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T356 - Fall 2012 Week 10

Readings: Zettl chapters 17.2, 18 & 19

Reality Check

  • Quiz #4 next week
  • PSA productions next week. Be sure to pre-load your graphics, music and video clips before your scheduled time. You've had a lot of time to prepare. There will not 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.
  • Dramatic scenes: As of labs this week, you have two weeks to prepare. It's crucial to rehearse. Get the scripts to your talent ASAP.
  • Bring in a final project proposal next week. (A script is not necessary, but a proposal and full treatment are.)


  • Review Scripts, Rehearsals & Production People
  • Unions
  • Producing musical & dance performances

Review Scripts:

  • 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.

Review rehearsals:

  • 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

Review: Production People & Personnel

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

Unions & Legal Matters: most writers, directors, talent belong to a guild or union as do almost all below the line personnel.

Non Technical Unions

  • Actor's Equity Association - American actors and stage managers in the theatre. (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
  • AFTRA American Federation of TV and Radio Artists. The major union for TV talent. (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
  • SAG Screen Actors Guild. The major union for screeen talent. (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
    • SEG Screen Extras Guild. SEG no longer exists. AFTRA and SAG have contracts to cover extras.
    • AFTRA and SAG both started in the 30s and are likely to merge in the near future.
  • 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 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 Multi-camera Performance Pieces

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

Dance is the most challenging, as the subject is constantly moving. TV is a close-up medium, and it's nearly impossible to capture a dancer with a tight shot unless the dance has been carefully analyzed in advance of the production, or blocked specifically for the camera.

Comedians and 1-person monologues are a little easier, as the subject is not moving as much.

Music is perhaps the easiest, since the performers usually stay in one location.

Ideally with either any type of performance, it helps to plan ahead and block it in advance. This way when you get to the drum solo, the guitar solo, or whatever, you can have a camera already positioned on the instrument or person to be highlighted. The more you know the piece, the better job you can do.

When you don't know the dance piece or music, you can still do a decent job, providing you setup your cameras and follow a strategy.

Question: Take a performance involving two dancers. How might you approach this with three cameras?

How about a concert with a 4-piece rock band?

Techniques - Regardless of the type of art, the multi-camera director can employ some useful techniques which will make capturing the performance much easier. The main thing you want is 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.

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

2 Shots and Medium Shots - Always have a good 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-Up - Find the camera with the most flattering/favorable angle of the performer(s). Have them always get a MCU

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

Ue 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.

Carrie Newcomer example:


SNL Examples:

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:


Rec run vs free run timecode
ISO record


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