basic television lighting audio and scenery

basic television lighting audio and scenery
Subcourse DI0370
October, 1987
Army Public Affairs Center
Fort George G. Meade, Maryland
Ten Credit Hours
The Basic Television Lighting, Audio, and Scenery part of the
Broadcast Journalist 71R Skill Level 1 and 2 Subcourse, is designed to
introduce Army broadcasters to an entry level understanding of three
point lighting techniques, microphones used in various productions and
related audio equipment and television scenery/backgrounds. This
subcourse is presented in three lesson.
This subcourse contains three lessons, each related to the fundamental
tasks of television lighting, audio and scenery for the Army
Broadcaster. These lessons will provide a basic knowledge and
understanding of the different phases of basic television lighting,
audio and scenery.
Supplementary Requirements:
This lesson may be taken without any prerequisites.
Material Needed: You will need paper and a No. 2 pencil to complete
this subcourse. No other materials are needed.
No supplementary references are needed for this subcourse.
Ten credit hours will be awarded for successful completion of this
Task: In these lessons, you-will first become familiar with basic
lighting techniques and the requirements used for setup of simple
television sets. Secondly, you will learn the two-categories and five
types of microphones, their characteristics and usage. The functions
of the two types of audio boards and related equipment. And finally,
the role scenery, properties and set dressings play in the television
Given the material presented in this subcourse.
Standards: Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of the
fundamental techniques of lighting, lighting equipment, and the threepoint-lighting method. Know the types of microphones, their
characteristics and how they are used. And, the important role
television scenery plays in the visual portion of a TV program.
TITLE PAGE.......................................................
TABLE OF CONTENTS................................................
Lesson 1:
BASIC TELEVISION LIGHTING.............................
Learning Event 1:
Technical Objectives ......................
Learning Event 2:
Aesthetics ................................
Learning Event 3:
Lighting Instruments ......................
Learning Event 4:
Three-point Lighting ......................
Learning Event 5:
Controlling Light .........................
Practice Exercise .......................................
Answers to Practice Exercise ............................
Lesson 2:
INTRODUCTION TO BASIC AUDIO...........................
Learning Event 1:
Sound Theory ..............................
Learning Event 2:
Microphones ...............................
Learning Event 3:
Electronic Characteristics ................
Learning Event 4:
Categories of Microphones .................
Learning Event 5:
Microphone Placement ......................
Learning Event 6:
Kinds of Microphones ......................
Learning Event 7:
Acoustics .................................
Learning Event 8:
Accessories ...............................
Console Functions.............................
Learning Event 9:
Learning Event 10:
Control Consoles .........................
Learning Event 11:
Related Equipment ........................
Learning Event 12:
Glossary .................................
Practice Exercise .......................................
Answers to Practice Exercise ............................
Lesson 3:
Basic Scenery .....................................
Learning Event 1:
Scenery ...................................
Learning Event 2:
Property ..................................
Learning Event 3:
Studio Backgrounds ........................
Practice Exercise .......................................
Answers to Practice Exercise ............................
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1
Lighting for television is not only an art, it's also a science. The
art of television lighting is creating certain moods and effects with
lighting techniques. The science is the application of specific
technical rules.
The broadcast journalist needs to be aware of these differences
because they will affect the quality of the work in both studio and
field production.
Television cameras will not reproduce a quality picture without proper
lighting. Your eyes need much less light to see than does a
television camera. Outside, the sun, moon and even stars provide
illumination. Inside, table lamps, overhead lights, recessed lights
and other lighting fixtures provide illumination. However, when you
start to control illumination for the purpose of creating special
moods or for technical reasons, you are involved in lighting for
The first thing you need to consider when learning the basic concepts
of television lighting are the technical requirements of the
television system itself. There are two basic objectives you must be
concerned with: Quantity and Quality of light.
In order for the television camera to see the subject, there must be
enough illumination/light. A TV camera requires considerably more
light than the human eye. If the overall light level is too low, you
get what is called a "noisy or snowy picture, or none at all. When
the picture is noisy, it looks grainy -- Similar to a photograph that
has been enlarged a great deal.
Another aspect of the quantity of light is the intensity of the
shadows in the scene. A television system can accommodate a contrast
range, of NOT more than twenty times darker than the brightest element
of the scene.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1
If shadows are darker than 20: 1 there will be reproduction problems
for the camera. For example put yourself in a dark room and have a
flashlight available. You will be able to find any object in the
room. But a television camera in the same room, under the same
conditions, would not be able to identify a thing. That's because
your eyes have a contrast ratio of 160 to 1, but a camera only has a
ratio of 20 to 1.
With too much light, subjects have an appearance of glowing or
"blooming". This, when seen on television, shows a washed out
appearance. Obviously both situations are unacceptable.
Light Meter. The most common method of finding out if a scene or
subject has enough light to reproduce a good quality television image,
is by measuring the amount of light falling on or reflected by the
scene or subject. This is done with the aid of a light meter. The
meter measures light by allowing light to strike a light sensitive
strip or cell which produces a small electric current. The amount of
current produced is directly proportional to the amount of light
entering the meter. A lot of light produces more current and a little
light less current. The current in turn moves a needle over a printed
scale. (Fig. 1-1)
Figure 1-1
Light Meter
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1
The scale is calibrated to indicate how much light is entering the
meter. The scale is normally calibrated in footcandles but may also
be marked in lumens (which are equal to footcandles). The footcandle
scale is normally used in television.
Let's take a look at the second technical consideration. The quality
of light refers to the color temperature of the light source. Color
temperature is properly termed "Kelvin Temperature." This refers to
the amount of red, yellow and blue-white quality in the light, and is
expressed in "degrees Kelvin". Do not confuse color temperature with
footcandles. Footcandles measure the intensity of the light, not its
color temperature.
Color cameras may be balanced to any color temperature. But, the
television industry has set 3,200 degrees Kelvin as the standard for
studio lighting. The outside color temperature from the sun on a
bright day is rated at 5,600 degrees Kelvin. This standard may not
always be consistent, because clouds filter the sun's light and create
a different color temperature. Different color temperatures will
cause unpredictable color distortions. Such distortions might produce
purple faces. Mixing lights of different color temperatures will
produce other technical problems. Most quartz halogen bulbs used in
television produce 3,200 degrees of color temperature. DO NOT try to
use stage lights from a theater. Stage lights use a different color
temperature, and will throw the color TV cameras off balance. Using
lights other than those designed for 3,200 degrees Kelvin will cause
engineers many problems.
There are many different makes and models of light meters with
multiple options and functions. When you start to work with a light
meter, take the time to read the operating instructions and become
familiar with the meter. A little practice in reading the meter and
you will have the technique in no time.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1
Measuring Light.
There are two methods of measuring the light in your
Incident light reading. Measuring the actual light falling
on the subject is called "incident" light measurement. To
take an incident light reading, a light meter is held near
the subject, but the top of the light meter pivots, and
should be facing the light source. The meter measures the
amount of light falling on the subject. The incident light
meter reading is the most commonly used method in television
(Fig. 1-2).
Figure 1-2
Incident light measurement
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1 and 2
Reflected light reading. The second method of measuring
light is called a "reflected" light reading. A reflected
light meter reading measures the amount of light reflected
from the subject.
Figure 1-3
Reflected light measurement
The reflected meter reading is used in television primarily
when the overall scene is composed of dark colors. (Fig. 1-3)
The needs of a lighting technician do not end once the technical
requirements of lighting the set have been met. Certain aesthetic or
non-technical objectives are mood, form or dimension, and directing
LESSON 1/Learning Event 2 and 3
Using shadows and different light levels discreetly will set the mood
of a program or scene, and even the time of day, when necessary.
Every scene has some sort of mood to convey. Usually, the set and
lighting should work hand in hand to accomplish this effect.
Dimension or Form
Television is currently a two-dimensional medium. In the future,
there may be 3-dimensional hologram TV. Right now the TV screen has
only height and width, but there are ways to create the illusion of
the third dimension "depth," with effective lighting. While we need
to be careful of creating harsh shadows, we need some shadows to
create form. By using backlight on a subject we separate objects in
the foreground from subjects in the background. This technique gives
the illusion of depth and dimension.
Directing Attention
Directing the viewer's attention can be done in a number of ways. The
most obvious way is to use a "follow spot." A follow spot is a
spotlight that keys in on a particular subject and follows that
subject, directing the viewer's attention. Normally though, we will
want to be a little more subtle. Using key and fill lights properly
to direct attention will do the same thing without being so obvious.
Important Note: Each situation for lighting a set or scene is
different. Separate illumination should be used for the
background, foreground and subject at all times. Attention to
each step of the lighting setup is needed to accomplish specific
requirements. Take time when attempting these tasks. As a
broadcast journalist, be aware of the objectives and how they
apply to each project. The difference between excellent lighting
and adequate lighting is the dedication, not the time spent.
There are two primary types of lights used in the three-point lighting
method spotlight and the floodlight.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 3
A lens spotlight provides a variable focus or beam spread of light
(Fig 1-4). The light field is smooth, even, and
Figure 1-4
the outer edge of the spotlight beam is less intense than the center.
They are very directional, have a highly polished reflector and a
relatively thin, lightweight clear lens. They may be used in many
situations such as key light, backlight and other spotlight
LESSON 1/Learning Event 3
The floodlight is a wide-angled "scoop" used to provide fill and base
light with a very wide, diffused beam (Fig. 1-5). The bulbs are
exposed inside a brush-finished reflector with no lens. Fiberglass
scrim or metal mesh may be placed across the front in a special holder
to dim the light.
Figure 1-5
Floodlight (Scoop)
LESSON 1/Learning Event 4
With all the information presented here, it may seem very difficult to
provide light for television. However, following proven photographic
lighting techniques makes the task manageable.
The methods for lighting all non-visual mediums such as motion picture
photography and television originated from still photography. The
basic three-point lighting format (Fig. 1-6) is still the basic
photography layout.
Figure 1-6
Three-point lighting
LESSON 1/Learning Event 4
Key Light. The key light is the primary source of illumination when
setting three-point lighting, and should be set up first. Generally,
the key light is placed at a 45-degree angle to the left or right of
the camera and above. When lighting is natural, the light comes from
above. So the key light should also be elevated above the level of
the camera in relation to the subject. The main function of the key
light is to bring out the basic shape of the main subject. The
subject will have a very dark shadow. A key light or spotlight allows
a great deal of directional control over the light source.
Backlight. The secondary light source is the backlight. The
backlight is used to separate the subject from the background and
provides the illusion of a third dimension -- depth. A spotlight or
key light that has been shaded to prevent "flare" is always used for
the backlight. Flare is the excess light that enters the camera lens
when the backlight is not positioned properly. "Barn doors" must be
used to prevent direct light from entering the camera lens. Barn
doors are used to direct light coming from a lighting instrument. The
doors shade the light itself on the top and bottom.
Once the key light and backlight have been set, the definition or
dimension of the object should show quite well. But the fall-off area
from the light to dark area is very fast. So we need to fill these
areas in, and this is accomplished by using a fill light.
Fill Light. The fill light is the third light source and has a more
diffused characteristic compared to the key light and backlight. In
three-point lighting, a fill light or scoop is used to fill in the
dark areas created by the key and backlight. The main function of a
fill light is to reduce shadows. Don't eliminate all the shadows,
because we need some shadows to create depth. The fill light should
be placed opposite the key light at a 45-degree angle above the
The ratio or contrast range of key light to fill light is best when
kept to about 2:1. This means that the key light is twice as bright
as the fill light. This reduces the contrast range or shadow density
but still leaves enough shadow area to create, rather than eliminate,
the three-dimensional effect.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 5
The lighting instruments themselves will hang from the ceiling on a
series of pipes or battens called a "grid." These lights plug into a
series of electrical outlets which are numbered and are attached to,
or mounted in a strategic location, along the lighting grid.
The lights are fastened to the grid by a "C" clamp that is attached to
an accordion-like device or telescoping pole, called a "pantograph."
The C-clamp is a clamp that looks like a "C" -- with a locking bolt
that is threaded through the open ends of the C clamp. Pantographs
allow vertical (up and down) movement to vary the height of the light.
The electrical outlets in the grid connect to a central electrical
"lighting patch panel" either in the same studio or another room. The
patch panel is used to assign each individual light to a specific
control or dimmer switch.
These in turn are connected to a dimmer bank of switches that are used
to control a group of lights. This allows the technician to group
lights together. Therefore, all fill lights are put on one bank, key
lights on another, etc.
Lighting instruments have many physical sizes but they all produce two
basic types of light:
Non-directional or diffused light
Remember that the object is not simply to turn all the lights on and
point them toward the subject. The controls that are used to blend
and shape lights to meet our technical and aesthetic objectives must
now be put into practice. We will look at how we can control the
intensity, direction and color of our light.
There are several ways to control the brightness or intensity of the
light falling on the subject. The most convenient way is by using
dimmer circuits. These circuits work by reducing the amount of
electrical current to the bulb. While dimmers are very convenient and
easy to use, they have one major drawback. As the amount of
LESSON 1/Learning Event 5
decreases, the filament of the bulb dims and color temperature
changes, giving an increasingly reddish light. Most experts agree
that we may dim a light to about 85 percent of its rated voltage.
This decreases the color temperature about 200 degrees Kelvin without
a noticeable change in color.
Beware of using dimmers, especially for light that falls on a
subject's face or skin. Flesh tones are the only true way of
adjusting color levels on a viewers set. If we alter that color in
any way, our reference will be lost. And all the color levels, on all
the television sets receiving the video picture, will end up out of
Another way to reduce the light intensity is by increasing the
distance between the subject and the light. Remember, as the distance
increases, the angle, distribution and light intensity changes in
direct proportion to the subject. Putting "screens" and "scrims" in
front of your light also reduces the intensity of your light. Screens
are used mostly on directional lights because they do not alter the
hard directional light beam or affect color temperature. A scrim is
made of translucent gauze or glass fiber material. The fiber diffuses
the light beam and decreases light intensity.
Barn doors. Barn doors are adjustable metal shutters, resembling
doors, that allow the operator to control the edge of the beam of
light. The barn doors slip into a slot on the front of the lighting
instrument (normally fresnels). Barn doors are used to shape the
light. The doors come in two-and four-door varieties.
Some spotlights have a built in "lens" control that does the same
thing as a set of barn doors but with more accuracy.
The lens control allows a very accurate amount of light to be targeted
to a specific area.
Scrims and screens. Scrims and Screens are placed in front of a light
source to soften and diffuse the light. One layer of scrim material
will normally reduce light output by 50 percent. Thus, the scrim
reduces light output and softens and diffuses the light. The scrim
does not affect the color temperature of the light. If there is still
difficulty in getting the right intensity, the wattage, not the
voltage, of the bulb in the fixture is changed.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 5
The directional control for lighting comes from the grids, clamps, and
pantographs or other hanging devices in the studio. Lights may be
hung and pointed in any direction.
Effects lighting. Lights coming through windows and doors may be used
to highlight a specific area or object dictated by the script or
setting. An "eye light" can add sparkle to a performer's eyes and
teeth or small objects in dark corners. The effects lights are the
last lights added to the set. These are added to correct deficiencies
of the key, back and fill lights. Poor lighting should be corrected
by adjusting or relocating the key or fill light already in place.
Color gels. Gels are available in a wide selection of colors. They
are placed in front of the light in the same way scrims and screens
are positioned. Color lighting is used sparingly in television
because flesh tones are used as a color reference. Do not splash
color on the subject unless there is a special reason, and then, only
when the engineers have been informed. Color gels are used primarily
to place color on cycloramas and/or sets.
Light for color television. A major consideration in lighting for
color television is the color temperature of the lighting. Color
cameras are normally balanced electronically for lighting that has a
color temperature of 3,200 degrees Kelvin. Most tungsten-halogen or
quartz-iodine bulbs are manufactured with this specific color
We are most interested in lights that affect skin tones of a
For this reason we will seldom, if ever, use color lights on
television subject. When the lights are on a dimmer, always
maintain the color temperature of 3,200 degrees Kelvin (plus
200 degrees).
try to
or minus
Final check. The final check for determining adequate light levels
may be made by viewing the results on the control room TV monitors.
The engineers will indicate which level is the most technically
LESSON 1/Learning Event 5
************************** SAFETY WARNING ***************************
All television lights become extremely hot when they are used.
You may receive serious burns if you are not careful. Be careful
when you are adjusting barn doors, scrims, etc., after the lights
have been on. After use lights remain extremely hot for about 5
to 10 minutes.
Review the material in this lesson. Answer the questions below by
circling "T or F" next to each question. Compare your answers with
the answer key on the next page. Ensure that you understand the
lesson material and answers before proceeding to the next lesson.
There are two basic lighting objectives.
You can control the intensity, direction and the color of
light in a studio.
The color temperature that is the industry standard is
3,100 degrees Kelvin.
Backlight, properly used, is the main contributing factor
used to create the illusion of a third dimension.
The best lighting ratio for key light to backlight is 1:1.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 1 and 2
In this lesson, we will describe the fundamentals of sound and how it
is transmitted. Let's begin with the theory of sound. Everything
that takes the form of matter --solid, liquid or gas --is made up of
micro bits of material called molecules. We can't see the molecules
because of their size. These molecules stay approximately in the same
location until they are disturbed. When this happens they collide.
During the collision, the molecules transfer energy to each other
through whatever material they are made of --solid, liquid or gas. In
sound theory, molecules continue to collide with each other until they
make contact with the ear. The ear picks up the vibrations or
pressure waves (energy) and channels the vibrations into the eardrum
where they are converted into electrical signals. The brain then
process the signals. The conversion from pressure wave to electrical
information in the brain produces what we know as sound.
A microphone, like the ear, is a transducer that converts acoustical
sound energy into electrical energy. The energy is then amplified and
transmitted to a speaker. All microphones are basically the same.
They all have their own housing, diaphragm, magnetic field and moving
parts within that field. Until a sound wave is changed from the wave
in the air to an electrical form, it can't be used electronically.
This is the function of the microphone.
Microphones are classified by the way they change the sound waves into
electrical energy. There are two components microphones must have to
change sound energy into electrical energy:
a diaphragm, which vibrates in response to sound pressure
a generating element, which changes the physical vibrations
of the diaphragm into usable electrical energy.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 2
According to their principles of operation, microphones are separated
into two categories. They are:
pressure-operated microphones
velocity microphones
Pressure-Operated Microphones
There are several types of pressure-operated microphones: carbon,
crystal or ceramic, and condenser or capacitor. When someone speaks
into a pressure-operated microphone, the diaphragm vibrates in
response to the air pressure from the sound (See Figure 2-1). These
vibrations cause the voice coil to move back and forth within a
magnetic field. The coil produces a fluctuating electric current
which, when amplified and transmitted to a speaker, reproduces the
exact sound the microphone picked up initially and makes the sound
audible to the listener.
Figure 2-1
Pressure-operated microphone
LESSON 2/Learning Event 2 and 3
Velocity Microphones
The velocity or ribbon microphone employs the moving conductor
principle, in which a thin, flat piece of metal is suspended, so that
it vibrates freely in a magnetic field. In this case, the ribbon
element is the diaphragm. Again, a generating element changes the
vibrations of the diaphragm into electrical energy (Fig. 2-2). The
ribbon is not encased in a closed housing; it's exposed to the air on
all sides. This type of microphone is very fragile. Any sharp, loud
blast of air close to the microphone, may damage or even destroy it.
Figure 2-2
Velocity-operated microphone
All audio broadcasting and/or recording begins with the use of a
microphone. "Mike's" as they are commonly referred to, may be grouped
into three classifications according to their directional pickup
unidirectional (one direction)
bidirectional (two directions)
omnidirectional (all directions).
LESSON 2/Learning Event 3
Some mikes belong to only one class while others can be changed or
adjusted to either of the other two. Microphones do not pick up sound
equally from all directions. The pickup pattern of a mike will tell
you how to best place the microphone or subject for optimum sound
Unidirectional Microphones
The pickup pattern of the unidirectional microphone is, roughly, the
shape of a heart or cardioid pattern. These microphones accept sound
best at the 0 degree point with minimal response at the 180 degree
point (Fig. 2-3).
Figure 2-3
Figure 2-4
An example of the value of a unidirectional or cardioid microphone
would be a singer performing with an orchestra. Let's say the singer
uses a unidirectional mike. Its dead side may be turned toward an
orchestra so the orchestra will not overpower the singer. Another
example would be a speaker addressing a group. The unidirectional
mike will only pick up the speaker talking. The side noise will not
be heard, or if it is, it will be very faint. The unidirectional
microphone must be pointed in the direction of the sound source for
best results.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 3 and 4
Bidirectional Microphones
This particular microphone has a figure eight type pickup pattern.
The dead side of the microphone is on either side. This configuration
accepts sound best at the 0 degree and 270 degree axis points or sides
(Fig. 2-4). In radio, with two or more performers, the bidirectional
microphone is usually preferred. When two or more people perform at a
bidirectional mike, they not only feel less crowded. They have the
advantage of playing to each other, thus giving them a feeling of
natural, human interaction.
Omnidirectional mikes accept sound equally well from all directions
without any loss. There are no variations in this pattern (Fig. 25). This microphone allows the performer to talk from any direction.
The omnidirectional mike is particularly valuable for round table
discussions and for voices in a group.
Figure 2-5
There are two types of microphones: the dynamic and the velocity.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 4
The most popular microphone in broadcasting is the dynamic microphone.
The dynamic mike is the most ruggedly constructed of all the
microphones. The dynamic microphone is used in all types of
environments, both in studio and on remote assignments. This is
because the dynamic mike has a low wind-noise characteristic. This
trait and its dependability make the dynamic mike the most trusted of
all microphones. The dynamic mike tends to favor high-frequency over
low-frequency sounds. Because of its inherent high-frequency cutoff,
the dynamic mike tends to accentuate sibilance in a person's voice.
Sibilance is a hissing sound made when the letter "s" is pronounced.
Dynamic mikes are pressure operated microphones.
A close relative of the dynamic mike is the velocity microphone. This
is the old standby for the broadcast and recording industry. The
velocity or ribbon mike has a superb uniform frequency response
between 20 to 20 thousand hertz. This may be seen with an audio test
generator. The ribbon mike is extremely sensitive and should never be
used outdoors. A strong wind may break the ribbon rendering the mike
useless. The ribbon element is enclosed by a screen. The velocity
microphone has a tendency, because it's so sensitive, to make
performers "pop" their p's, b's and t's if they get too close to the
mike. The explosive quality of these letters causes a very sharp,
momentary increase in the pressure component of the sound wave. This
may sound to the listener like a very small firecracker exploded in
front of the microphone.
The velocity mike tends to favor low-frequency over high-frequency
sounds. Consequently, a velocity mike may be used to deepen the
voice. A unique characteristic of this mike is the closer the
announcer gets to the microphone the deeper his voice will sound.
The condenser or capacitor microphone is the mike that is chosen most
by professionals. This microphone has the most exacting reproduction
of sound with perfect uniformity and full-range response. The
condenser mike is a pressure-operated microphone and operates on the
storage of an
LESSON 2/Learning Event 4,5 and 6
electrical charge which requires a battery or power supply. The head
of the mike contains two plates. One plate is the diaphragm, the
other is a heavy backplate. The backplate is insulated from the
diaphragm and spaced parallel to its' rear surface. As sound waves
enter the mike, the sound pressure causes a change in the spacing of
the two plates. This varies the internal capacitance and the voltage
of the battery or power supply to the signal current. The condenser
mike, with its battery, has an extremely low electrical output and
requires its own power supply. Because of its technical complexity
and accuracy, it is one of the most expensive microphones to
Microphone placement in a radio studio is simple. The mikes are
normally placed on a desk stand ready for use. Radio studio
microphones are usually placed on a 45 degree angle, about four to six
inches from the announcer's mouth. However, this is only a suggested
guideline. As each announcer becomes more accustomed to a particular
mike, they may want to move it around to get the best results for
Microphone placement is more critical for television if and when the
mike is to be seen on-camera. The mike should not interfere with
viewing the picture or distract the eye of the viewer by being in
strange locations.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 6
Lavalier Microphone
The most commonly used microphone in television is the lavalier (Fig.
2-6). The "lav" is always omnidirectional. When an announcer uses a
lavalier, he talks across the mike rather than directly into it.
Because it is omnidirectional
Figure 2-6
Lavalier microphone
the lav has a tendency to pick up studio noise and must be positioned
properly to avoid this situation. Have the production personnel place
the mike on the subject. The untrained guest who puts on his own
microphone probably will position the lav where it looks best rather
than for best sound pick up.
A good rule of thumb for positioning a Lavalier microphone is to place
the mike in the direction the performer will face. For example,
during interviews, the host and guest should face each other at about
a 45 degree angle. The microphone should be attached to their lapels
on the side where the host and guest face each other.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 6
Figure 2-7
Lavalier placement
Do not place a lavalier microphone under a tie or clothing (Fig 2-7).
This may result in muffled audio or extraneous clothing noise when the
microphone rubs against the material.
The lavalier microphone is a good tool to use when movement is
required on the set. For example, a weather report where movement is
required by the weatherman from a sitting location to a standing
location in the weather maps area. The lav is attached to his
clothing which allows freedom of movement to the weatherman. This
enables him freedom to move to the maps and back again to the set with
a minimum of problems.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 6
Desk Microphone
The desk microphone is attached to a small stand and placed on a desk
or table top. The front of the mike should be pointed in the
direction the announcer will normally face during the production (Fig.
2-8). Desk mikes are very sensitive to external noise. Announcers
should be reminded not to tap or kick the desk.
Figure 2-8
Desk microphone
Hand Microphone
The hand held microphone (Fig. 2-9) is commonly used by radio and
television reporters for interviewing in the field
Figure 2-9
Hand microphone
LESSON 2/Learning Event 6
and by entertainers. The interviewer and performer have complete
control over the positioning of the microphone, since they hand hold
the mike. Because both news people and entertainers need to move
around, this mike is an excellent choice.
Stand Microphone
This is basically a hand held microphone positioned on a tall stand
and frequently used by singers or placed near musical instruments
(Figure 2-10). The stand microphone is normally preset to the
subject's height for ease of use.
Figure 2-10
Stand microphone
Shotgun Microphone
The shotgun microphone is designed to pick up sound and not be in the
picture. This is particularly useful when it is not possible to place
a microphone on a speaker's lectern. The shotgun mike may be several
feet from the speaker and still pick up acceptable audio. Because
this mike is highly unidirectional, the shotgun locks in on the main
source while eliminating most ambient or side noise. The shotgun
LESSON 2/Learning Event 6 and 7
microphone is specifically designed to gather sound from the front and
suppress sound at the sides and rear of the microphone (Fig. 2-11).
Figure 2-11
Shotgun microphone
Most studios are acoustically controlled for recording. However, many
recording situations will not be in the controlled environment of a
studio. An empty room reflects sound and therefore, records
differently than that same room filled with furniture; a small room
sounds differently than a large room; inside acoustics are much
different than outside.
For example, when covering an open-air speech where a large crowd is
present, the main consideration should be recording the speech and
keeping the ambient or outside noise from interfering. An
omnidirectional microphone will pick up the speaker and the ambient
sound. In this situation, a unidirectional microphone should be used,
eliminating much of the ambient noise and keying in on the main
An interview conducted in a room that has a hollow sound presents
other problems. Rooms with high ceilings or sparsely furnished and
containing many hard surfaces will create this hollow effect by
causing the sound waves to bounce off the hard surfaces. A
bidirectional mike should be used here because this type of mike picks
up sound best directly in front, and in back, with decreasing
sensitivity at the sides. (See Fig. 2-4)
LESSON 2/Learning Event 7 and 8
When conducting an acoustical analysis, it is important to know the
directional characteristics of the microphones that are available.
The audio person must take all possible audio situations and problems
into consideration. Examine the alternatives and then select the type
microphone that will provide the best pickup for the specific
Professional mikes and cables use standard jacks or connector plugs
called "Canon XLR" connectors or "Canon Plugs". The canon plug is a
three pronged plug with male and female connectors. Generally most
audio outputs, such as the microphone end, use the male plug while
most inputs in the studio audio connector box use a female receptacle.
When connecting these plugs, listen for a click which tells when they
are joined. When taking them apart, be sure to release the safety
lock or the wires may be pulled out of the connector.
Most microphones are sensitive to loud, sudden, sounds and wind noise.
"Pop filters and screens" are used on mikes to diminish these sounds.
Pop filters are built in electronically and are usually used in
dynamic microphones. Windscreens are external attachments on any mike
that cover the microphone. Pop filters and screens will not eliminate
all the unwanted sound but they will help. They are excellent tools
to use against unwanted distortion or loud sounds.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 8
These filters slightly reduce the frequency response of a microphone
(Fig. 2-12).
Figure 2-12
Audio connector boxes are usually located low to the floor along the
studio wall. These boxes usually will contain female receptacles.
Connecting a microphone is easy. Just line up the pins to the female
connector and push them together. To release a mike from a
receptacle, push the release button. Use caution when inserting and
removing a cable and handle the cable by the metal connector, NOT by
the wire. Pulling on the cable may damage the wires inside. A little
care will prevent a lot of problems.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 8
Fig. 2-13 shows the different types of connectors that you may run
into in a studio or field situation.
Figure 2-13
Cables that are not in use should be neatly coiled. Be careful not to
wrap them too tight or damage to the wires inside may occur. If
cables or connectors are abused, they may not function when you need
them. Before leaving for an assignment, always inspect the cables and
connectors before you plug them into an input.
Make sure you have enough audio cable. You need to have a sufficient
amount to allow for subject or crew movement and to keep it out of the
camera view. It is important to have enough audio (mike) cable so it
can be taped out of the way of traffic areas. When cables are run
across the floor, tape them down so that no one will trip.
LESSON 2/Learning Event 9 and 10
All control consoles in the broadcast industry have the same basic
similarities. Learn one control console thoroughly and be able to
operate it properly and, in most cases, the other audio boards will be
less difficult to operate. So take the time now at your earliest
opportunity to learn audio operations and procedures.
An audio control console has three primary functions:
amplify sound
control sound
route sound
Amplify Sound
Amplification is accomplished when different levels of sound are
received by a microphone, turntable, or tape playback sources. The
audio levels are then amplified into a greater or usable sound without
distorting the quality of that sound.
Controlling Sound
Sound is controlled through the use of potentiometers (pots) or faders
that increase or decrease the level or intensity of the audio
Routing Sound
This channels the sound by activating specific input program selector
switches and turning or sliding the faders to a desired level. The
sound is sent to a specific area left for Audition, the middle for Off
and right for "On Air".
The operator sits in front of the audio board and operates the
equipment. The audio console is an indispensable part of any audio
system using more than one or two
LESSON 2/Learning Event 10
"input sources". Input sources are items of equipment like mikes,
turntables, etc., that are connected to the audio board. The console
allows selection from a large number of audio inputs, allowing the
operator to blend or mix those selected sources into a signal output.
There are two basic types:
Traditional monaural/stereo console.
Modular mono/stereo console.
Figure 2-14
Traditional monaural/stereo console
LESSON 2/Learning Event 10
Traditional Mono/Stereo Board
The front panel has a fixed placement of knobs, pots, switches, volume
speaker controls, and one or two VU meters (Fig. 2-14). These are the
older boards.
Modular Mono/Stereo Console
These are the most current audio boards. These have operating panels
designed for specific applications. They have volume speaker
controls, faders, mixer keys and VU (volume unit) meters (Fig. 2-15).
However, "vertical linear faders" are used instead of the standard
circular pots for mixing. A vertical pot is also called a linear
Figure 2-15
Modular mono/stereo
LESSON 2/Learning Event 10
The vertical faders appear on the console face as sliding knobs that
are moved up and down to control the sound level or intensity.
"Output channels" direct the sound to a specific location, i.e.
VU Meter
Above the individual faders/pots or controls, right in front of the
operator, is a large meter(s) called the "volume unit" or VU meter.
The volume meter is an essential tool in dealing with audio levels or
signals. It is impossible to determine how loud a sound is, or how
loud we think the sound is without a VU meter to tell us. VU meters
are expensive and delicate. All audio levels are set with the VU
meter. Look at the VU meter (Figure 2-16). Notice there are two
scales. The upper scale is read in volume units, from -20 to 0 and
then +3. The zero mark is a representation of "decibels or db" with
zero db equal to 100 percent modulation or audio without distortion.
The newer VU meters have 0 to 100 on the top scale and the decibels on
the bottom scale. Beyond zero, the scale is marked in red. Sound
level readings in this area, should only be permitted momentarily
because these readings indicate volume unit (VU) distortion in the
audio signal.
Figure 2-16
VU meter
Lesson 2/Learning Event 10 and 11
The lower scale has a range from 0 to 100 and is a reflection of that
percent of modulation. When the audio signal exceeds 100 percent
modulation the scale indicates red. This is called "in the red" and
is not a desirable place to be. When the needle is all the way to the
right, we say "the needle is pegged". Pegging the needle may damage
the needle mechanism by bending the needle. This will cause
inaccurate readings. When the needle reading is down around the minus
20 mark, at the left, we say we're "riding in the mud". Riding in the
mud means that the audio level is too low and should be brought up.
The term "Riding Gain" refers to the amount of sound level or volume
that the needle is measuring. Riding or monitoring gain with the VU
meter then consists of watching the moving needle while adjusting the
pot that controls the sound. The normal acceptable level for riding
audio is between 80-100 per cent VU modulation and should read this at
all times.
Additional control room equipment includes turntables, cartridge
and/or cassette tape recorders, speakers, clocks, remote controls and
A turntable is a high-quality record player that play records at
speeds of 78, 45 and 33-1/3 revolutions per minute (rpm). The 78 rpm
speed is seldom used today. The most common speeds are 45 and 33-1/3
Tape Recorder
Audio tape recorders have three operating formats: reel-to-reel,
cartridge and cassette. Entire programs, special events, and on-thespot news items are recorded on tape, in these three formats for later
insertion. Talks by inexperienced speakers may be taped and later
"edited" to remove those embarrassing long pauses. The ease of
editing, plus the ability to "erase" the tape and reuse it makes the
tape recorder a requirement of good broadcast operations.
Reel-to-Reel. Tape recorders for broadcast use are operated at 3-3/4,
7-1/2 and 15 inches per second (ips). The
LESSON 2/Learning Event 11
playback and recording heads on a tape recorder are the heart of the
recorder. The three electromagnets are called heads. The tape heads
are arranged in a line near the tape transfer mechanism. They are
aligned from left to right: erase head, recording head and playback
head. The tape recorder consists of:
A tape transfer mechanism which moves the tape from a feed
reel, past the tape heads, to a take up reel at a constant
speed. The constant speed is maintained by a capstan motor
that pulls the tape through a pair of tangent wheels or
A speed-changing and start switch which allows the operator
to change speeds. The speeds are either 3-3/4 to 7-1/2 or
15 ips and/or any combination of the three depending on the
designs of the recorder/reproducer. The start switch is
positioned to start the record/play back process and/or fast
forward and reverse.
A recording amplifier to impress the sound onto the tape
through the record head.
A play back amplifier to feed the sound from a previously
recorded tape to the audio control board. The sound on the
tape activates the play back head which in turn sends it to
the play back amplifier.
An erase head or oscillator to clean unwanted, previously
recorded sound from the tape. The erase oscillator operates
the erase head which then erases the tape. This oscillator
operates at a frequency above human hearing at about 25
Cartridge Recorders/Reproducers. Cartridge machines use a plastic
case containing a cartridge that has an endless tape loop. The tape
rewinds itself as it is played back. An inaudible tone is placed on a
tape by the operator for cueing purposes. This tone will rescue or
stop the tape at any specific location on the tape the operator wants,
automatically. In recent years, cartridge tapes have been used in
place of turntables for playback of recorded transcriptions or
records. This saves the records from repeated use when they first
appear on music charts. News and sports announcers use cartridge
tapes for recording on-the-spot events. Cartridges are also widely
used in radio
LESSON 2/Learning Event 11
and television for recording station identifications (ID's), program
themes, sound effects, announcements and public service announcements
The cartridge tape recorder is designed to use a standard tape
cartridge holding tape lengths of from 20 seconds to 31 minutes play
time, at 7-1/2 ips. Cartridge tape uses the half-track format with
program material recorded on one track and cue pulses recorded on the
other. The cue portion of the tape has a pulse at the beginning of
the program material to cue the tape. After the audio program
material has played, the tape continues to roll silently through the
cart until another cue tone is reached. The tape will then
automatically stop. The cart may then be removed and played at a
later time.
Cartridge tape may be bulk erased and re-used just like reel-to-reel
tape. Cart machines are manufactured as either recorder/reproducers
or as reproducers only. Storage racks are available for wall mounting
or as. mobile rotating stands that hold from 20 to 200 carts for
studio use.
Cassette Recorder/Reproducer. The cassette recorder was originally
designed for use in home entertainment. However, in recent years,
they have been put to use in broadcasting by reporters for on-thescene coverage, conducting interviews and as an audio cassette
broadcast system.
The control room speaker is an important guide to both operator and
director. During a broadcast, the speaker reproduces what is on-theair. During rehearsals, what is heard over the speaker is the basis
for audio corrections and for the director's suggestions to the
announcer or performers. The control room speaker may be turned up or
down to a comfortable level in the control room. This does not affect
what 's going over the air for broadcast or recording. There are
normally two sets of speakers. The broadcast monitor speakers and the
cue channel speaker.
In radio and television, everything runs by the clock.
reason, all clocks should be set properly. This
For this
LESSON 2/Learning Event 11
indicates a well run station to the listeners. Adequate consideration
should be given to what clocks are used for and what types are
Round-face clocks are the most commonly used time instruments. They
should be large enough to be read easily from anywhere in the studio.
Large plain numerals and hands are a must. A 12-hour face is more
desirable than a 24-hour face with small markings. A second hand is
The second hand should move in one-second increments, rather than one
smooth circular motion found on most household clocks. All clocks
should be synchronized either by a master timer or by resetting once
or twice a day as needed. It is not unusual for a majority of the
non-essential clocks on a military installation to be set from times
given over the radio or television. Don't confuse the listeners.
Clocks with a digital read-out have become extremely popular in recent
years. The electronic read-out is preferable and generally more
accurate. Some of these units may be used as clocks, standard
counters, countdown timers, and stop clocks. However, some
individuals can't visualize the remaining time in a program, the
elapsed time or cue time, as readily as they can with the more
familiar circular face clocks.
Timers are essential tools for good production work in broadcasting.
They may range from a simple stop watch or photographer's timer, to an
elaborate electronic timer capable of starting and stopping equipment.
In broadcasting, it's generally preferred that the timer have at least
start and stop capability without having be to reset to zero.
Remote Controls
Remote controls are switches that operate equipment located some
distance from the audio control board. These controls allow the
operator to function from a central location without having to
physically touch the equipment. These remote controls are available
from the equipment manufacturer.
The following is a list of terms that will help the student better
understand broadcast terminology.
Pots. Pots are the round knobs or linear (vertical) faders used to
increase or decrease sound levels on an audio control board.
Inputs. Audio "inputs" to the console are normally "hardpatched,"
that is, permanently wired into the console. For example, mike number
one and two will probably always be fed to their individual pot. The
operator uses the selector key to determine if microphone number one
or two will be in the audition or in the program mode and fed into the
pots. Newer boards use a linear fader. This type of fader is a
vertical attenuator or pot. The linear fader slides up and down a
graduated scale. The strength of the signal increases in a linear or
straight line output. The scale graduation has a closer tolerance.
Outputs. The next step is to determine where the signal is going. We
normally have three choices: cue, audition or program. The cue system
amplifier will let the operator hear the input signal. This signal
does not reflect on the VU meter nor does it go out over the air. The
cue system is solely for the operator to hear what is going to air.
The cue system has its own lower quality speaker, and distinct sound.
The speaker quality allows the operator to tell the difference between
the on-air audio and the next source audio in cue.
Channel selector switch. Immediately above each pot is a three
positioned switch. This switch directs the sound to the different
audio channels. In the left position, the signal or audio is fed to
the audition monitor/speaker channel. The middle position is off and
in the far right position the channel is sent to the program or on-air
Terms continued
Audition/Program. The audition channel is primarily used to set up
the next sound source. On many audio boards, the audition system will
have the same quality as the program channel. In order for the
operator to see the VU level reading in audition the operator must
turn the audition/program monitor switch to the position that
indicates audition VU monitor. Likewise, for the operator to monitor
or hear the program information, this switch must be in the program
Master Program Switch. The master program selector switch normally
has only two positions; Off and Program. If the program is to be
heard by the listener, the audio must be sent to the transmitter and
this switch must be in the program position.
The master program level is predetermined and set. The engineer
calibrates the signal to determine what the best audio output level of
the console is to the transmitter. NEVER change this preset level
unless directed to do so by an engineer or your supervisor.
Operating Techniques. Operating techniques refer to the operators
ability to mix, blend and control sound sources. Let's make sure we
are talking the same audio language for basic audio technique.
"FADING" is opening and closing the pot. "CROSSFADE" is to reduce the
level of an existing sound source while increasing the level of a
second sound. "SEGUE" (pronounced seg-way) is an audio transition
whereby the preceding sound is faded out and the following sound faded
in immediately. "DOWN and UNDER" is the fading down of music to a low
level for the entrance of a voice and then holding the music source at
a low level. "UP and UNDER" is the gradual increase of music to a low
level while an announcement is being made, usually being followed by
"UP and FULL" when the announcement is concluded. "DOWN and OUT" is
fading down the music to a low level for the entrance of a voice and
then taking the music completely out. Remember, avoid crossfading
with music vocals where the voice will be cut in either direction.
Only use down and under, and up and under, etc., when vocals are
needed for emphasis.
Terms continued
Patch Panel. In a control room that has a patch panel, patch bay, or
patch board, the major pieces of equipment in the studio may be
connected to the preceding unit through patching. A patch panel lets
the operator or engineer connect or by-pass the output of one piece of
equipment to the input of another through a system of standard jacks
that are attached to short lengths of shielded cable with male plugs
on both ends. The process is called "patching". The by-passing is
always done from the "output" of the last good piece of equipment,
around the bad piece of equipment, in line to the "input" of the
replacement piece of equipment. This process will allow the broadcast
process to continue. These interconnecting cables are called external
patch cords.
Patch cords should always be in one of two places; hung up on a
storage hook; or with both plugs inserted into the patch panel. Do
not leave one end of a patch cord dangling. The cord may become
damaged or become the source of unwanted static or noise in the audio
system. Give frayed or damaged cords to maintenance personnel for
repair. Keep only well maintained cords in the studio.
Review the material
circling the "T" or
with the answers on
lesson material and
in this lesson. Answer the questions below by
"F" next to each question. Compare your answers
the next page. Ensure that you understand the
answers before proceeding to the next lesson.
In a pressure-operated microphone, the diaphragm vibrates
with the pressure from the sound and makes the voice coil
move back and forth in a magnetic field.
The omnidirectional mike accepts sound quality from only
one direction.
The most commonly used microphone in television is the
Windscreens are externally mounted on the microphones and
can help eliminate loud distortion.
All audio control consoles are similar.
When patching, patch from the input to the output.
When the channel selector switch is in the program
position, the signal will be sent to the transmitter.
LESSON 3/Learning Event 1
Television scenery plays a major role in the quality of the visual
portion of a TV program. Guidelines applicable to other visual
elements also apply to scenery, especially the concepts of contrast
and detail.
Today, the emphasis is on simplicity when designing scenery. Scenery
created for television should be symbolic rather than too realistic.
Size, texture, color and location of sets are specifically adapted to
what the television camera can see. The scenic environment, though
important, remains secondary. However, broadcasters should know
something about the design and construction of scenery and properties.
Scenery is divided into two categories.
either stands or hangs.
Simply put, all scenery
Standing Scenery
The most commonly used standing scenery units are known as "flats".
Flats consist of a frame and muslin or canvas covering, plus tacks,
glue, nails, screws and hinges as required. Standing flats should be
high enough to prevent overshooting by the camera during wide-angle
long shots. The height is usually 8 to 10 feet and the width may vary
from 3 to 5 feet depending upon studio requirements. Scenery
constructed today is much lighter than it was several years ago.
Remember to make the scenery light enough to be assembled or
disassembled with a minimum of time by one person. Paper-covered
sheets, and plywood, or other construction materials serve this
purpose very nicely.
Flats may be single, twofold, or threefold, with different horizontal
dimensions and fold for storage. Flats may contain openings for doors
or windows into which these units may be fastened. Sets may require
miscellaneous standing units such as pylons (which look like threesided pillars), step blocks, pedestal, platforms, plastic bushes and a
variety of folding screens. All of these special set pieces are
considered as standing scenery.
LESSON 3/Learning Event 1 and 2
Hanging Scenery
Hanging scenery is either suspended from an arrangement of pipes,
battens, grids, or from some other piece of standing scenery. The
most versatile hanging background unit is the cyclorama.
A cyclorama is a large curtain that hangs down from the grids in
sections. They usually come in three colors white, black and chroma
key blue. Usually they cover three sides of a studio.
Other hanging scenery may include painted canvas drops, curtains which
may be slid or traversed horizontally, drapes, murals and sometimes
photomurals. The chroma key drop is a wide roll of blue canvas that
is for "keying" Keying is electronically inserted information to the
side or behind the announcer. The electronic insert adds support
information for the announcer. Normally, this technique is used in
newscasts for slides and videotapes.
Studio sets are normally built from a number of separate,
prefabricated scenic units, positioned and fastened together.
Subsequently, they are dressed with appropriate furnishings,
properties, drapes, etc., to create the total scenic effect. There
are three types of properties:
stage properties, or props,
hand props
set dressings.
Stage Props
There are many types of stage properties, but the term generally
refers to furniture: news desks, tables, lectern, chairs, etc.
LESSON 1/Learning Event 1 and 2
Hand Props
Hand props consist of all items that are actually handled by people
during a show. They include such items as ashtrays, telephones,
typewriters, dishes, silverware, glasses, bottles and food.
Set Dressings
Set dressings are furnishings that normally give an apartment or set
its distinguishing characteristics of locale, mood, etc. Set
dressings also include pictures, draperies, bookcases, fireplace,
lamps and chandeliers, indoor plants, and miscellaneous decorative
items, etc.
In preparing studio backgrounds, the main problem of contrast and
layout are important to consider in the overall program. Before
preparing the background or scenery for a program, broadcasters need
to identify camera movement, whether or not the background will be
seen in a close up, and what type of action will take place in front
of the background. The background, as a general rule, should be
darker than the foreground. A darker area tends to recede from the
viewer while a lighter area tends to stand out. This gives greater
separation or depth between background and subject. Separation is a
feature which is always desirable for television transmission. If the
background is not to be shown in a close up, the lines and designs may
be course. But, if one area is to be seen close up, then more detail
should be added to that particular area.
Television lighting contrast is important. Backgrounds may be
adjusted by varying color, material texture, or light intensity. The
most important characteristics of any particular light are direction,
intensity and quality.
All three characteristics will influence the reflective value of the
backdrop but in no case should the contrast range exceed the limits of
the television system of 20 to 1. The brightness of color is usually
measured by how much light objects reflect.
LESSON 3/Learning Event 3
Highly reflective objects should never be included on TV as property
or as part of a costume. If it is necessary to use a highly
reflective surface, dull it with a special dulling spray. If dulling
spray is not readily available, use soap or a solution of Epsom salts
and stale beer (1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of stale beer).
Spraying or brushing a shiny surface with this mixture will
appreciably dull reflecting properties. Brasso will also dull very
shiny objects. Just dab it on and let it dry.
Small station operations will be primarily concerned with non-dramatic
local presentations. For this reason, the station wardrobe or
costumes will be somewhere between nonexistent and very small. What
there is, if anything, will probably be miscellaneous items
occasionally necessary to correct clothing contrast problems.
We defined scenery at the beginning of this lesson using the terms
"standing" and "hanging". In any case, if there is a lot of scenery,
storage may be a problem. From the standpoint of availability,
storage in the studio is best because some scenery is quite heavy.
However, some scenery may require too much studio space when not in
use. If so, operations personnel may have to move it into hallways or
adjacent rooms or to a props and sceneries storage area. Wherever
scenery is stored, it's best to have scene docks for the flats. A
scene dock has slots into which the top and bottom edges of the flats
slide for vertical storage like books in a bookcases. If there is no
room for scene docks, scenery may have to be leaned against walls or
stacked in layers. If necessary, it is best to reserve an area for
each type of flat which will at least segregate singles, two folds,
and three folds. Pile flats in flat horizontal layers, back to back
to avoid damage. Space around the walls should be assigned specific
types of flats. Drapes will be less apt to wrinkle or develop
horizontal folds if they are hung on high racks. Costumes and set
dressings should be stored in a prop room adjacent to the studio.
LESSON 3/Learning Event 2
Fire regulations require materials that are to be used for scenery to
be flameproofed. This may be done by spraying or painting the scenery
(either before or after it has been made or painted) with special
FLAMEPROOFING chemicals. These chemicals are available from companies
that deal in stage or scenery equipment or may be mixed at the studio
from ingredients found in almost any grocery store. One formula
commonly used is:
1 pound borax (sodium tetraborate)
1 pound sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride)
3 quarts water
Although the scenery material may have been
flameproofed, this does not mean that the scenery
will not burn. Flameproofing only retards or
slows the ignition process.
Issue Control
As with all station equipment and supplies subject to intermittent
use, it is best that issue slips be completed by personnel requiring
scenery or other material from storage. The issue slip should
identify the material; show the length of time the material will be
needed; and give the probable date of return. A suspense filing
system is advisable so that the scenery and/or property custodian has
information immediately available on the location and future
availability of items. The custodian should establish controls for
such supplies as paint, fabrics, and hardware. The reason for supply
controls, other than avoiding waste, is to insure adequate inventory
and sufficient lead time for planning, requesting, and purchasing.
Review the material
circling the "T" or
with the answer key
lesson material and
before proceeding.
in this lesson. Answer the questions below by
"F" next to each question. Compare your answers
on the next page. Ensure that you understand the
A cyclorama has many different pieces that cover only one
The most commonly used standing units are flats.
The brightness of color is usually determined by the amount
of light it reflects.
Studio settings are built from a number of separate
prefabricated scenic-units, positioned and fastened
The best way to store flats is to put them all together one
on top of the other.
Fire regulations require materials that are to be used as
scenery to be flameproofed.
Issue control slips should be required of personnel
requesting scenery and other materials from storage.
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