Location For TVRemote production involves shooting a production (oftentimes live) at a specific location. Although there are many advantages to studio production, remote production can provide for more interesting surroundings and a stronger context (it can also be more cost effective).

One of the obvious drawbacks to shooting a production remotely, however, is the general lack of control.

A director may not have the ability to manipulate lighting, audio and background elements, so remote productions require pre-planning and foresight. Factors like weather conditions, legal issues and safety have to be taken into consideration.

Using a Single Camera

Single camera remote production is a versatile and cost-effective production technique that requires very minimal setup. It allows the camera operator to be mobile and easily relocated while having a minimal effect on the surroundings.

Setting Up

Single camera production crews can range in size from a single individual to a small group.  One person single-camera crews are increasingly used by many news stations and documentary shows for the reasons stated above.

A single operator must be able to run the cameras and deal with lighting and background issues alone, he/she may even serve as a narrator or reporter. Although this may be effective for some productions, two and three person crews can alleviate some of the work.

Generally in multi-person crews, there is a reporter (who also serves as the director), a camera man and sometimes a third individual responsible audio.

Shooting

Using a Single CameraConsidering that even though a viewfinder image is magnified, there may be distractions that are not as obvious through the viewfinder but stand out on a full-sized monitor. Using both eyes also prevents accidents such as tripping or bumping into things because attention is focused fully on the viewfinder.

A good camera operator should ensure that the camera is balanced comfortably and steadily (particularly if using a shoulder mounted camera rather than a tripod).  It is also advisable to learn how to film with one eye one the viewfinder and the other eye open so that one can have a more comprehensive view of the shot both as it appears in reality and in the viewfinder.

When shooting, it is advisable to avoid using extreme lens angles, extremely wide angles can make the subject look too far away and if filming at close range can also cause bad distortions. The best compromise is to use a lens that is just lightly wider than normal, so as to provide a steadier image without the focusing drawbacks.It is advisable to have an assistant to guide the camera operator when filming (particularly when moving backwards).

Automatic controls can be useful when adjustments cannot be made manually, even though they may not be completely foolproof. The same applies to audio systems, which can be adjusted manually or switched to AGC (automatic gain control).

After Shooting

Exercising proper camera care after shooting should be of top importance for the operator. Ensuring that all equipment is switched off, camera accessories are removed and putting the covers back on lenses ensures that the camera is protected and can be transported safely.

Items should be cleaned and inspected before storing, and any potential problems (such as damage, battery levels etc.) should be noted and accounted for.

Using Multiple Cameras Remotely

In some situations, a single camera is not enough to cover the production so multiple cameras have to be incorporated. Using multiple cameras is needed for situations where the action is distributed over a large area and coverage needs to be continuous from multiple angles without the ability to move the camera (such as the case with sporting events).

Multi-camera productions are usually large, and require more equipment and man-power, so they have a few characteristics that make them different from shooting at a studio or with a single camera. For one thing, they require allot more planning and coordination compared with a production shot at a studio.

Coordination meetings are part of the initial planning phase. These are meetings between the parties involved in the production to discuss ideas and issues that may impact other aspects of the production.

Once this step is complete, and everyone is clear on the situation it is prudent to take the time to do a remote survey. This involves a visit to the filming location to determine where equipment and personnel should be positioned.

There are a variety of decisions to be made regarding how many cameras to use, what type of camera, and optimum locations for filming. Other issues like cable lengths, type of audio equipment, power sources and mounting equipment should also be taken into consideration during a remote survey.

As a remote survey is conducted, possible issues and problems can be hashed out ahead of time so that during shooting day; they are remedied and no longer pose a problem.

Vehicles

Vehicles are often part of the production process – this could refer to anything from news-vans and trucks to golf-carts, boats and helicopters that will be involved in production. During sporting events, for example, a camera may need to be mounted on a motorcycle or golf cart to keep tabs on the action (like the lead marathon runner or cyclist).

Most common and recognizable, however, are remote production or OB vans (commonly referred to in layman’s terms as news vans). These vans can come in different sizes, but their primary function is to provide a broadcast and production control support to the remote production team.

OB vans can either be parked near the production area or taken to a drive-in control room which serves as a studio. Then, the program is either recorded or transmitted to base by either a microwave link, data line or some other medium of transmission.

Transmitting Live

Shooting On Location For TV

During a live coverage event, transmission trucks provide a two way communication link between the unit and studio headquarters, and can be easily relocated to suit production needs. When doing a live transmission, directors should remember to place all cameras on one side of the axis of action line to ensure clear spatial communication with the audience.

Some events are characterized by horizontal action – sporting events like basketball and soccer are like this and cameras are placed along the action area in a horizontal manner.

Vertical action filming, on the other hand requires cameras to be positioned at either side of the action area. Sports like tennis, for example, require this kind of set up because it is hard to follow if covered horizontally. In this case, placing a camera on either side of the court behind the player is more appropriate and the axis of action is the line that runs where the net is located.

Round action filming may be needed when covering events that take place around a circle or oval (such as car racing). Instead of trying to establish an axis of action line, a director must put together different scenes to avoid creating confusion.

If the camera takes a close up of a particular car in the race, occasionally a long shot of the whole track should be shown to give a perspective on the current location of that car in relation to the track and to the other cars).