Directing and Managing Talent The type of show is only one factor in deciding the method used to record and prepare a television production. The facilities available, the time and budget, and especially whether the show is live or recorded have an effect as well.  The basic methods of recording include combinations of single camera, ISO (isolated camera), block and shoot, shooting by set or out of order, basic retakes, and live-on-tape. These require different rehearsal methods and timing.

Single Camera and ISO

Single camera is the simplest method of recording a show, since the use of one camcorder means that there is no switching between cameras needed. This allows the director to focus on the action rather than provide instructions to operators and worry about whether a shot was taken correctly.

Isolated cameras each record their own video. Some of the features this allows are especially useful in sports: instant-replay shots can be pulled from each camera as needed, to be played in slow-motion during live productions; standby shots allow changes to be made to the final tape that includes footage not used previously; and cover shots (focusing on one area of the scene) ensure that no goals are missed, even while the director is focused elsewhere.

By set and block and shoot

Shooting out of order allows sets to be erected once, with all scenes for that set shot while it is up, even when the shots on that set are not consecutive in the final production. This saves time and money when the construction and lighting are rigged once per set, and when the doesn’t need to be stored for future use.

One particular method of shooting out of order is to rehearse each scene or segment until everyone is ready to film. Once that piece is recorded, production of the next segment begins. This allows quick changes and revisions to the action, sound, lighting, and camera work, but means that more postproduction editing will be needed to link the segments together and add graphics, video effects, or sound effects.

Live-on-tape and basic retakes

Live-on-tape is another simple recording method. Filming the program in on

Where errors do appear, whether in the performance or production, basic retakes can be edited into the continuous taping. Editing also allows for trimming to enforce duration, with cutaways or audience reactions covering for editing cuts.e continuing shoot means no breaks are needed and little editing is required before the show is ready for transmission. Most editing is done while taping, on the production switcher.

Rehearsals

There are levels of rehearsals that help ensure a smooth shoot while minimizing time on expensive sets. Camera angles, dialogue, action, and even costume and makeup changes can all be rehearsed prior to the shoot.

The read-through is the time for a director to go over the script with the cast and point out specifics. As the actors learn their lines, the timing of segments can be adjusted, the floor plan of the set can be changed if needed (indicated by tape on the floor and simple stock props such as chairs), and camera angles can be discussed.

Once in the studio, lighting, sound, and the stage crew rig up their equipment. A walk-through (dry blocking) allows the camera crew to hear the script while learning the action and production treatment needed. Camera blocking is a stumble-through rehearsal with the cameras on. This is an opportunity to correct problems with the technical operations and the timing. Finally, the dress rehearsal helps get the timing correct for make-up and wardrobe changes.

Through each of these rehearsals, there are different methods the director may use. One method popular with cast and crew during camera blocking is the whole method, running through the entire scene, waiting until the end of the run to discuss most problems and solutions. Timing and continuity issues are apparent with this method, and the crew feels a sense of accomplishment at the end of each run, despite the long list of corrections that may build up.

Alternatively, the stopping method allows the director to stop the scene and make changes as problems arise. Fixing each error as it appears prevents compounding problems, but stopping production hinders timing and continuity checks in addition to feeling tedious and slow.

Directing and Managing Production

Directing and Managing Production

The director’s job throughout the rehearsals and production includes specific directions to many people on set. The floor manager is told when to get the crew in position, when to cue the talent or start at the top, where in the script to resume rehearsal, when to cut and when to indicate to the host how much time they have remaining. The camera crew needs direction regarding focus, shot angles, panning and tilting, and cantering the shot.

The sound mixer, too, must have indications for when to turn the volume on background music up or down, on or off, cross-fade or fade in or out. During floor blocking the director works on the floor of the studio as opposed to in the production room (as during camera blocking.)

Being on the floor allows the director to give guidance to performers and crew directly, using the intercom to instruct the technical director. While in the control room, direction intended for the crew and talent is given to the floor manager instead, via intercom.

The floor manager’s duties begin long before rehearsal begins, however. Part of preparing for the rehearsal includes ensuring that the crew is ready and the studio is set up, all props (and doors) are working, furniture is where is should be and scenery is properly placed. The floor manager also greets the talent and keeps them informed of the schedule.

During rehearsals the floor manager is the director’s voice on set, taking general instructions regarding furniture and prop positions or staging and action changes (among other commands) and delegating the tasks as needed to those responsible for the particulars.

He is also the person to cue the performers and camera crew and stop the action. While the director can use the loudspeaker to do this, it is disrupting for the talent to be directed by a bodiless voice; the softer, personal touch of a floor manager helps keep rehearsals moving smoothly.

In addition to the above duties, it is the floor manager’s job to enforce punctuality by cueing the talent when needed, holding them and the crew until the resulting footage is checked, and finally to “release the studio” by letting the crew and cast leave while the FM ensures props and equipment are safely stored.

Directing and Managing Talent

Talent in particular takes a deft hand to manage properly. The range of experience in performers means that some must be handled with more care than others, though one key common to all performers is confidence. Ensure actors remain confident by keeping them informed of expectations and familiar with conditions.

Some particulars that help with less-experienced performers is to have a host who directs them via questions, keep unexpected issues to a minimum (including ad-libbing and rearrangements), and hold adequate rehearsals. More experienced talent can run with improvisation, complicated directions, and set/script changes.

Well-timed cues and prompts are also helpful. Explain what cueing methods you will use, if hand signals, go over them; word cues or clock cues should be clearly explained; if intercom cues are relayed via earpiece, tally cues given on the camera lights, or monitor cues shown on a nearby television monitor then the performers need to know when to look and listen for them.

Prompting is often done with index card notes to avoid crinkling sounds, but standard-sized paper works well on a news desk. On the other hand, cue cards and teleprompters are best when the performer should keep looking at the camera.