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Jim Krause | Classes | P356 TV Studio Production

Week 5

Misc Announcements & Updates:

  • PSA Proposals - Due by the start of lab this week. We'll take a few minutes of lab to share ideas.
  • Next week: We'll have a lighting / audio quiz in lecture and start covering graphics. We'll meet here for lecture as usual- but the labs will be around the corner in RTV 186 (the new PC lab). In lab next week we'll cover Photoshop and you'll pitch your Demonstraion Video ideas in lab.
  • Demonstration Video preproduction and pitches due next week. This is worth 15 points and includes:
    • Program Proposal (includes title, objective, target audience, show description, production overview)
    • Treatment or Script (partial script format can be used which includes intro, talk points, segues and close)
    • Storyboarded key shots (Just include a few of the key shots.)
    • Floor plan & lighting plot
  • The week after next is our News Update exercise. Will cover in lab next week. Students will have to write a 30-second news piece and prepare 2 graphics.


  • Continue with lighting & start audio
  • Share PSA proposals this week in lab (there's still a little time to find clients)
  • Finish 4-part rotation exercise

Wrapping Up Lighting------------------------

A few examples of floor plans & lighting plots:

Many TV studios are using LED and floursecent fixtures for their news lighting.

Studio lighting and set design tips:

Before designing and building sets think about what you want to see in the frame. Storyboard your key shots first. Then plan around them, creating a floor plan and lighting plot to match. If you are producing a talk show you might want flatter, consistent lighting and colors behind the MCUs of your guests. If you are producing a dramatic noir piece you might want more contrast and shadows.

Keep furniture (couches, tables, chairs, etc.) away from flats (at least 8 feet or so) or your lighting angles will be too high from having to shoot over the flats.

Keep your talent's key lights off of the set as much as possible. This way you can control them separately from the talent.  (You need proper light placement & set design to ensure you can do this.)

Floodlights (scoops & broadlights) can work well to illuminate walls. Make sure they are hitting only the wall and not the talent.

Use spotlights to create overlapping pools of light - Think about the areas where your actors need to be (in doorways, sitting at tables on couches, etc.). Focus on illuminating these areas (key and back at least) to make overlapping pools of light in these areas.

Realistic lighting: Try to have believable lighting. Visible lighting fixtures that are part of the set (a light next to a bed for example) can make a huge difference. Lights in the frame are called practicals.

Try to get sets and flats about 20 IRE below the talent.

Audio ------------------------


Audio for film and television is more than just recording a good signal. Most soundtracks have multiple layers of sound effects, environmental noises, and music. We hear cues that tell us where they are- outside, inside, and how big the room or environment is. How many people are milling about in the background and what they are doing? Maybe what the weather is like.

You could place two people at a table in a restaurant set and record pristine audio with a $2,000 microphone. It might sound great, but it’s not going to fly with a TV audience. It would sound weird. Viewers expect to hear clinking silverware, the murmur of other diners and music playing over the sound system. A classy restaurant on Friday night would sound much different than a diner on Saturday morning.

Example of a music video without music

In a live studio environment, background tracks must be thought of in advance. The production lab has a library of sound effects and a minidisc recorder. Think of your location and get fitting sound effects and music before you have to produce your project.

Audio perspective

Audio perspective -Viewers expect sounds from far away to sound distant and sounds nearby to sound close. Consider two shots:

1 - Wide shot inside a busy diner full of people. Our two lead characters enter and move towards a booth.

2- 2-shot of them in the booth They start to talk.

In the wide shot we'd expect to hear diner noise and ambient sounds. In the 2-shot we'd expect to hear their conversation and less ambient diner sounds.

This is why in dramatic film & TV production, the shotgun/hyper-cardioid microphone is usually favored over lavalieres. We can vary the distance (matching the camera) so the audio perspective matches what we are seeing through the lens.

Loudness & Frequency

Loudness can be measured in decibels (dBs) and can be represented visually with VU or digital meters.

Broadcast Levels - Many broadcast stations (including WTIU) require an average dialog level of -20. That being said I've found that I often have to bump it up to an average dialog level of -16.

AGC - The automatic gain/volume control feature on camcorder tries to get a consistent level. If it’s soft, it’ll boost the signal. If it’s loud it’ll turn it down. Don’t use it! It’ll bring the noise floor up and reduce your dynamic range.

Frequency is measured in Hertz or cycles per second

  • Hertz = CPS cycles per second
    • Kilohertz (kHz) = 1000 Hertz
  • Human hearing generally ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Concert A = 440 Hz
  • Middle C is 261.63 Hz
  • The human voice ranges from about 100 – 9,000 Hz


Microphones convert one form of energy to another: acoustic sound waves to electricity.

Microphones can be classified by their electrical characteristics and pickup patterns.

Electrical Characteristics:

Dynamic - Works opposite of a speaker. A wire coil attached to a diaphragm is suspended inside a magnetic field. Sound waves hit the diaphragm making the coil move. This creates a flow of electricity in the coil windings.

Dynamic microphones are typically durable and a good choice for hand held vocals or percussion instruments.

Condenser - (a.k.a. electret or capacitor)- Need batteries or phantom power to operate. A plate or diaphragm moves adjacent to a stationary, charged backplate. The capacitance between the two plates changes as the diaphragm moves modulating an electric current. This current must be boosted by a preamplifier to create a usable signal.

Condenser microphones are often more sensitive than dynamic microphones but output a larger signal. They are a better choice for distant recording and lower level sound sources. Most full range, high-quality studio microphones are condensers.

Phantom power is DC voltage sent up the microphone cable to power a condenser microphone. (48, 24 or 12 volts) It originates from a camera, audio mixer or other audio device.

Ribbon - A small (extremely delicate) metal ribbon is suspended inside a magnetic field. Sound waves move the ribbon, creating an electrical flow.

Because of their delicate construction, ribbon microphones aren't suitable for windy conditions or extremely loud sound sources. They are often used for vocal recording.

Polar Pickup patterns:

  • Omni- pickup sounds well from all directions.
  • Cardioid (a.k.a. unidirectional) They have a directional (heart-shaped) pickup pattern
  • Hyper-cardioid - very directional (E.g. shotgun microphones)
  • Figure eight a.k.a. bi-directional


  • Lavaliere - Very popular for film & video. Provide a consistent sound close to the source and are inconspicuous. Wireless versions of these are a must have for professional videographers.
  • Hand held – try to avoid using these unless you’re doing interviews with people on the street (an assistant with a boom would be better). When using, make sure to keep them a consistent distance from the source. Best used on a stand.
  • Stands (floor & desk) obtrusive good for music; desk: obtrusive but an excellent way to hold a microphone (Leno, Letterman)
  • Boom – handheld and floor stand models (typically used with a shotgun mike)
  • Headset – Conspicuous but provide audio monitoring for performers and a consistent sound source. (Used frequently for live sporting events and by singers)
  • Parabolic mount. A large bowl with handles on the outside and a microphone mount on the inside. Place a microphone in the middle and you have a highly directional microphone- more directional and sensitive than a shotgun mike. Commonly used for sporting events and spying, be sure you faithfully listen to the headphone while using. You need to move these continuously to keep them focused.

Signals, cables and connectors

Mic / Line Level - Audio signals are typically either line level or mic level.

Line levels can be +4 dBu or –10 dBv - There are two different levels considered "line level". Professional equipment uses a slightly higher signal of +4 dBu. Consumer equipment (such as CD players) uses -10 dBv. They are cllllllose to being interchangeable, but plugging a +4 output into a -10 dBm input will sound louder and possibly clip or distort. You may need a 12-15 dB pad. Plugging a -10 dBv output from a piece of consumer gear into the +4 input of a mixer will usually work fine, except the signal might be slightly softer.

[Link to good article by David Adamcyk]

Cables: Balanced vs. Unbalanced - Audio cables are either balanced or unbalanced

Balanced cables have three wires (two conductors & one ground) and are far less prone to electrical interference than unbalanced (2-wire) cables. Long unbalanced cable runs can result in a loss in high frequencies and are prone to picking up electromagnetic interference. Balanced cables usually have XLR connectors on the ends.

The cables that connect your analog home stereo equipment together (usually with RCA connectors) are unbalanced lines. They only have two wires, a conductor and a ground. Unbalanced lines are likely to pick up radio interference and lose high frequencies on long cable runs.

Know how to properly wrap cables! You need to know this in order to work professionally- really. Ask me in lab if you need a refresher.

Wireless microphones - Diversity vs. Non-Diversity - Diversity receivers have two antennas.

Compressors - Used to reduce the dynamic range (loudness) getting a more consistent level. This is extremely useful for dialog and narration. Compressing the dialog can make it easier to mix it in with music and other audio elements.

Proximity Effect - Sounds closer to the microphone have an exaggerated low frequency response. (Part of the reason radio announcers sound so "bassey" is because they are talking right into the mic.)

Pop-filter - Stops the letters B, P and T from "popping". (Typically a thin piece of fabric.)

Phase cancellation - Sound is a wave. When two mics pickup the same sound they will either magnify it if they are in phase, or reduce it if they are out of phase. Reducing the sound through multiple mics is known as phase cancellation. To avoid it assign one microphone as the primary pickup device for each source.

Wireless receivers - Diversity have two antennas. Non-diversity have only one.

Running cables - Don't run cables adjacent to AC power cords. Keep them separated as much as possible and cross them at 90 degrees at intersections.

Audio control booth/production room

Audio Control Booth is used during actual production

Audio Production room is used for post. This is where audio sweetening takes place. Sweetening is the process of adding track & SFX, tweaking eq etc.

Audio console:

Try to visualize the signal flow through the mixer. The audio signal enters at the top. Here's a brief overview of the Yamaha 02R digital audio console.

Each channel on the Yamaha console can have its own EQ. The "Selected Channel" section shows paramaters related to the channel you have selected.

Yamaha console layout:




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