting
Four-point lighting includes four instruments (two key lights and two fill
lights) that are placed in a square around the talent, Figure 15-25. The two key
lights are positioned diagonally opposite each other, and the two fill lights are
placed in the remaining two corners. In four-point lighting, the camera can arc
all the way around an object and the lighting levels remain sufficient.
An advantage of four-point lighting is that it is easy to set up, somewhat easier than three-point lighting. However, this technique requires
more instruments, electricity, and lamps, which results in increased cost.
four-point lighting:
A lighting technique
that uses four lighting
instruments for each
person or object
photographed: two key
lights and two fill lights.
The two key lights are
positioned diagonally
opposite each other,
and the two fill lights are
placed in the remaining
two corners.
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Figure 15-25. Four-point
lighting is easier to set up
than three-point lighting,
but requires an additional
instrument.
Key light
12
Fill light
9
3
6
Fill light
Key light
Cross-Key Lighting
cross-key lighting: A
lighting technique that
covers more than one
person or object in the
lighting spread using
only two key lights and
one back light.
Cross-key lighting can cover more than one person or object in the lighting spread using only two key lights and one back light, Figure 15-26. As an
example, picture two people sitting in chairs on the set. Both chairs are angled
slightly toward each other, but both are generally facing six o’clock. In crosskey lighting, a key light is placed at four o’clock and another is placed at eight
o’clock. A back light is positioned at twelve o’clock. Two back lights may be
Figure 15-26. In crosskey lighting, Key light 1
provides key lighting for
person A and the fill light
for person B. Key light 2
provides key lighting for
person B and the fill light
for person A.
Back light
12
9
3
6
Key light
1
Key light
2
Person A
Person B
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used in some cases. The cross-key technique works because the key lights
hit both characters, but are not at the same distance from each character. The
amount of light that hits the nearest talent is brighter than light from the same
instrument that hits the talent farther away. The key light nearest the talent on
the right is the fill light for the talent on the left. The key light for the talent
on the left becomes the fill for the talent on the right.
A few more instruments may be necessary when using cross-key lighting, but the final number of instruments is significantly lower than using
multiple three-point lighting setups. Cross-key lighting reduces energy
costs, as well as the heat produced by the instruments.
Lighting with Fluorescents
The principles of studio lighting with fluorescent fixtures are the same
as lighting with conventional fixtures—revealing shape, form, and texture
to create an interesting three-dimensional image. See Figure 15-27. Studio
fluorescents are soft lights. When used properly, soft light is pleasing on
Background lights
Back lights
Key and fill lights
Studio camera
Figure 15-27. Placement
of fluorescent instruments
on a news set.
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Figure 15-28. A
honeycomb is placed
in front of a fluorescent
instrument. The hundreds of
small holes act as miniature
barndoors and make the
soft fluorescent light much
more directional. (Photo
courtesy of Lowel-Light
Mfg., Inc.)
honeycomb: A
device that attaches to
fluorescent instruments
to reduce the shape and
size of the light beam,
making the light more
directional and easier to
control.
people’s faces and easier on the eyes than hard edge spotlights. If used
incorrectly, however, soft light can produce a flat, uninteresting image.
The placement of fluorescent instruments is identical to the three-point
lighting technique previously discussed for incandescent instruments.
Lighting starts with a key light. The key is the primary source of illumination
that reveals the shape of the subject. When using a large soft source as a key,
the light scatters all over the studio. To control the “scattered” light, most fluorescent instruments are equipped with a honeycomb that reduces the shape
and size of the light beam (Figure 15-28). A honeycomb does not make the
light much harder, but it makes the light more directional and easier to control.
Talk the Talk
A honeycomb may also be called a grid. The word “grid”
also refers to the support system used to hang lighting
instruments. Use the context of the sentence to determine
the intended meaning of the word.
The second fixture is the fill light, which illuminates the opposite side
of the subject’s face and fills in any objectionable shadows. Often in multicamera setups, a ring of lights is placed in front of the subject to provide a
key light and fill light combination that covers the subject when they turn
in any direction to address various cameras on the set.
The next fixture is a back light, sometimes called a hair light, which is
placed directly behind the subject. A very narrow honeycomb is usually
used with the back light to prevent light from spilling forward and creating lens flare. Back light provides separation from the background and
produces a “glamorous” halo of light.
The final lights to be positioned are directed at the back of the set. A
very simple set uses several fixtures aimed at the back wall to produce an
even wash of light for an indistinct background.
A studio can be adequately lit with fluorescent fixtures alone, however
focusing spotlights may be added for both the talent and areas on the set.
The Camera Light
Many consumer and news cameras are equipped with a built-in light.
When a reporter is doing a location shot, it may seem logical to use the
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on-camera light for additional lighting, as needed. If other lighting options
are available, do not use the on-camera light. Because of the light’s proximity to the camera lens, the talent will have a “deer in the headlights” look—
the talent’s eyes will appear overly large and their face will appear very
flat. In general, using the camera light by itself produces an unattractive
image of a person.
An acceptable image may be created using the on-camera light if an
additional light can be added on one side of the camera. For example, a
hand-held sun-gun light can be pointed at the talent from a distance of
about four feet on the left or right side of the camera. Car headlights can
also be used as a side light, if necessary.
Production Note
You have, undoubtedly, seen images on evening news programs in
which one of the cameras on location pans a large crowd of
reporters and news cameras. All the other news cameras in the
background have the camera lights on. In this instance, the oncamera lights from all the news cameras function as additional
side lighting for every other camera at that location!
Contrast Ratio
The two extremes of light are black (the absence of all light) and white
(the presence of all light). Contrast ratio (Chapter 14, Image Display) is the
relationship of the amount of darkness to the amount of lightness in a picture. A television camera and a television set have difficulty reproducing
black and white simultaneously. Therefore, large quantities of these colors
are rarely seen in the same picture.
Some television studios have solid black curtains that surround the
sides of the studio. A completely solid black or white background can be
very useful. If, for example, the talent is staged with a black, white, or any
solid color background, viewers consider the talent to be removed from
reality. A solid-colored background gives no visual clues to where or when
the action is taking place. Lighting with this kind of background is called
limbo lighting. Limbo lighting creates a background that is a solid, indistinct color. For example, many car commercials are shot on a white floor
with an indistinct white background. Also, singers often perform in front
of a solid black background, Figure 15-29. A solid background concentrates
the viewer’s attention on the performance or main object in the shot.
Lighting Check
Always check the lighting setup on a monitor with the contrast, brightness, color, and tint controls set correctly. If the shot does not look good on
the monitor, stop shooting immediately. The cause of the poor image displayed on the monitor must be determined before shooting continues. A
likely culprit of this problem is the monitor itself.
limbo lighting: A
lighting technique in
which the background of
the set is lit to create the
illusion of a solid-color,
indistinct background.
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Figure 15-29. Limbo
lighting is used when the
talent or subject is in front
of a completely indistinct
background.
To ensure that the contrast, brightness, color, and tint controls are set
correctly on the monitor, perform the following:
1. Turn on the color bar generator in the video camera.
2. Verify that the color bars display in the proper order on the monitor.
Color bars are discussed more fully in Chapter 25, Getting Technical.
3. If the color bars are incorrect, adjust the contrast, brightness, color,
and tint on the monitor until the bars display correctly.
4. Turn the color bar generator off and the camera will operate as usual.
5. If the images on the monitor still do not appear properly, the camera
may need adjustment before shooting can continue.
Production Note
To check a monitor’s contrast, brightness, color, and tint settings when
using a camera that is not equipped with a color bar generator, perform the
following:
1. Find a tape that you have watched and know the images have good
color.
2. Place the tape in the camera and play it.
3. Watch the monitor and check the colors.
4. If colors on the monitor are incorrect, adjust the monitor
settings until the colors are displayed correctly.
Do not make any adjustments to the camera’s color controls until you
verify that the monitor has not caused the display problem. If the monitor
is operating correctly, either the video engineer or a camera repair shop
will adjust the color controls on the video camera. This adjustment requires
Chapter 15
Lighting
the use of test instruments and procedures that are not familiar to most
production staff.
Adjusting any of the color controls on a camera to improve the picture
on a monitor that needs adjustment will affect the actual recorded image.
As a result, viewers will need to adjust the contrast, brightness, color, and
tint controls on their own televisions to improve the picture. You probably have never needed to adjust these controls on your television at home
while watching a network television program. This is because all programs
adhere to industry-established standards regarding contrast, brightness,
color, and tint levels. The goal is to shoot a program in the correct lighting situation, so the viewing public can sit back and watch your awardwinning television program.
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Wrapping Up
Unfortunately, many inexperienced television production personnel
consider lighting to be an afterthought. Proper lighting is extremely important.
As part of an assignment, a student produced a commercial for a burglar
alarm system. In the commercial, the burglar climbed into a house at night
and triggered the burglar alarm. When viewing the commercial, it was difficult
to miss the lack of a picture. There was only a black screen with sound. The
student said that he intended the picture to be dark because it took place
at night. He had successfully produced a radio program, but not a television
program. Audiences accept a slightly darker scene as “night,” especially when
shot with a dark blue filter on the camera. But, a completely black screen is
not an acceptable depiction of “night.” If viewers are unable to clearly see
what the camera is shooting, they change the channel and the program’s
effort to communicate fails.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the difference between hard light and soft light?
2. Name the types of lighting instruments commonly used on a production
studio set.
3. What items can be used to redirect or change the shape of light?
4. What are the advantages of using fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent lamps?
5. How is power supplied to the lighting instruments that hang from the studio ceiling?
6. How do different frequencies (colors) of light affect a recorded video image?
7. Describe three methods used to reduce the intensity of production
lighting.
8. What are two effects of bounce lighting?
9. What precautions should be taken to preserve the life of incandescent
lamps?
10. List the steps involved in lighting a set.
11. Identify the instruments used in three-point lighting and explain the function of each.
12. What is cross-key lighting?
13. How is a honeycomb used with fluorescent instruments?
14. What is limbo lighting?
Activities
1. Look around your home and identify the light created by the following
instruments as either hard light or soft light:
•
The tabletop lighting instruments in your living room.
•
The instrument that illuminates your desk.
The lighting fixture in your bathroom.
•
The lighting instrument over your kitchen table.
•
The lighting instrument over the stove in your kitchen.
•
The instrument that generally lights your bedroom.
2. Research the experiments and discoveries of Lord Kelvin. Choose one
of his accomplishments (other than the Kelvin Color Temperature
Scale) and write a report on it. Be prepared to present this information in class
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•
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2. What is the frequency of a color? What is the unit of measurement used
to indicate color frequency?
3. To convert Kelvin values to degrees Celsius, subtract 273.15 from the
Kelvin value or °C = K – 273.15. Using this formula, convert the following
Kelvin values to Celsius:
A. 2000K
B. 3200K
C. 4300K
4. To convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit, multiply the Celsius
value by 1.8 and add 32 to the product or °F = (°C × 1.8) + 32. Using this
formula, convert the Celsius values calculated in the previous activity to
Fahrenheit.
5. Create a set diagram for one of your productions or a production you
have been involved with. Include all the fixed elements on the set. Write
an explanation of the program, the program’s message, and the movement of talent on the set to be used by a lighting designer.
em
at
ic
at
h
ne
er
in
g
M
1. Identify the gas (or gases) used in fluorescent lights. How does the gas
inside a light create illumination?
s
gi
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
www.rtnda.org Website of the Radio Television Digital News Association and
Foundation. The RTDNA (association) sets standards for and provides programs
that encourage excellence in electronic journalism. The RTDNF (foundation)
offers development opportunities and educational resources for journalism
professionals and educators.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Recall the specific characteristics of both studio
and remote shooting.
•
Identify the types of monitors set up in the control
room and the function of each.
•
Explain the differences between ENG and EFP.
•
Identify the items to be evaluated during a
location survey.
•
Summarize the advantages and challenges of
both studio and remote shooting.
Professional Terms
audio booth
audio console
camera monitor
confidence monitor
control room
editing suite
EFP (electronic field
production)
ENG (electronic news
gathering)
flat
jack
location
location survey
master control room
preview monitor
production meeting
program monitor
remote shoot
Introduction
Studio shooting is the method that students
most commonly associate with television production.
Shooting in a studio environment may not, however,
be the most effective location for every type of
program. There are advantages and disadvantages
to both studio shooting and shooting at a remote
location. This chapter examines some of these issues
in order to help you determine which method is more
appropriate for particular production types.
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The Production Meeting
production meeting:
A meeting with the
entire crew in which
the director lays
out the program’s
main message and
either the director or
producer assigns each
task involved in the
production to members
of the crew.
Whether the shoot takes place in a studio or at a remote location, a
production meeting must take place before shooting can begin. During
the production meeting, the director lays out the program’s main message
for the entire crew. The director/producer assigns each task involved in
the production to members of the crew. The success of the entire project
depends on the completion of each task. Responsibility and dependability
are requirements of every member of the production team.
At this meeting, the director distributes a tentative production schedule. In broadcast journalism, the time frame for the entire production may
be less than 8 hours from beginning to end. On the other hand, the production time frame for feature stories or more creative/entertainmentoriented programs may be weeks or months. The crew members review
their commitment calendars and arrange schedules to meet the production schedule, Figure 16-1. Flexibility is very beneficial when putting a
production schedule together. During the course of the production meeting, a rough production schedule is completed. The director takes all the
notes and compiles them into one master calendar. This calendar indicates
who is needed, on which day, at what time, at which location, for which
scene, and what they need to bring, wear, and do when they are there. The
schedule is printed and distributed to the crew. Last-minute corrections are
made and the entire schedule is finalized.
Figure 16-1. The production meeting results in a production calendar that serves as the road map for
completing the entire program.
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331
Studio Shooting
A studio shoot occurs in a controlled environment where outside conditions and sounds do not affect the shooting schedule. All the necessary
video equipment and supplies are readily accessible and, usually, do not
require any major setup. The set, lighting, and cameras are planned and
positioned according to the program and production requirements.
The Studio Environment
At first glance, a studio may seem to be an intimidating space. Each
feature of the studio and each piece of equipment is purposely constructed
and placed to ensure a quality production, Figure 16-2.
The Ceiling
The television production studio is usually a large room with a high ceiling.
The minimum ceiling height requirement is typically 10′, but 14′–18′ is average.
With lower ceilings, the lighting grid hangs too low and instruments may
Figure 16-2. Each area
of the studio is designed
and organized to make
the production process as
efficient and effective as
possible.
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
Duplication system
CG
Audio mixers
CD/cassette
Video recorder
Video player
Light board
Camera monitors,
program monitors,
preview monitor,
CCUs
I. Camera batteries
and chargers
J. Cable storage
K. Audio/narration
booths
L. Flat storage
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
appear in shots. Additionally, if the talent walks near an instrument that is
hung too low, their head glows. The heat generated by incandescent instruments also becomes significant if the ceiling is not high enough to help the
heat dissipate.
The Walls
The studio walls should be treated with any number of materials that
are designed to do two things:
• Keep sound within the studio from bouncing around the room,
Figure 16-3.
• Keep unwanted outside sounds from entering the studio.
A studio is a cavernous space. Without sound treatment on the walls,
sound in the studio will echo. Sound should not echo in the studio under
any circumstances. Hearing an echo in the studio is an indication that the
production team has lost control over the audio.
Safety Note
Local fire laws are an important consideration when
choosing sound treatment materials. The decision of the local
fire marshall always prevails in a dispute over suitable materials.
!
Along the walls of the studio are various places to plug microphone
cables into jacks, Figure 16-4. These jacks are hardwired to the audio console in the control room.
Curtains
The studio walls should, ideally, be covered on all four sides with a curtain. In truth, most studios curtain only two or three walls. Having all four
walls curtained provides even more flexibility, Figure 16-5. The curtain color
is entirely up to studio management. Black curtains are integral to limbo lighting, but bring down the contrast ratio in all other situations. White curtains
Figure 16-3. The sound
deadening material on
the walls of the controlled
studio environment
prevents unwanted outside
sound from entering the
studio. This material also
prevents sounds from
echoing inside the large
open space of a studio.
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Studio and Remote Shooting
333
Figure 16-4. Studio
microphones plug into
these studio wall-mounted
jacks, which are connected
to the audio mixer in the
control room.
Figure 16-5. The studio
curtain can be pulled tight
or left loose to hang in
folds.
also create a limbo effect, but invariably bring up the contrast ratio. Curtains in
varying shades of gray are most often used. A gray curtain should be selected
to match a shade in the middle of the gray scale. (The gray scale is explained
in Chapter 14, Image Display.) Cobalt blue or emerald green curtains are also
sometimes used. Some studios have curtains in various colors hanging from
the ceiling on multiple tracks. This arrangement provides maximum flexibility.
Production Note
Never touch the front of a studio curtain with bare hands. Oil from the skin
transfers to the curtain and attracts dirt. The inconvenience and cost of dry
cleaning such a huge piece of fabric is significant! If a curtain must
be grabbed to pull along a track, it should only be grasped from the
back side. Studio curtains are quite expensive. Avoid puncturing,
snagging, or ripping the cloth. The repair bill may be as staggering
as the cost of a complete replacement.
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The Floor
The studio floor should be as level and smooth as possible to allow
studio cameras to easily move across in dolly, truck, and arc movements.
The floors should be maintained without using a high-gloss polish or wax.
Maintaining a non-reflective floor surface is critical in controlling the lighting in the studio. A highly reflective floor bounces light all over the set.
Scenery Units
flat: A scenery unit that
is usually a simple wood
frame with a painted
plywood shell.
jack: A triangle-shaped
brace that is fastened
to the back of a flat to
provide stable, upright
support.
The scenery unit most commonly used on a television studio is called
a flat. A flat is usually a 4′ × 8′ frame constructed with 2×4 or 1×3 boards
and braced in the center. 4′ × 8′ sheets of plywood are attached to the
frame. Flats are found in almost any theater department. These flats may
be placed beside each other and painted to create the appearance of a wall.
Two triangle-shaped braces, called jacks, are fastened to the back of a flat.
The jacks are set up and provide stable support so the flat can stand on its
own, Figure 16-6. The joint space between flats can be concealed before
painting with masking tape or drywall tape. Storage for scenery units and
other props should be located near the studio floor, Figure 16-7.
Talk the Talk
The term “jack” also refers to a female connector. Use
the context of the sentence to determine the intended
meaning of the word.
Figure 16-6. Jacks allow
a flat to stand upright and
stable.
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335
Figure 16-7. A flat rack
allows scenery flats to
be stored like books in a
bookcase.
Cameras
A studio has several cameras permanently located within the room.
Any camera that is part of a studio system should be kept in the studio
environment at all times. Ideally, studio cameras should be identical in
brand, model, and age. When cutting between camera shots, there is little
to no variation in color balance or video signal quality when extremely
similar cameras are used within the studio.
The Control Room
The control room contains several monitors and the special effects
generator, Figure 16-8. In smaller facilities, the control room also houses
the audio mixer, all of the sound equipment, video recorders, the CG,
CCUs, and even the light board. The director is stationed in the control
room during a shoot and communicates with the control room and studio
production teams via headsets. A very noticeable aspect of a control room
is the number of television monitors in the dimly lit room. The director
is positioned at or near the special effects generator and faces the wall of
monitors.
The control room contains at least one monitor for each camera in the
studio, Figure 16-9. Each monitor displays the image that its corresponding camera is shooting. Therefore, a three-camera studio has one camera
monitor for Camera 1, another for Camera 2, and a third for Camera 3. A
program monitor displays the image going to the recorder. There may also
be a preview monitor, which allows the director to set up an effect before
control room: A room
in the studio containing
several monitors and the
special effects generator.
In smaller facilities, the
control room also houses
the audio mixer, all of
the sound equipment,
video recorders, the
CG, CCUs, and even
the light board.
camera monitor: A
monitor that displays
the image shot by the
corresponding camera.
program monitor: A
monitor that displays
the image going to the
recorder.
preview monitor: A
monitor that allows the
director to set up an
effect on the SEG before
the audience sees it.
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Figure 16-8. A control
room is the location of the
major equipment used to
process a studio shoot.
Figure 16-9. The director
calls the shots for the
program by watching the
individual camera monitors.
The camera monitors are
on the bottom row, with
program and preview
monitors above them.
The final output going to
videotape is displayed
on the large top monitor,
called a “confidence
monitor.”
confidence monitor:
A monitor connected to
the output of the video
recorder. Seeing the
image on this monitor
ensures that the video
recorder received the
signal.
Confidence monitor
Program
monitor
Preview
monitor
Camera
monitors
the audience sees it. A confidence monitor is connected to the output of the
video recorder. Seeing the image on the confidence monitor ensures that
the video recorder received the signal. However, the confidence monitor is
not an indicator that the image was actually recorded. Playback is the only
sure way to know that the signal was recorded. Since the CG is located in
the control room, there may be a corresponding CG monitor in the grouping, as well. The CG should also be connected to a black and white monitor,
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337
which displays the CG output and allows the contrast ratio of graphics to
be reviewed and verified.
Production Note
Even though the director is stationed in the control room, headsets
are still used to communicate with the control room staff. There are several
sources of background noise in the control room—audio of the program,
chatter of control room staff and observers, and commands
being relayed from the studio floor to the control room. The
headphones used have multiple channels. Everyone wears
headphones to filter the noise and hear only the information
that applies to them.
The Audio Booth
In smaller production facilities, the control room and audio booth are
combined into one large control room. In larger facilities, the audio booth
is a separate room that contains the audio console. The audio console
includes many different pieces of audio gear, including the microphone
mixer, mp3 players, audio cassette players, and CD players. Any equipment capable of adding sound to the program is located in the audio booth,
Figure 16-10. Any music and sound effects library CDs the facility owns
are also stored in the audio booth.
Master Control Room
The master control room is where all the hardware is located. The
video recorders and other equipment needed to improve and process the
video and audio signals are housed in the master control room. In larger
facilities, the master control room is not located near the control room. This
Audio
amplifier
CD player
Audio cassette
recorder player
12-input
audio mixer
8-input
audio mixer
audio booth: A room in
the studio that contains
all of the equipment
capable of adding sound
to the program.
audio console: A unit
that includes many
different pieces of audio
gear, including the
microphone mixer, audio
cassette players, CD
players, and turntables.
master control room:
A room in a production
facility where all the
hardware is located,
including video recorders
and other equipment
needed to improve and
process the video and
audio signals.
Figure 16-10. The audio
console includes the
audio mixer(s), amplifier,
CD players, and audio
cassette decks.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
equipment is usually placed in a separate room because it creates a fair
amount of noise and heat. In smaller studio facilities, the control room,
audio booth, and master control are combined into one large control room.
Specialized Areas
editing suite: A cubicle
or small room where
the program is put
through post-production
processing, such as
video and audio editing,
voice-over, music and
sound effects recording,
and graphics recording.
remote shoot: Any
production shooting that
takes place outside of
the studio.
Studio facilities usually have a carpentry shop—an area where the sets
can be built and painted. Dressing rooms and makeup areas are located
near the studio. The requisite number of offices and conference rooms are
also part of the facility. Editing suites are cubicles or small rooms where
the program is put through post-production processing, Figure 16-11.
Post-production processes performed in editing suites include: video and
audio editing, voiceover, music and sound effects recording, and graphics
recording. Individual studios may have many other types of specialized
rooms or areas on the premises.
Remote Shooting
A remote shoot is any shoot that takes place outside of the studio. A remote
shoot has its own unique features and details, just like the studio shoot.
Types of Remote Shoots
•
•
Figure 16-11. An editing
suite is a cubicle or small
room where the program
material is put through
post-production processing.
Remote shoots are divided into two categories:
ENG (electronic news gathering)
EFP (electronic field production)
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339
ENG
ENG (electronic news gathering) is the process of shooting information, events, or activity that would have happened whether a reporting/
production team was present with a camera or not. For example, a major
car crash on the local freeway covered by a news crew is ENG. The crew
arrived fifteen minutes after the crash and, obviously, did not shoot the
crash itself. The crash cannot be staged again to be captured on tape. If a
news crew arrives 30 minutes late for a parade, the parade officials will not
back everyone up and start again. In the ENG environment, the camera is
an observer of an event that would happen whether the camera is there or
not. There is no possibility for a second take. Another unique characteristic
of ENG is that only one or two crew members are necessary for a shoot—
a reporter and a camera operator. It is possible for a photojournalist (one
person) to perform functions of both the reporter and camera operator at
the same time. The camera operator is usually in charge of lighting, audio,
and the satellite truck, in addition to the camera. The reporter is in charge
of makeup and wardrobe, writing the news story, and editing the video.
ENG (electronic news
gathering): The process
of shooting information,
events, or activity that
would have happened
whether a reporting/
production team was
there with a camera
or not.
EFP
EFP (electronic field production) is the opposite of ENG. In EFP, the
video crew and production staff are in total control of the event. If the
director is not satisfied with the way the cars crashed in a particular scene,
additional cars can be acquired and stunt drivers can redo the scene.
Depending on the scope and details of the scene, restaging it may not be
financially feasible. Purchasing an additional building to rig with explosives and demolish, for example, is not likely to be within budget constraints. In cases where a second take of a scene is prohibitively expensive,
the director will arrange for multiple cameras to shoot the scene from several angles.
EFP is much more expensive than ENG, but it is also dramatically more
effective. Where ENG offers only a single viewpoint of an event, scenes in
EFP may be reshot until the director is satisfied and several camera angles
can be acquired. All the footage is edited together to create a scene that
draws the attention and interest of the audience. In EFP, extra compensation is allotted for performers, technicians, producers, directors, staff members, and all other production members. If the director calls a “Take 2,”
everyone must be paid for their additional time and services.
The Location Survey
A location is any place, other than the studio, where production shooting is planned. Anytime an EFP shoot takes place on location, a location
survey is required before the shoot date, Figure 16-12. The day of the shoot
is too late to complete a location survey. ENG shooting, by its very nature,
rarely allows time for a location survey. An ENG news crew typically operates using battery power and only short clips of the footage they record is
usually used in the news program. A location survey is only performed
when the location of a shoot is known in advance of the shooting date.
To avoid a trespassing charge, the first order of business for a location survey must be to get the property owner’s permission to shoot at
EFP (electronic field
production): A shoot
in which the video crew
and production staff are
in total control of the
events and action.
location: Any place,
other than the studio,
where production
shooting is planned.
location survey:
An assessment of a
proposed shoot location
that includes placement
of cameras and lights,
available power supply,
equipment necessary,
and accommodations
needed for the talent
and crew.
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Figure 16-12. Important
items to consider when
performing a location
survey.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Location Survey Checklist
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
✓
Permission from property owner.
Availability of electrical power supply.
Placement of cameras.
Placement of lighting instruments.
Note the natural sunlight present at the location.
Note noises that are part of the environment during
various times of the day.
Availability of necessary facilities.
Equipment necessary for the shoot.
The number of crew members necessary on location.
the selected location. (Review release information in Chapter 12, Legalities:
Releases, Copyright, and Forums.) If ownership is unknown, refer to the
appropriate real estate records; these are usually public record.
After securing permission to be on the property, visit the location and
determine the placement and positioning of cameras, lights, and other
equipment. Always be mindful of electrical power supply issues. If using
electricity, the property owner must also grant permission to plug equipment into the property’s power outlets. If using batteries for all electrical
equipment, the additional permission is not necessary.
Production Note
Portable video production gear uses very little power over
all. Excluding the lighting instruments, the gear for most small
productions uses about the same amount of electricity as four
television sets. Portable lighting equipment does draw more
power. However, if the instruments are turned on only when
actually shooting, energy costs can be significantly reduced.
Consider the lighting situations at the location. If shooting exterior
shots, keep in mind the position of the sun during each part of the day.
Assess how the sunlight will affect the shooting schedule. The production
equipment cannot be set up to shoot into the sun, but if the sun is directly
at the camera operator’s back, talent will be squinting at the camera.
Make a point to perform the location survey on the same day of the
week and time of day that the shoot is scheduled. Note the various noises
that are part of the environment, such as traffic and low-flying aircraft.
Other considerations for a location include:
• Are necessary facilities, like restrooms, water, and food, readily
available?
• Where will the electrical, camera, and audio cables be run?
Chapter 16 Studio and Remote Shooting
•
•
•
•
What kinds of microphones are needed?
How much cable is necessary?
How many crew members are necessary for the production on location?
Where will the crew and cast park?
Comparing Studio and Remote
Shooting
Both studio and remote shooting are effective in gathering footage for
a program. The type of program being produced is a large factor in deciding whether studio or remote shooting should be used. In addition, the
specific advantages and disadvantages associated with both studio and
remote shooting must be considered.
Advantages of the Studio Shoot
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Arrangements for on-site transportation, food, and lodging are not
necessary.
The forces of nature rarely affect the inside of a studio; it never rains
in a TV studio.
All equipment and supplies are easily accessible. For example, if a
cable goes bad, it is readily replaced with back stock.
Major set up of equipment is usually not required. Equipment is already
wired into a full system, including a switcher/special effects generator.
Control of the people within the studio environment; a person mistakenly
walking through the background of a shot is not a major concern.
Precise control of the lighting situation; the sun does not cast
shadows that move as time passes inside a studio.
Extraneous sounds do not enter the studio to interrupt the shooting
schedule.
Proper use of the video switcher greatly reduces editing time—the
program is essentially edited while being shot.
Disadvantages of the Studio Shoot
•
•
•
•
•
Building a set can be expensive and time-consuming.
The ambient sound of “the great outdoors” is difficult to recreate in a
sound-treated studio.
Recreating an outdoor feeling in the studio presents serious lighting
concerns. As the sun moves during the course of the day, the
shadows it casts also move.
The amount of equipment necessary for a full-scale studio production
is extensive and expensive. This is primarily because the video
equipment must be linked together with the signal from each
matched to the others.
A shoot in the studio usually requires more personnel than a remote
shoot. In addition to the talent and the director, the minimum staff
required for a studio shoot includes: up to three camera operators, a
floor manager, an audio engineer, video engineer, technical director,
and lighting director, Figure 16-13.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 16-13. Many
technical team members
are necessary for a studio
shoot.
Advantages of a Remote Shoot
•
•
•
•
•
In many cases, it is not necessary to build a set. A location is usually
chosen because the set already exists.
Natural light can often be used.
Everything about an existing set is realistic. This supports the illusion
of reality created in the program.
A remote shoot usually requires less equipment overall than a studio
shoot.
A remote shoot usually involves fewer crew members.
Disadvantages of a Remote Shoot
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will,” is a constant
threat in location shooting.
Inevitably, something goes wrong with the equipment. The crew
must plan for that eventuality and bring spares of everything (extra
cables, adapters, etc.).
Inclement weather may completely halt production, Figure 16-14.
Pay attention to weather forecasts and always have an alternate plan.
In a remote interior location, power supply for equipment and lights
may be insufficient. Always check for circuit limitations.
Permission from the property owner must be granted before setting
foot on the location selected for the shoot.
If something breaks or is forgotten at the studio, there is significant
downtime while someone travels back to get it.
The terrain is often not suitable for simple dollying, trucking, or
arcing. Special track must be installed to perform these camera
moves.
Chapter 16 Studio and Remote Shooting
Figure 16-14. An unexpected change in the weather can make a selected location unusable and cause a
remote shoot to be cancelled.
•
•
All equipment must be transported to and from the location and
must be repeatedly set up and torn down. This increases wear and
tear on the equipment and, in turn, contributes to equipment failure.
In order to get varying camera angles, a single camera must reshoot
each scene several times from different angles. This also requires
numerous hours in the editing room, cutting together a cohesive and
interesting program.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Wrapping Up
When deciding whether to shoot in the studio or on a remote location,
carefully consider the program type and the benefits and risks that each
environment presents. A remote location offers the excitement of the real
world. The studio offers a stable and controlled production environment.
Programs in a studio can usually be produced in much less time than those
shot remotely. A studio shoot utilizes the camera switcher, which can save
hours in the editing room. On location, a single camera must shoot something
multiple times to get various angles. Each option must be weighed carefully
before deciding to shoot in the studio or on a remote location.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What topics are addressed in the production meeting?
2. Explain the special features of studio walls.
3. Name each of the television monitors found in the control room and state
the function of each.
4. What do the letters “ENG” stand for? What does the term mean?
5. What are the unique characteristics of EFP?
6. List the items that should be evaluated during a location survey.
7. What are the disadvantages of a studio shoot?
8. What are the advantages of a remote shoot?
Activities
1. Research the fire laws and regulations in your area. Make a list of all the
fire laws and regulations that apply to the construction and use of a television production set.
2. Perform a location survey for shooting an interview. For this activity,
assume that the interview is with someone you know and will be shot in
your living room.
3. The power requirement (number of amperes) for electronic equipment is
typically stated on either a label on the equipment itself or the specifications page in the instruction manual. Make a list of the power requirements for some of the equipment in your home, such as the largest
television set, smallest television set, electric dishwasher, electric clothes
washer and dryer, desktop computer, and laptop computer. Bring the list
to class and compare the power consumption of the items in your home
to the video gear used on a remote shoot.
Te
c
ce
hn
ie
n
ol
Sc
Chapter 16 Studio and Remote Shooting
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Identify some advances in technology that have affected remote shoots
in terms of efficiency, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.
3. Design the floor plan for a television news studio. Indicate the placement
of all production equipment and specialized areas.
4. Compare the costs involved in shooting a program in the studio to the
costs of shooting the same program at a remote location.
5. Watch several evening news programs and list instances of ENG footage
and EFP footage used in news stories. Explain why each piece of footage is ENG or EFP.
at
he
g
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ne
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in
m
at
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gi
1. Evaluate the environmental impact of a typical remote shoot. What environmental aspects should be considered when performing the location
survey (pollution, waste disposal, etc.)?
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www.nab.org The National Association of Broadcasters supports local
broadcasting professionals through education, advocacy, and readily-available
resources.
Introduction
Professional Terms
crab dolly
dolly grip
film-style shooting
multi-camera shooting
nickel cadmium (NiCad)
single-camera shooting
track dolly
windscreen
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the options available to solve lighting
problems when shooting on location.
•
Identify general safety precautions related to the
handling of cameras and batteries.
•
Compare the features and procedures of both
remote shooting techniques.
Shooting outside of the studio was almost
unheard of in the early days of television—the size
and weight of equipment and cabling, as well as
power requirements, prevented remote shooting.
Any remote work was done on film and transferred to
videotape once back at the studio. For many years,
all news footage was shot on film and transferred to
tape. The disadvantage of using film, especially for
news, is the considerable time needed to develop
and print film before it could be transferred to tape
and used on a newscast. This process made it
impossible to immediately release a story to the
public. Today, digital cameras in the field can uplink
directly to stations or networks through hard-line
connections, microwave communication, or satellite
transmission. This technology makes live video and
audio instantly available from virtually anywhere in
the world.
Remote shooting is actually the majority of
production work done today by many television
production facilities. Much of the location footage seen
on television is shot on video. A few network television
dramas still use film, but the number is steadily
declining due to changes in technology.
Television technology is progressing rapidly.
Bulky cameras attached to large recorders have given
way to relatively small, self-contained camcorders.
The most sophisticated camcorders are now being
replaced by very small cameras that have built-in
transmitters to send a radio signal to the recorder,
Figure 17-1. Footage from political convention floors,
football fields, and war zones is recorded using
cameras with transmitters. Cameras on a convention
center floor cannot trail cables through the crowds,
creating tripping hazards along their path. Even more
sophisticated examples of this technology are the
cameras built into headgear, such as football helmets,
and even smaller units that can be placed into the
frame of eyeglasses, Figure 17-2.
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Figure 17-1. A camcorder
may be equipped with
a small transmitter that
sends the video signal to
the receiver without using
wires.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Transmitter
Figure 17-2. Current
technology has produced
tiny camera devices that
were once depicted as
“futuristic” equipment in
science fiction films. Notice
the size of this very small
HD camera compared to
the peanuts lying around it.
(Photograph courtesy of
Iconix Video, Inc.)
Camera Mounts
crab dolly: A fourwheeled cart that travels
on a lightweight track
and enables the camera
to smoothly capture
movement shots while
being pushed or pulled
along the track. Also
called a track dolly.
dolly grip: Member of
the crew who pushes
or pulls a crab dolly
along the track during
production.
Extensive camera movement is not usually seen in many programs
shot on location. Dolly shots are more realistic than a zoom, but the camera
movement required with a dolly on location is difficult to accomplish. On
location, the ground is usually not smooth and level. While using a dolly
is possible, both a larger budget and additional equipment are necessary.
Several companies manufacture a type of track, similar in concept to
railroad track, that is relatively lightweight and portable. Once the track is
assembled, a four-wheeled cart, called a crab dolly or track dolly, is set in
place. The camera, along with the operator in some cases, is placed on the
crab dolly to capture the movement shots, Figure 17-3. The crab dolly may
be pushed or pulled along the track by a crew member known as a dolly
grip. The advantage of this track system is the ability to accomplish smooth
dolly, truck, and arc movements in the field. The disadvantages of the track
system include:
• Time consumed by constructing and leveling the track and cart.
• Cost of the track and related equipment.
• Additional personnel needed to assemble and operate the track system.
• Camera movements are restricted to the path of the track. If a shot is
changed, production is delayed to reposition the track.
Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
Since the development of camera stabilization systems, Figure 17-4, a
decreasing number of location shoots require the track system. (Mounting
the camera is discussed in Chapter 3, The Video Camera and Support
Equipment.) Camera stabilization systems can be rented or purchased, but
a system-trained operator must also be hired.
Figure 17-3. A crab dolly
on its track makes smooth
dolly and truck movements
possible on uneven terrain
when location shooting.
Figure 17-4. The
Steadicam® Pilot® is a
body-mounted camera
stabilization system that
facilitates very smooth
camerawork. (Steadicam
Pilot photo courtesy of The
Tiffen Company)
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Production Note
A high-end camera stabilization system is an expensive investment
for any production studio, let alone for a classroom. It is not likely that this
type of equipment will be readily available while learning the processes of
television production, or even when initially entering the industry. Remote
shooting must be accomplished using either tripod-mounted cameras or
hand-held cameras. With time and experience, you may come to work
for a company that uses the track system or a stabilization system. The
experience gained by that time will help in tackling the special challenges
each system presents.
A creative workaround is to seat a camera operator in a wheelchair
and have a grip smoothly push the wheelchair while shooting. However, this
technique is critically dependent on a smooth floor surface at the shoot location.
An Internet search for “Glidecam®”or “Steadicam®” will also return
results for websites with homemade versions of these camera stabilization
systems. Some of the sites include plans and instructions
to build your own device. As with many things, you get what
you pay for. However, even the diminished results from a
homemade camera stabilization system may be of acceptable
quality for your production.
Lighting for a Remote Shoot
Lighting is always a serious issue for remote shooting. If something is not
sufficiently lit in the studio, additional instruments are easily added and aimed.
This is not the case at a remote location. Shooting inside someone’s home, for
example, does not provide unlimited power supply, ventilation, ceiling height,
or a convenient grid and raceway. Portable light kits are available from many
manufacturers in different configurations and are specifically designed for field
use, Figure 17-5. Any lights brought to a location must have mounts, such as a
light stand or large spring-loaded clips that attach to a door, bookcase, or table.
Figure 17-5. Portable light kit and instruments. (Photos courtesy of Lowel-Light Mfg., Inc.)
Portable light kit
Portable instrument
Portable instrument
Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
As an example, consider a shoot scheduled in the living room of a
house from 1:00 p.m. through 4:00 p.m. The lamps on the end tables in
the living room cannot be used for illumination because they are not the
correct color temperature and will produce an orange tint. However, some
compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) can produce 32K light. The normal incandescent bulbs in the end table fixtures can be replaced by a CFL lamp rated
at 32K. The crew must bring white (32K) lights to use at any location.
Outside windows in the room create additional challenges. Windows
in the living room let in sunlight, which casts blue light in the shot even
with the additional lighting instruments. Solutions to these lighting problems include:
• Change the color of the sunlight by attaching a gel to the inside of the
window. This lowers the color temperature, so the light coming through
the window is essentially white on the inside of the room. The camera
can then be white balanced. CTO gel will convert 56K to 32K light.
• Place gels on the additional lighting instruments to raise the color
temperature up to match the sunlight. Then white balance the
camera. CTB gel will convert 32K to 56K light.
• Cover the window with a light-blocking material, such as a black or
blue plastic tarp. Close the curtains in front of the tarp to create a neat
appearance. Turn on the television lighting instruments and white
balance the camera.
• Shoot at night. At night, however, any exposed window turns into
a mirror unless covered. Turn on the television lighting instruments
and white balance the camera.
In smaller budget productions, the last two options are most often used.
Audio
On remote indoor shoots, microphones must be placed very close to
the talent. Lapel mics, mics on booms, or mics hidden on the set are ideal.
If the mics are too far away from talent or are attached to the camera itself,
the talent sounds as if they are speaking from the bottom of a well.
When shooting outside, using the wrong type of mic or incorrectly placing
a mic may cause the audio of the environment to completely overpower the talent. If the talent is standing in a forest, for example, the birds chirping may be
louder on the recording than the talent’s voice. When shooting outside, a lapel
mic is the best option if a directional mic on a boom is not used.
Production Note
Always check the audio levels on the recorder to ensure that the mic signal
is being picked up at an appropriate level. For analog systems, the reading
should fall between –3 and +3. For digital systems, the audio level should
be approximately –20. Some camera viewfinders or recorders
only have a digital bar meter or LEDs to indicate the audio level.
These typically do not have level reading numbers for reference.
Before the shoot begins, find out what the bar meter reading or
LED display should be for this type of equipment.
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Figure 17-6. A
windscreen completely
surrounds the microphone
and is designed to lessen
or eliminate the sound of
air blowing across the mic.
windscreen: A
covering, usually foam,
placed over a mic to
reduce the rumble or
flapping sound created
when wind blows across
the mic.
When shooting outdoors, the wind creates another obstacle. Using a
windscreen is an effective solution, Figure 17-6. A windscreen is a covering,
usually foam or furry fabric, placed over the mic. It reduces the rumble or flapping sound created when wind blows across the mic. The size of the windscreen
is directly related to the amount of wind in the environment. A news reporter
standing outside during a hurricane uses a more substantial windscreen than
the reporter in the middle of a field on an average spring day.
Production Note
On a remote shoot, either the camera operator or audio
technician must wear good quality, full-muff headphones to
monitor the audio while recording. Pay particular attention to
unwanted environmental and other extraneous sounds that
may, inadvertently, end up on the recording.
Power
Plan for power sources when shooting on location. The electrical circuits in most homes are either 15 or 20 amps. Plugging too many lighting
instruments into one circuit may trip the circuit breaker or blow a fuse in
the house. Electrical professionals use a technical, complex formula to determine the amount of amps a lighting instrument draws. A simplified formula
is not as accurate, but works very well for television production purposes
(Figure 17-7). This easy-to-remember formula is safe because it always overestimates the amount of power drawn by an instrument. To use the formula:
• Check the wattage of the lamp to be used. For this example, assume
the lamp is 650 watts.
• Divide the wattage value by 100 (move the decimal point two places
to the left). The result is 6.50 amps.
This means that three 6.50 amp instruments may be connected on a 20 amp
circuit. According to the formula, all three have a combined draw of 19.5 amps
(6.50 × 3 = 19.5). Because the formula provides a safety margin, slightly
fewer amps are actually drawn.
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Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
Converting Watts to Amps for
Location Shooting
Figure 17-7. This simple
conversion provides a
safe overestimation of the
power requirements.
Watts = 650
Move decimal two places to left:
Amps = 6.5
Batteries
Plugging a cord into the wall outlet is the most convenient power
option. However, remote shooting does not always include conveniently
placed wall outlets. Therefore, videographers must rely on battery power.
There are many different types of batteries used for cameras; the most common are nickel cadmium batteries, usually called NiCad. NiCad batteries
are rechargeable, but may take as long to recharge as they take to discharge.
Buying a charger with two sets of batteries allows the camera to run almost
uninterrupted. The only time lost is when batteries need to be changed.
The operator must remember to change batteries when one begins to get
low on power. Rechargeable lithium ion (Li-ion) and nickel metal hydride
(NiMH) batteries are becoming more popular, Figure 17-8.
nickel cadmium
(NiCad): A type of
rechargeable battery
commonly used to
power cameras.
General Cautions
•
•
•
Do not drop batteries. The plastic shell of the battery can split open
and the cells inside can break, which makes the battery unusable.
Batteries do not last very long when they are in a cold environment.
Do not completely discharge batteries. Always leave a small amount
of power in the battery before removing it and placing it on the
charger. Pay close attention to battery level indicators.
Figure 17-8. All
the various types of
rechargeable batteries
available must be handled
with care.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
•
•
Many professional batteries perform better if they are placed on a
plugged-in charger whenever they are not in use.
Do not ever leave batteries in the trunk or on the seat of a car parked
in the hot sun. Batteries can rupture when heated.
Production Note
Always carefully check the charging instructions provided
with any type of battery. While most professional batteries should
be placed on a charger when not in use, this does not apply to all
professional and consumer-grade batteries. Some batteries may
actually be damaged if they are continuously left on the charger.
Cold Temperatures and Batteries
Fundamentally, batteries create power through chemical reactions that
occur within a battery cell. Electrons move from one molecule to another,
creating usable electricity in the process. As the temperature of a battery
lowers, the chemical reactions slow down and the amount of power created
diminishes. As power output diminishes, video equipment stops operating. A
flashlight becomes dimmer and dimmer and a battery-powered toy moves
slower and slower as power diminishes. However, video equipment
demands a certain amount of power at all times. When a battery gets cold
and the chemical reactions slow down, the power demand of the equipment is not met and the equipment fully shuts off—it does not operate
slower. Imagine what a wake-up call that would be if you are conducting
the interview of a lifetime with the President of the United States on a ski
vacation and the video camera shuts off in the middle of the interview.
Because batteries become ineffective so quickly in cold conditions, precautions should be taken to keep the batteries warm. Some effective solutions when on location include:
• Wear a belt with your pants and a tucked-in shirt. Place the batteries
inside the shirt, next to your skin. Your body temperature keeps the
batteries warm.
• Wrap the camera in a blanket to keep the cold out of it for as long as
possible.
• Take frequent breaks inside a warm environment.
• Keep extra batteries in a cooler with activated chemical hand
warmers. Place a towel between the hand warmers and the batteries.
Condensation
Circuit boards inside cameras, recorders, and camcorders are so small that
even a single drop of moisture can short them out. That short causes the equipment to require servicing before it can be used again. Condensation is a problem because many of the internal components of the equipment are metal and
portable equipment is exposed to a variety of environments. Remote shooting
environments can include a wide range of humidity and temperature levels.
When equipment is stored in a cool, air-conditioned environment and is then
taken outside into humid summer weather, condensation forms on the inner
Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
355
components and on the camera lens. If shooting is planned in this kind of condition, the camera should be powered off and placed in the environment an
hour or more before it is needed. This allows the equipment to acclimate to the
humidity and temperature levels. Condensation still forms inside the camera,
but evaporates as the camera warms to the temperature of the environment.
Most cameras and camcorders have a special circuit that senses condensation before it shorts out the equipment. This sensor overrides the
power switch and shuts the power off completely. When this happens,
many people panic thinking that the camera just stopped working for
no apparent reason. The equipment is not operable again until the condensation evaporates. If you attempt to turn the equipment on after this
override, the phrase “Dew,” “Auto Shut-Off,” or “Self-Protect Mode” is
momentarily displayed in the camera’s viewfinder, Figure 17-9.
To speed up evaporation:
1. Turn the camcorder on.
2. Press the “Eject” button. The door opens and the camera, once again,
turns itself off.
3. Use a blow dryer set on “cool” to blow air into the open panel,
Figure 17-10. Never blow hot air into a camcorder—the heat can
damage internal camera components.
Condensation can also form on the lens. Like the mirror in a steamy bathroom, wiping the lens with lens paper does not prevent the condensation from
reforming. The moisture must evaporate and leave the affected area. As the
lens acclimates to the temperature of a room, the moisture will evaporate. Once
the moisture has completely evaporated, the lens may be used again.
Remote Shooting Techniques
•
•
There are two methods used when shooting on location:
multi-camera shooting
single-camera shooting
Figure 17-9. When this
message is displayed
in the viewfinder,
condensation has
developed inside the
camera body. Once the
moisture evaporates,
the camera will operate
normally.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 17-10. A blow
dryer may be used to
circulate cool air into the
camcorder body to speed
up evaporation.
Multi-Camera Shooting
multi-camera
shooting: A technique
of remote shooting
where multiple cameras
are used.
Multi-camera shooting is exactly what its name implies—shooting
with multiple cameras. Multi-camera shooting is either recorded using a
separate recorder for each camera or by using a mobile control room.
When a separate recorder is used for each camera, a scene is shot
from different positions and angles by several cameras at the same time.
A multi-camera appearance can then be created in the editing room during post-production. This technique requires less shooting time than other
options, but greatly increases the amount of time spent in the editing room.
Using this kind of shooting is dependent on the production budget and
the amount of time performers are available, compared to the time available for work in the editing room. Extra personnel and equipment are also
necessary to have multiple cameras shooting at the same time. When using
a separate recorder for each camera, the mixed audio is recorded on only
one of the recorders. So, all the cameras must be synced up. This allows the
editor to match the recorded audio to the lips of the performers.
Production Note
An easy way to sync up multiple cameras is to have someone
walk onto the set with a flash camera. Start all three cameras
recording and have the person snap a picture with the flash.
The camera flash provides a visual “mark” the editor can use to
synchronize all three cameras during the editing process.
A mobile control room is typically a truck parked as close as possible
to the shoot location, Figure 17-11. All of the cameras are run to a live video
Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
Figure 17-11. The mobile truck is essentially a control room on wheels.
switcher on the truck that provides a synchronizing signal back to the cameras. The crew runs hundreds of feet of cable from the truck to the cameras
shooting on location. When a network covers a professional football game,
for example, the truck is parked outside the stadium and the cameras are
located inside the stadium. The director and, often, the announcers are
outside in the truck. In this case, the game pictured behind the announcers is a simple chromakey background wall. (Chromakey is discussed in
Chapter 23, Electronic Special Effects.)
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Single-Camera Shooting
single-camera
shooting: A technique
of remote shooting
that involves only one
camera and is most
often used for event
recording.
Single-camera shooting involves only one camera and is the least difficult type of shooting. The only setup required is to set the camera on a tripod,
turn it on, and cue the performer(s). After the scene is over, the camera can
be moved, set up again, and turned on to capture another scene. This type of
shooting is not suitable for entertainment television programs because it is not
interesting and does not keep the audience’s attention. On prime-time television programs, the average camera shot lasts seven seconds. Unless the picture
on screen is extremely compelling in action or dialogue, the audience tends to
look away when shots last longer than seven seconds.
Single-camera shooting is most often used for general news coverage
from reporters in the field and event recording, Figure 17-12. A videographer of event recording is usually hired by a client to shoot a concert,
play, speech, seminar, presentation, or wedding. This type of client is not
interested in what is normally considered entertainment television (with
many cuts and effects). They merely want an event recorded as it happens,
without all the production aspects of entertainment television.
Film-Style Shooting
film-style shooting:
A type of single-camera
shooting in which a
scene is shot many times
with the camera moving
to a different position
each time to capture
the scene from various
angles. The finished
scene is edited together
to look like it was shot
with several cameras.
Film-style shooting is a unique subcategory of single-camera shooting. In film-style shooting, only one camera is used and it is moved very
frequently. While there are many methods to this style of shooting, the following example is one procedure for using film-style shooting.
1. A master shot is recorded of the entire scene. The master shot is a
relatively long shot of all the action in a scene.
2. After the master shot is completed, the entire scene is shot several
more times from different positions and camera angles.
3. Certain segments of the scene are restaged to get close-ups of key actions.
4. Cutaways are then shot, but may also be shot before the entire
process starts. (More information on cutaways is presented in
Chapter 19, Production Staging and Interacting with Talent.)
Figure 17-12. Singlecamera shooting is easy
to set up, but results in
uninteresting images.
Chapter 17 Remote Shooting
Each of the different shots recorded are edited together and the finished
scene looks as if it was originally shot with many cameras. The finished
product is far more interesting than a single-camera, single-shot production because the cut rate is much higher. The disadvantage of film-style
shooting is having the talent repeatedly perform each take of the scene
with the exact same action and dialog. Without exact repetition, the program cannot be edited together properly. Also, the editing process of filmstyle shooting is considerably more complex.
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Wrapping Up
Remote shooting is very enticing because it eliminates the need to construct a
set. On the other hand, remote shoots have their own collection of quirks. The
real key to successful television production is extensive and detailed pre-production
planning, in conjunction with strategy and planning throughout the process.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is a crab dolly? When is it most often used?
2. What are some challenges of planning the audio for a location shoot?
3. What is the formula presented to estimate the power requirements of an
instrument? Why is this imprecise formula safe to use?
4. List three precautions that apply to the use and care of camera batteries.
5. What is the built-in safety feature that protects a camera from condensation?
6. Explain the characteristics of the two remote shooting methods discussed in this chapter.
7. How are the various camera angles captured when using film-style shooting?
Activities
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1. Visit an electronics or other specialty equipment store and locate the
rechargeable batteries section of the store. Review the recharging
instructions on several types and brands of batteries. Note the cautions
on each package and the differences in the directions provided.
2. Research the various plans and instructions for homemade camera stabilization systems available online. Choose one of the plans and summarize
the features of the system and the components required to construct it.
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1. Research the changes in battery technology. How have these changes
impacted battery life, the materials used to manufacture batteries, and
how power is delivered from the battery to a device?
2. Investigate the technology used in a mobile control room. Explain how
video and audio signals are sent and received from the mobile control
room. Is any specialized equipment needed to run a production from a
mobile control room?
3. Inspect a main living area in your home and list the wattage of all electric-powered items in the room (lighting, entertainment equipment, charging units, etc.). Using the formula presented in this chapter, calculate the
total number of amps required to power the room.
4. Programs are often shot on location to create the appearance of authenticity.
You may have seen a production in progress in your local area. Describe the
impact that a location production (large or small) has on the day-to-day lives
of the people and businesses residing in the production area.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify factors to be considered when selecting
furniture for a production.
•
Recognize the difference between set dressing
and props.
•
Explain how the pattern of materials used on a
set affects the video image.
Introduction
Professional Terms
cyclorama (cyc)
moiré
props
set decorator
set design
set dresser
set dressing
strike
An interior decorator working in a house selects
the furniture, wall treatments, curtains and drapes,
accent accessories, and many other design and visual
elements to make the rooms appealing and to meet
the needs of the homeowner. In the television industry,
all of the design and visual elements chosen for a set
are considered set dressing. The set dresser, also
called set decorator, is responsible for selecting
the furniture, wall and window coverings, accent
accessories, and all the other design elements that
complete a program’s set. In making these decisions,
the set dresser must consider the contrast ratio (see
Chapter 14, Image Display) of the items chosen,
as well as accurately create the director’s vision of
the set. This chapter discusses the various design
and visual elements of set design, as well as related
techniques and professional tips.
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Creating the Set Design
set dressing: All the
visual and design
elements on a set, such
as rugs, lamps, wall
coverings, curtains,
and room accent
accessories.
set dresser: The
person responsible
for selecting the
furniture, wall and
window coverings,
accent accessories,
and all the other design
elements that complete
a program’s set. Also
called a set decorator.
set design: A scale
drawing of the set, as
viewed from above, that
illustrates the location of
furniture, walls, doors,
and windows.
The set design is a sketch of the set, as viewed from above, drawn to
scale, Figure 18-1. The set designer lays out the location of walls, doors,
and windows on the set. Then, the set dresser adds the location of furniture
and larger decorator items. The director uses the design when rehearsing
the program with the actors and talent while the set is under construction.
The set design notes the location of major pieces on the set, but does not
necessarily indicate the placement of accent and decorative items.
Production Note
To help the performers get accustomed to the amount of space
available once the set is completed, the set design is used to mark the
floor of the rehearsal space. Masking tape is commonly used to indicate
where the walls and doors will be located on the finished set. Masking
tape is inexpensive and readily available, but it leaves a sticky
residue on the floor if left in place for very long. Set marking
tape, or spiking tape, is also used to mark the floor of the
rehearsal space and is available from any theatrical supply
company. Set marking is different from masking tape in that it is
brightly colored and leaves no sticky residue on the floor.
Furniture
When selecting furniture for a set, consider that the talent should be able
to get into and out of furniture gracefully. The furniture needs to be solid and
firm and the seat cannot be lower than the talent’s knees, Figure 18-2. If the
chair is too low, the talent must either bounce out of the seat or roll out on
one side or the other. The problem is that the center of gravity is not correct
and does not allow a fluid movement into and out of the chair.
Stove
Kitchen
T.
V.
Table
(Kitchen)
Table
Window
Window
Window
Counter
Desk
h
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Fridge
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Window
Table
(Dining)
Cabinet
Desk
Window
Figure 18-1. A set design
resembles the floor plan of
a model home.
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
363
Figure 18-2. A chair
that places the talent’s
midsection lower than
their knees looks very
unattractive and poses a
problem in gracefully rising
from the chair.
Talent is forced to slouch when sitting naturally in a low chair. Slouching is
not only unattractive, but the talent’s diaphragm is compressed. This makes it
very difficult, if not impossible, to clearly project his or her voice. Also, the talent’s eyes are positioned lower than the camera lens when seated in a low chair.
This forces a high angle camera shot, looking down on the talent.
Never use chairs that swivel or rock on a set. The talent has a tendency
to swivel back and forth or to rock. Talent moving in this manner creates a
shot that is unpleasant to the audience. Chairs that swivel or rock also tend
to squeak, which is a distracting, unintentional sound in a scene.
Be aware of any shiny surfaces, such as chrome or brass fittings, on
furniture and other items on the set. Shiny surfaces may cause unattractive
or distracting light hits, Figure 18-3. These reflections are very distracting
to the audience and interrupt the viewer’s attention from the message of
the program.
Certain products can be used to keep reflections off shiny surfaces and
can be removed with a damp cloth after the shoot.
• Lightly apply crème makeup on the surface to dull the shine.
• Spray the area with hair spray.
• Apply dulling spray (available at camera shops).
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Figure 18-3. The shiny
chrome arms on this chair
will produce distracting
light hits. Adding dulling
spray, or another treatment,
reduces or even eliminates
light hits. Additionally, talent
is likely to swivel back and
forth while seated in a chair
of this type. The swiveling
motion is distracting to
viewers.
Visualize This
While light hits are usually considered to be negative program
attributes, they can also be used artistically within a program. For example,
hundreds of light hits are produced if you shoot the surface of a lake under
bright sunlight. These light hits create the appearance of a sparkling, clear,
inviting body of water. When multiple light hits are a desired effect, a star
filter may be attached to the front of a camera lens to cause each light hit
to become a star, rather than simply a bright white spot. A
star filter was used for the image in Figure 18-3. Star filters
are available at photo supply stores in many variations and
sizes. Be sure to bring your camera to the store to verify the
correct filter size for your camera.
Assistant Activity
You can create your own star filter using silver wire-mesh window
screening from any hardware store. The screening must be made of shiny
metal, not plastic, with a fine mesh.
1. Measure the diameter of the end of your camera lens.
2. Measure and mark a circle that is slightly larger than the camera lens
diameter on a small piece of wire-mesh window screening.
3. Cut out the circle.
4. Carefully attach small, thin strips of duct tape in a few places on the
mesh, as close to the edge of the circle as possible.
5. Attach the screen to the end of your camera lens by pressing the
strips of duct tape onto the outside of the lens shroud.
WARNING: Do not allow any of the tape to touch the glass lens. Do
not allow the mesh to touch the glass lens—it will likely
scratch the lens.
Aim the camera at an object with many light hits, like a
body of water. Experiment by rotating the mesh slightly to
see what effect rotation has.
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
365
Placement
In most homes, it is very common to see the furniture that people sit
on (sofas, loveseats, and chairs) placed against the walls of a room. Placing
this type of furniture in the middle of a room looks odd, unless the room
is rather large. Think of the sets in various situation comedy shows that
portray the living room in a home. On these sets, furniture may be placed
against a wall, but none of the characters sit on those pieces of furniture.
The furniture used by talent is placed in the middle of the room. This
arrangement of furniture appears so natural on the television screen that it
probably never stood out to you while watching.
With furniture arranged against the wall of a set, it is not possible to
backlight the talent seated on the furniture. The purpose of backlighting
is to separate the talent from the background. Without the appropriate
backlight, the talent, as well as the entire image, appears flat and unrealistic. Additionally, lighting the talent so close to a wall causes a shadow of
the person to be cast on the wall. Multiple background lights are typically
used, which creates several shadows. It is not likely that you see multiple
shadows on a wall behind someone in your home. If these shadows are
present on a set that the audience sees, the illusion of reality of the living
room will be broken. A standard rule in set design is to place the furniture
used by the talent at least six feet away from any wall of the set. Furniture
not used by the talent is considered set dressing and may be placed wherever the designer likes.
Props
Props are any of the items handled by the performers during a production, other than furniture. Just as there are exceptions to spelling rules in
English class, television production principles are equally loaded with exceptions. A simple piece of furniture may become a prop if it is used in a way,
the audience assumes, that it was not manufactured to be used. Examples of
this may be a couch that is single-handedly hoisted into the air by a character with super strength, a bed that collapses when the talent gets into it, or a
bookcase whose shelves give way with the weight of a single book.
Visualize This
To help clarify how furniture may be used as a prop, visualize the
following scene. A desk in an office setting is piled with towers of papers
and files. Sitting at the desk, barely visible behind the piles, is a man who
looks overwhelmed. His boss approaches carrying a single sheet of paper,
perhaps an interoffice memo, and places this single sheet of paper on one
of the towers already on the desk. Without warning, the desk collapses
from the additional weight of the single page.
Office desks are not constructed to collapse. This office
desk was constructed of a particular material or assembled
in such a way that it collapsed on cue. This action makes the
desk a prop in the scene, not a piece of furniture.
props: Any item handled
by the performers during
a production, other than
furniture.
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When selecting or creating props, it is not always necessary to attend
to every last detail. The television camera is more forgiving to smaller sized
props. For example, the phasers used in the Star Trek television series were
pieces of wood glued together and painted a dark gray with a few pieces
of colored plastic attached. Before spending a great deal of time and money
on props, consider the cardinal rule of television: “It does not have to be, it
must only appear to be.” However, high-definition digital cameras create
images of such high quality and detail that much more attention must be
paid when building sets, props, and scenery. With high-definition cameras,
the original Star Trek phasers would look like what they actually were—
wood with colored plastic pieces glued on.
Assistant Activity
On a classroom set, there is a coffee mug, a grade book, various
papers, pens, a paper clip dispenser, and a stapler on the teacher’s desk.
Behind the desk is a chair. A large map and various pieces of student art
hang on the wall. The performer (teacher) walks in, sits
down on the chair, picks up a pen, and begins grading a
paper. He records the grade in the grade book and takes a
sip of coffee. In this scenario, which items are props? Which
items are furniture? Which items are set dressing?
Flats, Curtains, and Backdrops
cyclorama (cyc):
An indistinct, solidcolor background that
is typically used for
limbo shooting and
chromakey shooting.
Scenery is whatever stops the distant view of the camera. In a studio
setting, this includes flats, curtains, and backdrops. If a set is not supposed
to reproduce a real-life environment, such as someone’s living room, flats
can be placed at odd angles, with gaps between them, or be painted in
unusual colors and textures. The effect can be attractive and eye catching
without upstaging the talent or subject matter of the program. Set designers must always consider contrast ratio and the limitations they place on
other items in the picture when choosing a background color.
A background may be loose curtains, having the attractive folds found
in living room curtains, or be an indistinct, solid color. A cyclorama, or
cyc (pronounced “sike,” rhymes with “hike”), is a solid-color background
without any visual texture, Figure 18-4. A cyc may be created by stretching background curtains tight to cover the walls and curves of the studio,
forming a solid background color. A cyc can also be constructed of a rigid
material. The corners of a rigid cyc, as well as where the background meets
the floor, are curved to create a completely indistinct background. A cyc is
usually used for limbo shooting and chromakey shooting.
A cyc differs from a backdrop because a cyc is usually just one color
and has no definition. On the other hand, a backdrop may have scenery
painted on it. For a studio production set in London, as an example, someone may be contracted to paint a skyline of London on a backdrop that
hangs behind the set. That way, if a shot ever moves off the set, the audience sees London in the distance. In modern studios, a backdrop is a rare
thing indeed. Digital technology allows computer-generated backgrounds
to be inserted into a picture that previously had no background at all.
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
367
Figure 18-4. A cyc
creates an indistinct
background. A—A cyc
can be a curtain pulled
tight around a set. B—A
rigid cyc is constructed of
modular panels. (Photo
courtesy of Pro Cyc. Inc./
www.procyc.com)
A
B
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When computer-generated backgrounds are used, the only backdrop on
the set is a chromakey wall behind the talent. (Chromakey is discussed in
Chapter 23, Electronic Special Effects.)
Visual Design Considerations
While choosing items for the set, the set dresser must be conscious of
other factors that affect the visual appeal and realism of the set. Both the
placement of items on the set and the patterns on set items have a great
impact on the video image.
The 3-D Effect
A television screen is a two-dimensional piece of glass. The creative use
of light and shadow (previously discussed in Chapter 15, Lighting) creates
a third dimension. Another technique in producing the illusion of threedimensionality is to place items in layers on the set, Figure 18-5. Items on
the set should be placed in the front area of the set (closest to the cameras),
in the middle of the set, and at the back of the set (furthest away from the
cameras). The sets of most modern sitcoms use this layout by placing some
Figure 18-5. Placing items in layers on a set helps create a three-dimensional feel to the picture.
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
369
item of furniture right in front of the camera. This may be a table, a chair
with its back to the camera, a TV set, or any other item found in a home.
With the talent placed in the middle of the set, objects layered in front of
and behind the talent add great depth to the picture.
Patterns
Patterns are an issue in the areas of upholstery, wallpaper, curtains,
and costumes. Television systems that use interlace technology create a picture from colored dots arranged in rows on the screen (discussed further in
Chapter 25, Getting Technical). The rows, or lines, flicker on and off in such
rapid succession that the human eye cannot detect the flicker. The odd lines
light, then the even lines light, then the odd, then the even, and so on. As
a result, any horizontal line or high-contrast patterns on the set appear, to
the viewer’s eye, to be jumping up and down. This effect may even cause a
rainbow of colors to appear in the patterned area called moiré (pronounced
“more-ray”), Figure 18-6. This is distracting to the viewers and can be
avoided by carefully selecting the materials and patterns used on the set.
• Avoid bold horizontal and vertical lines.
• Avoid tightly woven, complex patterns of high-contrast lines, such as
herringbone patterns.
• Avoid elaborately or thinly striped neckties and scarves.
moiré: An effect caused
by shooting certain
patterns usually frabrics,
in which the television
system reproduces the
pattern with a rainbow
of colors or moving
lines displayed in the
patterned area.
Striking the Set
When a set is no longer needed, the crew must strike the set. To strike
a set means to dismantle or tear it down. Large set pieces, like flats, doors,
windows, and stairs, are usually salvaged for use on future sets. The number and types of pieces saved depends on the amount of storage space
available.
strike: To dismantle or
tear down a set that is
no longer needed.
Figure 18-6. The rainbow
effect caused by highcontrast patterns in a
picture is called moiré.
Notice the distortions on
the shoulders and around
the collar of this shirt.
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Figure 18-7. Various school news sets.
Fayetteville High School (Fayetteville, AR)
K-AHS/Austin High School (Austin, TX)
Keystone High School (LaGrange, OH)
Titan TV/Centennial High School (Frisco, TX)
EVTV/Eastview High School (Apple Valley, MN)
Anderson Districts I & II/Career and Technology
Center (Williamston, SC)
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
371
Figure 18-7. Continued.
Lake Charles-Boston Academy of Learning
(Lake Charles, LA)
Oakleaf Junior High (Orange Park, FL)
Kaleidoscope TV News/King Career Center
(Anchorage, AK)
OC-TV/Ocean City High School (Ocean City, NJ)
ONW…Now/Olathe Northwest High School
(Olathe, KS)
VHSTV/Voorhees High School (Glen Gardner, NJ)
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Wrapping Up
Most of the principles of set construction in theater apply to television
production. The important exceptions to the theatrical principles are color
and contrast ratio. These two concepts weigh heavily in most every aspect
of television production. Unlike an interior decorator working in someone’s
home, a set dresser must be aware of how the completed set will appear to
the camera and on the final video image. When designing and constructing
sets, props, and set dressing, remember: “It doesn’t have to be; it only has to
appear to be.” Review the gallery of news sets in Figure 18-7 for the various
set design elements discussed in this chapter.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What are some factors to consider when selecting furniture for a production set?
2. What is a prop?
3. How is a cyc different from a backdrop?
4. How does the set dresser contribute to creating the illusion of threedimensionality on the television screen?
5. Compare the responsibilities of an interior designer to the responsibilities
of a set dresser.
6. How does the crew strike a set?
Activities
1. Visit a local fabric store. Choose some fabrics that would cause moiré on
a television image. Bring a few samples to class for discussion.
2. Create a basic set design for an afternoon talk show. The designs
should include furniture, camera placement, decorative items, and a faux
window.
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1. How does your diaphragm assist in projecting your voice when speaking?
How does slouching hinder your diaphragm’s function when speaking?
2. Choose a movie or television program that largely used computer-generated
backgrounds. Research the digital technology used to create the backgrounds and find “behind the scenes” information to discover how different
the images recorded by the cameras are to what you saw on the screen.
Chapter 18 Props, Set Dressing, and Scenery
3. Make a sketch of the set in your school’s production studio. Include the
location of walls, doors, windows, furniture, and other large items on the
set. What improvements can be made to the current set design? How
can those improvements be implemented?
4. Next time you watch your favorite entertainment program, pay attention to the placement of furniture on the set. How does the arrangement
of furniture create dimension in the scene? Have you ever noticed the
placement of furniture items on this program before now?
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www.setdecorators.org The Set Decorators Society of America provides
fellowship and networking opportunities for set decorators, crew members, and
vendors in the industry. The organization also offers Associate and Student
Memberships, internships, and other educational opportunities for students and
apprentices hoping to enter the field.
Objectives
Professional Terms
ad-lib
background
camera line
cheating out
cross-camera shooting
cutaway
dramatic aside
error in continuity
foreground
hand shots
jump cut
middle ground
staging
swish pan
teleprompter
vector line
whip pan
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the foreground, middle ground, and
background on a set.
•
Recall the function and importance of the vector
line in camera staging.
•
Explain the difference between a jump cut and an
error in continuity.
•
Illustrate the staging for both two-person and
three-person studio interviews.
•
Explain the difference between a dramatic aside
and ad-libbing.
•
Identify considerations and methods that
production staff members should use when
working with non-professional talent.
Introduction
This chapter discusses the placement of
furniture, props, and talent in front of the camera. The
arrangement of items in a shot is called staging. In
theater production, staging refers to the movement
instructions given to performers by the director. In
television production, staging also applies to the
placement and movement of cameras. This chapter
presents guidelines and methods of effective staging
for television production.
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staging: The
arrangement of items,
such as furniture, props,
and talent, in a shot.
foreground: The area
between the talent and
the camera.
middle ground: The
area in which the action
of a program typically
takes place and where
the most important
items in a picture are
usually positioned.
background: The
material or object(s) that
are placed behind the
talent in a shot.
Figure 19-1. The center
of focus in this shot is the
person at the desk. Notice
that the person seated
in the foreground helps
create the illusion of threedimensionality.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Areas on a Set
The television screen is a relatively flat piece of glass. All images displayed on the screen are two-dimensional. An important goal in production is to attempt to create the illusion of three dimensions in order to
increase the realism of television images. Purposeful use of the areas on a
set—foreground, middle ground, and background—is an effective method
in creating three-dimensionality on the television screen.
The foreground is the area between the talent and the camera. Placing
items in the foreground of a shot is a simple and effective way to create
three-dimensionality, Figure 19-1. Novice camera operators often make the
mistake of ignoring the foreground area of a set when framing a shot. While
leaving the foreground of a set empty creates additional space for camera
movement, it does not help in creating the illusion of a three-dimensional
image on the flat television screen. This is an important area for staging to
create a realistic image for the viewer.
The middle ground is the area in which the talent performs and the
action of a program usually takes place. This is the area where important
items in a picture are commonly positioned.
The background of a picture is the material or object(s) behind the talent in a shot. The distance between the talent and the background, if properly lit, greatly contributes to creating three-dimensionality.
Talk the Talk
While the terms background and scenery may seem very similar, they are
two different elements on a production set. For example, a glass
window on the back wall of a set is background. The painting or
photograph depicting the outdoors placed behind the window is
scenery because it stops the distant view of the camera.
Chapter 19
Production Staging and Interacting with Talent
For a set depicting the interior of a living room, for example, a back
wall and partial left and right walls would be constructed. A couch facing
the cameras may be placed in the middle ground. Creative lighting in conjunction with the middle ground and background set creates an acceptable
illusion of depth in the picture. However, placing a coffee table or chair in
the foreground creates even more depth in the picture. Effective use of the
foreground area helps heighten the impact of a dramatic program. Even
most news programs have an anchor desk that separates the talent from
the cameras. The desk is placed in the foreground, which enhances the
three-dimensional illusion of the program.
Assistant Activity
Watch four sitcoms with scenes that take place in the
home of one of the characters. List the foreground, middle
ground, and background items that are common in the
shots. Be prepared to discuss your findings in class.
Camera Staging
The placement and movement (such as dolly, truck, and arc) of cameras, particularly when using multiple cameras, is planned during the
pre-production process of marking the script. Planning makes the most
efficient use of both the talent and staff’s time and the production budget.
If using multiple cameras for a production, each camera is assigned
a number. The industry convention is to number the cameras from the
camera operator’s point of view (facing the set). Therefore, the camera on
the operator’s far left is camera 1 and the remaining cameras are numbered sequentially moving from left to right—camera 1 is on the left,
camera 2 is in the middle, and camera 3 is on the right. The images from
the cameras are displayed on monitors in the control room, which are
also arranged from left to right. The monitor corresponding to the video
from camera 1 is on the left in the control room and the monitor for camera 3 is on the right.
Stage directions, however, are given from the performer’s point of
view (facing the cameras), Figure 19-2. Imagine a weekly interview program that focuses on local musicians called “Musician’s Corner.” The studio segment of the program is a brief, informal interview with a different
musician every week, one-on-one with the host of the program. The host of
the current segment of the program, Michael, is speaking with a saxophonist named Katharine. Michael is seated on Katharine’s right. In this example, Michael is stage right of Katharine. From the camera and audience’s
point of view, he is on the left of Katharine. When referring to the position
of people or items in front of the camera, the direction is communicated
as stage direction. When referring to the items and people behind the
cameras, the directions are given from the perspective of someone looking
at the set.
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Figure 19-2. Proper stage
direction terms.
Up Stage
Right
Stage
Right
Down Stage
Right
Up Stage
Center
Center
Stage
Down Stage
Center
Up Stage
Left
Stage
Left
Down Stage
Left
Cameras/audience
Talk the Talk
When directing talent, always place the word “stage” in front of the
movement direction. For example, “Bill, please move two
steps stage right.” When referring to movement of items
and people behind the cameras, directions are given using
normal, everyday language. For example, “Camera 2, pan
left to follow Bill as he moves.”
cross-camera
shooting: A twocamera shooting
technique in which
the camera on the left
shoots the person on
the right of the set and
the camera on the right
shoots the person on
the left of the set.
cheating out:
Positioning the talent’s
body to slightly face
the camera to give the
audience a better view.
To shoot this interview, it may seem most logical to have camera 1
shoot Michael and camera 3 shoot Katharine. Camera 2 provides a two
shot of them both, Figure 19-3. This, however, is not the most appropriate
camera placement. Because the interview is a conversation and the participants face each other, camera 1 and camera 3 would capture profile shots of
Katharine and Michael. Profile shots create a very flat and confrontational
feel in a program. Cross-camera shooting is the solution in this situation.
Cross-camera shooting is a technique where the camera on the left
shoots the person on the right in the shot, and the camera on the right
shoots the person on the left in the shot. See Figure 19-4. In the “Musician’s
Corner” interview example, camera 1 shoots Katharine and camera 3 shoots
Michael. Camera 2 remains available and positioned for a two shot. In a
two-person interview, the talent should angle their bodies slightly to place
their upstage shoulders close together and their downstage shoulders are
farther apart. Positioning the talent’s body to slightly face the camera to
give the audience a better view is called cheating out.
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Michael
1
Katharine
2
Michael
3
2
Figure 19-3. If a camera
operator shoots the talent
positioned directly in front
of the camera, with the
talent positioned face-toface, the result is a flat,
unattractive profile shot.
3
Katharine
1
379
Figure 19-4. Changing
the subject of cameras
1 and 3 to the talent on
the opposite side of the
set creates more realistic
shots with dimension.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Vector Line
vector line: An
imaginary line, parallel
to the camera, that
bisects a set into a
foreground and a
background. Also called
a camera line.
The vector line is an imaginary, horizontal line that bisects a set into
the foreground and background. In some facilities, the term camera line is
used synonymously with vector line. The vector line extends all the way
across the set from left to right. In the “Musicians Corner” interview example, imagine a line drawn horizontally across the set, through the noses of
both Michael and Katharine. The line drawn is the vector line of the set. All
cameras must remain on the same side of the vector line while shooting. If
the program cuts to the image of a camera shooting on the opposite side of
the vector line, all items in the picture are reversed, Figure 19-5. This is a
grave production error called a jump cut.
In the “Musicians Corner” interview, Michael and Katharine are facing each other. Imagine that cameras 1 and 2 have two shots with Michael
on the left of the screen and Katharine on the right. If camera 3 crosses the
vector line, Katharine will be on the left of the screen. This creates a terrible
jump cut because Michael and Katharine appear to “jump” to opposite
sides of the screen when the director cuts from camera 2 to camera 3.
Visualize This
While preparing to shoot a basketball game, you place a camera at
the top of the stands on both sides of the court to make sure that you
don’t miss any of the action. Camera 1 is at center court on the home
team’s side and camera 2 is at center court on the opponent’s side. During
the game, a player makes a very long shot. The ball goes high in the air,
traveling from screen left to screen right. Camera 1 has the shot. At the
peak of the midair arc, you cut to the shot from camera 2. Because camera
2 is on the other side of the court—opposite side of the vector line for
camera 1—the ball now appears to be traveling from screen
right to screen left. On the viewer’s television screen, the ball
appears to have magically reversed direction in the middle
of the shot. This image is a major error on the part of the
director and could have been avoided.
Figure 19-5. In the image
captured by cameras 1
and 2, Michael is on the
left side of the screen
and Katharine is on the
right. Camera 3, however,
depicts Katharine on the
left and Michael on the
right. Because of this
difference, cutting from
camera 1 to 2 to 3 will
create jump cuts.
Wrong side of the vector line
Camera 3
Vector line
Michael
Camera 1
Katharine
Camera 2
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381
A camera may cross the line while it is hot and, essentially, take the
audience with it as it crosses the line. If the audience crosses the vector line
with the camera, the camera reorients the vector line as it moves. Once it
stops moving, the other cameras must be repositioned to be on the correct
side of the new vector line. Because the placement of cameras on a set cannot be identical, each camera has its own vector line. The vector lines of all
the cameras must complement each other so that none of the cameras are
on the wrong side of any other camera’s vector line.
Creative use of the vector line may result in savings in the production
budget. Suppose two scenes need to be shot of a train moving across the
prairie. In one scene, the train is on its way to Arizona from Oklahoma;
moving from screen right to screen left. In the other scene, the train is
returning to Oklahoma from Arizona; moving from screen left to screen
right. Instead of setting up and shooting the scene twice, simply position a
camera on either side of the railroad track. Make sure the two cameras do
not shoot each other by hiding them or staggering them along the track.
The train runs once and two scenes are accomplished with one take.
Cutaways and B-Roll
A cutaway, also called B-roll, is a shot that is not a key element in the
action. It is usually a close-up of different items found on the set, such as
some object or a person in the background. A cutaway may also be a shot
that provides a visual of what is being discussed in the audio track. When a
cutaway is used, the audience should not feel that the shot is jarring or out
of place. Also, a cutaway shot should not include an integral moment or
action in the scene. If the cutaway shot is not included in a scene, the audience should not feel as though some part of the scene is missing.
cutaway: A shot that is
not a key element in the
action. It is commonly
used to bridge what
would otherwise be a
jump cut.
Talk the Talk
The term “cutaway” is more prevalent in television
production environments, while “B-roll” is common in
broadcast journalism environments.
B-roll footage is generally shot after the primary footage is shot, but
may be shot prior to shooting the primary footage. The timing may vary
from production to production, but it is important to remember that B-roll
must be shot! To reshoot B-roll after leaving a location or striking a set
requires that all the equipment be obtained again, all the necessary personnel be rehired, and the entire crew must return to the location or have the set
rebuilt. All of this is a great inconvenience and expense for the production.
While shooting the primary footage, listen carefully to what the talent says.
If any objects are specifically mentioned in the dialogue, make an effort to get
cutaway footage of those specific objects after the primary video is shot.
Hand shots are a type of B-roll shot that features a close-up of hands,
such as interlaced fingers, an index finger pointing, or counting “1, 2, 3,
4” by tapping the finger(s) of one hand into the palm of the other hand.
Hand shots are related to nod shots (discussed in Chapter 8, Scriptwriting).
Nod shots and hand shots are critically important when editing a panel
hand shots: A type of
B-roll shot that features
a close-up of someone’s
hands.
382
whip pan: An extremely
fast camera pan. Also
called a swish pan.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
discussion program. Because camera operators never know which panelist
will speak next, they often miss shooting the beginning of someone’s comments. The camera operator rapidly pans the camera to find the person
speaking and get the shot of that person. The rapid camera pan is called a
whip pan, or swish pan. If the camera is hot, this shot is jarring and dizzying for viewers. In the editing room, B-roll footage, such as a nod shot or
hand shot, can be inserted over the whip pan to eliminate the jarring shot.
One of the most common uses of cutaways is to bridge what would
otherwise be a jump cut. For example, cutting a shot of a teacher writing
on the board to a shot of the teacher standing over a student offering assistance creates the illusion that the teacher “jumped” from the blackboard to
the student. Placing a cutaway of a student looking forward, then writing
studiously between the two shots avoids a jump cut in the shot sequence.
Jump Cuts and Errors in Continuity
jump cut: A sequence
of shots that constitutes
an error in editing.
This error can occur
during production when
cutting between similar
sized camera shots
of the same object or
during post-production
when shots are edited
together. The result is
an on-screen object or
character that appears
to jump from one
position to another.
error in continuity:
An error that occurs
during editing where
a sequence of shots
in the finished product
contains physically
impossible actions or
items.
A jump cut is an error in the sequence of shots that occurs when cutting
between similar sized camera shots of the same object. A jump cut occurs when
two camera shots that contain the same object or character are cut together.
Because the two shots are recorded from different angles or positions, the object
seems to “jump” to a different location on the screen. This error is found far too
often in television programs because it is a very easy mistake to make.
To illustrate a jump cut, imagine a three-shot has been set up in the
studio, Figure 19-6. The staging has Chris, Renna, and Dave standing in
a rough triangle facing each other. Chris is on screen left, Renna is in the
center, and Dave is on screen right. Renna is the moderator interviewing
both Chris and Dave.
• Camera 1 has a shot of Chris and Renna. In this shot, Chris is on
screen left and Renna is on screen right.
• Camera 2 has a shot of all three people.
• Camera 3 has a shot of Renna and Dave. In this shot, Renna is on
screen left and Dave is on screen right.
If the director cuts from camera 1 to camera 3, Renna appears to “jump”
across the screen from the right to the left. This movement is very jarring
to the audience.
An error in continuity occurs during the editing process and creates
a finished product that contains physically impossible actions or items,
Figure 19-7. A jump cut is sometimes, incorrectly, called an error in continuity; the terms are not interchangeable. Some examples of errors in continuity include a hat that disappears off someone’s head from one shot to
the next, wounds that look severe in one shot are almost healed the next
shot, or a glass that is one-quarter full of soda in one camera angle is threequarters full in another camera angle.
Assistant Activity
Errors in continuity constitute many of the mistakes found
in films. Make a list of some errors in continuity you have noticed
in films and television programs. Visit www.moviemistakes.com
and investigate mistakes in some of your favorite movies. Be
prepared to discuss your findings in class.
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383
Figure 19-6. In a jump
cut, a performer appears
to jump across the screen
when the image displayed
cuts from one camera to
another.
Camera 1
Camera 2
Camera 3
The audience rarely sees the plates of food in a shot with performers
dining. The camera shoots the talent eating, but the plate is not usually in
the picture. Most often, the audience is shown before and after shots of the
plate. If, for example, peas were on a plate, it would be very difficult to
place each pea in the same position on the plate for every take. If the peas
are not placed exactly as they were in the previous take, it would be comical to see them appear in another location on the plate.
384
Figure 19-7. The change
in this woman’s earrings
from one shot to the next
is an example of an error
in continuity. A—In the
first over-the-shoulder
shot, the woman is
wearing small, starshaped earrings. B—In
the next shot (a reverse
angle of the same shot),
the earrings are long and
dangling.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
A
B
In a scene that takes place in a restaurant, keeping track of the amount
of liquid in each glass from take to take would be a very tedious job. For
example, a woman in the scene is drinking soda from a glass that is onequarter full. It would be very noticeable if the camera cut to a different
angle of the woman drinking and the glass was three-quarters full of soda.
This is an error in continuity that can easily occur when dealing with multiple takes of a scene.
On large shoots, a person in charge of continuity constantly snaps photographs of all the on-screen elements in a shot. The next time the scene is
shot, everything is returned to its exact position.
Errors in continuity can occur with dialogue, as well. This happens
when the dialogue in multiple takes of a scene does not match exactly.
Picture a scene in which a man gets out of the car in his driveway and
shouts a greeting to his next-door neighbor, who is watering the front yard
lawn. He shuts the car door and walks over to talk to his neighbor. In the
first take of this scene, the man opens the car door, stands up, and calls out
to his neighbor. He then shuts the car door and walks over to his neighbor’s front yard. In the second take of the scene, the man gets out of the
car, shuts the door, and then calls out to his neighbor as he walks toward
the neighbor’s yard. When the editor tries to cut these two takes together,
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Production Staging and Interacting with Talent
either the car door will be shut twice or the greeting will be called out
twice. The performers in a scene must perform the dialogue and action
exactly the same way in every take.
Both jump cuts and errors in continuity are not noticeable until the
editing phase of post-production. At that point, it is often too late to reshoot
a scene correctly. These editing issues can be avoided by carefully planning
the production staging and camerawork before production and proper
execution during production.
Visualize This
Picture a scene of a man and a woman on a date. The woman is wearing
a fancy scarf that is daintily arranged on her shoulders and clipped-on with
an elaborate pin. The scene is shot near the end of the shooting day. The
director sends everyone home and reviews the recording. He determines
that he needs at least one other take of the same scene to provide greater
variety of shot choices later in editing. Therefore, the second take of the
scene occurs the next day. What are the chances that the scarf can be
arranged exactly as it was 24 hours ago with the pin placed in the same
position as the previous day? What if the woman is wearing different
sunglasses? Imagine the audience’s confusion if the woman
gets into a car wearing black-rimmed sunglasses with dark
lenses and the scene cuts to a shot of her turning the key in
the ignition wearing white-rimmed sunglasses with mirrored
lenses!
Production Equipment in the Shot
In dramatic programming, it is not acceptable to see production equipment in a shot. The program’s director tries to simulate real life, and production equipment does not surround most of us in everyday life. Watchful
viewers may, from time to time, see a microphone on a boom accidentally
dipping into the picture from the top of the screen or catch the shadow of a
boom on the background flats. Microphones and cameras should never be
seen in a completed dramatic program.
There is, however, an exception. If the dramatic program is set in an
environment that naturally includes production equipment, seeing these
items in a shot is acceptable. A television drama about a television station
would surely have equipment present on the set. The equipment seen on
screen is, most likely, props or set dressing, not functioning equipment. If
the audience sees production gear in non-dramatic programming, such as
news programs, talk shows, and game shows, it is perfectly acceptable.
Viewers are accustomed to seeing cameras, mics, and lights on these types
of programs.
Talent Placement
All cultures have acceptable “bubbles” of personal space. In certain
Far Eastern and some European countries, for example, having virtually
no personal space is the cultural norm. Western cultures presume a larger
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
“bubble” of personal space. We are very comfortable in our bubble of personal space and become uncomfortable when others enter this space uninvited. This space is smaller, or almost nonexistent, with close friendships
and romances. Mere acquaintances, however, are not usually welcome
within our personal space.
When performing on television, people must be positioned much closer
to each other than is considered normal in Western culture. If performers
were spaced apart as they are in real life, the distance would appear much
greater on the television screen. Additionally, the empty space between
the performers would be more prominent than the performers themselves.
Therefore, all performers on television must adjust their personal space
and understand they will be positioned very close to others, Figure 19-8.
On any dramatic television program, notice just how close the performers
actually are to each other. Because it appears so natural on the television
screen, most viewers are unaware of it. The lack of personal space is a bit
of a shock to an actor performing in front of television cameras for the first
time because it does not seem natural to be so close to another person while
speaking.
The ultimate goal is a good television picture. Everyone on the production team must contribute to this effort and realize that things that look
or feel a bit unusual in real life, often make a good picture on camera.
Figure 19-8. Personal
space must be reduced in
order to obtain acceptable
television staging. A—Actors
are positioned to create
the appearance of realistic
distance for conversation.
B—In reality, the actors
are much closer than is
commonly considered
comfortable in Western
culture.
A
B
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Production Staging and Interacting with Talent
Production Note
The director must resist the urge to take performers by the hand
and place them in the appropriate locations on the set. It is
considered amateur behavior for a director to touch the talent
in this manner. Because the director is often out of the talent’s
direct line of sight, using hand gestures is not effective. The
director must maneuver the talent into position using only
verbal direction.
Visualize This
When positioning seated talent to capture a tight two shot, using only
verbal commands can become challenging. The talent’s knees seem to be
in the way no matter how they move, Figure A. The solution is to remove
personal space and have the talent tuck their inside feet under the chair
behind their outside feet, Figure B. This allows their hips to move much
closer together. The talent will look ridiculous in reality, but the audience
will not know how contorted their bodies are in a medium close-up. The
top half of Figure B is a common shot on television. When properly
positioned, place a table in front of the talent with the corner of the table
between them. This places the two participants on different, but adjoining,
sides of the table, Figure C. When performers lean in and place their arms
naturally on the table, they reduce the space between them even more.
The overall appearance is normal. However, their feet are still contorted.
The audience will not see what you do not show them on camera.
Figure C
Figure A
Figure B
Interviews
We usually think of an interview as a conversation or a questionand-answer session between two people. However, an interview can be
performed with only the interviewee featured on-camera. The interview
questions must be written in a way that prompts the interviewee to talk
naturally about a topic. Additionally, the interviewee is asked to restate
the question in the answer, which eliminates the need to see or hear the
interviewer at all. This kind of interview requires a considerable amount
of B-roll footage because the interviewee’s responses will undoubtedly be
edited and trimmed to keep the audio track interesting for viewers. Every
edit must be “cushioned” with a B-roll shot to prevent jump cuts.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Staging for a Two-Person Interview
When positioning talent for a two-person interview, they should not
be placed facing each other. The front of each chair should be slightly
angled toward each other, Figure 19-9. If the angled lines of the chairs were
extended, they would form an inverted “V.” This staging opens the area
downstage of the talent, which makes the audience feel like they are part
of the conversation, Figure 19-10. If three people were standing and having
a conversation in real life, the participants would be naturally positioned
in some form of a triangle. This arrangement makes each person in the
conversation feel involved.
Figure 19-9. The angled
placement of on-screen
talent creates an inverted
“V.”
Renna
Figure 19-10. The
inverted “V” staging leaves
room for the audience to
feel like they are a part of
the conversation.
Chris
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389
Think about almost every instance you have seen on television where
people are seated around the dinner table at someone’s home. To include
the viewer as a participant at the table, all the actors are positioned around
one half of the dinner table, Figure 19-11. This seating arrangement is
unnatural in real life. However, leaving half of the table empty creates the
illusion that the audience is seated at the open side of the table, downstage,
and can see everyone at the table.
Staging for a Three-Person Interview
If a third person named Agnes were to join the interview with Renna
and Chris, their chairs are shifted to place Chris at the apex of the triangle
with Renna and Agnes on either side, Figure 19-12. The bottom of the
Seated actors
Camera/audience
Figure 19-11. The
downstage end of the
table is left empty so that
the camera (audience) is
included as a participant at
the table.
Figure 19-12. When three
people are positioned
in the inverted “V”
arrangement, the middle
person is usually at the
apex of the triangle.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
triangle remains open for the audience. Camera 2 has a one-shot of Chris
and a three-shot of all the participants. Cameras 1 and 3 can alternate
between one-shots of Renna or Agnes and two shots that include Chris.
Using the three-person interview scenario that includes Agnes, Renna,
and Chris, cameras 1 and 3 can each capture a two shot. Cutting between
the two shots, however, may create jump cuts because each of the two
shots contains one common person—Chris. Cutting between the two shots
results in Chris jumping from one side of the screen to the other. The solution is to assign either camera 1 or camera 2 a two shot that includes Chris,
but not both camera 1 and camera 2. When marking the script in pre-production, camera shots must be thoroughly thought out to avoid jump cuts
in the studio or in the editing room.
Dramatic Programming
dramatic aside: A
performance technique;
when a performer steps
out of character and
directly addresses the
audience.
ad-lib: A performance
technique; when
talent speaks lines or
performs actions that
are not in the script
or have not been
rehearsed.
In most dramatic programming, the talent cannot look directly at the
camera. The exceptions to this are:
• If the camera is used as a subjective camera. Because the camera is
shooting from the viewpoint of one of the program’s characters, it
is natural for other cast members to look directly at the character/
camera.
• In the case of a dramatic aside. A dramatic aside occurs when a
performer steps out of character, faces the audience, and directly
addresses the audience. Dramatic asides are not regularly used in
dramatic television programming.
Performers ad-lib when they deliver lines or perform actions that are
not in the script or have not been rehearsed. Ad-libbing on a dramatic program can be a disaster. This may accidentally happen during a stage performance without great detriment to the production. A stage actor must
eventually return to the script, so the other actors can proceed with their
lines. On television, however, the script involves more than just the actor’s
dialogue. The technical director follows the script exactly and uses certain
words as cues to cut to shots from different cameras. If a particular cue
word or line is not delivered, the TD does not cut to the scripted shot,
Figure 19-13. Ad-libbing is highly frowned upon.
Production Note
In television, the director has to know what is going to happen before
it happens so a camera is positioned to shoot when it does
happen. Likewise, the camera operators are not able to follow
the shot sheets if a performer deviates from the script. Once
a script has been finalized during the camera rehearsal or
dry run, it is in the best interest of the entire production that
everyone follow the script during the shoot.
Non-Dramatic Programming
In non-dramatic programming—such as game shows, news programs,
documentaries, sports programs, and talk shows—talent may look at the
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391
Figure 19-13. The
technical director and
camera operators are
caught unprepared when
actors suddenly start
speaking lines not in the
script. The crew cannot
follow action that has
not been planned and
rehearsed.
camera at any time because addressing the audience is the very nature of
the program. For example, a news anchor tells the audience about current
events and, therefore, looks directly at the lens of the camera to speak to the
audience. If the talent looks away from the camera in non-dramatic programs, the audience wonders what is happening and becomes distracted
and frustrated.
Visualize This
Imagine watching a network news broadcast and the anchor turns his
attention to something on the ceiling of the studio. The news
continues, but the camera does not tilt up to show you what
he is looking at. Most likely, you will stop listening to the news
being reported and wonder what the anchor is looking at.
In non-dramatic programming, the talent should directly address the
audience/television camera. There are two exceptions to this rule:
• Talent may look down at their notes while addressing the audience.
• An anchor may look to the side at a co-anchor, but only if the coanchor is included in a two shot that immediately follows.
Unlike the talent in dramatic programs, the on-screen participants of
non-dramatic programs, such as news anchors and talk shows hosts, commonly read their lines from a teleprompter, Figure 19-14. A teleprompter
is a computer screen positioned below the camera lens. A one-way, or halfsilvered, mirror is placed in front of the camera lens at a 45° angle, pointed
at the computer screen. The text on the computer screen is reflected in the
mirror and read aloud by the talent, which allows the talent to look directly
at the lens of the camera. The camera shoots right through the one-way
mirror at the end of the lens, without seeing the dialogue displayed. If the
camera zooms in too closely on the talent, the audience can see the talent’s
teleprompter: A
computer screen
positioned in front of
the camera lens that
displays dialogue text in
large type. This allows
the talent to look directly
at the lens of the camera
and read the text.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 19-14. A
teleprompter allows the
talent to look directly into
the lens of the camera,
at the viewing audience,
while reading the
program’s script.
eyes moving from left to right as they read the teleprompter. Because of
this, the tightest shot captured of anchors on news programming is usually
between a mid-shot and a medium close-up.
It is quite common to see a small pile of papers on the desk in front of
news anchors. Those papers may actually be props that provide something
for the talent to grasp so their hands do not move around. Many people
use their hands when they speak, but this is very distracting to a television
audience. The audience commonly assumes that the papers are a script, so
it does not appear to be out of place.
Ad-libbing is more common in non-dramatic programming. In some
formats, like talk shows, very few things are actually scripted. A comment
from an audience member or show guest may provoke an unplanned
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course of discussion. This does not cause a great disruption, as in dramatic
programming, because the talent is usually stationary. Additionally, an
experienced TD can easily follow the conversation.
Staff and Talent Interaction
The interaction of production personnel and talent affects the success
of the production process and is an important topic when learning television production. Every member of the production staff has the opportunity
to interact with the program’s talent at some point in the production process. Just as in other workplaces, professional behavior in a studio can be
friendly, even jovial at times. When guests are present in the studio, however, more serious and professional behavior is necessary.
Managing Guest Talent
When guest talent enters a television studio, they are naturally uncomfortable. The environment is strange to them and they know very little
about the activities of others around them. They see many strangers bustling around in semidarkness and probably have some anxiety about being
placed under bright lights in front of untold numbers of people. A nervous
guest will not look good on camera and does not contribute to a successful
production. To help guest talent relax:
• Prepare guest talent for the experience before they arrive at the
studio. Explain what they should expect when they arrive, provide
suggestions for clothing and makeup selection, and offer some
information on what is expected from them during the production
process. Refer to the Talent Information Sheet in Appendix B.
• Designate a staff member to greet the guest upon arrival and be their
friendly guide during the production process.
• The greeter should introduce the guest to the director, offer some
refreshments, and keep the guest talking.
• A tour of the facility, including an explanation of the various
activities, helps ease the guest’s anxiety. For example, allowing guests
to observe the editing process may help distract them from their
nervousness.
• The greeter may take the time to introduce the guest to some of the
crew members. Everyone on the production team is responsible for
making the talent comfortable to produce a good program.
• The greeter should try to answer all of the guest’s questions.
• Guest talent should not be placed under the studio lights until the
program is ready to begin. Under the bright lights, they are not able
to see anything in the studio. They can only hear the surrounding
activity and will wonder what is happening. Keep the talent
informed to ease their anxiety.
• Explain to the guest that no one will see mistakes; editors take out the
errors. If mistakes occur, you can fix them.
• Schedule extra time for rehearsal so that guests do not feel rushed
or overwhelmed—plan three times more rehearsal time than typical
rehearsals.
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Production Note
Record rehearsals. They may actually be better than the
“real” show because the talent is more relaxed. Additionally, the
footage of a rehearsal can provide a great variety of cutaways
and other shots for use in the editing room.
Working with Non-Professional Talent
Production personnel may often work with non-professional talent
and must be prepared to react and compensate for non-professional talent’s actions. Camera operators must be especially alert when working
with non-professional talent. Non-professional talent may move unpredictably, such as a sudden move left or right, unlike the scripted and rehearsed
movements of professional talent. If the camera operator is not alert or
the shot is too tight, the talent may completely leave the frame before the
camera operator has time to react, Figure 19-15. To compensate for this, a
camera operator should never have a shot tighter than a medium close-up
of non-professional talent standing in a shot.
Professional talent always provides a cue to the camera operators
when they are about to move. When standing, professional talent shifts
their weight to one foot and turns their body in the direction they are about
Figure 19-15. Camera
operators must always
be alert to sudden
movements made by
non-professional talent
while on screen. A—As
long as the talent follows
the script, the camera
operator can maintain a
good shot. B—If the talent
makes an unplanned
movement, like standing
up quickly, the resulting
image is worthless to the
production.
A
B
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Production Staging and Interacting with Talent
to move before actually moving. This gives the camera operator time to
adjust and follow them. From a seated position, a professional performer
leans forward, perhaps placing their hands on the desk to push up, and
smoothly rises from the chair. Experienced talent will not abruptly spring
from the chair, like a jack-in-the-box.
Headphone Etiquette
In the studio, the floor manager and camera operators wear headphones to communicate with the director and other control room personnel. During production, no one wearing headphones should laugh at any
time. In a studio setting where the talent is not able to see the staff, sudden
laughter from an unknown source is very unsettling to an already nervous guest. Their first thought is usually, “They are laughing at me.” Even
though this is probably not the case, the guest is already extremely selfconscious in an unfamiliar environment.
The volume of the headphones is also a consideration. Some operators have the volume of their headphones set so loud that others can actually hear what the director is saying. This sound is not usually picked up
by the mics, but talent can hear it. The barely audible sound of someone
speaking is very distracting to talent, especially to non-professional talent.
Ensure that headphone volume controls are set appropriately for the studio environment.
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to move before actually moving. This gives the camera operator time to
adjust and follow them. From a seated position, a professional performer
leans forward, perhaps placing their hands on the desk to push up, and
smoothly rises from the chair. Experienced talent will not abruptly spring
from the chair, like a jack-in-the-box.
Headphone Etiquette
In the studio, the floor manager and camera operators wear headphones to communicate with the director and other control room personnel. During production, no one wearing headphones should laugh at any
time. In a studio setting where the talent is not able to see the staff, sudden
laughter from an unknown source is very unsettling to an already nervous guest. Their first thought is usually, “They are laughing at me.” Even
though this is probably not the case, the guest is already extremely selfconscious in an unfamiliar environment.
The volume of the headphones is also a consideration. Some operators have the volume of their headphones set so loud that others can actually hear what the director is saying. This sound is not usually picked up
by the mics, but talent can hear it. The barely audible sound of someone
speaking is very distracting to talent, especially to non-professional talent.
Ensure that headphone volume controls are set appropriately for the studio environment.
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Wrapping Up
A majority of the previous chapters focused on explaining the equipment
used and the responsibilities of personnel on a production. This chapter
addresses what to do with the people and objects in front of the camera. The
placement of visual elements in the picture is called staging. Correctly staging
a set adds to the visual appeal and realism of a program. Successfully
managing guest talent and keeping them relaxed during production also
improves the visual appeal of a program. When talent is nervous or anxious
they may fidget, sweat, or shake while on the set. This is not the best
portrayal of the talent on the television screen. Even if all other production
guidelines are followed, neglecting staging techniques and guidelines will
result in a program that resembles a common home video.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. Define foreground, middle ground, and background.
2. In a dramatic program, production equipment should not be seen in a
shot. What is the exception to this?
3. What is cross-camera shooting? What problem does it solve?
4. What problem is created when a camera shot crosses the vector line?
What is the exception to this rule?
5. What is a cutaway? How is it most commonly used?
6. What is the difference between a jump cut and an error in continuity?
7. How does the concept of personal space change when performing on
television?
8. Which production staff members are affected when a television actor
ad-libs?
9. List six things that studio or production personnel can do to help guest
talent relax before shooting begins.
10. What must camera operators be prepared to handle when working with
non-professional talent?
Activities
1. Create an illustration that depicts the best placement of talent and equipment on a set for an interview program with an interviewer and two
guests.
2. Research some of the differences between stage acting and television
acting. Summarize some of the differences and be prepared to discuss
them in class. Some topics may involve gestures, projection, movement,
and memorization of lines.
3. While watching any half-hour sitcom, pay particular attention to jump
cuts or errors in continuity. Note each instance that you find and be prepared to discuss them in class.
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Chapter 19
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2. Directors must maneuver talent into position using only verbal direction.
Try positioning two friends or family members into the proper staging for
a two-person interview using only your words—no hand gestures and no
physical contact.
3. Review a television programming schedule and make a note of the programs in which talent needs to ad-lib. Explain why the talent on these
programs ad-libs.
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1. Sketch the set of a morning news/talk show. Identify the foreground,
middle ground, and background of the set. Draw a line on the sketch to
represent the location of the vector line in typical program shots. What
items are placed in each area of the set?
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www.sbe.org The Society of Broadcast Engineers provides a forum for the
exchange of ideas and the sharing of information to help professionals keep pace
with the rapid changes in the broadcast industry.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Recall the types of script breakdowns and
identify the information included in each.
•
Summarize the director’s responsibilities in each
phase of production.
•
Explain the importance of marking the script
when shooting on location.
•
Identify some qualities common to effective
directors.
Introduction
Professional Terms
audition
camera rehearsal
cast breakdown by scene
countdown
cut
dry run
equipment breakdown
location breakdown
prop list
prop plot
scene breakdown by cast
script breakdown
shooting for the edit
shot log
slate
take
take log
This chapter focuses on the director’s activities
and responsibilities during program production. Some
of the topics presented apply to both studio and
remote shoots, while others apply only to one type
of shoot. Directing is often perceived as the most
exciting, high-profile job in the television industry.
It is also one of the most difficult jobs because the
director is involved in each phase of production.
Before any shooting can take place, a tremendous
amount of pre-production work and planning must be
completed. During production shooting, the director
must coordinate the activities of the crew and talent,
determine when sufficient takes have been recorded,
and keep an organized record of the scenes and
transitions. Even in the editing room, during postproduction, the director works to ensure that the best
possible program is produced.
In large-scale productions, many of the director’s
functions are actually assigned to several assistants
working for the director. In small-scale and academic
production environments, however, the director may
be responsible for all the program production tasks
presented in this chapter.
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The Director’s Role in
Pre-Production
During the pre-production phase, the director’s responsibilities include
script breakdowns, marking the script, auditions, and pre-production meetings
with the staff and crew. Organization is the absolute key to directing. It is
not possible to be a successful director with poor organizational skills. A
director must be willing and able to make things happen, either by doing
things independently or by delegating tasks to competent coworkers.
Program directors must understand that the responsibilities of an entire
production cannot be accomplished by one person—taking on too much
results in mediocrity. Television broadcasting is a team activity.
Script Breakdowns
Before script breakdowns can begin, several tasks must be completed:
The program proposal must be approved by the executive producer.
The outline must be approved.
The script must be written.
Locations must be scouted.
A script breakdown is the process of analyzing the script from many
different perspectives. This process results in a production that is well organized and efficient. Once each breakdown is completed, the director can
confidently answer production questions and develop a realistic production schedule. Professionals develop many different types of breakdowns
as part of their pre-production procedure.
•
•
•
•
script breakdown: The
process of analyzing
a program’s script
from many different
perspectives.
Prop List
prop list: A list of each
prop needed for a
production.
A prop list is developed by reading through the script and making a list
of each prop that is referenced. The director should visualize how the shots
will be staged and note any additional props necessary. The completed prop
list becomes a shopping list for all the production’s props, Figure 20-1.
Prop Plot
prop plot: A list of
all the props used in
a program sorted by
scene.
As soon as the prop list is complete, the prop plot should be developed. The prop plot is a more involved list of all the props, sorted by each
scene of the program, Figure 20-2. If a prop is needed for multiple scenes,
it is listed separately for each applicable scene. The prop plot is longer than
the prop list because items are listed more than once. The prop plot is used
to access the props once they are obtained.
Visualize This
To emphasize the importance of a prop plot, consider that all the props
have been acquired for a large production and packed into two tractor-trailer
trucks. The day for shooting scene 38 arrives. Props needed for the scene
include general office supplies and a treasure map. The shoot
location is four miles from the studio. It is not practical to drive two
tractor-trailer trucks to the location, in addition to the necessary
equipment, crew, talent, etc. By reviewing the prop plot, only the
props needed for scene 38 can be gathered and transported.
Chapter 20
Prop List
Pens
Paper
Coffee Mug
Date Book
Contract
Letter Opener
Desk Phone
Cell Phone
Place Setting (2)
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Napkins
Silverware Settings (2)
Small Vase with Flowers
Sugar and Cream Dispenser
Water Skis
Tow Rope
Life Jackets (4)
Cooler
Prop Plot
Scene 4
Pens
Paper
Coffee Mug
Date Book
Contract
Letter Opener
Desk Phone
Cell Phone
Scene 5
Contract
Cell Phone
Place Setting (2)
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Napkins
Silverware Settings (2)
Small Vase with Flowers
Sugar and Cream Dispenser
Scene 6
Cell Phone
Water Skis
Tow Rope
Life Jackets (4)
Cooler
Directing
Figure 20-1. A prop list is
essentially a shopping list
of props for the production.
Figure 20-2. A prop plot
sorts the prop list by scene
number.
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Location Breakdown
location breakdown:
A list of each location
included in a program
with the corresponding
scene numbers that
take place at that
location.
cast breakdown by
scene: A list of the
program’s cast members
with the corresponding
scene numbers in which
they appear.
A location breakdown is a list of each location included in the program.
Listed next to each location are the scene numbers that take place at that location, Figure 20-3. Organizing the information in this way further assists the
director and crew in scheduling resources and general time management.
Cast Breakdown by Scene
The cast breakdown by scene is very similar to a location breakdown,
Figure 20-4. A cast breakdown by scene lists cast members in the left column
on a page, with the scenes in which they appear in the right column of the
page. The cast receives a copy of the cast breakdown by scene to use in conjunction with the production calendar. The production calendar indicates the scene
numbers that will be shot each day. The cast members reference the cast breakdown by scene so they know which days they need to be on the set.
Scene Breakdown by Cast
scene breakdown
by cast: A list of each
scene number in a
program with all the
cast members needed
for each scene.
The scene breakdown by cast is a list of each scene number in the lefthand column of a page with all the cast members needed for that scene in
the right-hand column, Figure 20-5. The production staff—primarily the
Figure 20-3. All of the
scenes to be shot at each
location are listed on a
location breakdown.
Location Breakdown
Park:
Scenes 3, 9, 17, 30, 49
Apartment:
Scenes 5, 14, 28, 35, 36, 37
Office:
Scenes 1, 4, 10, 13, 20
Figure 20-4. A cast
breakdown by scene lists
each cast member with
the scenes in which they
appear.
Cast Breakdown by Scene
John: 2, 5, 6, 7, 12, 14
Mary: 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10
Eric: 1, 3, 15
Alex: 1, 3, 15
Susan: 4, 8, 10, 11
Extras: 13, 15
Chapter 20
Scene Breakdown by Cast
1
–
Eric, Alex
2
–
John, Mary
3
–
Eric, Alex
4
–
Mary, Susan
5
–
John, Mary
6
–
John, Mary
7
–
John
8
–
Susan
9
–
Mary
10
–
Mary, Susan
11
–
Susan
12
–
John
13
–
Extras
14
–
John
15
–
Eric, Alex, Extras
Directing
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Figure 20-5. A scene
breakdown by cast is
a listing of each scene
number with all of the cast
members appearing in that
scene.
director, assistant director, makeup artist, and costumer—use the scene
breakdown by cast to ensure all of the necessary cast is present when shooting each scene. The production assistant typically uses the scene breakdown by cast to contact performers to remind them when and where to be
for the next day’s shoot.
Equipment Breakdown
An equipment breakdown lists each scene with all the equipment
needed to shoot that scene, Figure 20-6. The equipment breakdown benefits the production in several ways:
• With the equipment organized in this manner, it is very unlikely that
something will be forgotten when shooting outside of the studio.
Gathering equipment without a checklist increases the chances of
crucial items being left behind.
• An equipment breakdown checklist alleviates the confusion that occurs
when more than one person packs the gear. Each person may assume
that the other packed a certain item or two. While setting up equipment
on location, 50 miles from the studio, is an unfortunate time to discover
that both people thought the other had packed an essential piece of
equipment, such as the camera. No matter how many people help pack
the gear, use one checklist and mark off each item as it is packed.
• An equipment breakdown ensures that unnecessary equipment is
not transported to a location, and that excess crew members are not
scheduled for a shoot.
equipment breakdown:
A list of each scene in
a program with all the
equipment needed to
shoot each scene.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 20-6. Listed in
this breakdown is all the
equipment needed for
a two-camera, film style
shoot.
Equipment Breakdown for Scene 12:
❑ 2 Camcorders
❑ 2 Tripods
❑ 2 Power supplies (for cameras)
❑ 8 Mic cables
❑ 2 Lapel mics
❑ 2 Boundary mics
❑ 4-input Mic mixer
❑ 4 Light kits
❑ 4 Extension power cables
❑ 2 Multiple outlet strips
❑ 2 Monitors
❑ 2 Male BNC to male BNC cables
❑ 2 Double male RCA to male RCA cables
❑ Videotape
❑ Duct tape
❑ Tool kit
❑ Lens cleaning paper
❑ 4 Camera batteries
❑ 2 Battery chargers
Production Note
•
•
•
Students frequently ask if all these breakdowns are really necessary.
Preparing all the breakdowns forces you to look at the script
analytically. You become extremely familiar with the production, which
enhances your leadership abilities.
When directing your first production, the value of these breakdowns
will become crystal clear. Without them, you will be directing a
disorganized mess and you will risk losing the confidence
of your crew. The breakdowns are part of the meticulous
organization required by the director of any production.
In the professional world, time is money. Regularly using
breakdowns saves time and, therefore, money.
Marking the Script
If a production is planned using film-style shooting (see Chapter 17,
Remote Shooting), the director must carefully mark the script with scene and
shot numbers to help later in the editing room. For example, if scene 3 of
a program is set for shooting, each planned shot of the scene needs to be
labeled 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, and so on. These labels are written into the shooting
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script prior to shooting the scene. As each shot is recorded, it is checked off
the list. This ensures that a shot is not accidentally omitted, whether shooting
in the studio or on location. Returning to the set days or weeks later to record
a shot that was accidentally omitted may be unreasonably expensive.
Camera Shots
The director, instead of the scriptwriter, often enters all the camera shots
on the shooting script. The script is clearly marked with abbreviations understood by all the crew members. A detailed and complete camera script aids in
a smooth production shoot. (See script samples in Chapter 8, Scriptwriting.)
Shots should vary considerably, using both horizontal and vertical angles
and a great variety of shot sizes. Novice directors often place cameras at uninteresting angles, such as directly in front of talent at eye level. Using a wide
variety of angles and sizes keeps the audience interested, even if the program’s subject matter is relatively unexciting. Cutaways and reaction shots
should be noted on the camera script, in addition to primary action shots.
Shooting for the Edit
A director has very clearly defined duties in planning the production
of a program. All the time and work spent planning each shot allows the
program to be edited efficiently and effectively. Planning is a critical element in creating a professional video program.
Production Note
Inexperienced directors often cut corners in the planning process.
As a result, the majority of editing in their productions involves removing
bad things that happened while shooting, such as the bad takes, bad
shots, bad performers’ mistakes, bad errors in continuity, etc. In this case,
the director must settle for a sequence of the best of many bad takes—
whatever is left over becomes the program.
Experienced directors plan things obsessively with several
backup plans. As a result, there are many, many choices
of good shots to use while editing the program. There may
actually be enough footage to put together a sequence several
different ways. With a variety of good shots, a director has the
freedom to truly create a program.
The director must plan exactly how the scene being shot will transition
from the scene that immediately precedes and follows it. This process is
called shooting for the edit. Before shooting scene 9, for example, the director needs to know how scene 8 ends (fade, cut, dissolve, or other effect), as
well as the direction of the action at the end of scene 8. This information
dictates the beginning of the shoot for scene 9. The two scenes must be
edited together later without jarring the audience. The director must also
be concerned with how scene 9 leads into scene 10. Planning these transitions would be easily accomplished if scenes were shot in the order they
appear in a finished program. This, however, is not the reality of television
production shooting.
shooting for the edit:
The process in which
a director plans exactly
how each scene of a
program will transition
from the scenes that
immediately precede it
and to the scenes that
follow it. Production
shooting then follows
the director’s plan.
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It is very likely that scenes will not be shot in the order the audience
sees in the final program. Therefore, before the first day of shooting, the
director needs to mark the entire script noting how each scene transitions
out of the previous scene and into the next scene. The screen direction of
the action and camerawork should also be noted at the beginning and end
of each scene. With this information marked for every scene, the director
can confidently shoot the scenes in any order and know that, if the script
notations are followed, the scene will be smoothly edited into the program.
Production Note
The director may try making a change in a scene during production,
as long as the written script is followed. The director has
thoroughly thought through the “as written” version of the script
and knows if the change will work in the scene. Shoot the
scene as written in the script, then shoot the scene with the
director’s change. If the changed scene does not work out, the
original version of the scene has already been recorded.
Another important aspect of shooting for the edit is to consider the
four basic rules of action on the screen. Breaking any of these rules is guaranteed to jar the audience, which is usually a negative program attribute,
depending on the nature of the program. The following rules apply to the
processes in the editing room:
• A stationary camera shot should not immediately precede a moving
camera shot.
• A moving camera shot should not immediately precede a stationary
camera shot.
• An edit can be made from a stationary camera shot to another stationary
camera shot.
• An edit can be made from a moving camera shot to another moving
camera shot.
Talk the Talk
The phrase “moving camera shot” refers to both a shot where there is
action on the screen and a shot where the camera itself is
actually moving. The phrase “stationary camera shot” refers
to both a shot where there is no action on the screen and a
shot where the camera itself is not moving.
Set Design
After both the director and producer approve the set design, it should
be studied in detail, Figure 20-7. The director visualizes where the cameras can be placed and where the action will take place. Camera placement needs to be determined before set construction begins. Many sets are
built with removable walls to allow room for specific camera positioning.
If alterations to the set are necessary, it is easier and more efficient to make
changes to the plan than to make changes after a set has been built.
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Figure 20-7. The director
studies the set design to
determine placement of
cameras and talent, and
how to coordinate the
movements of both.
Because individual designers for the production may not be in communication with each other, the director is the final authority on the colors used
on the set. The director must consider the colors with respect to makeup,
costumes, set pieces, furniture, and lighting. Each of these elements factor
into the contrast ratio and contribute to the visual quality of a production.
Auditions
Whether the program is a drama, comedy, game show, documentary,
or a news program, the director needs to decide who to put in front of
the camera. This process is called the audition. During an audition, the
director watches and listens to a performer and decides if the performer
is capable of portraying the role needed in the program. The director must
try to be extremely objective when auditioning talent.
For the initial audition, directors often listen to the quality of the talent’s voice without visually observing the talent. The talent may be asked
to read an excerpt from the script, a sample news story, or a prepared monologue. During a visual audition, the director may test the talent’s ability
to follow stage directions, in addition to another reading from the script
(Figure 20-8). Unlike performance theater, the director and talent should
not be in the same room for an audition. The director should watch the
aspiring cast member on a monitor in the control room—much the same
way that television viewers will see the performer. The performer’s “look”
on screen is extremely important to the director.
Production Note
One of the biggest mistakes made in the audition process
is casting a good friend. A friend is less likely to follow direction
because of the familiar relationship outside of the studio. This
may lead to arguments, which could result in a poor finished
program or the loss of a friendship.
audition: The process in
which a director makes
casting decisions for a
program by watching and
listening to prospective
performers.
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Figure 20-8. When
auditioning talent, the
director should view the
audition on a monitor in
the control room, rather
than in the studio.
Directors sometimes forget that they are “stuck” with their casting
decisions. Once shooting begins, a cast member can be fired, if necessary.
However, depending on the program type, each scene that the cast member
was in may need to be reshot with a replacement performer.
When casting decisions are made, the producer must obtain a talent
release for each person appearing on camera, unless they are included in a
news program, are in the background of a shot, or in a crowd. (For details
on talent releases, see Chapter 12, Legalities: Releases, Copyright, and Forums.)
Always obtain a talent release before recording video. If a talent release is
not signed, the footage cannot be used.
Pre-Production Meeting
A pre-production meeting includes every member of the staff. At this
meeting, the expectations for each member of the staff are discussed and
everyone collaborates to develop a production schedule/calendar. Because
so many different personal and professional schedules are combined in the
production process, a commitment to the production calendar is taken very
seriously. Neglecting a scheduled commitment is irresponsible—the negative impact on the entire production team will leave a lasting impression.
The equipment needed for shoots must be scheduled. The director
must make arrangements for the necessary equipment to be available
and transported to the location, if necessary, at the scheduled time. This
requires that the equipment be reserved well ahead of time. Most studios
allow equipment to be reserved up to two weeks before the shoot date.
Depending on the type of program, the director may hold rehearsals with
the cast before production begins. As the cast becomes proficient with the script,
the crew begins attending rehearsals. The cast and crew need to know what is
going to happen in a scene before it happens to ensure a camera is positioned to
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record the shot. This requires tremendous coordination between the director, talent, technical director, and camera operators.
The Director’s Role in Production
Before a studio shoot begins, the camera script is reviewed and final
camera directions are noted in the left column of the script. Transitional
devices for the beginning of scenes and the end of scenes are indicated, as
well as a variety of shots from many angles.
The dry run, or camera rehearsal, includes only the director, talent,
technical director, audio engineer, and camera operators. Costumes and
makeup are not worn and nothing is recorded. To save money and keep the
heat down, the studio lighting instruments are not turned on. The talent
goes through the scenes and the camera operators are given directions. All
shots are rehearsed, along with the audio cues, while the technical director practices the camera switching, Figure 20-9. After the director is satisfied with everyone’s performance, he calls for the actual shoot to begin.
While the performers get into costume and makeup, the crew readies the
set, lights, and other equipment.
During the shoot, it is important that the director always use correct
terminology. The correct use of terms fosters the crew’s confidence in the
director. Using correct terminology is also the most efficient method of
communicating. Many directors memorize a start-up sequence of commands to get the program started smoothly, Figure 20-10. Aspiring directors should memorize a standard start-up dialogue. On the day of a shoot,
novice directors often get nervous or stressed and may forget a crucial
command, such as “begin recording.” Committing a start-up sequence to
memory decreases the likelihood of this happening.
dry run: A program
rehearsal session that
includes the talent,
technical director, audio
engineer, camera
operators, and director.
Also called a camera
rehearsal.
Figure 20-9. A dry run,
or camera rehearsal, is
necessary to coordinate
the technical production
staff with the movements
of the performers.
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Figure 20-10. An example
of a director’s start-up
sequence of commands.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Start-up Sequence
DIRECTOR: Studio ready?
FLOOR MANAGER: Ready.
DIRECTOR: Standby.
FLOOR MANAGER: Standby.
DIRECTOR: Audio ready?
AUDIO ENGINEER: Ready.
DIRECTOR: Video ready?
VIDEO OPERATOR: Ready.
DIRECTOR: CG ready?
CG OPERATOR: Ready.
DIRECTOR: Standby control room.
DIRECTOR: Begin recording.
VIDEO OPERATOR: (begins recording) Recording.
DIRECTOR: Countdown.
FLOOR MANAGER: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, (5–0 are counted
off with his fingers. His hand is in front of the talent
with the first line).
(When the FM gets to 2, the Director speaks again).
DIRECTOR: Fade up on (camera) 1.
DIRECTOR: Audio up.
FLOOR MANAGER: (gesture for zero).
DIRECTOR: Bring in title.
DIRECTOR: Lose title.
Multiple Takes
take: Each recording of
an individual scene. The
take number increases
by 1 each time an
individual scene is shot.
cut: A command given by
the director that indicates
all production activty,
talent performances and
crew activities, should
stop immediately.
slate: A board or page
that is held in front of
the camera to note
the scene number,
the take number, and
several other pieces of
information about the
scene being shot.
Each time a scene is shot, it is called a take. Multiple takes of scenes may
be planned to capture different angles. Multiple takes may also be necessary
due to a mistake made by the talent or crew, which causes the director to yell
“Cut!” The floor manager relays the director’s commands to the studio and the
performances and crew activity stop immediately.Each scene should be reshot
until at least three “good” takes are recorded. The camera can then be moved to
capture a couple more good takes from a different angle. All the extra footage
will be needed in the editing process. It is better to have the choice between several good takes than to come up short in the editing room. Never move on to
another scene until takes of the current scene are acceptable. When shooting a
scene is complete, review the shots and takes of the scene. This additional time
is well justified when compared to the alternative: gathering all the crew, talent,
sets, props, and equipment for a re-shoot weeks later.
The slate is a board or page that is held in front of the camera to note the
scene number, take number, and several other pieces of information about
the scene being shot. Recording the slate provides a visual shot of the title of
the scene at the beginning of the recorded footage. In post-production, the
editor uses the shot of the slate to quickly locate the correct take of a scene to
use in the final program. The camera should shoot the slate for at least 10 seconds, but not more than 15 seconds, before every scene. The slate is part of
Chapter 20
Directing
the head recorded for the scene. (Heads and tails are discussed in Chapter 5,
Videotape, Video Media, and Video Recorders.) A slate can be an elaborate clapboard or a simple piece of paper, Figure 20-11. When multiple takes of a
single scene are shot, the slate becomes particularly important. For example,
the sixth take of scene 7 is slated as “Scene 7, Take 6.”
After the slate is recorded, the countdown begins. Countdown refers to
the way the floor manager initiates action on the set and cues the performers.
The director gives the floor manager the “Countdown” command over the
headsets. The floor manager calls, “Quiet on the set” and all sound in the
studio ceases. The floor manager stands in the line of sight of the performer
who has the first words or actions of the scene, and begins to countdown
the seconds from “10” in a clear, loud voice. When the countdown reaches
“5,” the floor manager stops speaking aloud and holds up his hand with
five fingers spread apart. The remaining seconds are silently counted down
using the floor manager’s fingers. When the countdown reaches zero, the
floor manager quickly throws his arm forward and points to the first performer, who immediately begins the performance. The first five numbers
of a countdown are audible so everyone in the studio can hear the rhythm
of the countdown and keep pace during the last five seconds in silence.
Silence during the countdown allows the audio of a scene to begin cleanly
from silence.
A take log, or shot log, is a written list of each scene and take number shot and recorded on a particular tape or other recording medium,
Figure 20-12. The director circles the acceptable takes of each scene on the log.
Later in the production process, the director can scan directly to the slate
shot at the beginning of the good take instead of reviewing each preceding
411
countdown: The
procedure used by
a production’s floor
manager to initiate action
on the set and cue the
performers by counting
down from “10.”
take log: A written list
of each scene and take
number that have been
shot and recorded on a
particular tape, disc, or
other recording medium.
Also called a shot log.
Figure 20-11. The slate can be a simple notation indicating scene and take numbers. A—Scene information
can be written with a dry-erase marker on a clapboard. B—Scene and take numbers noted on a piece of paper
also makes a simple and effective slate.
A
B
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 20-12. The director develops a take log to decrease the amount of time spent in the editing room.
Take Log
Sc. 5, take 1 – bad
Sc. 5, take 2 – bad
Sc. 5, take 3 – good up to
John’s entrance
Sc. 5, take 4 – bad
Sc. 8, take 1 – bad
Sc. 8, take 2 – good
Sc. 8, take 3 – bad
Sc. 8, take 4 – good
Sc. 8, take 5 – good
Sc. 2, take 1 – good
Sc. 2, take 2 – good
Sc. 2, take 3 – good
Sc. 5, take 5 – good
Sc. 5, take 6 – good
Sc. 5, take 7 – good
bad take. By reviewing only the good footage, the director can save hours
of editing time.
Production Note
Always clearly label all tapes and other video media with identifying
information, such as the program title, director, and scene numbers.
Imagine a full tape of footage is recorded after an entire day of shooting.
The gear and equipment are shut down and stored until the
next day. When shooting resumes, the tape with the first half of
the program’s footage is used to record the next day’s shoot.
Because the tape was not labeled, the operator thought it was
blank and a full tape of footage was recorded over.
The Director’s Role in
Post-Production
After the shooting is complete, post-production begins. The director’s
role in post-production varies from program to program and from one production environment to another. Processes during post-production include
editing, adding background music, scene transitions, sound effects, some
special effects, and titles.
Talk the Talk
Post-production is most commonly referred to as
“post.”
Keep in mind that very few aspects of a program can be satisfactorily
fixed in post. Accepting a substandard shot while shooting a scene is a
terrible mistake because fixing substandard shots in post is often nearly
Chapter 20
Directing
impossible. While digital processes offer more tools that can be used in the
effort to fix a shot, the task may become too time consuming and, therefore,
prohibitively expensive for the production. The best practice is to plan and
shoot the scenes correctly during production.
Being an Effective Director
Good directors commonly possess certain characteristics that contribute to quality and successful productions.
• A good director is not the dictator of the production.
• A good director fosters a team mentality among the cast and crew, so
that everyone works toward a common goal.
• A good director does not wait to make decisions—a decision is made
and the director confidently moves on.
• A good director takes initiative to do whatever is necessary to
successfully complete the program.
• A good director knows the capabilities of the equipment and strives
to make the most of available resources, instead of complaining about
what is lacking or not available.
• A good director maintains an even temper in front of the cast or crew.
Showing anger or bursts of emotion causes others to lose faith in the
director’s abilities.
• A good director is a “people person” and understands the benefits of
saying “please” and “thank you” when communicating with the cast
and crew.
• A good director gives only constructive criticism when instructing
the cast and crew.
• A director is part artist and part technician. The best directors
work their way up through the production team and know the job
responsibilities of each production crew member. This knowledge
and experience allows the director to develop effective relationships
with the production staff.
• A good director delegates tasks, rather than trying to attend to
everything personally.
• A good director is highly organized and efficient, almost to a fault.
• A good director takes responsibility for making final decisions.
Starting Something You Can Actually Finish
When given the opportunity, children will often put more food on
their plate than they can actually eat; we say “their eyes are bigger than
their stomach.” The same theory applies to inexperienced directors. Novice
directors may have excellent ideas for complex and involved programs
they want to produce as their first show. However, the best way to achieve
success is to work within the boundaries of a production. Do not attempt a
program that requires more funding, equipment, people, time, and experience than is available. The following are some tips to help you start a production you can actually finish.
• Keep the program short; dynamic 5–7 minutes vs. boring 30 minutes.
• Keep it simple. The more complex a program is, the greater the
chance for mechanical failure or human error.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
•
•
•
•
•
•
A small crew reduces complications. When more people are involved,
the variables for errors increase, which equals a higher probability of
failure.
Have a realistic vision of the program that is proportional to the
budget. Scale the production for success, not disappointment.
Be a professional. Treat people with respect, provide plenty of schedule
reminders, and have maps and phone numbers available for everyone.
Be organized and do not waste anyone’s time. Have lists of everything
and breakdowns of everything—including props, locations, camera
shots, equipment, eating locations, and restrooms.
Keep a record of contact information for clients and each member of
the cast and crew to facilitate quick and efficient communication. This
information should include address, home phone, business phone,
cell phone, and e-mail address.
Keep an eye on the big picture. Do not spend an excessive amount of
time getting one small scene perfect, while sacrificing time needed to
complete the entire program.
Chapter 20
Directing
Wrapping Up
The best directors have come up through the ranks and have held almost
every production staff position on the way. All of that experience is called
upon throughout the production process. Professional directors work in the
business for years before directing their first program.
Student directors attend courses on the psychology of presentation,
which address methods in making the audience “feel” things and the
responsibilities related to using those methods. A director can influence
attitudes, emotions, and actions of the audience by using aspects and
principles of visual media. Classes in the ethics of visual media instruct
student directors on how to be unbiased in the presentation of information,
as well as how to be biased and manipulative. Unbiased presentation of
information is the very cornerstone of professional broadcast journalism.
Having a well-rounded education in geography, history, and political science
is also beneficial for a director.
Throughout your education, watch television programs and film
productions to analyze what professionals do and how they do it. Examine
how a director makes a particular scene exciting. Turning down the audio
will help you stay attentive to the production aspects of the program, without
becoming involved in the plot of the program.
As a broadcasting student, you will begin to develop your own style as
you direct more programs. Meanwhile, work as often as possible in all of the
technical positions. Experience in each position is beneficial for success with
future projects and responsibilities.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. List some of the director’s responsibilities for each phase of production:
pre-production, production, and post-production.
2. What steps must be completed before script breakdowns can be
prepared?
3. List each type of script breakdown and note the information contained in
each.
4. What is the director’s role in the audition process?
5. Which members of a production are involved in the camera rehearsal?
6. What is “shooting for the edit?”
7. Identify five characteristics of effective directors.
Activities
1. Record an episode of your favorite television show. Create a prop plot for
one scene in the program. Include a description of the events and activities in the scene.
2. A slate can be as elaborate or as simple as the available resources allow.
Create a reusable slate, using only items found in your home.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Te
c
ce
hn
Sc
ie
n
ol
3. Research the Directors Guild of America. Summarize important facts and
initiatives of the organization. Be prepared to share your findings in class.
og
y
STEM
Integrated
s
in
em
at
ic
er
g
at
h
ne
M
En
gi
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
1. Research the methods and tools used for set design. What resources
and tools used by set designers today were not available 25 years ago?
2. During a pre-production meeting, the expectations and responsibilities
for each member of the staff are discussed and a plan is established. A
detailed planning phase for any project improves organization and efficiency. Identify the “pre-production” planning you performed for another
project or task. Explain the responsibilities of each participant and detail
the plan of action that was created.
3. A shot of the slate is recorded for 10 seconds at the beginning of every
take of every scene. In a production with 25 scenes and 3 takes of each
scene, how much footage (in terms of minutes) is dedicated to recording
the slate?
4. Research your favorite television or movie director. Summarize the director’s experience and methods. What do crew members and talent say
about the director’s abilities? What qualities of this director stand out?
Professional Terms
Objectives
base
blending
character makeup
crème makeup
foundation
highlight
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain why the use of makeup is necessary on
television.
•
Recognize the differences between character
makeup and straight makeup.
•
Identify the materials and products used for each
layer of makeup application.
•
Recall common considerations when selecting
the costumes for a production.
pancake makeup
prosthetics
shadow
spirit gum
straight makeup
Introduction
Makeup is the collection of various cosmetics
and materials that are applied to the skin. Makeup
is necessary for all studio productions on both male
and female talent—wearing makeup is the norm for
television. Even news anchors, though not considered
actors, wear makeup when on camera. This chapter
introduces different kinds of makeup products, the uses
of each, and some application tips.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Why Is Makeup Necessary?
Students in television broadcasting classes often have some exposure
to stage makeup in drama classes or theater production. Stage makeup is
worn for three reasons:
• To make the actor look attractive under very bright stage lights.
• To help the actor portray a character by creating a “look” that is more
appropriate for that character.
• To add three-dimensionality to the actor’s face by replacing the
natural shadows removed by the bright lights.
Stage makeup is usually applied rather heavily so the audience can see
the actors’ exaggerated facial expressions from anywhere in the theater. If
the audience were to get a close-up view of the actor, the makeup would
appear garish and overdone, Figure 21-1.
Television makeup is used for the same three reasons as theatrical stage
makeup. The application for television, however, is much more subtle. All
of the aspects and techniques of stage makeup are used for television, but
the makeup is not applied as heavily. The talent on television should, most
often, not appear to be wearing makeup at all. The goal is to create a natural appearance from a distance of 8 to 12 feet, which is the average distance
between a television set and viewers at home.
Television performers placed under bright 32K white lights look gray,
pasty, flat, and unattractive without makeup. Digital video technology creates images so sharp that even the slightest skin imperfection is greatly
magnified on television. Features that may be insignificant in real life—
such as blemishes, dark circles under the eyes, acne, rashes, bruises, five
o’clock shadows, and wrinkles—appear magnified on television.
While many performers may resist wearing makeup, they need to
understand its necessity. A capable lighting designer lights performers
Figure 21-1. Stage
makeup techniques are not
appropriate for television.
Stage makeup is too heavy
and exaggerated.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
419
evenly and brightly. Being evenly lit means that practically all shadows are
removed from performers’ appearance because light comes from all directions, Figure 21-2. A face without shadows does not have any depth on
screen; it looks flat. When the image is displayed on a television screen, the
performers appear blemished and flat and seem to be a part of a horror film,
rather than a professional television production. Most people performing
on television, whether portraying a character or being themselves, want to
be as attractive as possible. Sometimes, the simplest way to convince a performer to wear makeup is to record a bit of footage and let them see how
they look without it. Any resistance usually melts after seeing themselves
on camera without makeup.
Figure 21-2. The even,
bright white light in a
television studio causes
a face without makeup
to lose all depth and
dimension.
Makeup Styles
Fundamentally, there are two styles of makeup: painted and natural.
Both styles are perfectly acceptable, depending on the type of program and
the director’s goals for the program.
When makeup is applied in a painted style, the audience can clearly
see that the performer is wearing makeup, Figure 21-3. The painted style
of makeup application is not meant to look natural. For example, an actress
playing a woman in the 1960s would be made-up with dark eyeliner around
the eyes, long dark eyelashes, and layers of blue eye shadow. This was the
trend in fashion makeup during that era and is appropriate for a realistic
portrayal of the character. But, eyes do not naturally have dark lines around
them and the color blue is not a pigment found in healthy human skin.
However, some shades of blue may appear in damaged or bruised skin.
Makeup applied in a natural style simply enhances a person’s facial features, but does not draw attention to the makeup applied. The only colors
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 21-3. The painted
look for television is an
accepted style of makeup
design. A character
wearing the painted look
obviously appears to be
wearing makeup.
used are those found naturally in human skin, such as various shades of
cream, rose, tan, and brown. Female performers often do their makeup for
television in a completely natural style and add cosmetics based on their character’s wardrobe, personality, or situation. It may seem odd to spend time
applying natural makeup if the purpose is to appear as though no makeup
was used at all. However, if a natural style of makeup is not applied, the
television image presents an unhealthy, unattractive, and unnatural picture.
Applications
character makeup:
Makeup application
technique used to
make a performer
look like someone or
something other than
the performer’s own
persona.
prosthetic: A cosmetic
appliance, usually made
of foam, latex, or putty,
that can be glued to
the skin with special
adhesives.
spirit gum: A type of
adhesive commonly
used to apply prosthetic
items.
Character makeup is used to make a performer look like someone or
something other than the performer’s own persona, Figure 21-4. For example, the performer can be made to appear older or younger, as a different
ethnicity, or as an alien from another world. A myriad of special effects
makeup and injuries are categorized with character makeup, including
cuts, bruises, scars, and warts.
Special-effect makeup for television creates or exaggerates physical
features on performers, such as noses, wounds, swelling, and warts. These
items are prosthetic devices that are added to a performer’s appearance
based on the character portrayed or the action in a scene. A prosthetic is an
appliance, usually made of foam, latex, or putty, that is glued to the skin
with special adhesives. The adhesive most commonly used to apply prosthetic items is spirit gum. Spirit gum is as thin as water and is applied with
a brush. To attach a prosthetic using spirit gum:
1. Brush the spirit gum onto the skin in the area where the prosthetic is
to be attached. Let the adhesive set for a few moments.
2. When the spirit gum is no longer shiny, gently tap it with your fingertip. If it is tacky and strings of adhesive attach to your finger, the gum
is ready for bonding.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
421
Figure 21-4. Character
makeup is designed to
make a person look like
someone or something
other than the performer’s
own persona.
3. Clean any adhesive off your fingers with spirit gum remover.
4. Attach the prosthetic with gentle, even pressure.
Safety Note
Do not use spirit gum around the eyes. Irritation, rash, or
inflammation can occur when the chemicals in the adhesive
come into contact with the sensitive skin around the eyes.
!
Use spirit gum remover to remove prosthetics from the skin. The
remover chemically dissolves spirit gum on contact. To apply spirit gum
remover, dip a cotton ball or makeup brush into the remover and gently
work it into the edges of the prosthetic. This dissolves the gum and allows
the prosthetic to be removed from the skin with ease.
Straight makeup is applied to make people look like themselves under
the bright television lights, Figure 21-5. This application technique corrects
or hides blemishes, makes the complexion more even, and improves general attractiveness on television.
Makeup Products
In general, there are two types of makeup to choose from: theatrical
and over-the-counter. If economy is a concern, theatrical makeup is less
expensive than over-the-counter, consumer cosmetics. Over-the-counter
makeup is packaged in smaller quantities than theatrical makeup, so it will
need to be purchased more frequently. Additionally, the amount of powder
and fragrances used in over-the-counter cosmetics may irritate and dry the
straight makeup:
Makeup application
technique used to correct
or hide blemishes, make
the complexion more
even, and generally help
people look attractive
and like themselves
under bright television
lights.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 21-5. The natural
look enhances facial
features under the bright
lights without drawing
attention to the fact that
the performer is wearing
makeup.
skin. For the sake of convenience, however, the corner store is more accessible for some people than a professional makeup supply center.
Makeup is available in two forms: crème makeup and pancake
makeup, Figure 21-6.
Crème Makeup
crème makeup: An oilbased makeup product
that easily blends with
other colors.
Crème makeup is an oil-based product that easily blends with other
colors. As additional layers of makeup are applied, colors can be mixed
together to create a natural progression from one shade to another. Today’s
oil-based makeup is far removed from the greasy products of yesteryear.
There is a stigma that oil-based makeup compounds problems with skin
that is already oily. On the contrary, the natural oil in skin mixes with the
oil in crème makeup and does not clog the pores if removed properly.
Figure 21-6. The makeup
applied to on-screen
talent is available in two
forms: pancake and
crème. Pancake makeup
is a powder that must be
applied with a moistened
sponge. Crème makeup
can be applied lightly with
a sponge.
Pancake makeup
Crème makeup
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Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
423
Pancake Makeup
Pancake makeup is a water-soluble, pressed powder makeup foundation that is pressed into a compact container. Pancake makeup once
was the most common type of makeup used by most television and film
performers, but that is no longer the case. Pancake makeup can clog the
pores of the skin and cause breakouts. Additionally, pancake makeup does
not blend well with other colors. Once the color is applied, the makeup
remains in the same place and at the same intensity until it is removed.
Therefore, a very light touch is required to apply pancake makeup. Any
additional layers of color must also be powder-based. When pancake and
crème products are mixed, a sticky goop results.
pancake makeup:
A powder makeup
foundation that is watersoluble.
Makeup Application
Several layers of makeup are required to create a realistic appearance
on camera. This is true for both character and straight makeup applications. Makeup should be applied under lighting conditions that closely
match the lighting on the studio set or shoot location.
First Makeup Layer
The first layer of makeup applied usually covers the entire face, neck,
ears, back of the hands, and bald spot (if applicable). This layer is called
base, or foundation, Figure 21-7. Base is best applied with a slightly moistened cosmetic sponge. These dense foam sponges are in the shape of a
wedge and available at most retail outlets in the cosmetics section. Cosmetic
sponges are very effective for applying base on everyone except men who are
old enough to shave. The beard stubble on a man’s face shreds the sponges
and leaves bits of foam all over the face. Use a different kind of sponge on
adult men, such as a natural sea sponge or one made of polyester. If base is
applied properly, performers should not feel the makeup on their face at all.
If performers can feel this layer of makeup, it was applied too heavily.
base: The first layer
of makeup applied—
usually covers the entire
face, neck, ears, back
of the hands, and bald
spot (if applicable). Also
called foundation.
Production Note
To simplify the process, use the same kind of sponge to apply makeup
on everyone. This way, there is no need to keep a supply of
both cosmetic and sea sponges or polyester sponges on hand
for each production. However, each performer should have a
dedicated set of sponges. Polyester and sea sponges should
be cleaned after each use with soap and hot water.
Second Makeup Layer
Highlight and shadow are applied after base makeup. Bright studio
lights remove all of the shadows on the face, and makeup is necessary to
replace these shadows.
Shadow makeup is three or four shades darker than the surrounding
area. Anywhere shadow is placed makes that area appear to sink into the
shadow: Makeup that
is three or four shades
darker than the area to
which it is applied.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 21-7. These photos
illustrate the difference
between a bare face
and a performer wearing
a layer of base. Notice
that the entire face has a
completely even color when
the base layer is applied.
No makeup
Base layer applied
plane of the face. Shadow is most commonly applied to the following areas
of a performer’s face:
• Above the eyes, but below the brow.
• Below or to one side of the nose.
• Below the chin.
• In the temple area for an aged appearance.
• On the cheek, below the cheekbone.
Cheek shadow, sometimes called rouge, should not be placed directly
on the cheekbones. This makes the cheekbones appear crushed or damaged.
To determine the proper placement of cheek shadow, follow these steps:
1. While looking in a mirror, use a light-colored eyebrow pencil to place
a tiny dot halfway between the outside corner of the eye and the
opening of the ear.
2. Look straight ahead directly into the mirror and place your fingers in
the center of the cheek.
3. Gently press your fingers against the cheek and slowly walk your fingers up the cheek until you feel a bone. This is the bottom edge of the
cheekbone.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
425
4. Continue walking your fingers up the face to the top of the cheekbone, which is located just below the depression of the eye socket.
5. Look straight ahead and place a dot one-quarter of the way up from
the bottom of the cheekbone and position it directly in line with the
pupil of the eye.
6. Imagine a line between the pupil and the second dot on the cheekbone. Continue that line down until it is even with the outside corner
of the mouth. Place the third dot in this location.
8. Connect the three dots to create a rough triangle shape with a slight
curve on the top-side, Figure 21-8. This is the area, and roughly the
shape, to apply the cheek shadow.
Highlight is makeup that is three or four shades lighter than the surrounding area, Figure 21-9. Highlight is usually applied to the following
areas of a performer’s face:
• The bridge of the nose.
• The bone just above the eye, below the eyebrow.
• Above the eyebrow, on the bony ridge across the forehead.
• The chin and the jaw line, which gives the appearance of strength
(usually used for men).
• The cheekbones.
Applying highlight to the bone just above the eye, below the eyebrow,
is necessary on both men and women. When highlight is applied to this
area on men, it should be subtle and particularly well blended. If applied
too heavily or improperly blended, it is apparent that the talent is wearing
eye makeup.
Highlight should be applied to the bony ridge across the eyebrows
on men who do not have a strong brow line. Accentuating this area with
highlight gives the appearance of a stronger, more masculine individual. If
a man already has a prominent brow ridge, accentuating this area makes
him appear brutish and savage. Therefore, pay particular attention when
highlight: Makeup that
is three or four shades
lighter than the area to
which it is applied.
Figure 21-8. Connecting
the dots creates a
triangular placement
template for cheek
shadow.
426
Figure 21-9. Highlight
is placed on areas that
should stand out on the
face.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Blended
Not blended
Above the
eyebrow
Below the
brow
Bridge of
the nose
Cheekbones
Jawline
chin
blending: Incorporating
a layer of makeup into
the areas surrounding it
by brushing the makeup
with the fingers or a
brush.
deciding to highlight this area. Adding highlight to the bony ridge across
the eyebrows on women creates a rather unattractive appearance. Always
keep in mind that makeup should help a performer portray exactly the
type of character necessary for the program.
When applied, highlight and shadow should be blended. Blending
involves brushing the makeup with the fingers or a brush until the makeup
applied seems to merge into the surrounding areas, Figure 21-10. There
should be no definitive line or separation between areas with only base
makeup and areas with additional colors or layers applied.
Third Makeup Layer
After the crèmes of various shades have been applied, the entire face
must be powdered. The object of powdering crème makeup is to dull its
Figure 21-10. Cheek
shadow is blended into the
surrounding areas of base
makeup. There are no
visible lines of separation
between the base and
shadow.
Initial application
Blended into the area
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
shine and to set the makeup. Remember that crème makeup is oil based,
so it naturally has a slight shine. Setting makeup with translucent powder keeps it from easily smearing. The powder used must be translucent
makeup powder. Never use baby or talcum powder—these powders are
white and will change all the shadows and highlights strategically placed
on the face.
To apply the translucent makeup powder, perform the following:
1. Place a powder puff on the powder and work some powder into the
puff with your fingers.
2. Gently pat the powder on the face, Figure 21-11. Do not rub the powder onto the face.
3. Use a makeup powder brush to gently brush off any excess.
Production Note
A bald spot or a completely bald head usually needs to be
powdered to avoid reflecting large light hits.
Fourth Makeup Layer
Lipstick should be applied after powdering. All men and women need
lipstick. Without it, a person’s lips do not seem to exist at all when under
bright lights. For a character who should not appear to be wearing lipstick,
choose a ruddy-brownish color. If lightly applied, the lips appear quite natural. Glossy lipstick should not be used because it causes light hits that are
very distracting. Talent wearing glossy lipstick look like they have sequins
glued to their lips.
Eyeliner is rarely used on men or children. Women should wear eyeliner only if it should be obvious that they are wearing makeup. Television
amplifies the intensity of eyeliner, which does not look natural.
Mascara thickens and lengthens eyelashes. Men should never use
mascara unless they are extremely blonde with eyelashes that are not visible without mascara.
Figure 21-11. The powder is applied with a powder puff and the excess is removed with a powder brush.
Initial application
Remove excess
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Safety Note
A single tube of mascara should never be used on multiple people.
Mascara should never be shared with another person. A tube of mascara is
a fertile breeding ground for bacteria. Eye diseases such as conjunctivitis,
or “pinkeye,” are highly contagious and could affect the entire cast if
mascara is shared. Also, once mascara is opened, it can go bad after a
period of time making it unhealthy to use. It is recommended
that mascara be discarded one month after the tube is opened.
Even if only one person has used the mascara, the product
should be discarded and replaced once a month.
!
A finished makeup job gives the face depth and a three-dimensional
appearance when viewed on a flat television screen, Figure 21-12. The talent’s complexion is completely even, without varied tones on the face, and
the shadows and highlights applied add dimension.
Figure 21-12. With all the layers of makeup applied, the talent’s face has dimension and even tone.
No makeup applied
Four layers of makeup applied
Makeup Removal
At one time, cold cream was the most commonly used product to
remove makeup. Cold cream is still used, but much less commonly. The disadvantage of using cold cream is that it is very messy—it must be slathered
on the face and wiped off with many tissues. The face must then be washed
with hot water and soap. Neglecting to wash with hot water and soap
practically guarantees a skin breakout by the next day. Makeup remover
is an alternative that accomplishes the same task, but often with the same
degree of messiness. Makeup remover is an oil-based product that is rather
expensive at cosmetic stores. Presently, most people in the performing arts
remove makeup with baby wipes, which are readily available, easy to use,
and inexpensive (Figure 21-13). Additionally, some brands offer fragrancefree wipes and many contain moisturizers, like aloe. Using two or three
wipes removes all traces of makeup without the mess of other products.
Regardless of the removal product used, talent should always wash their
face with soap and warm water after removing the layers of makeup.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
429
Figure 21-13. Unscented
baby wipes effectively
remove makeup and are
inexpensive. They are more
convenient and much less
messy than cold cream.
Makeup Application
Considerations
Each production brings a unique set of challenges for a makeup artist.
The action in the production, the characters involved, and the characteristics of individual performers are all considerations for a makeup artist.
Eyes
Before applying makeup on another person, always ask if they wear
contact lenses and if the lenses are “hard” or “soft.” The response determines which application techniques to use and the ease with which makeup
can be applied around their eyes.
If the person wears hard lenses, it is recommended that a novice
makeup artist not apply their makeup. Extra care needs to be taken to prevent hurting the person’s eyes. Hard contact lenses are just that—hard.
If a novice makeup artist presses too hard when applying makeup to the
eyelids, the edge of the contact lens can scratch the cornea of the eye underneath the lid. In this situation, there are two alternatives:
• Coach the person on applying their own makeup, Figure 21-14.
• Obtain assistance from another makeup artist who has experience
with applying makeup on talent wearing hard lenses.
Soft contact lenses, on the other hand, are soft and do not have hard
edges. Performers who wear soft lenses pose no additional challenge in
makeup application.
When applying makeup, you will work near the talent’s eyes. Those
who wear contacts are more comfortable when others work around their
eyes, because they deal with their contacts daily. These people are well
aware that working around the eyes is not a source of pain or discomfort.
People who do not wear contacts are more likely to be squeamish when
others work near their eyes. Female performers may be more comfortable,
as they are more likely to apply their own eye makeup on a regular basis.
Men and children are not used to anything being near their eyes and may
react with unintentional resistance. They may blink, tear, or move away
when you try to apply makeup near their eyes. The best solution is to be
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 21-14. In some cases, it may be easier to coach someone in applying their own makeup, rather than
trying to apply their makeup yourself.
patient and rely on your personality. An effective technique is to distract
them by talking constantly with them. Because it is more difficult to trust a
stranger, another option is to coach talent on applying their own makeup.
Talent who wear glasses may present unique difficulties. The lenses,
and sometimes the frames, can produce unattractive light hits. The simplest solution is to have the talent remove their glasses. If this is not possible due to poor vision or a specific trait of a character, the glasses can be
tilted slightly downward. This adjustment directs the light reflection to the
floor. Another option is to move or re-aim the lighting instruments in the
studio, which is a more time consuming task.
Skin Sensitivity or Allergies
Because the Food and Drug Administration has not set standards or
definitions for products labeled as “hypoallergenic,” it is not accurate to
rely on the “hypoallergenic” label on some products. Commonly, products
labeled “hypoallergenic” contain all the same ingredients as those without
the label. The hypoallergenic version of consumer products typically omit
the fragrance—a common allergen. Theatrical makeup does not contain
fragrance. Performers who are allergic to lanolin or wool should not wear
crème makeup—they must use pancake makeup. However, people without lanolin or wool allergies can typically wear theatrical crème makeup
without problems.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
Production Note
Consider that every actor and actress wears theatrical
makeup for every performance and public appearance. Actors
and actresses make their living with their face and would not
risk damaging the skin on their face. Understand that theatrical
makeup is safe for the skin and necessary for an attractive
appearance on camera.
Men and Makeup
Men frequently resist the very idea of wearing makeup, as it is not generally viewed as a masculine attribute in our society. This is ironic because
most men the public views to be the most masculine wear makeup. Actors,
politicians, and sports figures all wear makeup on television, when in a
studio environment. Recall the appearance of any professional athlete in a
locker room or on the sidelines speaking with a newscaster after coming off
of the playing field—the athlete’s face is typically wet with perspiration and
their complexion is flushed, blotchy, and uneven. In this shot, the athlete is
not wearing makeup—this is their natural face under the bright television
lights. The same athlete looks drastically different when seen in a studio
interview or promotional product spots. This is because studio makeup has
been applied to ensure the best quality camera image of the athlete.
Costume Selection
Selecting the costumes for a program depends on many existing factors,
such as plot, setting, set dressing, program format, lighting arrangement. The
costume design for a production cannot be determined without accounting
for the contributing factors. In dramatic programs, for example, the plot and
setting dictate the costuming for the program. The type and style of costumes
used in a Western set in the late 1800s would be very different from the costuming used in a science fiction program set in the year 3005.
The program set and set dressing must also be considered when
selecting the costumes. The patterns and colors used on a set and in the
set dressing coordinate with the talent’s costuming. Both striking clashes
and perfectly matching colors and patterns should be avoided. Clashing
colors or patterns can be so distracting to the audience that the message of
the program is completely lost. When matching colors or patterns are used
on both the set and the costumes, the talent and background may blend
together causing the talent to disappear from the shot.
Lighting is another consideration in costume selection. If the lighting
designer uses colored gels in the lighting instruments, for example, the colored light will change the appearance of the costume. The lighting designer’s
plans should be included in the costume selection process to avoid problems
and ensure the costuming meets all the other needs of the program.
The following items should be considered when selecting costumes
for a production:
• Avoid extreme contrasts between individual items of clothing,
between clothing and skin tone, and between clothing and the
background. Always remember the limitations of contrast ratio.
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•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Avoid the color white unless the set and other costumes are light in color.
Avoid the color black unless the set and other costumes are dark in color.
Costume colors should not match the background color. When these
colors match, the visual depth created between the performer and the
background is lost.
Avoid the color red, if possible. Red is the most difficult color to
accurately process for both the television camera and the home
viewer’s television set.
Be aware of the chromakey color (Chapter 23, Electronic Special
Effects), if used in a production. The talent should not wear a color
that matches or is similar to the chromakey color.
Avoid flashy jewelry because the pieces of jewelry produce
distracting light hits.
Avoid vertical or horizontal thin stripes and small, busy patterns,
such as herringbone. These patterns create a distracting moiré pattern
on screen.
Appropriate Clothing
Selecting appropriate costumes for a program also includes evaluating the decency of clothing items. Clothing with any obscene graphics
or phrases are not acceptable costuming. Television broadcast stations,
cable television, and satellite television are all regulated by the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has established decency
standards for television programming and enforces the standards through
their licensing process and violation penalties. For example, several stations had to pay millions of dollars in fines following the airing of Janet
Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl half-time
show. Severe fines and legal penalties are levied against obscene or indecent videos that are aired.
In an educational environment, schools have policies regulating the
use of obscene, indecent, and vulgar language on school grounds. Student
journalists are guilty of breaking school policy if they air a news story
over the school’s broadcast system that depicts talent using obscene, indecent, or vulgar language. The school’s same decency policy is violated if
the news story aired contains an article of clothing with text or graphics
considered to be obscene or indecent. In both cases, either audio or video
brought indecent content into the school environment. Even if the video
was recorded off school grounds, in an environment where the content
may not be considered obscene or vulgar, when the story airs on school
grounds, the student producers are guilty of breaking school policy (not
the talent who wore the indecent clothing or used vulgar language). In an
educational environment, there is never a valid reason to air obscenities or
indecent content over the school’s television broadcast system. School policies cannot be broken in the process of doing a story.
Planning for Productions
If a scene is scheduled for shooting over a period of a few days, both
the costuming and makeup on the talent must not change from one day of
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
433
shooting to the next. All of the footage shot for a single scene is likely to be
edited down to a scene that lasts mere minutes. To ensure consistency in
costuming and makeup, take the following steps:
1. Take photographs of talent on the first day of shooting, after their
makeup and costuming is complete.
2. For each performer, write the brands and colors of makeup used on
a makeup chart, Figure 21-15. The makeup chart should also include
placement and application techniques for the products used.
3. Create a chart that records the articles of clothing worn by each performer and the scenes in which the clothing is worn.
Even with proper planning, mistakes do occur. For instance, a large
wound on an actor’s face appears smaller and shaped differently from the
first shot to second shot in the same scene, but returns to its original size
and shape in the third shot. This error in continuity may occur because the
first and third shots were taken on a different day than the second shot.
The makeup artist did not accurately duplicate the wound on both days.
A makeup chart helps prevent errors in makeup continuity. On each consecutive day of shooting, the makeup artist uses the photographs and the
makeup chart to duplicate the makeup application. This also applies to
costumes used in a production. If a scene began with a male actor’s shirttail tucked into his pants, but the scene ends with the shirttail untucked,
the shirttail must be retucked if the scene is shot a second time. Costuming
records and photographs are reviewed before additional takes of the same
scene are shot.
Figure 21-15. A makeup
chart ensures that the
talent’s makeup is applied
the same way for every
day of shooting. This
avoids makeup-related
errors in continuity.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Makeup, Clothing, and the News
When it comes to news programs, the viewing public has certain
expectations of what news people should look like. The audience expects
news people to dress in professional, business-like attire. Men should wear
a coat and tie and women should dress in business-appropriate, modest
attire. Large or flashy jewelry is not appropriate on news programs. News
people should not wear heavy “evening style” makeup.
Production Note
Business-like attire is the norm in mainstream news
programs. However, more casual attire is often seen on
entertainment and pop-culture news programs.
Appropriate dress and grooming are important factors in fostering the
audience’s respect and trust in news people. Any aspect of a news person’s general appearance that diverts attention from the words of a story
is not acceptable. Many station managers require an “approval” clause in
the contract with on-air news personnel. This clause gives management
control over the wardrobe, makeup, and hair style (including color) of the
reporters and anchors.
Chapter 21
Makeup Application and Costume Considerations
Wrapping Up
Much practice is necessary to become competent with makeup
application and design techniques. Television makeup is almost identical to
theatrical makeup, except in the amount and intensity of application—subtle
application is the rule. To gain some practical experience, volunteer to help
with makeup for the next theatrical production at your school. A variety
of theatrical makeup books are also available through local libraries and
bookstores.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. Why is makeup necessary on television talent?
2. What is the one distinct difference between stage makeup and television
makeup?
3. What are the advantages of crème makeup over pancake makeup?
4. List the cosmetic products used in each of the four layers of makeup
application.
5. What products are available for makeup removal? Which product is
recommended?
6. What are some of the considerations a makeup artist must weigh for
each production?
7. List some of the cautions related to costume selection.
8. What regulates decency standards in an educational environment?
9. How can errors in continuity related to costuming and makeup application be avoided in a production?
10. How does the appearance of news people affect the perception of
viewers?
Activities
1. Create a spreadsheet comparing the prices of comparable professional
makeup and over-the-counter retail makeup products. Compare items
such as base/foundation, cheek shadow, eye makeup, and brushed-on
powders. Include the product type and brand in the spreadsheet data.
2. Make a pictorial display of images depicting both character and straight
makeup applications using ads and layouts in current periodicals and
local publications.
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Curriculum
1. What chemicals or other substances are commonly omitted from products labeled as “hypoallergenic”? Why do these chemicals or substances
cause irritation?
2. How has high-definition television technology affected the use and application of makeup on talent? Have you noticed a difference in the appearance of makeup on newscasters or other on-screen talent?
3. Review the standards for decency on television established by the
Federal Communications Commission. How do these standards affect
student productions? How do these standards affect programs you watch
regularly?
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain the main function of a video switcher.
•
Identify some of the effects possible when using
a special effects generator (SEG).
•
Understand the function of a bus and a bank in
relation to a SEG.
•
Recall the steps to use the cut bar on a SEG to
cut between different camera shots.
Introduction
Professional Terms
bank
black video
bus
cut
cut bar
cut button
delegation control
dissolve
effects bank
fade
fade in
fade out
fade to black
fader bar
fader handle
fader lever
glitch
key
lap dissolve
mix bank
production switcher
soft cut
special effects generator
(SEG)
take
technical director (TD)
up from black
video switcher
wipe
When entering the control room of a professional
television studio, the most interesting and intimidating
piece of equipment in the room is the video switcher.
Large video switchers have row after row of lighted
buttons, levers, and knobs that look terribly confusing.
The video switcher is the “brains” of the operation. A
special effects generator (SEG) is the next generation
of a basic switcher, with basic switcher functions in
addition to the capability of producing many video
effects commonly seen in television programs.
This chapter discusses switchers, beginning with
the simplest types. All modern switchers perform the
same basic functions. Switchers that are capable of more
complex tasks with many features and options are more
expensive than simple switchers. The definition of a video
switcher has evolved significantly from the early days of
television to the modern digital age.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
The Video Switcher
video switcher: A
piece of equipment to
which several video
sources are connected.
One signal from various
video sources is selected
and sent to the video
recorder for recording.
Also called a switcher.
All of the video sources in the studio are connected to the video
switcher, or switcher (Figure 22-1). This piece of equipment allows the
operator to select one signal from various video sources connected to the
switcher—such as camera 1, camera 2, camera 3, CG, or VCR 1—and output the
selected signal to the video recorder, Figure 22-2. Simple video switchers can
be inexpensive—less than $50 in many consumer electronics stores. A switcher
operates much the same as many common household items:
• The remote control for a consumer television allows the operator to
select from all the inputs going to the television set, such as the various
channels of programming, VCR, DVD player, and video game console.
• Most cars have radios with buttons that are programmed with preset
stations. When different buttons are selected, the radio tunes in the
corresponding radio station. Pressing two buttons at the same time,
however, does not allow the listener to hear two stations at the same time.
• The receiver component of most home sound systems has a knob or
individual buttons labeled with various audio sources, such as AUX,
TUNER, DVD, CD, and DOCK. Selection allows the signal from
one component of the system to be heard through the speakers. The
song playing on a radio station and a song on a CD cannot be heard
simultaneously on an individual home sound system.
Video Switcher Controls
A video switcher performs one function at a time like the household items
in the previous examples. All the video inputs are plugged into the switcher. At
least one row of buttons on the switcher control panel is marked with numbers
representing each of the inputs. A word or abbreviation may also be used to
mark buttons on the control panel, Figure 22-3. Some switchers come with extra,
Figure 22-1. Initially, a
large video switcher can
be very intimidating. It
works just like a small
switcher, except it allows
more video inputs.
Chapter 22
Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
439
Figure 22-2. Any of the
various inputs connected
to a video switcher may be
selected and sent to the
video recorder.
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
Video recorder
Figure 22-3. Each button
on the control panel of a
video switcher is marked to
indicate the corresponding
signal or function.
Fader
bar
Cut
button
A bus
B bus
C bus
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
preprinted buttons that can be placed on the panel after removing a numbered
button. For example, a small studio with 3 cameras and 1 CG may remove the
camera “4” button and replace it with a “CG” button. When the CG button is
selected, the video recorder receives the output of the CG. Component-specific
labels simplify the selections for the operator.
One cable connected to the output of the switcher runs to the video
input of the recorder. When the operator selects button “2” on the control
panel, for example, the signal coming from camera 2 is sent to the recorder
for recording. When the button for camera 3 is pressed, the image switches
from camera 2 to the image from camera 3.
Video Switcher Operation
technical director
(TD): A member of
the production team
whose primary job
function is to follow the
camera script or verbal
commands from the
director and operate
the video switcher
accordingly.
Operating the switcher is the primary job function of the technical
director, or TD. The TD follows the camera script (prepared by the director) or
verbal commands directly from the director. The camera operators follow the
orders of the director and the TD selects the camera shots by skillfully operating
the switcher. In smaller operations, the director may also function as the TD.
Connected to the switcher are a video monitor for each input signal and
a monitor for the output signal, Figure 22-4. Each monitor is labeled with the
signal it displays. The TD watches the monitors and constantly evaluates the
Figure 22-4. The control
room system has a
camera monitor for each
camera signal, as well as
a program monitor that
displays the signal being
recorded.
Camera 1
Camera 2
Camera 3
Monitor
1
Monitor
2
Monitor
3
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
Program
Monitor
Video recorder
Chapter 22
Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
images from each camera in determining which signal to send to the recorder.
The video switcher only switches from one input to another input. The result on
the screen is an instantaneous picture change called a cut, or take. Sometimes,
a cut is accompanied by a momentary “trashing” of the video signal (such
as a roll, tear, or briefly appearing noise) called a glitch. Glitches are not
acceptable in professionally produced programs and usually indicate that
there is a technical problem in the digital video system. The problem could
be in many different pieces of equipment or in the cables.
Talk the Talk
In this context, “take” is synonymous with “cut.” The
director may say either, “Cut to Camera 2” or “Take 2.”
Production Note
Resolving a glitch is a task for a crew member with plenty of
troubleshooting experience. It is easy to make the problem
worse if you do not know exactly what you are doing. Contact
a video engineer, technician, or repairman to address the
problem. Remember as many details about the problem as
possible because you will need to recreate the scenario exactly
in order for the expert to offer a solution.
The output of the switcher is called the “program” and is viewed on
the program monitor. The program signal goes to the video recorder for
recording. The image on the program monitor is always identical to the
image on one of the video input monitors. The video input monitors are
generally placed in a horizontal row, reading from left to right. The program monitor is usually placed on top of the row of video input monitors.
By properly operating the switcher, the TD creates a program with varying
shots that keeps the audience’s interest.
Visualize This
To understand the importance of correctly using a switcher, consider
that many people fall asleep when they are bored. When students become
disinterested in a classroom activity or discussion, for example, they begin
to feel drowsy and their eyelids get heavy. To help themselves stay alert,
they look at different elements in the environment to provide stimulus to their
brains. If history class gets boring during a lecture, you might cast your eyes
around the room looking at your book, fellow students, your fingernails, a
pen, doodles in your notes, or the teacher’s hairstyle. Looking at anything
different changes the picture in your mind, or switches to a different camera
image. The audio in your mind remains the same, but you make the visual
images more interesting. This process is the same as production switching.
The moment the audience decides that a program does not
provide sufficient visual stimulus, they turn away from the
television screen and the director fails in his mission. The TD
uses the switcher to vary the shots in a program and keep the
audience’s eyes from wandering away from the screen.
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cut: An instantaneous
picture change that
occurs on screen. Used
synonymously with take
in this context.
glitch: A momentary
“trashing” of the video
signal (such as a roll,
tear, or briefly appearing
video noise).
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Production Switcher
production switcher:
A video switcher that
is used to cut between
live camera shots while
a program is being
recorded. The term
indicates a particular use
of a video switcher.
A production switcher is a video switcher that is used in the control
room to cut between live camera shots while a program is being recorded.
While a video switcher can be used many places in a production facility—
such as the editing room, control room, master control room, or on a duplication system—a production switcher will only be found in the control room.
All production switchers are video switchers, but all video switchers are not
necessarily production switchers. A production switcher is a video switcher
used exclusively for switching the live recording of programs in the studio
or on location. For example, at the Super Bowl, multiple cameras are used
to shoot the game and related activity. A production switcher is used to cut
between shots from the various cameras and broadcast the event live.
The Special Effects Generator
(SEG)
special effects
generator (SEG): A
piece of production
equipment with the basic
functions of a video
switcher, as well as the
capability of producing
various video effects.
A special effects generator, or SEG, is a piece of production equipment
based on the principles of the video switcher, with the additional capability
of producing various video effects. A SEG can either be a stand-alone piece
of equipment or a computer program. As a stand-alone piece of equipment, a SEG has a control panel that sits flat on a countertop and is operated by the TD. As a computer program, the SEG interface displayed on
the computer monitor looks like a stand-alone SEG. The TD may perform
operations using a traditional computer mouse and keyboard. The SEG
interface may incorporate a touch screen, which allows the TD to tap a finger on the interactive control panel to perform the SEG functions.
Talk the Talk
The term SEG is pronounced like “egg” with an S at
the beginning. This piece of equipment is also commonly
referred to by simply saying the three letters “S-E-G.” Either
way of referring to a SEG is perfectly acceptable.
fade: A visual effect
where the video image
either slowly appears
from a solid-colored
screen (usually black)
or slowly disintegrates
from an image to a
solid-colored screen
(usually black).
fade in: A video
effect where a totally
dark picture gradually
transitions into a fully
visible picture. Also
called up from black.
Like a video switcher, a SEG allows the operator to select one signal from the various video inputs available. In addition, a SEG performs
clean cuts, fades, dissolves, wipes, and various keys. To accomplish these
effects, the SEG allows the TD to mix video signals from multiple sources.
Compared to the simple cut created by a switcher, these effects are much
more appealing to program viewers.
• Fade. The video image slowly appears from a solid-colored screen. Or,
the video image slowly disintegrates from an image to a solid-colored
screen. The color of a solid screen is usually black, but the director can
choose any color the SEG is capable of creating. Some SEGs only offer
black as a screen color for a fade.
• Fade In. The viewer sees a black screen and the image appears,
Figure 22-5. This effect is usually used for the beginning of a program
Chapter 22
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Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
Figure 22-5. A totally dark picture transitions into a fully visible picture when using a fade in. A fade out is the
reverse.
•
•
or scene, and corresponds to the concept of opening the curtain on
a stage performance. A fade in may also be used when a character
wakes up, while shooting with the subjective camera technique.
The appearance is almost as if the set was completely unlit, and the
lighting instruments are gradually brought up. An up from black
effect is the same as the fade in.
Fade Out. As a scene in a program ends, the image gradually goes to a
black screen. When used at the end of a scene, this effect corresponds
to the concept of closing the curtain on a stage performance. Another
use of fade out may be when a character goes to sleep, passes out, or
dies while using subjective camera. A fade to black effect is the same
as a fade out.
Dissolve. One picture gradually disintegrates while another gradually
appears, Figure 22-6. During a dissolve, the screen is never black (or
any other solid color). A dissolve is a visual statement to the audience,
saying “you are now seeing another place during the same time frame,”
or “meanwhile.” It is also used to show a time passage in the program.
For example, a cook puts a cake in the oven and sets the timer for 35
minutes. The audience does not want to stare at an oven timer for
35 minutes. Therefore, they see a dissolve to the same oven timer 35
minutes later. In this case, 35 “real time” minutes have passed in 3
seconds of “screen time.” This effect is called a lap dissolve in the film
industry because, originally, two pieces of film would have to overlap
to produce a dissolve. If the fader level is moved very quickly when
performing a dissolve, the result almost appears to be a cut, but is not
as sharp as a cut. This fast dissolve is called a soft cut.
fade out: A video effect
where the image slowly
goes to a black screen
as a scene of a program
ends. Also called fade to
black.
dissolve: A video
effect where one picture
slowly disintegrates while
another image slowly
appears. At no time is the
screen solid black (or any
other solid color). Also
called a lap dissolve.
soft cut: A fast dissolve
that appears to be a cut,
but is not as sharp as
a cut.
Figure 22-6. In a dissolve, one image slowly becomes another image. At no time is the screen black.
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Visualize This
Many students confuse the terms “fade” and “dissolve,” using them
interchangeably. To help differentiate the two terms, consider that the
original color of cotton is white. White cotton is dyed blue before making
blue jeans. As blue jeans are worn and washed, the blue color slowly
washes out, or fades, revealing the original white color of the cotton.
You would not say that an old pair of jeans had dissolved; you would say
they had faded. When the applied color fades, the natural color begins
to show through. The “natural” color of a television screen
is black. Therefore, when colorful images on the television
are removed, the screen returns to black. When a television
image is removed from the screen, or is washed out, the
screen fades to black.
wipe: A video effect
where a line, or multiple
lines, moves across the
screen and replaces
one picture with
another.
key: A video effect
where a portion of the
picture is electronically
removed and replaced
with another image.
bus: A row of buttons
on the control panel
of a SEG that access
different inputs and
functions.
•
•
Wipe. A line, or multiple lines, moves across the screen, replacing one
picture with another. If the line stops at some point while moving
across the screen, the screen is divided into two or more sections, also
known as a split screen (discussed in Chapter 23, Electronic Special
Effects).
Key. A portion of the picture is electronically removed and replaced with
another image (discussed in Chapter 23, Electronic Special Effects).
Components of a SEG
A bus is a row of buttons on the control panel of a SEG. Most SEGs have
at least three buses, with a minimum of five buttons per bus. Some SEGs,
however, may have more than 30 buttons on a bus. Each button accesses
a different video input and is clearly labeled. If there are ten cameras, for
example, ten of the buttons are labeled 1 through 10. Other buttons may be
available for additional video playback units, CG, and BLACK. The more
video inputs on a SEG, the more buttons are required to access each at any
time. The buses are identical, with the possible exception of an additional
button on the right end, Figure 22-7.
Production Note
Do not let the great number of buttons on larger SEGs
intimidate you. A SEG that has additional video inputs requires
more buttons to access those inputs. The additional buttons are
simply more of the same buttons and functions you will become
familiar with on a smaller SEG.
Figure 22-7. Each bus is
identical to the others, with
BLK, 1, 2, 3, 4, VTR 1, CG,
and EFF buttons.
BLK
1
EFF
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
Mix
bank
BLK
1
EFF
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
EFF
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
Program
bus
Chapter 22
Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
Most commonly, the lowest bus displayed on a computer interface or
the bus closest to the TD on a stand-alone SEG control panel is labeled
Program Bus. Any signal button pressed on the program bus goes directly
to the output of the SEG and to the video recorder. The other buses are usually organized in pairs, which are electronically connected to each other. To
create a dissolve, for example, two pictures must be on screen at the same
time. Since multiple buttons cannot be pressed simultaneously on a single
bus, two buses are connected to allow the display of two images. When
two buses are electronically connected to each other, they are called a bank.
Next to each bank is a fader lever, also referred to as a fader bar or fader
handle, Figure 22-8. A fader lever is usually a T-shaped handle that can be
moved forward and backward. The further the bar is moved in one direction, the stronger the signal coming from the bus in that direction. Using the
fader lever allows the signal from each bus in the bank to be manipulated.
To begin a dissolve, for example, one signal can be at 90% strength with the
other signal at 10%. To perform the dissolve, gradually move the fader lever
(80/20%, 70/30%, 60/40%, 50/50%, and so on) until complete.
To differentiate between the buses, the industry convention is to assign
a letter of the alphabet to each bus. The bus displayed above the others on
a computer interface or the bus farthest away from the TD on a stand-alone
SEG control panel is called A bus, Figure 22-9. Each bus that follows is
sequentially assigned a letter. For example, the program bus on a SEG with
seven buses would be G bus. Buses are referred to by the letter assigned.
445
bank: Two buses on the
control panel of a SEG
that are electronically
connected to each
other.
fader lever: A control
on a SEG, usually a
T-shaped handle, that
controls the strength of
that signal coming from
each bus. Also called
a fader bar or fader
handle.
Assistant Activity
Review the explanation of how letters are assigned when labeling
buses. Using Figure 22-3 as a guide, sketch the control
panel of a SEG and close the book when you are finished.
Label each of the buses and identify the program bus and
mix bank. Check your work using the previous sections in
the text and the corresponding figures.
Figure 22-8. The fader
lever can be moved
forward and backward.
As it moves, it diminishes
one signal and increases
another signal.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 22-9. Each bus is assigned a letter, beginning with the row farthest from the TD.
A Fader lever
A
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
B
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
C
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
B
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
To illustrate a dissolve:
Imagine that button 3 has been pressed on the program bus (C bus in
this case) and the audience is watching the image coming from camera 3.
To set up a dissolve, the fader lever is pushed all the way forward, so
the handle is pointing at A bus.
Press 1 on A bus and 2 on B bus. The SEG control panel looks like
Figure 22-9.
Press the EFF (effects) button on the far right of C bus and the SEG
output jumps up to the mix bank. The SEG control panel looks like
Figure 22-10. When the EFF button on the program bus (C bus) is
pressed, the output of the SEG changes from C bus to the effects bank
(combination of A bus and B bus). Since the fader lever is pushed all
the way forward to A bus, 100% of the output from the SEG is the
image selected on A bus (camera 1, in this case).
The audience watching the image from camera 3 simply sees a cut to
camera 1. The audience doesn’t know they are now watching a signal
coming from the mix bank.
Figure 22-10. If camera 1 is selected, or “punched up,” on A bus and camera 2 is punched up on B bus, what
happens when the fader lever is pulled down to the lower position?
A
A
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
B
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
C
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
CG
EFF
B
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Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
447
6. Dissolve from camera 1 to camera 2 by smoothly moving the fader
lever down from the forward position. When the dissolve is complete, the handle of the fader lever is pointing at B bus.
If the fader lever is stopped halfway through a dissolve, the images
from both camera 1 and camera 2 are displayed on the screen at 50%
strength. As a result, both images are semitransparent and look “ghostly.”
This effect is called a superimposition. The image in the middle of the series
in Figure 22-6 is a superimposition. If the BLK (black) button were selected
on B bus in step 3 (Figure 22-9), a dissolve to black would have been produced. From the audience’s perspective, a dissolve to black appears the
same as a fade to black.
Visualize This
To relate the concept of a dissolve to an audio example, turn on your
sound system. Move the balance control so that all the right channel
sound comes out of the right speaker. Now, move the control to the left
side so you only hear the left channel of audio. In adjusting the balance
control from the right channel to the left channel, you have
just “dissolved” the sound from the right channel to the left
channel. If you stop the balance control halfway between the
right channel and left channel, both channels are equally
“superimposed.”
Banks
Cut, fade, and dissolve are the simplest effects a SEG can produce. All
three of these effects are contained in a single bank called the mix bank. Like
the ingredients combined in a kitchen mixer, the inputs on the SEG cannot
be separated and processed individually once they have been mixed. An
effects bank, however, allows each signal to be processed individually. The
TD can set up various keys and wipes on the effects bank (discussed in
Chapter 23, Electronic Special Effects).
A SEG with both a mix bank and an effects bank has at least five buses;
A and B may be the mix bank, with C and D as the effects bank, and E as the
program bus, Figure 23-11. Large SEGs may have four mix banks and four
effects banks, totaling 17 buses. Even these large SEGs are nothing more
than multiples of the same functions found on a three-bus SEG.
The most economical SEGs have only three buses, but are still capable
of both mixing and producing effects. A small SEG accomplishes this by
allowing bus A and B to be either a mix bus, an effects bus, a key bank, or a
DVE bank (discussed in Chapter 23, Electronics Special Effects). A switch or
button, called a delegation control, simply changes the functionality of the
selected bank, Figure 22-12. This delegation control is similar to the one on
your home stereo system that allows you to switch from AM to FM or from
CD to MP3 player.
mix bank: A bank on
an SEG that contains
the cut, fade, and
dissolve effects.
effects bank: A bank
on a SEG that allows
each signal to be
processed individually.
delegation control: A
switch or button on the
control panel of a SEG
that changes a bank
from one function to
another. For example, the
delegation control can
switch the selected bank
from operating as a mix
bank to an effects bank.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 22-11. A SEG with both an effects bank (A bus and B bus) a mix bank (C bus and D bus). Each bank
has a dedicated fader bar. The program bus (E bus) has both MIX and EFF buttons, but only one of these
buttons can be selected at a time.
Effects
A
A
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
B
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
B
C
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
D
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
Mix
C
D
E
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
MIX
Figure 22-12. A delegation switch or button allows the A/B bank to perform either mix or effects. Once “effects”
is selected as the function of A/B, some switchers present the option of indicating which kind of effect should be
processed.
MIX
A
EFF
A
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
WIPE
B
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
INT KEY
B
C
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
EXT KEY
Chapter 22
Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
449
Black Video
Black video is a bona fide video signal that has no lightness. When
the BLK button on a SEG is selected, the output is a purely black signal.
The BLK button is not an input on the SEG. Black is generated by the SEG
itself. The black output may be used at the beginning or end of a program
to make either end neater than displaying video noise. Black may also be
used within a program. If, for example, a character loses consciousness,
selecting this button represents the world going “dark.”
Only when light is applied to the screen is an image visible, because
the natural color of the television screen is black. When the SEG outputs
a black signal, it is an actual signal with no light. During a program, the
director may want the screen to go black. To record a clean black screen,
the black must be created on the SEG. Black video is very important to the
successful operation of a television production facility. To record a black
signal on a camcorder, merely place the lens cap on the camera or close the
iris all the way and press record.
black video: A bonafide video signal that
has no lightness.
Visualize This
A human’s eyes are like a video camera and the signal going up the
optic nerve to the brain is like the video signal going to a television screen.
Imagine that you are exploring a deep cave that extends far into the earth.
You turn off your flashlight and are suddenly in total darkness. Does this
mean that your eyes have stopped functioning and that you
are blind? Of course not. Your eyes are functioning perfectly,
but there is no light for your eyes to detect an image to send
to your brain. Likewise, black video is a perfectly good video
signal that simply lacks any light.
Preview Monitor
The preview monitor is connected to the output of the mix bank,
Figure 22-13. The preview monitor allows the TD to set up an effect on the
mix bank (A bus and B bus). The TD can see the effect on the preview monitor before pressing the EFF button on C bus, which sends the effect out to
the viewers. While the audience watches camera 3 on the C bus, for example, the TD sets up a split screen between cameras 1 and 2 and watches it
on the preview monitor. When the TD is satisfied with the completed split
screen effect, the EFF button on C bus is pressed and the audience instantly
sees the split screen already created.
Cut Bar
A cut bar, or cut button, is a convenient accessory on many SEGs. A
cut bar is a selection on a SEG that provides a quick way of cutting between
the input selected on one bus and the input selected on another bus in the
bank. For example, when shooting a 2-person interview with two cameras,
each camera captures a different person while the program is recording.
The entire interview involves cutting from one camera to the other as the
two people speak to each other.
cut bar: A feature on
a SEG that provides
a quick way of cutting
between the input
selected on one bus and
the input selected on
another bus in the bank.
Also called a cut button.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 22-13. A preview
monitor allows the director
to see an effect before it is
sent to the program output
of the SEG.
Camera 1
Camera 2
Camera 3
Monitor
1
Monitor
2
Monitor
3
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
BLK
1
2
EFF
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
Preview
Monitor
Program
Monitor
Video recorder
Using the SEG controls, Figure 22-14, the TD may simply alternate
pressing button 1 and button 2 on C bus. This motion can become monotonous after a short time, which may lead to mistakes. Pressing the wrong
button may send the audience the interviewer’s face as the interviewee
speaks, which is probably not the desired image. The cut bar eliminates
this mistake. To use the cut bar in this scenario:
1. Select the EFF button on C bus.
2. Press camera 1 on A bus and camera 2 on B bus.
3. Begin the interview on B bus. The fader lever should be down, pointing at B bus.
4. To change cameras, simply press the cut bar or CUT button.
5. The first time it is pressed, the output of the SEG switches from B bus
to A bus. This creates a cut from camera 2 to camera 1.
6. Press the cut bar again to cut the output from camera 1 back to camera 2.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 as many times as necessary during the program.
Chapter 22
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Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
Figure 22-14. The CUT button on a SEG allows a simple switch from one camera to another and back again,
by pressing just one button instead of two.
A
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
B
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
C
BLK
1
2
3
4
VTR
1
CG
EFF
CUT
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Wrapping Up
A switcher is the central component in a television studio environment to
which all video sources in a studio are connected. Many terms are commonly
used to refer to the switcher, including video switcher, switcher, production
switcher, special effects generator, and SEG. All these terms are acceptable,
but proper use depends on the capabilities of the equipment—all SEGs are
switchers, but not all switchers are SEGs.
Whether capable of only basic functions or equipped with many
advanced features, almost all switchers operate on the same basic principles.
A switcher allows the operator to select one or more signals from various
video inputs, layer/combine the signals, and output the resulting signal to
the video recorder. Most TDs switch when instructed to do so by the director.
Over time and with experience, many TDs develop a talent for the sequences
and timing of images. They can often predict the director’s instructions.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the difference between a video switcher and a SEG?
2. How do you differentiate between a fade and a dissolve?
3. What is a bus?
4. What is the function of a bank?
5. What is the difference between a mix bank and an effects bank?
6. How is black video used in a production?
7. How is the preview monitor used with a SEG?
Activities
1. Record about five minutes of television and watch the recording with the
sound turned off. Notice the camera switches. Determine why the switch
was made at each point and make note of the reason.
2. Research various brands and models of SEGs. Summarize the options
available on five different models and compare the purchase price of
each.
Te
c
ce
hn
ol
ie
n
Video Switchers and Special Effects Generators
Sc
Chapter 22
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Describe the differences in functionality between a basic video switcher
and a SEG. Identify the advances in technology that led to the increased
functionality found in a SEG.
3. Research the prices and features of various SEGs. Create a chart comparing the prices and features of six different models. Explain any correlation you find in the price and the features of the models compared.
4. A switcher allows the operator to select one signal from various sources
connected to the switcher. Are there any pieces of equipment or other
items you use in your daily life that operate like a switcher?
at
he
g
M
ne
er
in
m
at
ic
s
gi
1. To create an image on a television screen, light must be applied. The
same is true of human vision. Explain how the human eye processes
light. How is eye function impaired in someone who has nyctalopia?
453
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
www.iatse-intl.org The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees,
Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts supports people working
in various branches of the entertainment industry, including motion picture and
television production, product demonstration and industrial shows, conventions,
facility maintenance, casinos, audio visual, and computer graphics.
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Explain how effects are used as transitional
devices.
•
Differentiate between a superimposition and
a key.
•
Recall the importance of pixels to DVEs.
Introduction
Professional Terms
chromakey
chrominance
circle wipe
clip control
corner insert
corner wipe
digital video effect (DVE)
fill camera
fill source
horizontal wipe
key
key camera
key level control
lower third
lower third key
lower third super
over-the-shoulder graphic
pixel
soft wipe
split screen
superimposition
super
transitional device
vertical wipe
Students learning about television broadcasting
and production are often tempted to add “cool”
effects that serve no real purpose to the overall
goal of their program. Special effects in a program
that do not serve a purpose and do not support the
program become nothing more than gimmicks and
distractions, and are a big mistake in a production.
The audience stops paying attention and the message
of the program is lost. Using special effects is very
seductive, but they should only be used when a
special effect supports the program and its message.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
SEG Effects
A SEG has many effects built into it. Some SEGs even allow users to
program custom-designed effects. The most common electronic special
effects include wipes, mixes, and keys.
Wipes
horizontal wipe: A video
effect where a vertical
line moves across the
screen horizontally,
replacing one picture
with another.
vertical wipe: A
video effect where a
horizontal line moves
up or down the screen
vertically, replacing one
picture with another.
soft wipe: Any wipe
effect in which the wipe
line is out of focus.
A wipe is an effect consisting of a line that moves across the screen,
replacing one picture with another. The line that moves across the screen
during a wipe reveals a picture that is “behind” the image being wiped off
the screen. In a simple wipe, no part of either image is moved in any way;
each is either removed or revealed by the line. Common types of wipes are
horizontal wipes, a vertical line that moves across the screen horizontally,
and vertical wipes, a horizontal line that moves up or down the screen. A
vertical wipe looks similar to a window shade being raised or lowered. A
wipe can take many different forms, depending on the wipe effects built
into the SEG, Figure 23-1. The line may be sharp, may have a colored border, or may be slightly out of focus. Using a line that is slightly out of focus
in a wipe effect is called a soft wipe.
To accomplish a wipe, one camera signal is selected on one bus and
a different camera signal is selected on another bus. The wipe pattern is
selected from the control panel of the SEG. Moving the fader handle controls the progress of the line across the screen.
Production Note
It is important to note that a simple wipe involves a line moving across
the screen that reveals an image “behind” the image being removed from
the screen. Imagine a teacher erasing the writing on a blackboard. As
the words are erased, they are not moved or pushed off the
blackboard. The chalk writing is removed by the eraser and
the blackboard surface is revealed. A simple wipe is much
like this example because no part of either image is moved in
any way. The images are either removed or revealed by the
moving line.
transitional device: An
effect that is used as a
means of getting from
one scene to another.
split screen: A wipe that
is stopped part of the way
through its move, dividing
the screen into two or
more parts.
circle wipe: A video
effect where a circle
grows or shrinks,
replacing one picture
with another.
Wipes are usually used as a method of getting from one scene to
another, or as a transitional device. A wipe that is stopped part of the way
through its move and divides the screen into two or more parts is called a
split screen. This effect is most often used to portray a telephone conversation, Figure 23-2. Each person is shown on one-half of the screen as they
speak to each other on the telephone. A split screen is also used for interviews on news programs when the interview participants are in different
locations. Showing both interviewees on the screen allows the audience to
see the conversational interaction during the interview.
A circle wipe uses a circle that grows or shrinks to replace one picture
with another. A SEG capable of a circle wipe often has a joystick to control
the position of the circle on the screen.
Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
A corner wipe is seen on many local news broadcasts, where an image
related to a story is displayed over the studio anchor’s left or right shoulder. Achieving this effect requires two cameras or sources of video:
• Camera A shoots the story and positions the important part of the
picture in the upper left or right (as appropriate) quarter of the
viewfinder of the camera.
• Camera B shoots the anchor leaving an empty space above the
anchor’s shoulder where the image of camera A can be placed.
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corner wipe: A video
effect where a small
image is positioned in
any corner, usually the
upper right or left corner,
of the full screen image.
Two edges of the smaller
image touch the frame
of the larger picture.
Figure 23-1. Some of
the most common wipe
patterns are indicated
on the buttons and
illustrations on this control
panel.
Figure 23-2. A wipe is
a line that moves across
the screen, replacing one
picture with another. If the
wipe line stops at some
point on the screen, a split
screen is created.
458
corner insert: A video
effect where a small
image is positioned in
any corner, usually the
upper right or left corner,
of the full screen image.
All four sides of the
smaller image rest inside
the frame of the larger
picture. Also called an
over-the-shoulder graphic
in news programs.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
When the wipe is performed, the image from camera A appears over
the newscaster’s shoulder. In a corner wipe, two sides of the smaller picture
touch the actual frame of the larger picture, Figure 23-3. The corner wipe
appears only in the upper corner of the full screen image shot by camera B.
This is an important consideration when framing a picture for a corner wipe.
The only portion of the picture shot by camera A that is seen by the audience
is the part included in the wipe. The remainder of the picture from camera
A may actually be poorly framed—the main concern is the portion of the
image used for the wipe. To properly frame the shots, the camera operator
must know which corner is going to be wiped before the image is shot.
A corner insert is a different kind of wipe that is similar to the corner
wipe. All four sides of a corner insert image rest fully inside the frame of
the larger picture, Figure 23-4. In news programs, a corner insert is often
referred to as an over-the-shoulder graphic. This resembles the “picture-inpicture” feature on some television sets.
Figure 23-3. In a corner
wipe, two edges of the
wiped image touch two
edges of the frame of the
background image.
superimposition: A
video effect where two
images, or the output
from two different
sources, are placed
on screen at the same
time. Each image is less
than 100% of its original
intensity, but when
combined, the result is
100% of the intensity
possible on the television
screen. Also called a
super.
Shadow and Edge
Edge and shadow are additional effects that can be added to wipes. The
edge feature places a border around the image. The SEG operator can adjust
the thickness and color of the edge. The shadow feature places a drop shadow
around two sides of the image. Both edge and shadow provide a degree of
separation between the wipe image and the background image, Figure 23-5.
Mixes
Mixes include fades, dissolves, and superimpositions. (Fades and dissolves were discussed in Chapter 22, Video Switchers and Special Effects
Generators.) A superimposition, or super, places the output from two different
Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
video sources on the full screen at the same time. Each image is less than 100%
of its original intensity, but when combined, the result is 100% of the intensity
possible on the television screen. For example, one image is the picture of
an athlete and the other is the athlete’s name created on a character generator (CG). The director wants the athlete’s name to appear on the screen, so
the audience can read his name as they hear what he has to say, Figure 23-6.
When a name or other text is placed in the lower third of the screen using a
superimposition, the effect is called a lower third super.
Suppose that the athlete’s jersey is red and the CG letters are white.
Using a superimposition, both images are less than 100% of their original
459
lower third super: A
video effect created
when an image or text
is displayed in the lower
third of the screen using
a superimposition.
Figure 23-4. None of the
four edges of the keyed
image touch any of the
edges of the frame of the
background image in a
corner insert.
Figure 23-5. Edge and
shadow modes further
separate a keyed image
from the background
image. This separation
helps the viewer to more
clearly understand the
total image.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 23-6. Both images mixed in a superimposition are somewhat transparent.
key: A video effect
where two images, or
the output from two
different sources, are
displayed on screen at
the same time. Each
image is displayed with
100% of its original
intensity.
lower third key: A
video effect created
when an image or text
is displayed in the lower
third of the screen using
a key effect. Also called
a lower third.
Figure 23-7. A key permits
both the background image
and the keyed image to be
visible at 100% intensity.
intensity and have a ghostly, see-through appearance. The image of the athlete is not quite as bright as it would be without the superimposition, because
less of the image displayed. The white CG letters are less intense than pure
white and allow some of the red color from the jersey to bleed through. The
final picture on the screen is an athlete wearing a red jersey with pink letters
that spell out his name. This is probably not the image the director intended.
Because colors “bleed” into each other when using superimpositions, the
lower third super has largely been replaced by the lower third key.
Keys
A key is an effect similar to a superimposition, except that both images
are displayed at 100% of their original intensity. This solves the compromised color issues created when using a lower third super. A key visually cuts a hole in the original background picture and fills the hole with
the desired text or image. When a key is positioned in the lower third of the
screen, it is called a lower third key or lower third. A lower third key is the
most widely used method of identifying individuals featured on-screen in
programs, Figure 23-7.
Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
Visualize This
Using the athlete example, imagine cutting the letters spelling the
athlete’s name right out of a still photograph of the athlete—literally cutting
holes in the shape of each letter right out of the photograph.
If you place the photograph over a piece of white paper, the
letters can clearly be seen. Each image, the player and the
white letters, is 100% of the possible intensity. Visually, this is
the result of a key.
Talk the Talk
The process of performing keys may also be called
compositing.
At least two video sources must be in operation when a key is activated.
The fill source is the video source that provides the background image. If the fill
source is a live image coming from a camera, the camera shooting the fill source
image is called the fill camera. The second video source is the key camera,
which provides the shape of the hole cut into the background picture. The
relative strength of the key camera’s signal is adjusted with the key level
control, sometimes called a clip control, located on the key module of the
SEG (Figure 23-8). The signal from any camera selected as the key camera
passes through the clip control. This control allows the operator to adjust
the luminance, or brightness, of the key image.
461
fill source: The video
source that provides the
background image in a
key effect; the image may
be live, pre-recorded, or
computer generated.
fill camera: A video
camera shooting the live
image used as the fill
source in a key effect.
key camera: The video
source (camera) that
provides the shape to be
cut into the background
image in a key effect. The
portions removed from
the key camera image
(usually areas of blue or
green) will be replaced by
the fill source image.
clip control: A knob
on the control panel of
a SEG that adjusts the
amount of luminance in
a video signal that is sent
to the SEG. Also called
key level control.
Figure 23-8. The clip
control allows the operator
to adjust the amount of
luminance sent to the
SEG.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Chromakeys
chromakey: A type
of key effect where a
specific color is blocked
from the key camera’s
input.
chrominance: The
color portion of the
video signal, which
includes the hue and
color saturation.
A chromakey is a key effect that operates with specific colors, or
chrominance, and can be set for any color. Chrominance is the color portion of the video signal, where luminance is the brightness quality of the
signal. Chromakeys are frequently used on television, most often during
the weather report on the local evening news. The audience sees the weathercaster standing in front of various maps, pointing to current and future
weather activity. In the studio, however, the crew sees the weathercaster
standing in front of a completely blue or green background—there is no
map behind him.
Chromakey circuitry allows the SEG to tell itself not to “see” a particular color. In the case of the weathercaster, the blue or green of the background is filtered out of the key camera’s image. Therefore, the SEG uses
everything except items that are blue or green. The SEG sends an image,
eliminating everything that is blue or green, to the effects circuitry. The second video source, either the fill source or fill camera, provides a new background to replace everything that is cut out of the key camera’s image. In
the weathercaster example, the fill image is a computer-generated weather
map. The chromakey circuit places the fill image into the key source camera image wherever there is a hole in the key camera’s image. So, the blue
or green background behind the weathercaster is completely replaced by
the weather map, Figure 23-9.
If a weathercaster has blue eyes or stripes in his tie that match the
background, the viewers at home see right “through” his eyes or tie and
see the map. This effect is eliminated with colored contact lenses and wardrobe personnel who are on their toes.
Blue is the most commonly used chromakey color because no race of
humans on the planet has blue pigment in their skin. Therefore, people
look natural on the mixed picture. Green is the second most common color
for chromakey. However, people with olive complexions do not look very
healthy if all the green is removed from their skin tone. This problem can
be corrected with makeup.
The SEG can be tuned or adjusted to key any color desired by the production company. However, the most common colors used for keying are
blue or green. More expensive chromakey modules can fine-tune the color
Figure 23-9. Using a keyed image allows a fill image to be inserted behind the talent. This creates a background
without constructing an elaborate backdrop.
Key Camera Image
Fill Image
Combined Image
Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
463
to very specific shades of blue or green. Less expensive chromakey modules
may key only broad shades of blue or green that encompass many hues.
Lighting the background image used in chromakey is critical. The
background image should be very evenly lit, so that no area is brighter or
darker than other areas. If the chromakey color is tightly tuned to a specific
shade of blue, for example, uneven lighting on the background image will
create many different shades of blue. Without even lighting, the image will
not key cleanly.
Production Note
32K fluorescent instruments work much better than 32K incandescent
instruments for lighting a chromakey background because the
fluorescent instruments are soft lights that provide an even
wash of light. Incandescent instruments tend to create “hot
spots” of brighter light on areas closest to the instruments,
which make it difficult to produce an even wash of light on the
chromakey background.
Pixels and Digital Video
A picture printed in the newspaper is composed of little dots. A glossy
magazine picture has many, many more dots that are much smaller and
packed more closely together. A greater number of dots packed closely
together results in a sharper picture. Therefore, a printed picture in a magazine is much sharper than a printed picture in a newspaper.
The picture on a high-definition television screen is also made up of
millions of little dots called pixels, Figure 23-10. (“Pixel” is the shortened
form of two words—“picture” and “elements.”) Digital television systems
use at least twice the number of pixels to create the television picture than
analog television systems. This is why the picture on digital televisions is
tremendously sharper than on analog televisions.
Figure 23-10. The
television picture is made
up of an incredible number
of little dots, or pixels.
pixel: One of the
millions of little dots that
make up the picture
on a television screen,
in a photograph, and
any other type of digital
image display medium.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
To understand how the digital television picture is made, recall exercises in math class on graphing points on the x-axis and y-axis. Each point
graphed has coordinates that designate its location on the graph. Each
pixel on the television screen also has coordinates (like an address) on an
x- and y-axis. It is actually possible to pick a point on the television screen
and carefully count columns and rows to determine the exact address of
that point. With a method to address and control each pixel individually,
the entire picture can be controlled.
Visualize This
A mosaic is created of tiny pieces of material, such as colored tiles. An
artist painstakingly places the small tiles close together and, eventually, a
picture emerges from all the correctly positioned tiles. The smaller the tiles,
the sharper the picture. A digital television picture is created
in much the same way. The picture on a high-definition
television screen is comprised of over 2 million pixels! Just
the calculations necessary to create a new picture 30 times
every second make digital televisions astounding.
Digital Video Effects
Figure 23-11. Controlling
each pixel of a picture
allows individual pixels
to be moved around,
which can affect the entire
picture.
The special effects created by a SEG that uses digital technology are called
digital video effects, or DVE. A DVE requires the ability to alter an image by
manipulating each individual pixel. Each pixel of every image can be located
and controlled, which allows us to control the image completely. DVE technology can produce nearly limitless spectacular effects. The simple example
that follows illustrates the creation of a digital special effect.
Imagine a black capital letter T, almost as tall as the television screen,
against a white background, Figure 23-11. (The numbers used in this example are not accurate. They are simple representative values to help illustrate the concept.) The address of the pixel on the very tip of the left arm of
the T is (50, 500). This means that the pixel is in the 50th column of pixels
from the left edge of the screen, and 500 rows up from the bottom of the
screen. Knowing the exact address allows a computer to take that pixel and
place it, for example, at (50, 25). The program can then take the pixel normally at (50, 25), and place it at (50, 500). This move essentially replaces a
T
T
digital video effect
(DVE): Video effects
that are created using
digital technology;
based on the ability
to alter an image by
manipulating each
individual pixel.
Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
465
black dot with its exact white counterpart from the bottom half of the screen.
Performing this move repeatedly with nearby pixels, would move the upper
left arm of the T to the bottom of the television screen. One pixel at a time, the
left and right arms of the T can be moved to the bottom of the screen and the
white pixels from the bottom of the screen are moved up. Millions of mathematical calculations are performed in order to turn the T upside-down, but
computers complete this operation in a fraction of a second. On screen, it
appears as a smooth “morph” from a right-side-up T to an upside-down T.
Morphing is one of the most well-known examples of DVE. Because morphing is such a commonly used DVE, an extra program feature that morphs
images from one into the next either comes installed on many new computers or is available as a free download. When this technology was first used in
music videos, the software cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Using DVE, an image on the screen can be stretched, twisted,
scrunched, rolled up into a ball, and spun out of the frame of the picture,
Figure 23-12. It can be torn, rotated, wiggled, changed into a runny liquid,
Figure 23-12. There
are an infinite number of
possibilities for the use of
DVEs, depending on the
program’s budget.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
made to slither across the screen like a snake, or any other motion that the
budget and imagination allows. Standard SEG effects, such as wipes, can
also be performed with DVE technology. A DVE wipe can make an image
“move.” For example, one picture can literally push another image off the
screen or an image may appear to lift up and turn like a page being turned
in a book.
DVEs are purchased in packages or bundles and installed on digital
SEGs. The number of effects available on a digital SEG system depends
entirely on the budget for purchasing the DVE equipment and software.
If a desired effect does not already exist, someone can be paid to create it.
Production Note
Digital video effects have had a profound effect on the film industry.
Many special effects are far too expensive or impossible to create using
the film medium. However, DVE technology provides complete control of
all the pixels that make up a picture, making literally anything possible
in digital video. Because of this, the film industry has begun utilizing the
capabilities of high-definition digital video when creating visual effects.
The first major film to successfully use digital video effects to a notable
extent was Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. The realism created on
the screen stunned many film and television industry professionals. In this
film, viewers saw images that they knew could not be real, yet the images
did not appear fake or unrealistic in any way. This movie marked the
beginning of a trend in film making where anything the director envisions,
no matter how fantastic or impossible, can become an on-screen reality.
George Lucas was one of the first high-profile film directors that chose
to work exclusively in high-definition digital video. He waited to shoot
Star Wars–Episode I, The Phantom Menace (1999) until the available
technology could transform the images in his mind into realistic computer
generated effects.
Video technology now exists to take film images, convert them to
video, combine reality and fantasy seamlessly into a digital composite
image, and then convert it back to film for projection in movie theaters.
This, of course, depends on the production budget and the ability to hire
digital effects artists and computer graphics specialists to carry
out the director’s vision. The future of digital video technology
holds great possibilities. Viewers can be certain that the effects
they see in films and television programs will continue to blur
the line between reality and computer-generated fantasy as
digital technology evolves.
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Chapter 23 Electronic Special Effects
Wrapping Up
Even some technical experts cannot easily determine if an image
is real or has been generated by a computer. This is a factor in why
“eyewitness” video is considered very suspect in most courtrooms. 3D
televisions are already in the marketplace, but viewers must wear special
glasses while watching the screen to see the 3D effect. The next step in
this technology may be 3D televisions that do not require the use of 3D
glasses. There is no way to predict what we will be watching on television
at home in the future.
Special effects are amazing and great fun to experiment with. However,
all video professionals must remember that, if not used to reinforce the
message or plot of the program, special effects should not be used at all. If
special effects are overused, they become mundane annoyances and the
trademark of inept and amateur videographers.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is a wipe? How is a wipe accomplished?
2. What is the difference between a corner wipe and a corner insert?
3. What are the challenges in using superimpositions?
4. How does a chromakey operate?
5. Explain how pixels relate to the picture on digital televisions.
6. What benefits does DVE technology offer when producing a program?
Activities
1. While watching television, make note of each time you notice the use of
a key, the information or image displayed using the key, and the type of
program that made use of keys. Be prepared to share your findings in
class.
2. What effects can you apply to a still image using your computer at
home? Bring some examples into class.
Te
c
ce
hn
Sc
ie
n
ol
og
y
STEM
Integrated
STEM and Academic Activities
Curriculum
En
2. Digital video effects have changed the way programs are made. What do
you think the next advancement in digital video technology will be? How
would this advancement affect the television production industry?
em
at
ic
g
at
h
ee
rin
M
1. Other than the weather forecast on a news program, where have you
seen chromakey used? How was this effect used in the program?
s
gi
n
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
3. Because computer generated video footage can be manipulated to look
convincingly real, courtrooms now look at “eye witness” video with suspicion. Discuss other social impacts, positive or negative, that digital video
effects have had.
Chapter 24
Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
•
Identify the difference between linear editing and
non-linear editing processes.
•
Summarize the creation and use of an edit
decision list.
•
Explain the considerations related to editing and
action.
•
Recall the application of edit transitions.
•
Summarize the steps involved in non-linear
editing.
Introduction
Important Terms
audio delay edit
bin
capture
clip
cut rate
digitize
distribution amplifier (DA)
dub
dup
edit decision list (EDL)
edit point
edit through black
edit transition
editing
editor
export
kiss black
linear editing system
matched cut
matched dissolve
non-linear editing system
(NLE)
pace
processing amplifier
(proc amp)
split
time base corrector
(TBC)
time coding
trimming
video delay edit
Because television program scenes are not shot
in order, they must be rearranged (or edited) into the
correct order. Additionally, errors must be removed
and any footage that is unwanted must be edited
out. Editing is a very complex process with important
ethical issues. In broadcast journalism, it is unethical
to fundamentally change the intended message of a
program or person. Advances in editing technology
have made it relatively simple to manipulate the
spoken word. A video editor has an awesome
responsibility and power over the thoughts of the
viewers. This chapter presents the basic concepts and
skills necessary to begin using professional non-linear
editing systems (NLE).
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Editing Systems
editing: The process
of selecting the best
portions of raw video
footage and combining
them into a coherent,
sequential, and complete
program. Editing also
includes post-production
additions of music and
sound effects, as well as
effects used as scene
transitions.
editor: A collective term
that refers to the systems
and equipment used to
edit program footage.
linear editing system:
Videotape-based editing
equipment in which the
best takes from the raw
footage are copied in
the order the audience
will see them to a tape
in the record VCR.
dub: A copy of the
master program
recording. Also called
dup.
Editing is the process of selecting the best portions of raw video footage and combining them into a coherent, sequential, and complete program.
Editing also includes the post-production addition of music and sound effects,
as well as video effects used as scene transitions. All the editing processes are
performed using pieces of equipment collectively called an editor.
Linear editing systems predate the non-linear editing systems of today.
Non-linear editing systems are currently the primary tool for editing video.
Linear Editing Systems
Linear editing systems are based on videotape. Raw footage is placed
in a playback VCR, or source VCR, with a blank videotape in the record
VCR. Good takes of the program footage are copied to the record VCR in
the order the audience will see them. Using this process, the program is
assembled in a straight line, or “linear” fashion. Simple linear editing systems only perform cuts while editing the footage.
Linear editing systems have been in use for several decades. These
systems require a minimum of five pieces of equipment: a source VCR,
a record VCR, an edit controller to operate both VCRs, a monitor for the
source VCR, and a monitor for the record VCR.
Videotape Generation Losses
A generation is each videotaped duplication of original camera footage. Generations are noted sequentially. Raw footage straight from the
camera to tape is the first generation. If the footage is placed in an editor
and edited, the edited version is second generation because it is a copy of
the first generation. If the edited tape is placed into a duplication system to
make 20 copies, each of the copies made is a third generation because they
are all copies of a second generation tape. Using a duplication system to
make many copies of a master tape is called dubbing, or duping. A copy of
the master recording is a dub, or a dup.
Talk the Talk
The word “dub” rhymes with “cub.” The word “dup”
rhymes with “loop.”
The quality of the picture decreases with each generation of videotape.
While most types of videotape experience generational losses, the losses
are greatest with VHS. Currently, only digital tapes can be duplicated
without significant deterioration in quality. The speed at which a tape is
recorded is a factor in duplication. The slower the tape moves, the greater
the loss in picture quality on the copy, Figure 24-1. Other factors that affect
the quality of the copied tape include:
• The quality of the videotape.
• The quality of the VCRs.
• Use of a time base corrector, processing amplifier, distribution
amplifier, or any combination of these.
Chapter 24 Video Editing
Approximate Video Generation Signal Loss
Copy From Speed
Copy To Speed
Picture Quality Loss
VHS SP (2 hr. speed)
VHS SP
10%
VHS SP
VHS LP (4 hr. speed)
25%
VHS SP
VHS EP/SLP (6 hr. speed)
50%
A time base corrector (TBC) is a machine that corrects mechanical errors,
due to age or use, related to the operation of a VCR. A TBC strips any quality-related imperfections out of the signal and leaves only pure audio, video,
and sync in the signal. This piece of equipment compensates for any deterioration in VCR functionality by giving the signal a virtual facelift!
A processing amplifier (proc amp) corrects some color and brightness
problems in the video signal as it passes through. It is commonly used in
videotape recording and duplication systems.
A distribution amplifier (DA) is used when a signal must be split and
sent to multiple outputs. A DA amplifies the signal before it is split, so each
output receives nearly 100% of the original signal. If the original signal
was simply split and sent, each output would receive only a portion of the
signal. For example, if a signal is split and sent to five outputs, each may
receive only 20% of the original signal (100% ÷ 5 = 20%).
Non-Linear Editing Systems
Non-linear editing systems (NLE) are software applications that make
use of digital technology and high-capacity computer hard drives to store
and process video and audio, Figure 24-2. Raw footage is converted to a
digital format and copied to the computer’s hard drive. Scenes can then be
properly arranged, with special effects and transitions added during the
process. Once a program is complete, the video and audio can be recorded
onto a blank videotape, DVD, or other media format.
Arranging scenes on an NLE is similar to the cut and paste or drag and
drop functions of a computer word processing program. Instead of moving
text within a document, scenes are arranged on a timeline. There are many
different brands of non-linear editing systems on the market, each offering different features. The basic functionality of each brand is the same,
but the processing options vary. Each NLE brand or model has a different
appearance on the computer screen—the workspace is laid out differently
and different brands call the same feature or operation by different names.
All of the options available are the manufacturer’s effort to provide for
almost every conceivable editing situation. However, all of the options and
features, in addition to the differences between brand interfaces, creates a
learning curve for NLE users. A new NLE operator looking to perform a
simple task, such as a dissolve without any other fancy effects, may be a bit
overwhelmed. Fortunately, the basic features of an NLE are usually easy
to find on the interface, which allows simple editing to begin fairly quickly
and gives users time to become familiar with the interface.
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Figure 24-1. The
approximate video
generation loss expected
when copying tapes at
different speeds.
time base corrector
(TBC): A machine that
corrects any qualityrelated imperfections
in the video and audio
signals caused by
mechanical errors
associated with the
VCR’s functionality.
processing amplifier
(proc amp): A machine
commonly used when
recording or duplicating
videotapes that corrects
some color and
brightness problems in
the video signal passing
through it.
distribution amplifier
(DA): A machine used
to amplify a signal
before it is split and sent
to multiple outputs.
non-linear editing
system (NLE): Video
editing equipment that
is based on digital
technology and uses
high-capacity computer
hard drives to store
and process video
and audio. The raw
footage is converted to
a digital format, copied
to a computer’s hard
drive, and may then be
arranged and otherwise
manipulated.
472
Figure 24-2. The capability
of a non-linear editing
system depends on the
hard drive capacity of
the computer used. The
camera footage is uploaded
onto the hard drive, all
the program components
are manipulated, and the
completed program is output
to the desired format.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Multiconnection
box
Confidence
monitor
Video
playback
device
Computer
CPU
Workspace
monitors
Production Note
Because each NLE system has its own operational commands and
procedures, review the manuals and training materials provided
for the system by the manufacturer. Most NLE manufacturers
also offer resources for private or group training, phone
support, and many helpful forums online. Be sure to thoroughly
explore the NLE manufacturer’s website for usage tips.
Program Editing Basics
Some editing processes and concepts are the same on every brand of NLE
system. Understanding and effectively utilizing these concepts, such as screen
time vs. real-time and editing action sequences, adds to the production values
of a program, which strengthens the delivery of the program’s message.
Previewing the Raw Footage
edit decision list (EDL):
A list noting which take
of each scene should be
used in the final program
and the location of each
take on the raw footage
tape.
The editing process begins with previewing all the footage shot. While previewing the raw footage, note the specific takes of each scene that should be
used in the finished product and where those takes are located on the recording
media. This list of scene and take numbers becomes an edit decision list (EDL).
To indicate the location of “good” takes, make note of the time code at the
beginning and end of each good take while reviewing the footage, Figure 24-3.
Creating an accurate EDL saves hours of expensive time in an editing suite
because the good takes of each scene can be quickly located.
The take log (discussed in Chapter 20, Directing) that was created while
shooting notes the number of takes recorded per scene and can be used as the
foundation of an EDL. An accurate and detailed take log saves time when creating the EDL. Remember that the head recorded before each take displays the
slate and countdown. Even during high-speed scanning, the slate is noticeable
on the monitor and assists in locating the good takes of each scene recorded.
Chapter 24 Video Editing
Edit Decision List (EDL)
In Point
Out Point
Scene Number or Description
00:05:10:21
00:07:22:10
Scene 7, Take 3
00:12:13:24
00:14:03:12
Scene 3, Take 2
00:21:17:02
00:25:09:14
Scene 6, Take 4
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Figure 24-3. An EDL
notes the location and a
brief description of the
good takes on the raw
footage.
Time Code
Time coding is a system of assigning each frame of a video a specific number, like an address, Figure 24-4. To use time code editing, the camera must
have a circuit that records time code while shooting. The time code is recorded
on an area of the footage that does not affect the picture. The editing system
must also have a circuit that reads time code. Time code editing is very precise.
If all the necessary equipment is enabled with time code capability, the editor
can make an edit within 1/30th of a second of where the edit is actually desired.
time coding: A system
of assigning each frame
of a video a specific
number, like an address.
Production Note
Many professional production companies, as well as schools, require that
an EDL be prepared before using an available video editor. This ensures the
efficient use of costly editing equipment for editing purposes only—
not for reviewing raw footage. To save a great deal of time spent on
the editors, view the raw footage on a regular digital playback unit
with time code reading circuitry. The digital playback unit should
display the time code to be noted in your EDL.
Screen Time
An important goal of successful editing is to create the illusion that the
audience has not missed anything in the sequence of action. In editing a program, the “real time” of the footage shot must be edited to reflect the available “screen time” in order to keep the audience’s attention. Consider the
host of a cooking program demonstrating how to make chocolate chip cookies. The cookies go into the oven and the camera shoots them baking through
the window of the oven for the entire 10 minutes of cooking time. This “real
Time Code
01:17:32:12
A shot marked with this time code is located
exactly one hour, seventeen minutes,
thirty-two seconds, and twelve frames from the
beginning of all recordings on the media.
Figure 24-4. The time
code indicates the exact
location of a shot on the
recording media.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
time” footage does not contain action that keeps an audience’s interest. Too
often, directors feel that every frame of video shot is “too good to lose” and
are unwilling to part with anything. The result can be 20 minutes of torturous programming that would have been quite interesting if it had been cut
to five minutes. In the cooking program example, 10 minutes of real time can
be cut to 10 seconds of screen time by editing the shots as follows:
• Shot of cookies in the oven.
• Cut to a shot of a timer set to 10 minutes.
• Dissolve to the timer’s alarm sounding 10 minutes later.
• Cut to a shot of the baked cookies being removed from the oven.
Editing and Action
An edit must occur between two shots within a scene and between
two scenes in a program in a way that connects them together. Carefully
consider where and when an edit should be performed. All shots have a 10
second head recorded, which includes the countdown and slate. At what
point during the head should the edit be made? All shots also have a 10
second tail. At what point during the tail should the edit be made? Some
guidelines for video cuts and editing include (Figure 24-5):
• If shot A includes a moving object/action or the shot is taken by a
camera that is moving or zooming, shot B should also include an
action shot or camera movement for continuity.
• An edit should not take place between a still (non-action) shot and an
action (moving) shot.
• Edits can occur between two still (non-action) shots.
Figure 24-5. Guidelines
for video cuts and editing
between action and still
shots.
Editing Shots
Yes
No
Action to Action
Action to Still
Still to Still
Still to Action
The director of a program may, however, actually want the audience to
be jarred, startled, or surprised by the edit. This reaction may help communicate the program’s message or the feeling the director is trying to convey.
To create a jarring edit, perform a cut or edit in a manner that contradicts the
guidelines provided. There should always be a purposeful reason that supports the program and its message when conventional rule is broken.
matched cut: A type of
edit in which a similar
action, concept, item, or
a combination of these
is placed on either side
of a cut.
Matched Cuts and Matched Dissolves
A matched cut is a creative type of edit that places a similar action, concept, item, or a combination of these on either side of a cut. The following
are examples of match cuts:
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475
•
A historical drama portrays a prisoner about to have his head removed
on a guillotine. The camera watches the blade fall in a close-up and
the program cuts to a butcher swinging a meat cleaver onto a piece of
beef. The same kind of action occurs on both sides of the edit.
• A man leaves his home, gets in a car, and drives off screen right. The
program cuts to the car driving into the frame from screen left, as the man
arrives at his workplace 15 miles from home. The same item (man and
car) and same action (driving) occur on either side of the edit.
A matched dissolve is another type of creative edit that uses a similar
action, concept, item, or combination of these to transition from one scene
to the next. Instead of a cut between the scenes, a dissolve ties the scenes
together. Cooking shows regularly use matched dissolves:
• A cake is placed in an oven.
• The oven closes and the camera zooms to a clock that reads “1:15 p.m.”
• The shot dissolves to same clock that now reads “1:35 p.m.” (20 minutes
later).
The same concept (time) and same item (a clock) occur on either side
of the dissolve.
matched dissolve: A
type of edit in which a
similar action, concept,
item, or a combination
of these is placed on
either side of a dissolve.
Editing and Audio
In addition to video, there is also audio on both sides of an edit. The audio
must also be considered when determining the best timing for an edit.
• If the audio track is the primary focus, pauses between the talent’s
lines must be a natural length of time.
• When the response to an interview question runs long and is more
than can be used, the response is edited. This edit may create a jump
cut. To correct the jump cut, keep the audio flowing and insert a nod
shot or cutaway of the interviewer or a shot of relevant B-roll footage.
• All of the background sounds in each take of a scene must match to
ensure continuity in the edits. Just as there must be video continuity
within a scene, there must also be audio continuity within a scene.
This is where taking extra time on location to record a few minutes of
room tone and background sound can save a program in the editing
room. The room tone and background sound can fill audio gaps so
there are no periods of “dead” air in the program.
• The level of the accompanying music and sound effects tracks must
not compete with the primary audio of the scene. The volume level
of the background sound or music should be no higher than onequarter the level of the primary sound (usually dialogue).
Breaking these rules for audio and video is acceptable only if the producer or director intends to jar the audience. Any time a conventional rule
is broken, there should be a purposeful reason for doing so that supports
the program and its message.
Editing Transitions
In English class, a “poor transition” means the ending of one paragraph
does not flow well into the beginning of the next paragraph. Video editing
is like writing a paper—each scene must transition into the next scene. An
edit transition refers to the way one scene ends and the next scene begins,
such as fading scene 6 out while fading scene 7 in. An edit transition can be a
edit transition: The
way in which one scene
is edited to end and the
next scene is edited to
begin.
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edit through black:
An edit in which a cut is
made during the period
of black on screen
between a fade out and
a fade in. Also called
kiss black.
pace: The frequency of
cuts or edits per minute
during a program. Also
called cut rate.
Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
fade, dissolve, wipe, special effect, or a digital video effect. Regardless of the
method used for an edit transition, the action, plot, and theme must all transition smoothly from one scene to the next. If these elements do not transition
smoothly, the audience is left confused. In the television industry, a confused
audience will likely reach for the remote and change the channel.
Even on the simplest editor, called a “cuts-only” editor, all editing
transitions do not necessarily look like cuts. It is possible, for example, to
edit a fade out followed by a fade in if the script is marked appropriately
before shooting. If the director indicates on the script that scene 6 should
fade out and scene 7 fades in, the scene can be shot with the applicable fade
out or fade in. Some camcorders have an automatic fade feature. If this
feature is not available, shoot a fade out by smoothly closing the iris of the
camera. Since the end of scene 6 fades to black and the beginning of scene 7
fades in, the edit between the scenes can be made while the screen is black.
A cut from black to black is not noticeable to the audience. This kind of edit
is called an edit through black, or kiss black.
To create the illusion of moving in and out of a flashback, a shot can be
brought into and out of focus. While the picture is out of focus, the cut to
another out of focus shot is nearly invisible to the audience. For this type of
transition, the scenes must be shot using rack focus on the camera.
The frequency of cuts or edits during a program is the pace, or cut rate,
and is usually expressed as a “per minute” rate. The pace of most prime
time television programs averages one cut every 7 seconds. Always strive
to keep a program moving to retain the audience’s interest.
Production Note
While most NLEs offer hundreds of editing transitions,
it is not appropriate to use the transitions just because they
are available. Programs with gimmicky, flashy transitions are
often assumed to be the work of amateur producers. The most
common edit used, by far, is a simple cut. Dissolves and fades
trail closely behind simple cuts.
Assistant activity
Watch one hour of prime time network television, not including the
spots that appear during the hour of programming. One hour of prime
time programming is only 42–44 minutes of program time when the spots
are removed. With an average of 7 seconds between each edit, there are
approximately 370 edits during an hour of programming. Watch
the programming carefully and note the number of edits that are
NOT a cut, dissolve, or fade. You’ll notice a very small number of
other edits used. Professionals do not use many edit transitions
other than dissolves, cuts, and fades.
Cutaways and B-Roll
The importance of recording cutaway and B-roll footage has been discussed in previous chapters (see Chapter 8, Scriptwriting and Chapter 19,
Production Staging and Interacting with Talent) and was presented as a way
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477
to bridge jump cuts. In the process of editing a program, cutaways and
B-roll have several other uses.
Talk the Talk
In this context, the terms cutaway and B-roll mean the
same thing. The only difference is the industry that most
commonly uses each term—“cutaway” is primarily used
in television production and “B-roll” is primarily used in
broadcast journalism.
Cutaways can be used to pick up the pace of the program and create
more visual interest. In a slow moving program with little action and few
cuts between cameras, for example, cutaways can be inserted throughout
the program to break up shots with little or no movement.
Cutaways can be added to a program to provide reaction shots. For
example, the audience sees a drill sergeant yelling at a recruit. While the
drill sergeant is yelling, the program cuts to the recruit’s face so the audience can see the recruit’s reaction to the yelling.
Cutaways may be used to support the message of the program. During
a lecture or speech program, for example, the editor may insert cutaways
of charts, graphs, or presentation slides with information related to the lecture or speech topic.
Cutaways may also be used to cover an audio edit of a long-winded
speaker.
Video and Audio Delay Edits
While editing a program, it is possible to separate the video and the
audio signals and edit each at different times. Consider the following scene:
Maria and Janet are sitting in Janet’s office. Maria asks, “What time is
your husband flying in?” Janet responds, “He’ll be landing at five o’clock
this afternoon.” Cut to a shot of the airplane landing at the airport.
A video delay edit cuts to the audio portion of the next scene before
the corresponding video is seen by the audience, Figure 24-6. Using a
video delay edit, the sound of the airplane landing is audible when Janet
says the word “landing” and video of the airplane is cut in after the word
“afternoon.” An audio delay edit cuts to the video portion of the next scene
before the corresponding audio is heard by the audience. Using the example above, video of an airplane is cut in on the word “landing” as we hear
Janet complete her line, “…at five o’clock this afternoon.” The audio of the
plane landing then cuts into the scene.
Non-Linear Editing
One of the greatest advantages of using a non-linear editing (NLE) system
is the efficiency that digital technology offers. Once the EDL is finalized and all
the necessary raw footage is accessible, editing with a non-linear editing system
can begin. The following are steps in the NLE editing process:
video delay edit: An
edit that cuts to the
audio portion of the
next scene before the
corresponding video of
the new scene is seen
by the audience.
audio delay edit: An
edit that cuts to the
video portion of the
next scene before the
corresponding audio of
the new scene is heard
by the audience.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
1. Capture, or digitize, the recorded footage.
2. Split the footage into clips.
3. Separate audio from video, as needed, to be edited individually.
4. Color correction.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Audio correction.
Create a timeline of scenes.
Trim the clips.
Apply audio and video effects and transitions, including music.
Insert titles.
Output the completed program.
Figure 24-6. A video delay edit or an audio delay edit can make an otherwise plain cut appear more interesting.
Cut
Audio track
Scene 7
Video track
Scene 8
Normal Edit
Audio edit
Audio Scene 8
Audio track
Scene 7
Video track
Scene 8
Video Delay Edit
Video edit
Production Note
The duration of the editing process is dependent on the
editor’s knowledge of the NLE processes, the rendering capabilities
of the system, and, of course the number and complexity of the
needed edits. The best way to become proficient in operating an
NLE is to practice on the system as often as possible.
capture: Non-linear
editing process of
copying all the good
program footage to a
computer hard drive or
to a server. Also called
digitize.
Capturing Recorded Footage
The first step in NLE is to copy all the good footage onto a computer
with a high-capacity hard drive or, if available, a video server. This copying
process is called capturing, or digitizing, the footage. For footage recorded
Chapter 24 Video Editing
479
onto digital videotape, capturing the video and audio is a real-time copying process. Footage recorded directly to a portable hard drive or other tapeless recording format, however, can be captured in seconds by connecting the
portable hard drive or other tapeless recording format directly to the NLE
computer. The footage files can be copied to the NLE computer or to a
video server.
Talk the Talk
In a professional production environment, the terms
capturing and digitizing are used interchangeably. Neither of
these terms is used more commonly than the other.
Production Note
If the footage is copied to a server, all the NLE editors can access
the footage from any workstation. An editor can work on one
editing station today and on a different editing station tomorrow,
and still have access to the centrally-located footage. With
footage stored on a server, it is even possible for several editors
to work on different parts of the same program simultaneously.
Depending on the size and type of production, there may be a large
amount of program footage to capture. While servers usually have sufficient space to store the footage, the computers used with NLE systems must
have high-capacity hard drives with a great amount of available memory
to store all the program footage. Using an EDL reduces the amount of hard
drive space required to store the program footage and reduces the capture
time, as well. The editor can upload and capture only the “good” takes
with the corresponding heads and tails by referring to the EDL, instead of
uploading all the program footage.
By converting the audio and video footage to a digital format, individual
images, scenes, and audio tracks can be manipulated and edited using the features and technology available on an NLE system. Images can be viewed as they
are transferred to the hard drive, if the capturing process is a real-time transfer.
As the beginning of each new scene is displayed, the NLE operator presses a
button to split the footage into individual clips. A clip is a captured scene or
piece of video that can be used when compiling the completed program. If the
footage is captured from portable hard drive or other tapeless recording format, splitting the footage is a separate operation that must be performed after
the footage is placed on the NLE. Many newer NLE systems can detect when
the incoming video footage contains a break (a record stop/start) and will automatically begin a new clip without any NLE operator action necessary.
As footage is loaded onto the NLE, a frame of each video clip—usually
the first frame containing the slate—is displayed on the computer screen as
a thumbnail icon. This is why it is so important that the slate be recorded
during the head of every take while shooting. All of the thumbnail icons for
the footage are contained in a folder called the bin, which may be viewed
in a separate window on the computer screen (Figure 24-7). If there are 45
split: Non-linear editing
operation in which
program footage is
separated into individual
clips.
clip: A captured scene
or piece of video that
can be used when
compiling the completed
program.
bin: A folder on a nonlinear editing computer
that contains all of the
captured footage for a
program. A thumbnail
icon of the first frame of
each video clip contained
in the bin may be viewed
in a window on the
computer monitor.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Figure 24-7. The first
frame of each scene is
displayed to help identify
the footage contained in
the bin.
scenes or video clips of a program loaded onto the hard drive of an NLE
computer, the bin will contain 45 thumbnail icons. On some NLEs, both
bins and clips can be given a short name that describes the contents. Bins
may be named for the corresponding program, and clips may be named to
reflect the scene footage, such as “Scene 4, Take 3.”
At this point, the editor does not spend time on perfectly editing the
clips. The clips are rough cuts and may still contain complete heads and
tails. Precise editing occurs later in the process during trimming.
Timeline Creation
trimming: Non-linear
editing process of
determining the exact
place an edit should
occur and cutting
the clip to remove
unnecessary footage.
edit point: The exact
location in the footage
where an edit should
occur. The edit “out point”
is the edit point at the end
of a scene. The edit “in
point” is the edit point at
the beginning of a scene.
The captured rough scenes are arranged along a timeline in the order
they will appear in the finished program, Figure 24-8. NLE systems offer the
ease of click-and-drag scene organization—click on the footage file or clip for
a scene, drag it to the desired place on the timeline, and drop the scene into
the sequence. To place a scene on the timeline with some NLE systems, the
NLE operator simply double clicks the footage icon. If another scene or effect
is inserted at a previous point on the timeline, the existing material shifts
forward along the timeline to make room; previous work is not overwritten.
This process is very similar to inserting a sentence into a paragraph using
a word processing program—all the exiting text after the inserted sentence
moves down on the page to accommodate the new sentence.
Trimming
Trimming is the process of determining the exact place an edit should
occur and cutting the clip to remove unnecessary footage. The exact place
a scene begins or ends is called an edit point. The edit point at the end of a
scene is called an edit “out point” and the edit point at the beginning of
Chapter 24 Video Editing
481
Figure 24-8. Using a nonlinear editing system, the
timeline can be rearranged
as easily as clicking and
dragging the scene icon.
Preview
display
Record
display
Timeline of video and audio tracks
a scene is called an edit “in point.” The head and tail recorded for each
scene are removed by the trimming process. However, the recorded heads
and tails provide the editor with more flexibility in deciding when a scene
should start. During the 15-second head, the slate is recorded for the first
10 seconds. This leaves 5 seconds before the first “important” action or
dialogue begins in the scene. The editor may choose to allow an emphatic
pause before the main action of the scene begins, or the editor may jump
directly into the scene. Editing is all about choices, and the recorded heads
and tails give the editor more choices.
When the scenes are placed in order, they are trimmed to flow naturally. Depending on the NLE system, precision trimming can occur between
fields – 1/60th of a second. (The term field is discussed in Chapter 25,
Getting Technical.) The order of the scenes, effects, or audio can be adjusted,
previewed, and moved again until correctly placed.
Correction
Minor discrepancies sometimes occur between two scenes. For example, the color of an item is not identical in both scenes. Most NLE systems
have color correction features to address this type of discrepancy. These
features can help match scenes and correct the image to some degree. Color
correction features on an NLE are considered quite advanced and may not
satisfactorily correct the images. Shoot the scene right the first time and do
not regard “fixing it in post” as a viable option.
Audio correction features are also available on most NLEs and are a
bit more user-friendly than color correction features. However, audio correction features are not designed for a novice editor either. Again, shoot the
scene right the first time.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Audio Editing
Once the clips of a program are trimmed and the program flows
smoothly, the audio mixing, music, nat sound, and sound effects can be
applied. Many NLEs offer an abundance of tracks of audio to use while
editing. Using these tracks, each type of audio is placed on a different track
to be easily mixed with all the other tracks. Although many tracks of audio
are available to an editor, the primary audio (usually dialogue) should
never be difficult for the audience to hear. Typically, other audio tracks
should be no higher than 1/4th the level of the primary audio.
Effects and Transitions
NLEs are equipped with built-in special effects, DVEs, and editing transitions (Figure 24-9). A transition may be selected from a menu and set to last
for a specific amount of time. The default edit type on an NLE is a simple cut.
To perform any other transition type—from a dissolve to spinning an image
then shrinking it, or curling the edges into a circle, inflating it into a 3D ball,
and making it fly off the screen into infinity—requires additional menu and
button selections. Before deciding to use a transition other than a cut, decide
if the transition contributes to the overall message/purpose of the program
or if it just looks cool. What looks “cool” to an editor may be “cheesy” to the
viewer. In some academic environments, teachers require that students use
only cuts in the first few projects they undertake.
Figure 24-9. Selecting the
transition from one shot
to another is as simple as
clicking an option from an
on-screen menu.
Effects
options
Next scene
to edit
Last frame of the
previous scene
Timeline
of video
and audio
tracks
Bin
of
clips
Chapter 24 Video Editing
483
Titles
Many NLEs offer built-in titling devices, Figure 24-10. The opening
and closing titles may be created and added to the finished program or
keyed over existing video, if desired.
Exporting
Once a program is complete, it can be exported for duplication and
distribution in the necessary format, such as videotape or DVD, or the
program may be aired directly from the hard drive without any loss in
quality. Exporting an edited program to tape is usually a real-time process.
Exporting to DVD is a much faster process, but the speed of the export
depends on the capabilities of the equipment being used.
Preview display
Record display
Bin
Timeline of video and
audio tracks
Producing Quality Programs
The goal of every production operation should be to produce the best
program possible—from pre-production all the way through the process
to duplication and distribution. Unfortunately, there are so many things
involved in creating a really good program that sometimes the simple
steps and details get overlooked. Failing to remember the simple things
can often ruin an otherwise great program. Appendix A contains a comprehensive review of production values and technical considerations for
maximum quality programs.
export: The process of
copying the completed
program for duplication
and distribution.
Figure 24-10. The
character generator
module built into an NLE
has a display screen with
various options available,
such as bringing up
blank pages, colorizing
backgrounds, creating
letters, applying edges,
and creating motion.
Text is entered once all
the settings have been
selected.
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Television Production & Broadcast Journalism
Wrapping Up
Editing is one of the most exciting positions on the production team.
Novice editors should practice with cuts only, regardless of the type of editing
system available. Learn to tell a simple story without flashy special effects
and practice until the results are acceptable. The features and functions
of more elaborate editing systems will become familiar with experience.
Technology promises to provide continual changes and improvements to
video editing systems. To be successful, you must learn to make the best use
of new technology and adapt to the changes.
Review Questions
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. Do not
write in this book.
1. What is the difference between linear editing systems and non-linear
editing systems?
2. What information is included on an EDL? When is the EDL created?
3. Summarize the guidelines for editing and action.
4. What is a matched dissolve?
5. What is an edit transition?
6. Explain how cutaways are used in the editing process.
7. Identify the steps involved in the NLE process.
8. What is the purpose of trimming?
9. What is the benefit of using several tracks of audio while editing?
Activities
1. Watch a few prime time television programs. Make a list of all the
matched cuts you notice. Be prepared to describe the matched cuts in
class.
2. Compare the cut rates of two different types of programs. Is the cut rate
of one faster or slower than the other? Does the cut rate serve a particular purpose in either program?
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1. What advancements have been made in video editing software products
available on personal computers in the last 10 years? What video editing
functions are you familiar with on your home computer?
2. The pace of most prime time television programs averages one cut every
7 seconds. How many cuts are in a 30-minute program, with 10 minutes
subtracted for spots?
Chapter 24 Video Editing
3. Watch a program that makes use of cutaway shots. List each and identify
the purpose of each cutaway shot. Examples of purposes include picking
up the pace of the program, providing a reaction shot, supporting the
message of the program, covering an audio edit.
4. Find an example of an edit between shots or scenes that was intentionally jarring or surprising. Why did you find the edit jarring or surprising?
How did this edit contribute to the program?
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