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Studios are designed to handle a variety of productions with their wide open spaces and are equipped to hang and supply power to lights. Studios are ideal, because they protect productions from the impact of weather such as snow and rain, they are independent from the time of day (productions can be lit as though it is day­ light), and they allow for sound control.

They are used for many dramatic productions, news shows, and talk shows. Although in practice television studios vary from the modest to purpose-built giants, all seem somehow to share a certain indefinable atmosphere.

Despite the number of people working around a set during the production, it is surprising how quiet the place usually is. Only the dialogue between the actors should be audible. Camera dollies should quietly move over the specially leveled floor, as the slightest bumps can shake the image. People and equipment move around silently, choreographed, systematically, and smoothly, to an unspoken plan.

However, if you were to put on an intercom headset, you would enter into a different world! You would hear the continuous instructions from the unseen director in the production con­-trol room: guiding, assessing, querying, explaining, cuing, warning, correcting-coordinating the studio crew through their headsets. The director uses the intercom to guide the production crew. In the studio, the crews operating the cameras, microphones, lighting, set, and so on hear the intercom through their headsets-information that is unheard by the performers/talent or the studio microphones. The floor manager, the director's link with the studio floor, is respon­sible for diplomatically relaying the director's instructions and observations to the performers with hand signals. (See our article: Floor Director Hand SIgnals)

The television studio control room is the nerve center where the director, accompanied by a support group, controls the production. Most control rooms are segmented into separate rooms or areas. However, there are smaller control rooms, or even one-piece switchers, that merge many of these operations into one area. A large control room has more room and flexibility, but requires more people. A one-piece system can be operated by one person but is limited in the number of cameras it can include.


The director can have many people trying to get his or her attention in the control room. Of course, there is another whole group of people in the studio. However, in the control room
the director needs to review graphics, listen to the assistant director, and respond to audio personnel, video shaders, playback, the technical director, and sometimes the producer. 

The director usually sits in the television control room-although sometimes sitcom directors prefer to be out in the studio-watching a large group of video monitors called the monitor wall. The smaller moni­tors show the displays from each camera being used, plus a variety of image sources such as graphics, animations, and satellite feeds. There are usually two larger screens. One is generally the preview monitor, which is the director's "quality control" monitor, and which allows him or her to assess upcoming shots, video effects, combined sources, and the like. The second monitor, is the "on-air" or "transmission" monitor, which shows what is actually being broadcast or recorded.

The director's attention is divided between the various input monitors, the selected output on the on-air monitor, and the program audio from a nearby loudspeaker.

Although some directors may prefer to switch for them­selves, most directors utilize a technical director (TD). TDs are responsible for switching between the various video and graphic inputs on the switcher (see Figure 3.17). The TD enables the production director to concentrate on controlling the many other aspects of the show. The TD may oversee the engineering aspects of the production such as aligning effects, checking shots, ensuring source availability, and monitoring quality.

Check out these articles by using the menu bar at the top:

Backtiming the News
Broadcast News Production
Choreographing your Student Newscast
Interview Camera Set-ups
Introduction to Broadcast Graphics: Creating a simple lower third graphic in Photoshop
Intuitive Work Flow for Newsrooms
Making Yourself a Better Teleprompter Operator
Producing The Newscast
Selecting the Right Teleprompter
Technical Aspects of Producing
Teleprompter Operation Techniques
The Logistics and Strategies of Producing
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