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Jim Krause | Classes | P356 TV Studio Production

Week 10

Readings: Zettl chapters 17.2, 18 & 19

Reality Check

  • Quiz #4 next week (Scripts, rehearsals, unions & blocking)
  • PSA productions next week. Your scripts and graphics are due this week. Please upload materials to the appropriate Canvas assignment and load your graphics into the Chyron. (When loading graphics into the Chyron, please be sure to note your message numbers, and NOT to overwrite some else's graphics!) Type/paste your script into the teleprompter, saving it in the P356/PSA folder. Your graphics, music and video clips must be loaded before your scheduled time. Next week there simply won't be time in your 25-minute time slot to make or download graphics, or type material into the teleprompter. Please do this ahead of time- this week is a good time for this!
  • Dramatic scenes: As of labs this week, you have two weeks to prepare. Every group must submit a pre-production packet with a script, floor plan, lighting plot, etc. It's also good to have a list of graphics, props, and sound files. Don't wait until the last minute to do this. Get the scripts to your talent ASAP and work on your vizualization and blocking. This is a main focus of this exercise.
  • Final project ideas are due the week after next. (A script is not necessary, but a proposal and full treatment are. Turned in via Canvas)


  • Review scripts, rehearsals & production people
  • Unions
  • Producing musical & dance performances



  • Fully scripted: includes every piece of dialog, every single shot, VTR cues) There are different versions of these for news, film, documentary)
  • Semi-scripted: indicates only partial dialogue. The opening and closing remarks are included. Our Studio 5 Perspectives talk show is a good example
  • Drama script: focuses on dialogue and action, not specific camera instructions.
  • Show format: lists only the particular show segments (interview with the chairman, commercial, music performance)
  • The fact sheet or rundown sheet: performers ad-lib based on this info. Popular for fund drives and shopping channels.


  • Script reading
  • Dry Run/Blocking rehearsal
  • Walk throughs (Occur shortly before the production is taped):
    • Technical walk-thru (don’t need talent. Go over lighting, audio, camera moves etc.)
    • Talent Walk-thru (don’t need technical personnel.
      • Mark precise positions
      • Props
      • Go through opening lines and skip to individual cue lines
    • Combined walk-thru: Can combine, talent, camera & tech in any combination.
    • Camera rehearsal/Dress Rehearsal

Production People & Personnel:

Production people are often classified as either above the line or below the line.

Unions & Legal Matters: Most broadcast and theatrical writers, directors, talent belong to a guild or union as do most below the line personnel. While you may not have to necessarily join a union,you will certainly have to interact with members so it's important to understand who they represent and what their interests are.

Non Technical Unions

  • Actor's Equity Association - American actors and stage managers in the theatre. (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
  • SAG - AFTRA - AFTRA and SAG both started in the 30s and recently merged. The American Federation of TV and Radio Artists was the major union for TV talent. Screen Actors Guild. The major union for screeen talent. Both affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
  • AGMA American Guild of Musical Artists. The major union for stage singers. It represents opera and concert singers, production personnel and dancers at principal opera, concert and dance companies throughout the United States.
  • (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
  • AFM American Federation of Musicians of the US and Canada. The major union for professional musicians.
  • DGA Directors Guild of America
  • WGA Writers Guild of America

Technical Unions

  • IBEW International Brothers of Electrical Workers
  • NABET National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians - A subset of the Communication Workers of America
  • IATSE International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the US and Canada

If you work with unions you should know their rules (breaks, overtime, salaries etc.).

Producing & Directing Multi-camera Performance Pieces

Performances are frequently captured with multiple cameras for TV. Examples include dance, comedians, 1-person monologes, and musical performances.

  • Dance is the most challenging, as the subjects are constantly moving. TV is a close-up medium, and it's nearly impossible to capture a tight shot of a dancer unless the dance has been carefully analyzed in advance of the production, or blocked specifically for the camera. Watch Dancing with the Stars and you'll see that they stay usually on wide shots. To keep it interesting they incorporate motion and create elaborate production setups. Compare this with a single-camera tango scene from a movie. In the movie they've carefully broken down the dance and blocked it in terms of camera coverage.
  • Comedians and 1-person monologues (E.g. TED Talks) are easier to capture, as the subject is not moving as much.
  • Musicians are also relatively easy to cover, since they are often locked into position (behind a piano, drumset, etc.)

Lighting - Just like a news or talk show, you want your performers to stand out from the background. A couple of stops difference is nice to get. Lead performers should be a little brighter (E.g. one stop) than the backup performers. Here are a few exampled from SNL:

Camera Coverage Strategy - Regardless of the type of performance, the multi-camera director can employ techniques to make capturing the performance easier. The main thing you need is a camera strategy assuring proper coverage without jump cuts. This means your cameras will not have the same types of shots. Each camera willl have a different shot to contribute to the mix. Example for a guitarist captured with multi-cameras:

  • Cam 1 - MS performer (looking left)
  • Cam 2 - CU performer (looking right)
  • Cam 3 - ECU (left hand fingers or right hand picking/strumming)
  • Cam 4 / Jib - Always beautiful moving wide shot

You will have to work for this because camera operators almost always want to pull out to a wide shot.

Safety (wide) shot. In our studio we have a jib. Get a good jib operator to find a few moves that look great, and simply have them repeat these throughout the performance. Avoid diagonal moves- stick with arm up and down and sweeps left and right.

2 Shots and Medium Shots - Always have a medium shot or 2-shot to go to. This might be both musicians of a duo, or a medium shot of a solo performer.

Medium Close-Ups - Position your cameras so you get flattering/favorable angles of the performer(s). Make sure the eyelines converge. So someone on the left side of the frame will look right. Someone on the right side will be looking left.

CU & ECU - Have a camera stay tight on the playing, singing, drumming, etc.

Use the rule of thirds to frame the subject(s) on alternating left and right sides. For example you can have a medium shot of them framed on the right side and cross-dissolve to a close-up on the left. Don't center the subjects for cross-dissolves or they will look bad.

Before Recording - Run through the song with a timer. Pay attention to how the song starts and ends. Note (write down) the times when the verses, choruses, and solos are. The Assistant Director can help with this and with getting shots setup in time.

Think about the transitions. Slower tunes might call for dissolves and quicker ones cuts. Be consistent.

Examples ---------------------------

Historic Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi - Both Sides Now

SNL: Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"| Beck "Blue Moon"

Jimmy Fallon: With the muppets playing "The Weight"| Austin Malone "Silent Night"

Carrie Newcomer example (Shot in Studio 5):

Bela Fleck Example:

Austin City Limits does an excellent job with these.

If possible ISO roll the cameras to open up possibilities in edit. This means that each camera has a dedicated recorder. Camcorders make this easy. If this is the case and you are going to post it later, be sure sync all the timecode signals of the various cameras. This is also the time you may want to use freerunning timecode, as opposed to record running timecode. Do you know the difference?

Multi-camera dance:

Ted Talks


Rec run vs free run timecode
ISO record

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