Tv production junior-university (Universitat de Vic) - Summer School Campus


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Tv production junior-university (Universitat de Vic) - Summer School Campus

  1. 1. An introduction to TV productionBasic concepts of audiovisual productionAudiovisual production involves looking at and showing the world in a certainway; its all about expressing ideas.Producing or directing means setting up a series ofitems in a pre-established script. To do this, you needto control all the factors involved in the process, bothtechnically and more artistically.There are many kinds of angle: the birds eye view, ahigh angle (looking down on the action) or a low angle(looking up at the action). You change the angle bymodifying the vertical axis of the tripod head.The level is usually eye level to give a familiar pointof view. However, you can change the angle to achieve aspecial effect or use camera movement (with a steadicamto achieve smooth movement).The height of the camera is usually at the eye level ofthe actors. This can be modified for dramatic andstylistic effects. For example, how would you shoot achild sitting on the floor?Dynamic shots: frame and camera movementPanoramas, used for descriptions or to suggestassociation between items, involve camera movement on A steadicamits own horizontal or vertical axis. • Horizontal: to describe the environment, to follow the action, to connect items, to show cause and effect, etc. Typically left to right. • Vertical: to describe the environment, for physical descriptions, to show cause and effect, to accentuate height and depth, etc. • Up suggests increasing interest and excitement, anticipation and hope. • Down suggests decreasing interest and excitement. • A clean sweep is a fast pan to change focus, create contrast, suggest a break in space or time, etc.You can also use a zoom, zooming in (with a telescopic lens - narrow shot) orout (wide-angle lens - open shot). • Changing the focal length changes the size of the object without changing the location of the camera. • There may be depth of field problems.Travelling involves physical movement of the camera forward, backwards or sideto side. Unlike with zooms, camera movement changes the relative positions ofsubjects within a shot, changing the perspective, e.g. revealing a personbehind a tree. Travelling is more expressive with short focal length lenses.Travelling is used to create subjective effects, to explore areas, to callattention to objects not present in the initial shot, etc.
  2. 2. There are different systems: shoulder cameras,dollies, guides and hydraulic systems. With acrane or steadicam camera movement is added.Steadicam stability is based on hydraulicsystems, facilitating ease of operation, with awireless connection, different kinds of movement,etc.Types of shot • General shot: to show relationships between items in a space. A camera dolly track system • Long shot: to show relationships between characters. • American or ¾ shot: from a little above the knees, a shot that was commonly used in Westerns. • Medium shot: from the waist up, one of the most widely used shots. • Medium short shot: from the chest up. • Close-up: from the collar up. • Extreme close-up: down to the chin, to emphasise a dramatic character, to show reactions and emotions. • Description shot: to emphasise a single detail. A close-up shotChoice of shotYour choice of a shot should be based on information and expression. You shouldalways be able to justify your choice.In certain situations, as in the case of shot against shot or in the planningof a debate, you might need to balance the size of the different people in theaction. This consideration could lead you to make an unconventional shot choicebut thats OK as long as there is a justification for your choice in terms ofinformation or expression.Avoid cutting off peoples extremities unintentionally.Avoid making sudden jumps. For the viewer, it can be disconcerting to go from ageneral shot to a detail.Problems with long shotsWhen the scene involves characters, you cant effectively show their facialexpressions.In a multi-system camera production or in a set of small spaces, long shots mayprovide redundant information in relation to previous shots and create opticalbreaks.Problems with short shotsYou may lose interesting information from the rest of the scene.Excessive use can decontextualise people from their surroundings, making itdifficult to associate them with the physical items around them. 2
  3. 3. If a character moves, they may move out of shot.Typically, this kind of shot has a limited depth of field.Its difficult to do tracking for smooth and stable shots.CompositionComposition is a strategy for items in theimage so the viewer feels drawn towards whatis shown. A particular composition may lead,for example, to a sense of anticipation,anxiety and excitement.Composition methods • design: the director has the freedom to design the set and the movement of the characters. • disposition: the director may vary the items that make up the scene and may An asymmetric composition limit the movements of the characters. • selection: the director can only determine the composition through the placement, framing and movement of the cameras (including or excluding items, the duration of the shot, etc.). 3
  4. 4. The scriptTelevision production and broadcasting in general is based on developing acoherent script. In this course we will focus on a short television magazinebut in the following notes we refer to the more general case of developing thescript for a story or any large-scale audiovisual production.A script is the written form of an audiovisual performance. Its preparationapproached in differednt ways but here we have divided it into seven differentstages.The idea • This is the foundation of an audiovisual production. • The script and the performance develop the idea. • You should try your best to convey your main idea clearly and concisely. • Express the idea in a nutshell, in one or two lines.In advertising, brainstorming (sharing spontaneous thoughts about a topic) isoften used to get things started.The synopsis • This is a bridge between the idea and the plot, clarifying aspects of the idea. • It includes an outline of the action and the characters in a short document (less than a page). • The idea is developed and given dramatic structure. • Considered as a story, there are four basic parts: the introduction, the body, the climax and the outcome. • The synopsis not only develops the main idea, but also suggests narrative aspects (how the idea is expressed) and visual aspects (the visual aesthetics).The plotThis is a summary of the story in a few pages. It is written in the presenttense and contains the following information: • Duration: the time span, when the action takes place, etc. • Location: where the action takes place (affected by budget constraints?) • Character profiles: physical, social, psychological traits, etc. • The four narrative stages (regardless of their order)Here the projects feasibility can be analysed with regard to: • Production costs • Possible markets • Creative staff (technicians and actors) • Authorship. Will the author write more? 4
  5. 5. The step outlineThis consists of ordered sequences for the future script (or a breakdown of theplot into short sequences with a brief description).You have to bear in mind both macrostructure and microstructure.You should check the overall structure of the script: Introduction, Body,Climax and Outcome.Here you define the total length and, if its a series, the division intoepisodes.You decide the structure of each episode and each sequence. There various kindsof narrative structure.Linear storyA straight chronological development of the story. For example, a boy and agirl meet, they fall in love, they overcome some problems and live togetherhappily.FlashbackThe story begins with its conclusion. For example, a boy cries inconsolably atthe funeral of a girl. Through flashbacks, we see different moments of theirpast together: their first kiss, falling in love, getting married, havingchildren, etc.Parallel storiesTwo or more stories are told at once. For example, there is a boy fromBarcelona and a girl from Madrid. We alternate moments in both lives until theymeet on a plane and fall in love.FriezeA story is built up by several overlapping plot lines. This is the typicalstructure of a soap opera. For example, a story about a boy and a girl is toldin more or less linear fashion, but at the same time episodes iclude details ofthe lives of their families, friends, ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, etc.The final draftThis is the final stage of the creative process of a scriptwriter. • The characters are all specified and well-defined. • The dialogues are complete. • The action is described in detail. • Details of location are included, such as: indoors / outdoors, site, daytime / evening / night.This material is delivered to the director as a support for performance. Notechnical observations are included.Typically, there are two possible styles of presentation for this document.Single column(American style): like a theatre script.In two columns (European style): the left column has information on the action(image) and the right column indicates the dialogue and sound (audio). 5
  6. 6. The final scriptThis is a combination of the final draft from the scriptwriter, together withall the technical considerations for filming and recording.The director is responsible for technical aspects of the final script: • Types of shot • Number of cameras • Point of view of cameras • Lighting • Sound effects • etc.The precise format of the final script dependson the director, but it should be clearly andcorrectly expressed so the whole team canunderstand it.The basic functions that a director willindicate in a final script are: • the division of the script into shots, sequences and recording blocks • chronological numbering of shots • numbering and definition of sequences • image of each shot • allocation of different shots to each camera • transitions between shots • indication of sound (music, effects, etc.) • indication of special visual effects • etc.The storyboardHere the script is viewed like a comic. Eachpicture corresponds to a shot. The shot numberand type of shot is indicated under eachpicture.Of course, there are many variations on theseseven stages of development of a script. Inadvertising all seven stages are generallyfollowed so as to achieve a vision of whatexactly should be conveyed, without confusingthe endviewer.In other kinds of production different scriptsare employed, such as timed scripts forsubsections of a TV news programme, or moregeneral outlines are used to mark blocks in TVinterviews, magazine shows, quiz shows, etc. A storyboard for an advert 6
  7. 7. Structure, genre and programme scheduling "La realidad es la realidad y la televisión es una forma como otra de acercase a ella con un filtro. Habrá cosas que pasarán por el agujero, otras se quedarán y también las habrá que saldrán torcidas. Querer comprender la realidad a través de la televisión sin entender el mecanismo del filtro equivale a no comprender nada. Identificar el filtro, comprender su funcionamiento y aprender a convivir humanamente con él nos hará más personas y por tanto más libres." Xavier Obach in "Educación para la Comunicación. Televisión y Multimedia."Television production exploits a variety of technical resources, such as: • Cameras for capturing images • Microphones for capturing sound • Recording systems for image and sound • Mixers for the various sources of images and sounds • Postproduction platforms, where graphics and special effects are introduced (both sound and image)TV production also relies on a team of highly specialised professionals andsophisticated workspaces.The human teamAudiovisual production for television is a result of meticulous teamwork. Therecording of a programme can be compared to the musical performance of anorchestra, where all the musicians master their instrument and have a scorethat they have rehearsed, but they also need the conductor to control theirensemble performance. • The TV producer directs the programme and controls the team. • The director chooses the arrangement of the cameras and types of shot, and communicates with other studio technicians through an earpiece. • The floor manager is a specific role in TV studios, rather like an assistant director. The floor manager serves as a link between the studio and the control room. The director can communicate directly with technicians but usually gives instructions through the floor manager, who gives them with hand signals, e.g. when to go live, when to cut for advertising, etc. • Camera operators control the cameras and follow the orders of the director or floor manager through an earpiece: if they have to track a character, open up, change camera angle, etc. • Sound technicians control the volume and quality of the sound recording of each microphone used on set. • Video editors put the progrqamme together by mixing different sources of audio and video. • Presenters lead the programme on screen. • An Electronic News Gathering (ENG) unit is a self-contained audiovisual location team for news programmes, normally composed of a camera operator, a reporter and a sound technician. 7
  8. 8. • Other staff: production staff, secretarial staff, make-up artists, hair stylists, lighting technicians, etc.WorkspacesTelevision production can take place bothindoors and outdoors.Indoors the production area is divided intotwo zones: the TV studio or set and thecontrol room. These zones are physicallyseparated but connected with each other viainternal microphones.TV studios or sets are spaces where actionis filmed for TV broadcasts.The control room is for the production team.Here the director gives orders to the team.The continuity team make sure that the The Al Jazeera English newsroombroadcast is transmitted according to schedule. They control the transitionbetween each part of the programme and check for incidents. When these occur,they cut the broadcast and restore the transmission as soon as possible.TV scriptsThe script is the documentary support for an audiovisual production. In thefinal draft indications are given of all the items and their timings (e.g.playing a video, presentation on set, an interview, idents (corporate images),commercial breaks, etc.) and the texts read out on set by the presenters. Thistype of script can occupy several pages. A step outline, on the other hand, isa more functional type of script, showing all the main steps but without allthe words spoken. A step outline for a TV show could be just a single page andserve as a general guide for the whole team.Scripts for works of fictionFictional programmes require a master document with all the narrative elementsof the series in order to give coherence to the plot (synopsis, plot,description of each character, division into plots and sub-plots). Thisdocument typically includes the storyline but not the dialogues, which aredeveloped later for each episode. Fiction screenwriters often work in teams,sharing out and exchanging different parts of the work under the supervision ofcoordinators.Television genresJohn Reith, the first Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporationonce said, in a celebrated phrase, that its role was to "educate, inform andentertain".This remains true for public service broadcasting around the world, butnowadays there is a greater emphasis on entertainment and information, witheducational programmes being rather more marginal. There is a trend towardshybrid formats. The magazine show can act as a container that accommodates alltypes of content: interviews, discussions, news, features, humour, etc.News broadcastsThe different sections and formats include. • News flashes and breaking news 8
  9. 9. • TV news programmes. These occupy prime schedule slots and are expensive to produce. They are prestige programmes for TV channels. • News specials for sporting and political events. • Opinion: talk shows and debates. • Current affairs programmes, such as "Informe semanal" or "30 minuts" in Spain. • Interviews with social, cultural and political figures. • The weather and sports are key sections within a newscast, so much so that they are usually slightly independent of the rest of the programme.TV news items typically last a minute or so and are composed of images withambient sound, statements of people concerned, and a voiceover where thereporter constructs the storyline along with images of the news item.Special effects such as music are avoided. The aim is to make the report seemas objective as possible. The reporter is not the protagonist. Rather it is thenews itself that is foregrounded. Reporters questions are not usuallybroadcast, just the statements of those interviewed.Sometimes the reporter presents the news item to the camera, but even then therole is as a mere reporter at the scene of the event. Another format is aseries of news shorts without a voiceover on location. The narrative comes fromthe presenters in the studio, who read out a text while the images arebroadcast.Cultural and educational programmes • Documentaries • Music • Education. Programmes may be part of a wider educational scheme or may be "edutainment": part educational, part entertainment. • Other: specialising in books, art, travel, etc. • Fiction • Series: with single-episode or multi-episode stories • Miniseries: short series such as "Camera Café" on Telecinco in Spain • "Spanish telenovela": a longer series with a Teletubbies single storyline over many episodes • TV movies: films produced specifically for television and not released in the cinema • Movies: these are broadcast on television after a period of commercial exploitation in cinemasEntertainment programmes • Magazines, of different genres, serving as a Barack Obama is container format interviewed by David Letterman on a late-night • Galas: musical performances, humour, etc. talk show 9
  10. 10. • Competitions: gambling, quizzes, talent shows, etc. • Talk shows • Reality shows: a popular genre in recent years. Big Brother was the trendsetter. There are now many variants and they usually include some kind of contest: with celebrities, living together, etc.Sports programmes • Regular shows, such as the weekly "Match of the Day" football show (in the UK) • Competitions: football, motorbikes, Formula One, cycling, etc. • Special events: Olympic Games, World Championships, etc.Trends in programme schedulingTelevision programme scheduling is currently undergoing a transformation.Traditionally, TV programmes were broadcast according to the concept of"scheduling" (at 10am such-and-such a programme; after the evening news, a latenight movie, etc.). RTVEs Facebook app copied from their 24 hour on-demand web pageCurrent technology, and the number of satellite channels, means that viewerscan set up their own viewing schedules. Decoders allow viewers to recordingtheir favourite programmes and watch them later on. Viewers no longer need toorganise their day according to a TV channels schedule.It is too early to say how great a change this will be but it is a growingtrend. What will the effect be on advertising? So far it has occupied thebreaks between programmes but now there will have to be new formulas (such asthose already in use on the Internet, where advertising plays beforedownloads).Scheduling techniques such as "block programming" or "tentpoling", which try toinfluence viewers habits, will have to be replaced by others not based onprogramme schedule continuity, as the trend, like on the Internet, is forgreater on-demand and fragmented viewing, under the control of the viewer. 10
  11. 11. Preparing and recording a TV magazineThe objective of this module is to produce a 5 to 10-minute TV magazine.Step outlineDURATION TÍTOL CAMERA VIDEO AUDIO NOTES0:10 Initial titles Video titles1:00 Introduction to the magazine0:20 News summary0:30 News item 10:30 News item 20:30 News item 31:00 Introduction to the interview1:00 Question 11:00 Question 21:00 Question 31:00 Magazine closing0:10 Final titles Video titles 11
  12. 12. A step outline of an authentic TV programme----------------------------------All photos in this document are from Wikicommons except for the RTVE Facebookapp image, which was captured from the RTVE Internet page, and the step outlineabove, which was kindly contributed by a local TV station. 12