M.A.(JMC) PART-II/Semester-III Lesson No. : 8 PAPER-X RADIO AND T.V. PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES Author : Amarpreet Singh Basic Television Production Techniques Composition Composition is an arrangement of various visual elements in a given compositional space giving emphasis on the objects of interest. The goal of composition is to create an image that is attractive or that captures and keeps the audience’s attention and effectively communicates the message. It is a way of arranging various elements so that the viewer is directly attracted to certain features. You can influence how viewers respond to what they are seeing. The image can be composed to create calm or can even make you restless. Sometimes well composed image can make you think. One thing that is very clear that the message must be conveyed through the image. Is your photograph justified? What you want to tell? Otherwise that image would be of no use. In the same way composition matters a lot in moving images. In the above illustration, a beautiful bungalow is located in front of the coconut trees and in front of the bungalow, there is a sea shore. All the elements in the image look aesthetic and increase the relevance of bungalow. So, it depends what we want to depict. A little change in the composition can make a huge difference. Even the meaning of the composition would be changed. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 69 PAPER-X In the above illustration, there is a small steamer in front of the ship; that depicts the ship very huge. No doubt ship is huge but a small steamer makes the huge difference. In the above illustration clouds behind the building adds aesthetics to the photograph. Frame A Frame is the smallest unit of film. Each shot is made up of many frames. Films are shot on 24 frames per second, while in TV production we work on 25 frames per second. In India PAL (Phase Alternating Line) video standard is used. It delivers a frame rate of 25 frames per second. This video standard is commonly used in Europe, Australia and some parts of Asia. Whereas NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) video standard is used in America and Canada. It delivers a frame rate of 30 frames per second. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 70 PAPER-X Shot Whatever camera captures in a single take is called shot. A shot consists of a single take, which can be of several seconds or several minutes long. The length of a shot depends upon its purpose. It could be to establish a place, show action or reaction. Scene A scene is generally thought of as the action in a single location and continuous time. Generally scene is a collection of shots but it may be composed of a single shot. A scene is a unit of story that takes place at a specific location and time. If one of these changes, you have a new scene. Sequence A sequence is a series of scenes that form a distinct narrative unit, which is usually connected either by unit of location or unity of time. It is comprised of several scenes that combine to tell a segment of story. So, sequence is composed of one/ several scenes. Scene is composed of one/several shots and shot is composed of several frames. Frame → Shot→ Scene→ Sequence White Balance Video cameras are made to reproduce colors accurately, but to do this they must be electronically alerted to the color temperature of the light which is illuminating the subject. This is called white balancing the camera. There are two options available in White Balance: Automatic and Manual. In Automatic mode camera will do white balancing itself. While in Manual mode, we will have to do it ourselves. How to do a Manual white balance: 1. Set your camera to manual white balance mode. 2. Zoom in on a white card that is under the same light as your subject will be. 3. Hold the white balance button down for a second or until you get the white balance completed. 4. If your camera has the labels WB1 and WB2, it means that you can do white balance for two different light settings at the same time. It will be very convenient if you are rushing through a shoot with both indoor and outdoor shots. 5. You need not to re-white balance every time you change location, but you will have to remember to flip the switch from WB1 to WB2. Present Mode Some cameras have inbuilt white balancing setting. In a situation where you are using only 3200K studio lights, you can switch the camera to Present 3200 K and you won’t have to balance it again. Similarly, if you are recording outdoor, you can white balance by just clicking the 5600K option. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 71 PAPER-X (Illustration of doing white balance) Principles of Video Production Basically Video production is a team effort. It is an art of creating content and delivering a finished video product. After pre-production, the second stage is production. In this stage, actual shooting takes place and the required images get recorded. And in last stage, the recorded material is captured and edited. Music, graphics are added. So, there are several things to be kept in mind through this whole process: Composition Composition deals with way the elements of the picture are arranged in relation to each other, and where each one appears on the screen. (Already discussed) Shot size Shot size is related to how much of the picture is filled by the subject. Shot may be Extreme Long, Long, Mid Long, Mid, Mid close, Close or extreme close up. It all depends upon the requirement of the script. Choosing the right shot size is one of the key decisions the director makes. Each shot is important and should be carefully designed. For ex-The close up shot encourages the viewer to concentrate on a specific feature of a subject or character. It draws attention, response and emotions. It is known as the most sensitive shot. Framing- Framing refers to where the edges of the shot are placed. It may be tight or loose depending upon the requirement of the script. For Framing the things to be kept in mind are as follows: 1. Headroom 2. Looking Space/Nose room 3. Leadroom 4. Balance 5. The rule of thirds 6. Imaginary line/ Line of action Camera Angles: The height of the camera and the angle at which it views the subject determine camera angle. It can be High angle, Eye level and Low angle. Continuity – Continuity is a crucial element in video production. In a short film or feature film if a character is shown as going to Mumbai’s market and in the same M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 72 PAPER-X scene if he/she is shown in another city, will break the continuity and will confuse the viewer. Similarly, if that character in shown in winter clothes , and after few seconds he/she is shown in summer clothes in the same scene would disturb the viewer. Continuity can be of two types: Action continuity Space continuity Time continuity Camera Movements- All forward gestures or movements are more powerful than receive action away from the camera. Similarly, a shot moving towards a subject (zoom/dolly in) arouses greater interest than one withdrawing from it. Transitions- Transitions are the mode of transport from one shot to another. Cut, wipe, dissolve, fade in/out are basic transitions. Every transition has a meaning. So, during editing process or in live editing, selection of right transition is very important. Basic Television Production Techniques The production techniques that video crew members apply vary from person to person, company to company and country to country. It all depends upon your requirement, your budget, nature of work, time etc. There are two different ways of shooting a video production: 1. Single Camera Production 2. Multiple Camera Production Single Camera Production It is the production technique in which the entire show/episode/film/program is recorded/captured on a single camera. A production using single camera setup generally employs just one camera. Each of the shots and camera angles is taken using the same camera, which is moved and reset to get each shot or new angle. The single camera production has some important advantages. It is extremely mobile, thus easily relocated. It is independent of its surroundings, and it is economical. Multiple Camera Production The use of two or more cameras, running simultaneously giving different angle of views of the set being framed. Although a single camera has its advantages, but there are many situations in which a single camera has a little hope of capturing much more glimpse of the event. Prime time news bulletins, TV discussions, debates, music videos, Soap operas, talk Shows, some sitcoms use multiple camera setups. Even in live events, cricket matches, sports, action scenes in films, where there is no option for retakes and time constraints, multiple cameras are used. Most Television productions go through three main stages. 1. Pre Production 2. Production 3. Post Production Pre Production- Pre Production is the first and most important stage among all the three stages. The preliminaries, research, preparation, organization and rehearsal before the production begin at this stage. Ninety percent of the work on a production usually goes into the planning and preparation stage. It is the stage where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls. This planning phase M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 73 PAPER-X sets the overall vision of the project. Though every shoot has its own particular requirements, there are certain generic tasks which need to be done during pre production. These are: 1. Finalize the script. 2. Draw up the production schedule. 3. Engage the team. 4. Arrange the cast and crew. 5. Arrange equipment 6. Check out the possible locations and obtain permit and clearances. 7. Arrange and conduct performance rehearsals prior to camera n rehearsals. 8. Get artwork done. Production- This is the stage where you will execute all the plans. Production begins once the footage is recorded. Shooting is done in this stage. During the production process, you will work out the lighting requirements, framing and composition. Post Production-Post Production process begins after the footage has been captured. Editing is done in this stage. Editing is the process in which material which has been shot is blended together to tell an effective and engaging story. Dubbing, para dubbing, sub titles, voice over is done according to the requirements of the script. Graphics, animation can be added along with the images, music, color correction and special effects. In this stage your final product becomes ready for distribution/transmission. The whole process has the following stages. Select location, Hire Crew, Select Equipment → Idea ↓ Goals ↓ Scheduling ↓ Script/Production Plan ↓ Design Graphic Plan, Production Meetings Select Contract Talent ↓ Rehearsal ↓ Production ↓ Post Production ↓ Project Complete M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 74 PAPER-X Idea “An Idea can change your life”, Slogan by IDEA Cellular is also applicable in the field of production. Basically Idea is a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. An idea means starting with a concept. Usually, it comes from an interesting personal experience, a story you heard, something you read in a book or newspaper- some interesting incident that gave you the idea for your production. After the idea, you have to begin to formulate your goals and objectives. So, an idea is the first and most important part of your whole production process. One thing that is very clear that your idea must be feasible, it must be produceable. You must be clear about the subject to be covered, what program is to be used for. Whether your program is a sitcom, a news program, educational program, or a sports production, it is essential to determine whom the program is for. Suppose you want to make a special program on Gatka-Sikh Martial Art. So, you must have known your target audience. The next question you should probably ask is “How long should it be?” May be 30 minutes or 1 hour or even you want to show it in few episodes. Script Once an idea is conceived, it must be transformed into a message, a script. Generally, the script must be created before anything else is done, because it will be the source that every other area draws from. The type of script largely depends upon the kind of program you are making. In some production situations, particularly where talent improvise as they speak or perform, the “script” simply lists details of the production group, facilities needed, scheduling requirements and it shows basic camera positions. The script format would be totally different for documentary, special TV program and even for news package. A Successful script has to satisfy two important requirements: 1. It must fulfill its purpose 2. It must be practical. Shooting Script Planning is an essential part of a serious production and the script forms the basis for that plan. Script does the following things: 1. Helps the director to clarify ideas and develop a project that successfully communicates to the viewers. 2. Helps the director to coordinate the entire production team. 3. Helps the director to determine what resources will be needed for the television. Shooting script includes the dialogues, shots detail, costumes detail, location, lighting, audio, music details etc. Visualization It’s very important how you visualize the story. After script is finalized, it matters how you show it to your viewers with your camera. The selection of camera lens, shots, camera movements, angles and composition can change the whole perspective. Although audio and video images both are very important in a television production. Viewers perceive television as primary visual medium. Material should be presented in visual terms as much as possible. If planned and shot well, the images can powerfully move the audience- sometimes with very few words. When pointing a camera scene, you are doing much more than simply M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 75 PAPER-X showing your audience what is going on there. You are selecting specific areas of the scene. You are drawing their attention to certain aspects of the action. The way you use your camera will influence the impact of the subject on the audience. Voice Over The voice of the narrator or another person, used without the accompanying image of that person is known as voice over. It is a production technique where a voice – that is not part of the narrative is used in a radio, television production, film making. The voice over is read from script by voice over artist. Basically it is commentary over video by an invisible person. Camera Angles The height of the camera and the angle at which it views the subject determine camera angle. It can subconsciously affect how the audience perceives the subject. The angle from which the camera photographs a subject or scene. There are a great variety of camera angles, any of which can add an interesting perspective to that which is being pictured. Sometimes the camera angle can greatly influence the audience. Camera angles are used in position the viewer so that they can understand the relationships between the characters. Eye Level- This is the most common view, being the real-world angle that we are all used to. It shows subjects as we would expect to see them in real life. It is fairly neutral shot. This is the most commonly used angle in films as it allows the viewers to feel comfortable with the characters. Eye level shot provide an image that is roughly at the eye level of average viewing audience. This is also the most common shot used in television and provides a sense of normalcy. (Illustration of Eye Level) High Angle- A high angle shows the subject from above as the camera is angled down towards the subject. This has the effect of diminishing the subject, making them appear less powerful, less significant or even submissive. A character shot with a high angle will look vulnerable or small. It can make that person look inferior, and give the viewer an impression of their own superiority. High angle shots provide a view from above the subject. This high vantage point can provide the viewer with additional information. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 76 PAPER-X (Illustration of High Angle) Low Angle- This shows the subject from below, giving them the impression of being more powerful, important, strong and dominant. This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character. (Illustration of Low Angle) Bird’s Eye- The scene is shown from directly above. This is a completely different and somewhat unnatural point of view which can be used for dramatic effect or for showing a different spatial perspective. It is an angle that looks directly down upon a scene. It is an elevated view of an object from above with a perspective as though the observer were a bird. This angle is often used as an establishing angle, along with an extreme long shot, to establish setting. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 77 PAPER-X Types of Camera Shots Camera Shots can be divided into seven types. Extreme Long Shot Long Shot Mid Long Shot Mid Shot Mid Close up Close up Extreme Close up Extreme Long Shot- Extreme long shot enables you to establish the location and to create the overall atmospheric impression. It can be used to cover very widespread action. It shows where all the action is taking place. It allows the audience to follow broad movements. It shows the relative positions of subjects. This shot also establish moods. But this shot doesn’t allow your audience to see detail. This shows the landscape of the film or a barely visible character in the distance of a background. This gives information to the viewer about where the action is to take place. It often sets the atmosphere of a film. Long Shot Long Shot is not as wide as Extreme long shot. When people are involved in long shot, it shows us the positional relationship between the actors and their settings. It immediately shows where the action is happening. ELS and LS are often referred as establishing shot. It depicts an entire character or object from head to foot. This shows the whole person and other characters, but the background dominates the shot. This allows the viewer to understand the relationship between Onthe characters and their environment. Mid Long Shot Mid Shot or Medium Shot is tighter than the mid long shot. This shot is used to show the relationship between people in a shot or scene, but generally does not present as much information about the setting as long shot. It shows less than a long shot, more than a close up. This shows the upper half of the body. Mid Close Up The mid close up shot is one of the most frequently used in television. It consists of a head and shoulders shot that ends at the chest of the subject. This shot gives full face detail of the subject, but without the extreme impact of the close up. It also can be used to film an object at close range. It contains little or no background. This is used to introduce a character and allows the character to show emotions. Close Up Close up shot is an extremely powerful shot that gives an extremely tight shot of the subject’s head. This is one of the most effective shots available for providing a close view of the detail of a face or object. It draws attention, response and emotions. This is full height and the head takes up the entire screen. It contains little or no background. This shows the detail of the character’s face. It is known as most sensitive shot. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 78 PAPER-X Extreme Close Up Extreme close up is the tightest shot possible for your subject. On a person, The ECU frames the subject’s eyes, nose or mouth. This shot allows the viewer to understand the detail a bit more. Illustration s of various shots: Extreme Long Shot Long Shot M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 79 Mid Long Shot Mid Shot Mid Close Shot Close Up Shot PAPER-X M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 80 PAPER-X Extreme Close Up Shot There are some other types of shots: 1. Over shoulder shot 2. Point of view shot 3. Ariel shot Over Shoulder Shot- This shot is also known as OTS and OSS. It is a shot of someone or something taken from the perspective or camera angle from the shoulder of another person. This type of shot is very common when two characters are having discussion. (Illustration of Over shoulder shot) Point of view shot- When the camera is positioned so that you see exactly what the character in the film or video would be seeing from his perspective. It shows M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 81 PAPER-X what a character is looking at. It is a shot which shows the scene from the specific point of view of one of the character. Ariel shot- A shot taken from a helicopter, drone, or a person on top of a building. It may be a moving or static shot. It is very wide shot taken from a vantage point. This shot establishes the location but without giving intensive detail of a particular thing or location. Camera Movements Camera movements are used to shape meaning. Static shots cannot be used repeatedly. The production without camera movements would be boring and irritating. In everyday life, we respond to situations by making specific gestures or movements. These reactions and actions often become very closely associated. We look around with curiosity; move in to inspect an object; without or avert out eyes from situation that we find embarrassing, distasteful or boring. Moving the Camera Head It is not surprising to find that certain camera movements can evoke associated responses in the audience, causing them to have specific feelings toward what they see on the screen. Panning - It refers to rotating the camera in the horizontal plane- that is, the left or right on the camera support, which might be a tripod or even a person. Panning is used to follow an action, survey a scene or show where one person or object is in relation with another. It gives the viewer a panoramic view of a set or setting. This can be used to establish a scene. Panning should be smooth-neither jerking into action nor abruptly halting. Erratic or hesitant panning irritates the audience. Very fast panning is known as ‘Swish Panning’ Tilt- Tilting is the vertical movements of the camera when you tip the camera lens up and down from a fixed position. The tilt is used to emphasize height or depth, to follow an action, to survey the face of a building or the length of a human body, and to show the relationship between one place or object and another. Tilting, like panning, allows you to visually connect subjects or areas that are spaced apart. Otherwise, you would need to intercut different shots, or use a longer shot to include both subjects. Zoom- When you have a camera attached to a tripod; it’s often easier to change the camera’s shot size by zooming than by actual moving. You may change the size of a subject’s image with magnification factor. To make the image of something or someone appear much larger and nearer, or much smaller and further away. Zoom can be zoom in and zoom out. Zoom in- When you move in towards the subject without physically going closer to the subject with the help of zoom lens, it is called zoom in. It brings the distant subjects closer. It magnifies the image of a distinct object. Zoom out- When you are moving away from the subject without physically moving away, it is called zoom out. Use this movement only when it is required. Otherwise it will disturb the viewer. Zoom can be further of two types: Optical and Digital zoom. Moving the camera Many directors prefer to use a static camera. It gives good control over the image and it’s still possible to produce strong feelings of movement within the shot by carefully orienting the fixed camera in relation to the action. But in present scenario, camera movements are widely used even in television serials and in movies. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 82 PAPER-X The Dolly A dolly is a unit with wheels on it, to which a tripod can be attached. Once the tripod is on a dolly, it can be moved along smoothly in any direction. Dolly in- When a director wants a camera operator to move the camera closer to the subject. Dolly out- When a director wants a camera operator to move the camera away from the subject. Tracking- A tracking shot moves on track. It can be used to follow a character. When a director wants the camera to be moved to the left or to the right, the expressions used are track left and track right. (Illustration of Tracking) Crane Shots- A crane is a large, heavy piece of equipment, but is a useful way of moving a camera- it can move up, down, right, swooping in on action or moving diagonally out of it. The camera operator operates the camera from the crane. It allows the camera to travel rapidly above the heads of a crowd or to sweep around near floor level as it follows action. It follows action. It offers the director an impressive range of shots. Camera Jib Shots- These days camera jibs are used instead of crane as these can fulfill director’s requirements. Smaller lightweight jibs are easily disassembled and transported and have proved to be extremely adaptable both in the studio and in the field. All the camera controls including focus, aperture, tilt and pan are adjusted by a remote control. A jib is more compact than the traditional camera crane. It is much more portable and a less costly to buy or hire. These are being commonly used in live events and marriages. Sky camera/ Cable camera/Drones Nowadays, these cameras are used over sports fields. The remote camera is suspended on overhead cables. Wide range of Ariel shots along with zoom in and zoom out can be achieved with this camera. Rules for framing Imaginary Line Camera Angles can easily confuse the audience’s sense of direction and their impression of spatial relationships if care is not taken when selecting camera positions. It the camera captures the action from one side and then crosses over M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 83 PAPER-X the line to the other side for a different shot, the subject will jump from one side of the frame to the other when the two shots are edited together. For example, during a basketball game, if cameras are placed on both sides of the court, it is confusing to see a player running toward the left side of the screen and then, when the director cuts to the camera on the other side of the court, to see the player running toward the right side of the screen. To avoid this happening, draw an imaginary line along the direction of the action (called the action line, axis of action, or eye line). Then be careful that the camera captures from only one side of this linegenerally it is not crossed. This line is known as line of action. 180 degree The “180 degree rule” suggests that you must keep all your cameras on the same side of an imaginary line between you and your actors when shooting. Imagine a circle split in half – the cameras go on the other – hence, 180 degrees. To “ jump the line” or “cross the line” means that you have placed the camera on the opposite side of the action line and recorded coverage from the wrong side of 180 degree arc. Then your audience may be confused when characters appear to move suddenly from right to left of the screen. 30degree When you are seeking various angles on action for a variety of shots types within your 180 degree arc, you should ideally move the camera at least 30 degrees around the semi circle before you begin to frame up a new shot of the same subject. Without changing the lens, or moving closer or farther away, and as long as we move 30 degree to the left or right along that circle. Rule of Third The rule of thirds is a useful rule for composing the picture. Divide the screen into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The main subject should be on one of those lines or, identically, on the intersection of two of the lines. The rule suggests that points of interest should occur at 1/3 or 2/3 of the way up the frame, rather than in the centre. Like many rules of framing, this is not always necessary but it is one of those rules you should understand well before you break it. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 84 PAPER-X (Illustration of Rule of the Thirds) Lighting Lighting in Television and films is about more than just making things visible. Lighting creates the environment for storytelling. Successful lighting guides the audience’s interest. It directs their attention towards important features, because the viewer’s eyes are generally attracted to the brightest area of the screen. Lighting is used to increase or decrease the picture’s depth of field. Lighting also sets the mood. (Illustration of Lighting) Types of lighting: Key Light: As name suggests, the key light is the main or predominant light on a subject. It is the light that gives shape, form and definition to the subject. If a person has only one light on him or her, that is by definition the key. As it is the principal source of directional light, it creates a shadow of the subject. The One way of thinking of the key is that is usually the light that creates a shadow of the subject. The key light is placed on one side of the camera; it’s up to you which side you choose. Fill Light As the name suggests, fill means to cover up something. The key, as single defining source, may exist alone; but in most cases, the contrast between the lit areas and the shadows will be too great or the single-source look may not be appropriate for M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 85 PAPER-X the shot. Any light that balances the key light is referred to as the fill. This light is often a softer light, and of a lower intensity. It is usually placed near the camera on the opposite side from the key light. It provides generally diffused illumination to reduce shadow or contrast range. Backlight Backlight is any light that comes from behind the subject. When backlight comes from almost directly overhead and high enough to get over the head and onto the face and nose, it is called a top light. It provides illumination from behind the subject and opposite the camera; it distinguishes the shadow of the object from the background and emphasis the object’s outline. This light can be a hard or soft source. Background Light Although you have key, fill and back lights but may also want the person to be situated in a visible background. For this purpose, you use a background light. There may be a single background light or multiple lights depending upon the situation. For example, the two main characters of a film, TV serial are having food in a restaurant, then to establish a restaurant; background light/lights would be placed. Directing Actual Shooting During Production when the director finally gets to direct the crew to capture the audio and video needed to communicate the message. The director visually interprets the script or event, motivates the crew to do t their best work, and guides the talent to get the best performances. It involves coordinating innumerable creative activities throughout the course of developing, shooting, completing, and marketing a film. He or she is the individual who actively overseas the realization of a film from shooting script to finished product. Directors are responsible for motivating the team to produce the best possible results. (Illustration of Directing Actual Shooting) The things to be considered while directing actual shooting are as follows: Is everything going according to the schedule and pre planning? Are you getting the right ideal shot? To use the natural lighting conditions for ideal production or to arrange the artificial lighting. To avoid unnecessary sounds. M.A. (JMC)PART-II/Semester-III 86 PAPER-X Unnecessary elements should not enter into your frame. To maintain continuity. To take some extra shots and cut away shots. To make sure that as soon as possible after going to a new scene, give a long shot. When it is necessary to take a comparatively close shot of someone from a long distance away, by using a narrow angle lens, the camera should be as nearly on a level with the subject as possible. For the sake of clarity, it is obviously desirable for all the shots to be as close as is reasonably possible. On the other hand, it is irritating to the viewer if the camera is too close and action that should be seen takes place just outside the frame. To provide foreground objects in very long shots. When composing in depth, consider depth of focus. Keep the angle of the camera as close as possible to the eye-line of the subject. Never let a performer look straight into the lens of the camera unless it is necessary to give the impression that he is speaking directly to the viewer personally. Always relate the sound to the vision. References: Desmond Davis, Barrie & Jenkins. The Grammar of Television Production. Communica, Europe. Gerald Millerson. Television Production. Focal Press Herbert Zettl. Handbook of Television Production.Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Martha Mollison, Allen Unwin. Producing Videos Video Production Handbook-Jim Owens, Gerald Millerson Blain Brown. Cinematography Theory and Practice. Focal Press Blain Brown. Motion Picture and Video Lighting. Focal Press.