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The Theater is the study in grand and large movement, but the Television Studio is a study in the small movement. Where in the theatre you the viewer are well back from the performer, television places the performer so close even the smallest motion or twitch is noticed. So the exception for the performer will be in the manner of acting. With this exception all of the disciplines of the theater apply to the television studio, plus all of the technical video requirements.

Lets start with the simplest studio. Your own home, -after all what is a studio?- it's a room. Its a room with lights and cameras. You dont have to have the big television studio with the fancy lights and expensive cameras, the elaborate audio system and all that, to produce a good program. Look at the daytime talk shows. What do you see? People setting on couches, or at tables, or a cooking show - why cant you use your own kitchen. My point is you have a camera, you have a house and therefor you have your own studio. Later on this page I write about lighting, and lighting is the real key to it all. In fact throughout this manual I harp on the importance of LIGHT and really I think the more times I tell you the better. The key to turning you home into a television studio set is the way you light it.

I am working on the links section for this page now, and at the bottom of the page you will find accessorys useful for the building of your studio.

You can arrange your furniture, and light the area and the performers, place the camera and make a really nice talk show. Or you can turn your garage into a larger and more versatile studio. Im saying this to encourage you, to remove some of the artifical limitations of the television industry. You can use small radios for communication with your camera people if you use more than one camera. Remember the home video doesn't have to be live switched - you can edit the show later.

A good working studio does not necessary have to be large, but it does have to be well planned. In fact the small studio can really be an advantage. You can have one set of cameras which can easily turn to different areas. the news studio at channel (xx)(xx)network has three different areas set in a U shape, the news desk on one side the weather desk in the middle and the green screen on the other side. The cameras can turn to the capture the shot called for at the time.

I have encouraged your independence stressed your ability to do-it-yourself. Now we throw all of that out the window. For the remainder of this page no matter which of the positions we speak of on this page, keep in mind you are one member of a team.
From here on I am going to assume you want to be a team player and really do a good job. If you have played sports you will have a good idea of the importance of teams and that each team member works together if they are to win - here if you are to have a winning production, team work will be what creates it.
The more responsibility you have on these teams, the more you must control your behavior, and the studio is no place for prima donnas and eccentric behavior. Be kind and polite to everyone on the crew and complement everyone on his or her work.
The crew as with all crews mostly goes unnoticed and the talent receives all of the accolades and complements. This is normal, your reward, is the job well done and the pride you can have in the flawless performance of your task.

Remember this many individuals choose one area of skills, and they make a career of it whether audio, lighting, directing, or camera. Here at public access you have the opportunity to learn all of the skills and practice.

You have many skills to learn in the studio. The lists below will indicate and/or explain what each of the positions must have knowledge of, or what is necessary for that position.

Now lets go into the general discussion of the studio. The first item on the list is the TALENT. You may want to be the newsperson, or the host of your own program. Lets hope in learning the art of studio production you will also learn respect for the tech. who make you look good.
There are many books written on performance for television, and the duties of the on screen performer. At all times remember your slightest expression will be seen and all of your motions noticed. I am really more concerned that you develop respect for the crew that presents you to the world. Pay your dues to each of them and thank them for their work, and most of all mean it. You may have a tech crew that will produce you if you are a jerk, but if you love them it will show in their work on the show. TALENT - ON SCREEN PERSONS
1. Costume
2. Scripting
3. Make up
4. Acting/presentation

Here are some of the decisions which the Light crew must make as they work, the elements of the light fixtures. The lighting tech and the director usually work together with other members of the crew. The Set designer may play a role here as well. The mechanical duties and art, play hand in hand here.
All of the techniques for lighting for still photographs may also be applied to lighting your set. Many books exist on creative lighting for photography. 1. Placement
2. controls (dimmer board and movement)
3. Switching
4. Gels ( colors )
5. direct light Vs reflected light
6. the use of shadows
7. Footlights
8. Fill lights
9. 3 three point lighting
10. Spotlighting

There are various books on the art of set design and the methods of construction written for the theatre, I do not know any written for the television studio. 1. Flats
2. Curtains
3. Properties
4. Set changes


Audio is the first difference, where in the Theatre the performer must project to the back of the room, In television you must use microphones to capture their speech (or Music). This is one of the most difficult portions of the set up for any production. Requirements. Microphones
1. Lavaliere
2. Stand or table microphones
3. Boom microphones
4. Wireless Microphones

Here we begin to study the control room. The term online editing is used for the process, which takes place here. You have realized these studio productions are dependent upon a team of individuals, the pre-production work now will be justified by the creation of a program. Audio Mixer
1. level controls
2. EQ controls

1. operated (manned) cameras
2. fixed (un-manned) cameras
1. Video Switcher

Other Control room positions and equipment
1. Tapes - for insertion into the program 2. Character Generation - Tilting - Credits 3. Music from - CD's - Cassettes

If the program is a live production, A broadcast engineer or cable-caster will control the output to the cable or the antenna.

If the program is a call in production, Telephones and related equipment will be required. The decision to accept live calls in real time or broadcast your program on a tape delay will be made. Perhaps an operator will record the question and play it when the on-air talent is ready for a question. Finally an operator will take questions and write them for the talent to read and answer.


1. On air persons
2. manager studio - directs talent - entrances & exits - fixes mikes - cues talent - monitors and checks for program continuity.
3. Camera Operators
4. Camera Director / switcher
5. Audio Engineer
6. Character Generator operator
7. Tapes Operator
8. Program Director - monitors script - directs studio operators
9. messenger - to get talent from greenroom - and any assigned task


The starting point for any production is the script. This script may be general if the show is to be candid with no written dialogue. It may be more elaborate with all movements, dialogue, lighting, audio effects, and set changes written out. Even the simplest production must have a script - the open - tape or introduction written, Times to breaks - tape insertions if any - commercials or sponsors tapes or messages, and the conclusion.
As a basic minimum - The program will start on the second and exit on the second. The script is a necessity regardless of how little is included.


In our public access station, this is the most neglected duty. The set is the personality of the program - it sets the mood - and tells the viewer a lot about the nature of the program.

The studio itself is a tiny theatre, The cameras are the real audience, but every camera is the same person looking at you from a different point of view. In television your down turned mouth or raised eyebrow will tell a story for you. Your camera director/switcher is the person thinking on his feet and setting the pace of the program in the manner which the cameras are directed and switched.
Most programs will begin with a wide shot of the entire set - and the principal performer will either be present or will make an entry upon his or her introduction.
What does the viewer see in this shot?
The set, and from this point on the viewer will have some specific thought about the program they are viewing.


If you have experience in the theatre you have a head start, and if you actually helped construct and paint flats you are really ahead. All that you have learned about theatre is directly applicable to the television studio. You painting should be a little better than that of the theatre because the viewer (camera) is closer.
The Flats and their placement define the space, which your performers will move within. The properties (tables - chairs - etc.) will determine how they are able to move within the space.
You must rely upon the television monitor when judging how the set looks. Your viewpoint as a person standing in the set is not going to be the same as the camera sees the set.

In the theater the designer will often construct a tiny model of the set so they can get the feel of the viewpoint the audience will have. This would be a good idea for any television set designer.

Following of the construction of the set you will do the lighting.
Lighting is a long and involved process of subtle placement of the fixtures, the process will require study - with people in the set representing the performers. You should try to have the performer there for the lighting process. The skin of one person may adsorb or reflect more light than another. If you have lit the set and the individual you used for reference has an entirely different skin type all of your work may be for nothing, and you will have to try and make last minute changes to correct for the show.


These two different lighting requirements are where the problems begin to arise. Resolving the conflicts between the performers lighting and the set lighting is what takes so much time. You will be climbing ladders and moving lights - putting screens or gels on them - refocusing - and even changing bulbs. If you are luck you will have a dimmer board available and can adjust the intensity of the light. The barn doors on the fixtures will block the light from shining on areas, which you do not want lit.

You will almost always want a light or set of lights high and behind the performers - these lights shine on their backs and the camera will see the edges of the person - this causes the person to be set off from the background, rather than blending in. A subtle white outline will be defined on their edges.

The use of Shadows is a creative process - using mats - cutouts - of (plants or blinds - window frames) - can create a necessary mood for your program. Shadows can be used on a boring (plain wall) background to make it interesting. Your set design is your first project and how you light it to make it more interesting is your second project.

Lets say you want to use your own home for the studio - every living room or kitchen can be used for the studio - You will go through the same steps of lighting but you can use the house hold lights. About the only special effort will be placing the highlight you shine on your performers back. The rest of the lights you can gather from around the house and set them so your set and the performer looks good
Hook the video-out of your camera to your VCR and then the VCR to the Television so you can see what you are doing --


Always have your performers as far from the set walls as possible.
You must not place the performers close to the walls of the set because will not be able to light them correctly, they will cast shadows you don't want, and the set lighting will be messed up.

The monitor is your best friend as you work with the performers, You will have to look at the monitor as you have the performers walk through the set and hit their marks ( marks are the [tape lines] where you want them to stop. You will be looking to see how the light and shadow actually looks with them.
Some performances will be scripted plays and others will be less formal and the people may be moving randomly around. You may have it easy and be doing a talk show where everyone is setting all of the time.


Film style shooting is economicaly efficent in terms of time saved and materials (film or tape) used. Film makers rely upon one camera for the majority of all movies which have ever been made. The cost of film and the multiple costs for talent and crew, plus location fees and the many other expenses involved with filming required the movie maker to devise short-cuts. Film style shooting is such a short cut.

The script is broken down into scenes and these scenes are shot out of order. The rational and the method would be for the camera, lighting and all the other considerations to be set up for the delivery of all of one actors lines from a specific mark. The actor would deliver one set of lines/speech/dialogue representing one scene, the next set, and the next untill all of the lines which used that camera/light setup were complete. Now lets say that actor was having a conversation with actor 2. The reverse camera angle would be set up and actor 2 would deliver each or his or her lines one after the other untill each of the scenes for that set up were complete. Now lets say the script called for a two shot - head to toe of them - as a cut away from the previous scenes - then the camera and everything would be re set for that camera angle. the script dialogue would be all mixed up but the actors total delivery would be complete.

this film would be developed - screened and selected for the best shots - those shots logged and the film would then go to the editor.

The editor would un-roll the film find the scetion of the film for those secnes/deliverys and carefully cut them into film strips.
The film strips would be marked, ordered and hung on pegs.
Then the editor would start re-assembling the film into the correct order following the script.

Two types of editing was performed by the film editor. the simplest and most basic was CUTS ONLY. Here one piece of film would be glued to the next making a simple cut from one scene to the next. Even today in 95 percent of the video programs and the movie films you see use cuts only for the majority of the scene changes.

Next is A - B Roll editing, this allows for complicated transitions between two scenes. These transition would be determined as A roll and B roll and these transitions would be mastered in the printing process. The A/B roll is a method where two film reels were begun and one reel would start with film having images and the other reel would hold clear film, the next scene the two would reverse places. when transitions such as wipes or dissolves were called for the ending and starting places would be different and over lap one another, thus allowing two different images to be displayed at the same time.

Today we see the majority of transitions in television commericals, however many modern films are using more and more transitions and effects. These transitions and effects are for impact and between them you will find cuts only. The impact would be lost if to many were used.

I place these links as possible sources for equipment which you will find useful and indespensable for a studio. It doesnt hurt to look at some of the designs and build your own stuff. I really beleve innovative constructions can work for you. Yet at the same time its not necessary to *re-invent the wheel* every time you need something, and purchasing a well made item can save you money and more important *time*

, Tripods page, you will find accessorys for tripods at the bottom of the page

Canon, the canon GL1 would be an excellent choice for the small studio.

SWITCHER, VIDEONICS, offers the most efficent and useful switcher on the market. This switcher is both analog and digital. and has many many features. Check out their other products for online editing.

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