TV SetsAn important part of the popularity of today’s TV shows and movies is not only due to the brilliant acting and writing, but the sets on which these shows and movies are filmed. On screen, these sets translate to vividly imaginative alien words, such as James Cameron’s Avatar, or the iconic bar scene in How I Met Your Mother. Behind the screen, though, these beloved settings are nothing more than green screens and props set up in a studio or outside location. Though both TV shows and movies rely on sets and studios to add to the depth of their entertainment, there are important differences between movie sets and TV sets and how they operate.

Studio control vs. location variety

TV shows typically feature easily recognizable locations that act as the main hub of the action, as seen in Friends with the two apartments and the café acting as the most used settings of the show. Settings, for any show, can either be filmed in a controlled location, such as a studio in Los Angeles or New York, or in an outside location, such as the decommissioned hospital used in Scrubs. A studio offers more control to the filming process, allowing the producers and directors to control lighting and sound. However renting out studio space can often get expensive. Shooting on location can be cheaper, and also adds authenticity and variety to the story of the show.

Differences between the ‘single-camera’ and ‘multiple-camera’ approach

There are also different shooting styles when it comes to filming TV shows, with the two most common methods being a “single-camera” and a “multiple-camera” approach. By using a single camera, the crew are given flexibility when it comes to setting up the shot in terms of microphone booms and lighting rigs, though these have to be fixed for each different take. More editing also has to be done, since different angles need to be shot separately and then combined into the finished product. With the multiple-camera style, the scene is shot from various angles, meaning there is less editing to be done, and the microphones and lights don’t have to be reset for each angle. However, there is less flexibility in setting the whole scene up, since the microphones and lights have to be hidden from all cameras.

More cameras and personnel on movie sets

Like TV sets, movies also have the option of being filmed in a studio or on location. However movies usually need several locations as opposed to TV shows, which may use only one or two locations. In addition, the filming process for movies takes much longer when compared to TV shows, though both will frequently shoot scenes out of order, depending on ease of location. Films will also be different in that filming a movie requires many more cameras. Since large, explosive action scenes are often very high-budget, multiple cameras will be used to get all the necessary angles. Indie and low-budget films, typically using just one camera, are starting to use more cameras for efficiency and ease in the editing room. Movie sets obviously require much more personnel than TV sets. Both require people to lay down wires, set up the scene and props, and rig the booms and lights, though movies are often much bigger productions.

All in all, movie and TV sets don’t differ that much from each other. Besides size of production, budget, and length of filming, they actually follow much of the same processes and film in similar was. Movies require more people to set up the technical aspects of the sets, and they require more locations than TV sets. However, both of the differing sets can film in studio or on location, and use the same techniques for filming. Either way, regardless of it being a TV show or a movie, sets play an important part in establishing the backbone for popular entertainment.