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Herbert Zettl

San Francisco State Uni versity



A U$T~A lI'"


C.""~ OA








-f,!it:vi5ioll Prodlluion Handbook, Ninth Edition

Herbe rt Zeltl

Publlslrer: Holl)' J. Alle n

Prim Buyer: Karen Hunt

Stnior De l'e!opmtllf Edilor: Renrr Dl.'ljo n


A55islallf Editor: DarienI' Amidon- Brent

Production St'n'!cc: Idea. to Images

di'or; Joohee Lee

Editorial A'5islanr: S3rah Alkn

Cover rwd Tex! De,ign fr: Gary Palmatier, Ideas to Images

S" lIior

Art Editor: Gary Pal m,uier, Ideas 10 Images

Technology Pro;eCl M<I>lIIger: Jealle!!t Wiseman

"",lruknillg Manng"': M,ul. Orr

Pilo /Q RCUI1n:her: Robe.rta Broyer

MRTkeriug Assisfi1l11: Alt'xandra Tran

Copy Editor: EJiubelh von Rad ics

MMkt'rjng Commww;afiollS Manager: Shrmika Britt

lIIunrafr)r: Idus 10 Images

PrOjeCI Mrmagtr, &ii/arial Pro duaion : Jenll lfrr Klo;

Compositor: Roba ire Re am, Meas to Imagts

Crear;I'c Dirmor: Rob Hugel

Cover Printer: Phoenix Color Co rp

:um l ive Art Dirt?aor: Maria 1:.~5

Prilltu: R. R. DonndleylWillard

C 1006 Thomso n Wadswo nh, a part of The Tho mson

Corponl!ioll. Thonlson, the Star logo, 3nd \Vadswonh are
trademar ks used herein under lice nse.

Thomson Higher Ed ucalion

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All RIGHTS RESERVED. No palt o { th is wOlk CO~'eJ'N
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Prin ted in the Uni tt d States o f America

2 J

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[dilion: ISBN 053164727-8

In ternational Studenl Edilion: ISBN 0 495 -00908 3

For mo re infor mation about o ur p roducts, co nt act us at:

Thomso n Lear ningAcademio: Resou rce Center
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-- ,

Once 'gain I

upo h '
Was pril'iJeged /0
I also wan! to gi\'~ a big thank-you to all of th e

. ~ t eexperlise of its 'I\.rea . 'lave H'adswon h call and organizations who responded qu OId' d ~e.ople

Ie y an POSJtlvely
Edmonor the Ti l "
m 10 produce this Ninth to my numerous requests for assist ance:
Stanley Alten
Allen,publ'IShcr' Renee
eM SIOII ProdI/CI;o" Halldbook: HolI, SyraCUSe
' c'
.,," 1;;"(113, M UOIell
, G

Ma k 0



Jon, semar develo pment editor;

ma rketmg manager; Darlene Amidon-Srem

::tS S1 Slanl cailor' Sa , ,1 AU
d' ,
en, e lIondl assistant; Maria
Epl ~) e.\ ecu{n'c art dI rector; Jenni fer Klas, production
proJect, m anager; Robert a Broyer, pho to ed itor; Gary

Palmatier of Ideas to Images, art directoT and project

manager; Robaire Ream, page layout art ist and illustrator;

Elizabeth von Radics. copyeditor; and Ed Aiona, principal

photographer. All you need to do is skim through this book
10 unders\.md my adrniraoon and deep gratit ude (or their
exceptjonal worK.
A number of dedicated instructors gave me the ben efit
of their experience (!nd numerous excellent suggestio ns
when they reco mmended changes fo r th e Ninth Ed ition.
Many thanks to these revie~"e r s: Mara Alper, Ithaca Co llege;
George Bagley. University of u nt ral Florida; Karyn Bcown.
Miss issippi Sta te University; H amid Khan i, San Francisco
State Un h'ersity; Michael Ko rp i, Baylo r Un iversity; Ro nald
J. Osgood, In d iana Universit y; Pau l Rose, University o f
Utah; and Jo-An ne Ryall, Western Kentucky Universit}'.
[ am also greatly ind{'b ted to Michael Korpi and Paul
Rose, who a~o re vie ~"ed the manuscript of this {'dition
and suggested numerous imp rovements, and to Ronald J.
Osgood, who recommended some changes 10 th ~ m ai n
text and also h{'lped r{'vise the Workbook, Many thanks 10
Josh ua Hecht a nd Vinay Shrivastava. who reviewed and
hel ped update the audio chapters. I also received generOllS
assista nce fro m my colleagues al Sa n Franc isco State
Unive rsity: Mart y Gonzales, Chul Heo, Rick Houlberg,
Smart H yde , Ha mid Kha ni, Phil Kipper, Steve lahe y,
Winston Tharp, MicheUe Wolf, and Lena Zh ang.

John Bentzhoff and Greg Goddard , Sn a der an d

Asso~la les; Corey Carbonara, Baylor Un iversit y; Ed COSel,

<lSSOcLate chief engin eer, KTVU, O<lkJand-$an i=ra ncisco ;

Sonny Cravr n, Virginia Militar y Institute; Ed Dudkowski,
C reati ve T('(:hnologies; Ela n Frank, Elan Productions; Jim
1laman, di rector of local prog ramming/production, KTVU.
Oakland-San Francisco; Manfred Mucken haupt, chair,
Media St udies. University o f Tuebingen, Germ an},; Steve
Shlisky, prod uce r/editor, Knru. San Francisco-Oakla nd ;
and Manfred Wolfram, cha ir, Electro nic Media Di vision ,
U niversity o f Cincinnati.
T he m any peop le who gave a considerable amo unl of
their l.ime.1nd di spl ayed an ama zing Jevtl o f profes sional
ism during our photo sessions also deserve high praise: Talia
Aiona, Karen Austin, Ken Baird, Jero me iJakum, Rudolf
Ben zler, Tierno Bienmell er, Mo nica Caizada, William
Carpenter, Andrew Ch ild, Lau ra Child, Rebecca Child,
Renee Ch ild, Skye C hristensen , Ed Cosci , Carla Currie,
Sabr ina Do rsey, T"mmy fen g, lededia h Gildersleeve ,
Cassandra Hein . Sangyong Hong, Akiko Kajih'a ta. Hamid
Khani, Philip Kipp er, Christin e Lojo, Orcun Malkoclar,
Mich"d Mona, Johnn y Moreno, Ani ta Morgan, Jacqueline
Murray, Tuan Nguyen, Richard Piscitello, Mallhew Prisk,
Marlin Quintero, Kerstin Ried iger, Suzanne Saputo, Alisa
Shahonian, SIeve Shlisl..-y, Talisha Teague, T;lkako Thorstad t,
,md Yanlan Wu .
Once ;lga'n, I have dedicated the Ile\." edition o f th is
book to Ill}' wife, Erika. It is my humble attempt to let
eveT)'lxxly know how mllch I ap preciate he r support each
lime I rei real loa TV world whilt' working o n Ihe Teievuion

Prodllction Ha ndbook.
Herbert Zeu l




The Television Production Process

You may think that television production is a relatively simple task. After al1, you do p ret ty

well with your camcorder. When watching a newscast from the control room al a local
television station, however, you realize that television production involves much mo rE!

than just operating a camcorder. Even a seemingly simple production-such as a news

anchor first introducing and then playing a videotape of the school principal showing
to parents and reporters the com puter lab- involves a great number of intrica te
operations by news production personnel and the use of m any sophisticat ed machines.
A 55-second chitchat between a TV news ancho r in Portl,md and a tennis sta r in London

present s a formidable challen g e even for hig hly experienced productio n personnel.
When watching television, viewers are largely unaware o ( such production complexities.
Bul as you can

see, professional television production--regardless o ( w hether it is done

in a television station o r in the field-is a complex creative process in w hich people and
machines interact to bring a va riety of messages and experi ences to a large audience.
Even when involved in a relatively small production, you need to know what machines
and peo ple are necessary to achieve a certain type o ( televisi o n communiC<'Ition and
how to coordinate the many cre<'llive and t echnical elements.

Chaple r 1 is d esigned to p rovide you w ith an o verview of the various equipment and
p roduction pro cesses. Se<t io n 1.1 , What Television Prod uction Is All About. introduces
the television system and ilS many production ele ments. Sectio n 1.2. Stud ios, MaSler
(o ntro l, and Support Areas, describes Ihe e n viro nment in w hich Ihe televisio n studio
system operates.

cAmcorder A portable camera with the videotape recorder or

some other rec ordmg device attached or built inlo it to
form a si ng le unit.
control room A room adjacent to th e studio in which th e
director, the l echnical di recto r, the audi o engineer. and
sometimes the lighting difKtor perform their various
production funct ions.
electronic field production (EFP) Television produClion out
side the studio th at is usually shot for postprodu cti on (not
live). Usually called flfM production.
e lectronic news gathering (ENG) The use of po rta ble cam
corders or cameras wi th seP<l r~te po rtable VTRs.lighu, and
sound equipment for the Pfoduction of dai ly news stories.
ENG is usuall y not planned in ad vance and is usuall y trans
milled live or immediately aher postptoductiOll.
expanded system A television system consisting of eq uip
ment and pfOCedUreS that allows lor !>el('(tion_connot
re<ording, plil)'b'I(;k. and transmiSsion of television pictures
and sound.
feed S19nal tra nsmission from one program source to anothe"
such as a network feed or a remote feed.
house number The in-house ~ynem of ieten\1llcatiQ(l for each
piece of recorded p r og r~m milterial. Called the house
numbel because the code numbelS dlUe, from station 10
na tion (house to house).
Intercom ShOll for inl ffcommumWl ion s)lSlem. Used by aU
production 3net t('(hOlcd1 perSOnn f:'1. The most widely used
system has telephone headsets to facilitate voice com
munication on s.ever,,11 wired or wireless channels. Includ{'s
other systems, such as I.F. B. an d cell phones.
lighting The manipulation o f light and shadows: to provide the
camera with adequate illumination for tech nically accept
a ble pictures; to tell us what the ooJCCts on-screen act ually
look like; and to the geoeral mood of the even t.
"ne monitor The monitor that shows only th e line-out pictures
that go on the ili, 01 on Videotape. Also called maner mon;

tor or program moniwr.

line-out The 'ine that callies the flOal vidf'Q 0' (lud io ou tput for

log The malO, oper<ltion<ll d<Xumeot: a sffond-by-second list

of every program aired on a pMticula r day. It carries suc h
info rmation as program source or origin, scheduled pro
g ram lime. program dur~t ion, video <lnd audio informalion,
code id(, ntilleation (house nu mbel, for example), program
title, prog ram type. and additional pertinenllnfOlfn<ltion.
muter contro l Nerve center (or all tel eCilsts. ControlS the prO
gram input, storage. and ,e lrieval fOf on-the-illf telecasu.
Also oversees te chnical qu ality of all program m ~ t erial.
monitor (1 ) Audio:speaker that (.allies the program ~und in
de pendent of th e line-out. (2) Video: high-quality television
set used in the te levisi-on studio and cOl1lrol rooms. Cannot
,('(eive broa<kdst sign<lh.


for prNate line Of phone line. Major intercommunica

tion w stem '" television production.

preview (PlY) monitor (1) Any manito. that shows a video

source, eKcepl for th e line (master) and off the-a ir monilors.
(2) A color mOnitor that shows the director the pIC ture to
be used fOf Ihe neJ[ t ~hot.
program speaker A louds peake r in th e control ro om th at
tarries the program sound. Its volume can be controlled
without affecti ng th e actual line-out program fe ed. Also
called audio monicor.
studio talkback A pu blic address loudsp eaker system from th e
<on \rol room to th e studi o. A I~o called 5..4. (~tudioaddreH)
Of P.A. (public addr('ss) sySlem.
system The interrelationshi p of various elements and processes
whereby the ploper functioning of each element is depen
dent on al l others.
t ape/e n system Refers to the le<ord ing, stora ge, and pla yback
of au dio and video informat ion vi a computer storage
devkes rathe' lhan videOiape.
tele vision system Equi p ment and people who operate the
eq ui pment for lhe p,oduction of specific programs, The
w sic television system consists of a television camera
and a microphone that convert Plctures and sound into
e lectrical signals. and a television set and 3 loudspeaker
tha t conve rt the signals back into pictures a nd sound.



--.- ~-.


What Television
Production Is All About

Tlk major probl~ m in learning about television produc.

tion is that to understand o ne specific production 1001or
It'chnique, such as optimal lighting, you should already
know the fun ctions of the lens, the iris. maxi mum and
minimum aperl ure, and depth of field . In turn, you need

to know something about how' colored Jig])! behaves before

you can adeq uatel y understand how a camer;1 or a color

tele\'ision rc::ct'iver works. Because I can't cram

anthe ne<:

essary in form ation into a single paragraph , and YOll can't

learn lil t' various production elements and o peratio ns all
at on ce, we comprom ise and begin th is book with a broad
overv;e\'\' of the \eJe\' isio n productio n system , By viewing
television productio n as a system, you l>.'il1 readily sl.'e the
interconnectiOn!> among lhe various system elements, even
when tbey are presen ted piecemeal.


Tile eqUipm ent tha t (onve,r~ optical imoges and actua!
sound. intO ~Iecrri( ,me/gy, ond the people WhO opelote II


~ J~lem elf'l/ll'{lu oI5/UdiO and freid (Jloou<lion!.. ond the
nudlO IY5tem in onion


CamelG, Ilgll ling, audio, IWIIching, videotape recording, !ap e

leu SY5!ems, posrprooulion edi' ing.ond specwl effKls

A $ystem is a collecti on o f clements that work together

to achieve a specific pu rpose. Each o f the elements is
dependent o n the proper workings of all the others, and
none of the individual elemelltscan do the jo b ;!IOlle. The
tdevis ioll 5y5lem com j" ts o f equipment and peop!.: wh o
operate thaI equi pment for lhe product ion of specific
programS. Wh("ther th e produCljon ,~ are simple or d abo
rate, o r origi nate in the studio or in the fieM-that is, on
loaI{ion-lh(" system works 00 the same basic principle:
the television camera converts what ever it "sees" (opt ical
images) into ele<trical signal s that can be temporarily
stored or di rectly reconverted by thl' television seT into
visible screen i mag~s. T he microphone (ooven s whatever
it "hears" (actual sounds) int o electrical signals that can
be temporar ily stored o r d irec tl y reconverted into sound$
by the lo udspeaker. In general, the basic televisi on system
Iransd uces (conve rts) o ne state of energy (optical image,
act ual sound) int o anot her (electrical energy). SEE'.' Th e
picture signals are callcd video signals, and the sowld signals
are called llI /dio $ignalj. An)' small consumer camcorder
represeolS such a system.


The basic televis io n system is con siderably expan ded
\vhen doing a television production in th e studio or in the
fi eld, such as a tdecast o f a sporting even t. The r:xplll/ded
system needs equipmen t and p roced ures that allow for
the selectio n o f various pictu res and so und sourc("s; fo r
th(" control and monitoring of pictu re and sound quality;
for the reco rding, playback, and transmission of piClures
and sound; and for the integration of additional video and
audio source'S.

The expanded studio television systelll in iu most elemen
tary stage includes: ( I) one or more ca meras, (1).1 cama,\
control unit (CCU) or units, (3) preview mon itors, (4) a
switcher, (5 ) a line monitor, (6) on e or mor~ video tape
recorde rs, and (7 ) a line out that tr<ln~p o rts the video
signal 10 Ihe vidcOl<lpe recorder andlo r the transmission
device. SEE 1.2 Usually integrated into the expanded system
are videotape machilles ro r play back , character or graphic
gen erators that produce vari ous form s of lettering or
graphic an , and an ~d i t ing system.

5t!'(tion 1. 1

What Television Production /5 All Abou t


A'w,,~"~ ))~~


III .,- , .

Audio signal



V'rdeo signal
Telemion (dlMra

Television {e<tI~r



The bdsic television sySiem convt'rtslight and sounds 'rnlO ele(1rical v'rdeo and audio signals thai are transmitte<l (wireless or by
cable) and reconverted by the telev'r sion receiver 'rnlo television pictures an<! sound.

The audio ponio n of (h e expand ~ d system consists

of ( I) Olle or mo re micro phones, ( 2) an audio m ixer or
console, (3) an audio monito r (s peaker), and (4) a line
oul that transports the sound signal to the video recorder
and/or the rraosmiuer (see figure 1.2).
Note tha t the system elemenls are identical regardless
of whether the individual pieces of equipment are analog
or digit al.

fo r example, hghten the da rk shadow area o n the anchor

shown all camera I and reduce the glare o n the co-anch or's
fo rehead as seen by camera 2. Or the video operator can
adjust the colors so thai they look the same from camera
to camera .
The quality-controlled pictures fro m both cameras are
fed into prt'vitw m onitors, one for each camera, so you can
see what they look like. A third preview monito r is neces
sary to show the video tape of the princi pal. These thr~
video signals (from cameras I and 2 and the videolll pe)

are simultaneously fed into the sw i rcfrer, ....hich allows you

Let us nOI.,. put the expanded system to work and see hOI"
to select and switch any of th e three video feeds to the
the various elem ents interact whe n a news ancho r in th e line-o rd fo r transmission or videota pe reco rd ing. Press
st udio introduces a v ideo tape o f the school prin cipal ing Ihe button for camera 1 will put the close-u p view of
showing her guests Ihe new computer lab. Cameras I and one of the anchors 01 1 the line monitor. wh ich displays the
2 are focused Oil the rwo news anchors. Camera I p rovides line-oul signals th1\! go on the air or on videotape. Pressing
a close-lip of one o f the anchors, and camera 2 shows a the came ra 2 bUllon will put camera 2's dose-up o f the
close-up o f the co-a nchor. Til e video signals from these co-anchor on the line m on itor. PrE'ssing the button for the
cameras are fed and qualil y-controlled by th eir respective videot ape insert wil! put the principal o n the line mo nito r.
camera con/rol units (CCU5). The CCUs Cdn en ha nce and Whateve r appE'a rs o n ,h.. lint' m oni to r wilt be sent to the
ma tch cenain ddeo elements o f the pictures sent by the line--o ut thaI feeds the transm ission device (on the air or
tv.o cameras. W ith (he CCUs !he video operator (VO) can. cable) andJo r the video recorde r.

punos p UI! saJnD! d 6U!M<l!lIaJd I OJ SJO\IUOI,ll PUI! '(alOSUO)

O!PM pUI! Jalp l !Ms) ~IOj\UO) UOlpaias '(arosuo , o !pnl! PVI! n)) ) SI OJIUO) '( ll l"' nb 5U!l'\ UO) W<l ls,{~ UO!~!r.ajal O!POlS p ~plmd)(a ~lU

WllSAS NOIS I~llll OIoms OlON ~d)(J Z L

(~l'IIfI!'; ~!A pu~ OlpM

~PJO~I) j~PXl~1


plJIIOS pup olInp!d

L/l!M JM!i:lal A..I .lUIOH

III ...


Xll!IlOW olpno;



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SS3JOHd NOI1)naOHd NOl51/13Ul 3Hl

Section'. ,

The sign als (ro m the news Jllchors' micropho nes

afe fed into the audio co nsole, as is the audio track. of the
principal's videotape. The audio console now permit s you
to select among the anchors' voices and the so und track on
the videotape and 10 control the quaJjty of the loret' sound
inputs. You can, for example, select rhe voice 0( the person
on the screen, match the volume of the three sound sources
(anchor, co-anchor, and principal), or kee p one lower than
the olhers.
Unaware of all/he complex production maneuvers, the
viewec simply sees d ose-ups nfthe personable ;'Iod knowl
edgeable news ancho rs introducing Ine upcoming stor}'
about the school principal and then showing Ihe principal
walking through Ihe new facihli es, pointing proudly to Ihe
latest comput<'I <,quipment.

What Television Produ(rion 15 All Aboul

EfRb.. The principal o bviously could not bring her new
E(fJ""'" compuu:r lab into the studio, so someone had to go
on location to videotape the event. Such locatio n shooting
normally falls into th~ ENG (eleerrollic lIeW$ gathering)

, aleso ry and is acco mplished with a relativel y simple fi eld

produCiion system. All you really n~ed is someoll(' who
Operates Ihe camcorder and a fid d repo rter who desc ribes
the action and Hies to get some b rie'- comments fro m tbe
principal and perhaps a teacher or student. Once the fool
age reaches the newsroom, it is drastically cut and edited
to fit the brief lime segmcm ( 10 seconds or so ) :lBoued to
the story.
Had Ihe s<:ene with the principal been a live insert, you
would h,lve had to expand the system still furth er. with a
portable transmitter to transport the signal from the field
to tn t' statio n. The ENG signal is often {(ansm itted live 10
Ihe studIO. SE 1.3
If Ihe field producrion is n O! for news or is more
elaborate, )'ou 3re engaged in EFP (elec/ronic fi eld prodlle
tioll). Sometimes field c am ~ ras that feed Iheir output to
separate VTRs (videot(lpe rt.rorder; ) are used. SEE 1.4 Big
re m otes arc field productions whose production system is
similar 10 the slUdio's, exc<,pt that cameras are placed on
location and the co ntro l room is housed in it large truck
uai!er. (For a detailed discussio n o f EFP ,and big remotes,
sec chapter 20. ) -(








of a camCOlder and a
microphone. The camcorder
inctude~ aU video and .lodio
qu ality contlols as weI! as
video- and audio-Iecording
facilities.. Aportable tlansml\


te( is ne<es~ary to send a live

field pickup { O Ihe studro.




Camt'1a 1
wltllatt.Kbed 01
~{"~ VTR

cc _ ~

lit . l '

Camela 2
witllattam~ QI'

separate VTR

The EFP system is similar

! ---+t "
.__ III

10 Ihill (0 ; ENG. but it


use mOle Ihan one cam

era 10 reed the OI.Jtp ul

separate VTRs.


Chapter I


With Ihe expanded televis.ion .<;yslem io mind , \ve briefly
explore eight basic productio n elemen ts; (I) the camera,
(2) lighting, (3) a udio, (4) 1>witching, (5) videolape record
ing. (6) tap tless systems (7) postproduction editing, and
(8) special effeCIS. When learning abo ul television pro
d uction, always try to see each piece of equip rm'nL ilnd its
operation within the larger COntext of the teb'ision system,

that is, in relation to a!ltheother pieces of equipment that

<Irc used and the people Nho use them-the producriol!

persQnnel. it is, after all, the skilled and prudent use o f the
television eq uipment by the production team, and not
simply the smooth interaction or tile machines, thaI gives
the system its value. (The specific roles of the production
personnel are outlined in chapler 16.)

The most o bvious p roduction clement- I he camera-
comes in all si u s and configurations. Some cameras are
so small the y fit easily into your coa l pocket, whereas
o thers a re so heavy that yOu ha ve to strain yourself 10 lift
them onto a camera mount. The camera mount enables
the operalOr to move a heavy camera/lens/tc1eprompter
assembly on the studio Ooor h'ith relative ease. S'EE 1.5
POr\able cameras arc o ft en usi for ENG and EFP.
ManyENG/EFP Cameras are C<.1Jncorders that combine
the camera and the videotape recorder in o nc unil, much
like popular consumer models. The ENG/ EFP cam cord
ers, however, ate of higher quality and cost considerably
more. It is ohen the h igh .quality lens that distinguishes a
professioll'll ENG/EFP camera from a high-end consumer
model. So me ENG/EFP cameras are built so rhalthey cart
"dock" \Vith a videotape re<:order, a digital disc, or hard
drive recording un it; such units are simply plugged inro
the back of tilE' camera to form a camcorder. Regardless of
whether rhl' camcorder is analog or digital, il s operational
features ate basically identical. SEE 1.'
The studio tele\ision camera has three fundamental
parts: the lens. Ihe camera itself, and the viewfinder.

The lens

In a\1 pllOt(Jgmphy (m".anillg "writing wilh

light"), the lells selects part of the visible environment and
produces a small oplical image of il. In standard still and
movie cameras, the image is then projected on to film; ill
digital still cameras and television cameras, il is proje<:led
onto the imaging device, which convert s the light from
the o pt ical image into an ele<lrical signal. All television
cameras have a ZOOIll lerI~, which allows you to smoothly


High-quality studio cameras are mounted on a studio pedestal
(or smooth and easy maneuve,ability.

and co ntinuously change from a lo ng shot (showing a wide

vista) to a dose-up view without 1ll0vingeither the camera
or the object you are photographing.

The camera itself

The camera is principally designed

to convert the optical image as projected by the len s into
an electrical signal- the video signal. As mentioned eaf
Iier, tIle major conversion elem ent is the imaging device,
a small electronic chip called the CCD (dwrge-collpfed
device). It respo nds to light in a manner lhat resembles
a light meter. ""hen Ihe CeD receives a large amount of
ligh!, it produces a slrong video signal (just 3S the needle
of a light meter goes way up); when it receives faint light,
it produces a w\!ak signal (just as d,e light meter needle
barel y moves from ils original position). O ther optical and
dec tronic components enable the camera to reproduce

Sec r ion

'. 1

Whor Te/evision Pr odu ction /s Al l Abo Ul

Ihe studio pedes/al (shown in figlU"- 1. 5), wh ich lets yo u

rdise and lower the camera and mo ve it :>n1('!olhly across Ihe
studio floor while it is u not ," Iha[ is, o n the air. Some news
studios usc robotic cameras that arc re molely controlled via
compuler by a single operatOr in the studio conlrol (oom .
Because high -quality cameras can be rdativd y small and
light. such robot ic systems have become quite popular in


The professional camcorder is a highly pot'table. self-contained
cameraJvldeo recording vnil. II is usvally baW~ ry- powered.

the colors and Ihe lighl-and-dark variatio ns 01 the <lclual

scene as accurately as possible, as well as 10 'iltnplify the
relatively weak video signaJ so thai it can be sent to the
C~rl1era control unit withoul gelling lost alo ng the way.
For both analog and digital camerOlS, the basic imaging
devices are the same.
The viewfinder Tne viewfillder is a small television
set mou Llted Oil Ihe Gllncn that shows what the C3mera
is ~eeing . Most viewfinders of professional cOimeras are
mOllo(irromt!, which means that the. display is in black-and
wh ill' . .\1any consumer camcorders and some high-quality
studio cameras, o n the ot h..-! hand, hal'c color viewfinders,
so you can see the color pictur..-s that the camera delivers.
Generall y, black-and-white viewfinders show more pic
HII"\: detail than color dispbys do, which m"kes it easier to
achievE' sharp focus.
Mounting Itquipment Portable ca meras and camcord
ers are design ed to rest more o r less comfortably o n yo ur
shoukier. But evell a small, handheld camcorder ca n get
quite heaV)' when yo u opera te i{ for pro lo nged pt'riod~ Cli
time. In such case-s a Iripod nOI only relieves you of having
10 carr y the camera but also "nsu res sll'ady piC/ures. The
heavy studio cameras also need mo unls; these rangt from
tripods, sim ila r 10 those used fo r ENG/UP cameras, to
large cranes. The most common studio camera mount is

Like the hu man eye, the camera cannot see well withou l a
certain amount of lighl. Because it is not objects we actu
ally sce but the light reflected off of them, manipulating
the lighl falling on objects influences the 'liay we perct'ive
them on -screen . Such man ipu!ation iscaUed liglrring.
Lighting hai four broad purposes: ( I ) 10 prov ide the
televisio n camera with adequate illumination for teclmi
caHy acceptable pictures; (2) to leU us what the objects
shown o n -screen actually look like ~ (3) to show U5 where
the obj~ts are in relatiOn to one anolher and to their im
mediate environment , and when the event is laking place
in terms of lime of da y or season; and (4) to establish Ihe
gt'nerai mood of the event.
Types of illumination AI/television lighting basic.aUy
involves t\\'O types of illumination : directio nal and dif
fu sed . Dirtcti()tI(l1 light has a ~harp beam and produces
harsh shadows. You can aim the light beam 10 illum inate
II prcrise area. A fla shlight and car headlights produce
direClionOlllight . DifJil~td lighr has a wide, indistinct beam
th at iUuminates a relatively large area and produces soft,
translucent shadows. The flUOrescent lamps in a depart
ment s!Ore produce diffi.lsed lighting.
Studio lighting consists of ca refully con troUing ligh t
and shadow areas. The lighting requirements fo r electronic
fi eld productio n are usually quite different from tho$e
for studio work. In eleclronic news gathering. yo u work
mostly with available light or occasionaUy with a single
lighting instrument that give~ just enough illumination
(or the call1era to record an event relatively c1~e to the
ca mera. fo r UP you also use al'J.ilabte light . especially
when shouting outdoors, o r highly diffused light Ihat pro
v ide~ optimal visibilir)' ind oo{s. Some field productions,
such as documt'ntaries o( dramatic scenes, requireCOlrt'fu l
int erio r lighting that resembles stud io lighting techniques.
The difference is that the location lighting for EFP is done
with portable light ing instruments rather than with studio
ligills, which are lllore o r less permanently installed.


Chap t e r I



The typicc}1 slUd io light ing

uses spotlights and;) va riety

of floo dlights.

Lighting instruments The li ghting in strum ents th at

produce directional light a re called !po lfiglllS, and the
ones that produce d iffused light are called floodlights. In
Ihe telc,-isia n studio, the vario us types of spotlights and
floodlights are usu aUy suspended from the ceiling. SEE 1.7
Studio lights are much too hea\'Y and bulky 10 be used
oucside the studio. Most EFPs use po rtabte lighting package;
that co nsist o ( several sm all , highly efficient instrument s
that can be plugged into ord inary electrical outlets. There
are also larger fluo rescent banks for large-area or virtu
ally sh adO\"le~ lighting. Mosl portable instruments can
either be mo unted on collapsible floor stands or di pped
onto doo rs, l.,.indOI.,.sills, o r furnilure. These inst rum ents
generally operate a~ tloodlights, but they cao be adjusted to
ftln cti on as spotligh ts as well. To obtain more d irectio nal
control, EFP lighling packages ind ude a number of sillall
spotli ghts, which can be diffused with a colbpsible diffu
sian tent , o ft en called soft "ox (see chapter 7). SU1.I
Lighting tec.hniques AJ I television lighting is based
on a simple principle: use some instr uments (usually
spotlights and fl oodlight s) to illuminal e specinc areas,
soften shadOI.,.s, and bring ' he overall light on a scene to an
intensity level at which the cameras can generate optimal
pictures. In general , ({Ievision lighting has less contrast
between light and shadow areas than do film and theater
liglHing. Diffu sed light is therefo re IIsed exlensivel y in

television lighting, especially o n news and interview sets,

fo r game shows and siluat ion comedies, and in many fiel d

Although the term Idevis jon does not include aUdio, the
sound po rtion of a Ielevision show is nevenheless o n(' of its
most im portant elements. Television audio not only com
municates precise info rmatio n but also colltributesgreatly
to the mood and the atmosphere of o:l scene. If you were to
turn off the audio during a newscast, even the best news
anchors would have di(ficultycommunicJtillg their stories
through facial expressiom , graphics, a nd video images
ato ne. The ae.slhetic fu nction of sound (10 make us per
ceive an event o r feel in a particular Ivay) becomes obvious
"" hen you listen \0 Ihe backg ro und sounds during a crime
show, for exam ple. The squealing tires durillg a high-speed
chase 3re real eno ugh, bUI the rhyt hmically fast, excjting
background music that accompanies the scene is definitely
artificial. Afte r aU, Ihe getaway car and \h E' po li ce car arE'
nOI foll o~...ed in realli(' by a third vehicle wilh musicians
playing the background music. But we have grown so ac
customed to such devi..:es that WE' probably would perceive
the scene as less excitin g if the music were mjssing.
The vario us ,lud io production elements arc micro
phones. ENG/EFP and studio sound control equipment,
,wd sound reco rd ing and playback devices.

Section 1. 1

What Television Production Is All About



Portable lig hting instruments (Dns'SI o f vel~t ile spotlights and


that can be plugged i1110 reg ular household outlets.


AU microphones convert sound w.. ves

electric energy-the audio signals. The sound signals
ar~ amplified and sent to the loudspeaker, which reconverts
them infO audible sound. The m yriad microph ones avail
able toda y are designed to perform diffe ren t tasks. Picking
li p a newscaster's voice, capturing the sounds of a ten nis
match, and recording a rock co nce rt-all may require dif
fere nt microphones or microphone sets.
i tHO

ERlh... ENG/EFP sound (ontrol equipment


Ef.JP"" the audio is no rmally cont rolled by the GHnera op

erator, who wears a small earphone that carries the incom
ing sound. Because the camera operdlor is busy running
the camera, the sound controls on the carncorder are often
switched to Ihe a u tolllatl( setti ng. In the mo re critical EFP,
the volume o f inco ming sounds is us ually con tro lled by a
portable m ixer and recorded nor only on videotape out
also on a portable audi otape recorder. 5 U 1.9


The portable audio mi )(E!(" has a limited amount of jnpul ~
and volume (ont(ol~.



Chapler ,



EYen a re latively ~ imple audio console has m" ny controls to a dju ~t th e volume and
th e quality o f I!<lch incom ing Klund signal and to mix them In ViHklus w ays.

Studio sound control equipment T he audio cO llso le

i.s used to control the ro unds of a program. At th e audio
console, ),ou can ( I) select a specific m ic ro phone o r o ther
sou nd in put, (2) amplify a weak signal from a m icro pho ne
or other audio source for fu rt her processing, (3) cont rolthe
volume and the quali ty of the sound, and (4) mix (com
bine) two or more incoming sound sources. SEe 1.10
Recall the example o f the news ancho r introd ucing a
videotape of the principal and visitors at the new computer
lab. Th O' ti m two audio inp uts come fro m the sign als of
the two ancho rs' microphones. Because the pr incipal is
uus}' escorting the visito rs into the room, o ne of Ihe news
anchors talks over the in itial part of the video tapE' insert . To
convey a sense of actuality, yo u can mix unde r the a nchor's
narra tion The actual sou nds on the videota pe- the excited
voices of \he parents, a question or co mment by o ne of
the repo rters, and the OCcasio nal laughter o f the students.
Then, when lh(' principal fi nally begins 10 speak, yo u in
crease the volllme of the videota pe so und track and switch
off both anchors' micro phones.
Sound recording and playback devices Even whell
an en'nt is rc:corded on videotape for postproduction, ib
sounds ar" usuaUy recorded at the same lime as the pictu re.
In ENG the pictures, Ihe repo rte r\ voice, and the ambie nt
sound ~ are picked up ,11lJ recorded sim uhaneo usly. In EFr
mosl speech sounds,sud l ds an inlerviewer's quesrionsa nd
the interviewee's answers, are recorded o n locatio n with
Ihe pictl1re. Some sounds, such as mu sical bridges and a
Iklrrato r's voice-over, are l1sually added in postprod uction.

But even in more-(o mplicated studio productions such

as soa p operas, th e background music and the sOl1nd e[
fee ts are o ften added d uring Ihe live picku p o llhe actors'
d ialogue.
In large and co mplex studio productions in which a
single camera Sh OOIS a scene piecemeal, much in the way
film s are made, th e audio track is subjected to m uch ma
n ipulation in postp roductio n. The sounds o f explosions,
~in~ n s, and car crashes, fOJ exam ple, are normally du bbed
ill (added) during the postproduction sessions. Eve n pari s
of th e origin al dialogue are occasionally re-creatt'd in
Ihe slud io.
Prereco rded sound, such as music, is usually played
back (rom vario us d igital storage devices, such as digital
aud.iotape (OAT) , co mpact discs (C Ds ), and digi tal com
pl1ter disks. VariollS co m pression tech niques allow a great
amOUlH o f such audio information to be recorded digitally
wilho ut the need fo r excessive storage space.
The switcher .....orks O Jl a principIi;> similar to that o f push
b Ullo ns o n a ca r radio, which allow yo u 10 sel!;'(\ cerlain
(Old io Slatio ns. The ~w i tcher leIS yo u select va rious video
sources, such as ca m e ra~ , videotape, and titles or o ther
speciOlI effects, and join them throug h a greal va riety of
tranSil io ns while the event is in progress. In effect, the
switcher allows you to do illS/(III/(lIII!OUS edi lillg.
& [ore learning abo ut the switcher, look fo r a moment
at th e diagram in fig ure 1.2 of lhe ex panded 5tud io televi
sio n system. Cameras I and 2 deliver their pic1Ures fir st

Sec rion 1. 1

Whal Te l evis i o n Pr o du c ti o n Is All Abo ul


The p rod uction switcher has !o(!veral rows o f buttons and
other controls for selec ting and mixing variOus Video Inputs

and crea ting

tra nsition~



effec:1S. It then send s the



Almost all VfRs use videocassettes (0 1 fe(Old ing and playback,

All profes~ lOn d l VTRs have vari o us Video- and audio recording,

playback. and f'd iting controls.

selected video to th e line-out.

10 the CCU... Jnd then to the prev iew monilOrs. Preview

monitor I shows all the picture ~ that carner.! I is taking,
and preview monitor 2 carries the piCt ures of ca mera 2.
Preview monitor 3 shows theselect~d videotape ri'Cordings.
These three video signals are fed into tht switcher. Each
source (camera I, camera 2, and VTR) has its own swilcher
inpu t. Pressing the camera 1 uuno n puis camera I 's signal
o n the lin e-ou t and shows its pictures on the line moniror.
Pressing the camera 1 button puts canleTa 2's pictures o n
the line ll1onito rand on the li nc-out. Pressing the \r[R but
Ion puts lhe picfures the videotape on the line mon itor
and Ihe Ijne-o ut. This s\\'ilchel" "O\ltput ~ (line-out ) is what
goes on the: <lir or is recorded on videot ape.
Any switcher, silHl'lc- Of complex, can perform three
basic functions: (1) select an appropri;ltf' video source fro m
$everal in puts, (2 ) perform basic tran~ j ( ion s between two
video sources, and (3) create or retrieve spec ial effects,
such as split screens. Some switchers have furth er provi
~ions for remotely starting and stopping various video
recorders. SEt 1.1'


Most teJevision shows are recorded on video tape or co m
puter disk before thry are ai red. EV('1l live football broad
casts inchlde plenlYof prerecorded material. The "i nstant
repla)'s" are nothing but digital replap of key moments
after the fact. Videotape o r a computer hard disk is u ~ed
fo r the playback of co mmen.:ia!s, el'cn those o riginally
prod uced on fi lm.

aile of the unique featllfe s of televisioll is its ability

to transmit a telecast live., which means capluring Ihe pic
tures and th e sounds of an ongoing event and distributing
them instantly 10 a wo rldwide Judience. Most televisio n
programs, ho wever, o riginate from playback of previ
ously recordl'd malerial. Videotape is .~ till an indispensable
med ium for protiuCfioll (the recording and building of a
show), fo r pmgrllmmillg (when and over which ch annel
the shOlv is telec.!sl), dnd for distribution .
Videotape recorders Because videotape will be in use
for sonw ti rnt to come, you must acquaint yourself with
the basics of videotape reco rding. All videotape record
ers, an(llog and d igilal, \vork on the same principle: Ihey
record video and audit> sign.!ls o n a single strip of plastic
videota pe and later reconvert them into signals that ca n be
seen as picwres and heard as sound on a television r<'(eiver.
J\10st VTRs use videotape cassettes. similar to the o nes
yo u use in y(,ur ca mcorder or ho me VCR ( vidcocruselll!
recorder ). Professio nal videotape recorders are simila r 10
a home mach ine, o:::xcept th,U t.h ey have more operational
controls, mo re -rugged lape d rives, and more sophisti
cated electronics 1hal enSlife higher-qualit y pictures ilnd
sound . SE.E1 .11
Videotape retorders are classified by whctha Inc
record ing is done in digital or analog (orm; by the elec
tronic sy~{etll used for the recordi ng (Betacam SP o r SX,
DVCAM, OVC PRO. S VHS, Hi8, or VHS), and somelime.~
by the t3pe fo rmal {the width of th e videot ape ill the


Ch a p ter I



lI ideoca'iSt'U es come in a variety of
~izes and are manufactured fOf specific
Il'COfding system.





vidco ca ,~s e tl e) . Many VTR systems usc 'h-inch videocas

selles (Betacam SP, digi tal Betacam SX, Digi tal-S, SNHS,
and VHS), but there are also systems that use small 8mm
cassetlcs ( HiS) Of even nurower digital lA -inch C;ls sell e~
(6.3511u n OVCAM and DVCPRO). S(E l . U

Greal and r;,\ pid progress is being made lOward a tapeless
environment wherein all video recording. storage. and
phlyback is do ne ,,,itn non-Iape-based systems. Such il
tapeless systelll makes use of memory sticks an d cards ,
optical discs such as CDs and DVDs, and large-capdeily
computer d isks ralher than videotape.



writ<: ) let you reco rd and play back entire video sequences
and reuse Ihem fo r o ther recordings.
Some camcord<:ts use sma ll bur high-capacit ), hard
drives inst ead of vidcot<lpe to c;\pture and play back video
and audio informati o ll . High-capacit}' h ard drives are used
extensively fo r the slOrage. mani pulation, and retrieval of
video and audio inform ation by deskto p co mputers in
po~ t p ro duction. I-lard dri ves Iha! a r~ even larger (in the
multi-t erab yte range) have all !Jul re placed vidcotape as
the storage and playback device of daily program ming in
tdev i ~ ion stations.
Note that the optical , laser-acti vated discs arc spelled
with a c, ,1Ild the disks used in hard dri ves arC' spelled
wi th a k.

Memory sticks and cards These small yel power ful

Olemory devices are used in some cameras 10 reoo rd brief
video sequences. Some cameras also use them as a video
buffer : such a pr('re<ord device allows you to have the
camera on and capture footage while running IOward a
new~ eve nt , without using tape. Sy pres~ ing the rIXordbul
tOil , you CAn then lTansfer this footage---dutnp it--onto
vidt'Ola pe.

Optical discs and hard driv@s O ptical d iscs s uch

as CD-ROMs ko mpacl d isc- read on ly memo r y) a nd
DVD-ROMs (digital versatile di sc- read -onl y memor y)
are ren d -ollly, mea ning you can play ba ck the informa
tioo on the disc b\lt yo u c,mnol record your own mat erial
onto it. Digital read/write discs such as CD-IH,\IS (co mp""
disc-readfwrile ) and OVD-RWs (digital ve r~ tilediS(- re"d/

For some peoplC' postproduclion editing is heaven : Ihe}'
feellOlally in co mmand of putting toge ther the bits and
pieces of recorded material mto a $lo ry th at tdls the event
in a darified and intensified Ivay. For others il is " ledio us,
albeit necessary, evil. Irrespective o f how you fed abo ut
postproduction, it is usuall y the most expensive and lime
consuming production ph:lse. In p rinciple, pOj fprodlla ioll
editUlg is n:lativel y simple: you select the OIOst effective
sho ts from the o riginal so urce material, usui'l ll y on video
lape, and copy !hem o nto arw(her videotape in a :;pccifk
o rder. III praclice, however, postproduclion editing can
be extremely co mplicated, inv(J llling such fundam entally
d ifferent sys t ,'ln~ as nonlinear and linc:lr ('d il ing and spt'
cial-effects equipment.

Section / . 1


Who! Telev i sion Produc t ion Is All Abo ut

The linear, cuts-only editing
Soof{t monitor

Re<old monitoJ


~nd a record VTR, source

record monitors, an edit

(ontroller. a title generator.

an audiocassette player, and

an audio

~ Audio(iJs~ne

system consists of a source




- Edit wntroller

Titlt gelll'J.tor


In l1olJ/illMr editillg you transfer all source footage

(v ideotape or camcorder disks) to a comp uter disk and
,hen (.'d il the video and audio portions prett y much as you
would edit text wid) a word-proces.sing program. You caU
up, move, cut. paste. and join the variom shot s much like
\vords, sente.nccs, and paragraphs I'>'hen editing a docu
ment. Most no nlinear software programs let you produce
an edit decision lisl (EDL) and d lh.;'r low-resolution o r
high -resol ution fu ll- fram('. fuH -m ot ion video and audio
sequences. The final high-resolution editing sequence is
then transferred d irectly onto an edit maSte r tape for on
the-air use. The lillc(If editing system normally requires
two source VTRs, which contain the o riginal mate rial that
you reco rded with your camcra or cameras, and the record
VTR, whid} product'S the fin al edit master tape.
The computer plars an impOrlanl role in bot h linear
and no nlinear Iiling. In linear editing [he computer dcts
as an ediT comroller (3lso caUed an editillg COll lrol wdt),
which helps find a particular scene quickly a ....d acc urately,

even if it is buried midtape. It starts and stops the source

and reco rd m achines and tells the reco rd VTR to perfo rm
til.. edit at the precise point yo u haw designated . SEll . 14
NOJllinear editing is done exd usively with <I compurer.
Once the analog video and audio informacion on the source
tapes has been digitized and stored on the high-capacity
hard dri ves. you do not Ileed VTRs in the editing process .
You can simply Gill up p art icular shots and see whether
they provide the desired sequence. The software programs
for nonli ncar editing also offer a wide choice o f elect ro nic
effects and transitions. SEE 1.15 Once yo u have de<ided on
the sequencing, transitio ns. and effects. you can tell the
computer to p rint out an EDL. This list is necessary for
ediling Iht: source tapes inlO the final edit master lape.
Some systems provide the EDL and rh e sequenced audio
and video material fo r th t.' fin al edit master tape witho ut
h aving to go back to the original source tapes.
Keep in mind that even the most elaborat e digital
editing system cannot make the cr('ative decisions (or you .


tn nonli ~ilr ediliny. 311
audio an d video Information
is stored on large-capo<ily
hard drives_ You man ipulate
plC ture~ and sound with th e
computer much lik.e words
and paragraph s du ring word
process ing,

Chapter I


(o mput~r


Video monitOf

rOl tdiling paleu~

You can improve o n the original source footage, such as

by balancing the colors fro m shot to shot, but th e better
the originaJ material is, the easier and mo re efficie nt the
postproduction activities will be. Thinking about pOStpro
duction as early as the shoot ing stage fa cilitates your edi ting
chores considerably. Always consider postpro duction an
extension of the creative process, not a salvage operation.


li tll


Spaiai effem can be as sim ple as add ing a title over J

background scene, do ne with 3 characttr genera lor ( c. G.),
or insert ing the well -known box over the newscaster's
shoulder. SEE 1.16 O r they ca n be as elaborate as Ihe gradual
transfor matio n o f a face into a series of intensely colored,
mOSdic-likt' screen patterns. SEE 1. 17



1.17 MOSAI(

One of the most commo n effec ts is lettering keyed (cut into) a

background scene. Th e key looks 3~ thoug h the t itle is printed
on top of the background 1mage.

Various specialeffects devices can create or alter vid eo images

without the aid of a video ca mera. This mosaic eff(t was cre
ated by the digital manipulati on of a video picture.