PHOENIX - Before a show launches a group of people from engineers, to directors, to producers and talent get together to plan out the different camera angles and set locations for the show in what we call shot blocking.
On Wednesday, we got the monitors in place and attached to the proper feeds in time for shot blocking.
The 3TV News at 10pm newscast will have three studio cameras and a handheld camera. This process takes a long time as the director has to setup every shot that the producer wants for the show. Very often the required placement of a primary camera will dictate the location of the other cameras.
In shot blocking we want to be sure that we don’t get any unwanted background elements in the shot such as pillars or cables or even the other cameras. This is difficult in such a confined space. We also try to get good perspective between the talent and the monitors and that usually means that they are standing several feet in front of the monitors. Not a very comfortable position for the talent but it looks good on TV.
It can be trying at times, as we have to make sure all set pieces, talent and graphics fit into a 4:3 ratio which is the aspect ratio of old television sets. The newer wide screen television sets have a 16:9 aspect ratio.
As you can see in some the photos taken the green line in the monitors represent the 4:3 ratio and anything outside the green lines is the 16:9 ratio. We have to make sure all graphics, talent and set pieces look good for both ratios.
Now that we have everything in place it is time for lighting. Knowing that this same set is used for at least three other shows from a variety of angles this process can be a nightmare. For instance Carey and Fields will be standing in almost the exact positions where the chairs are for the morning interview set. Obviously those positions are much lower than a standing position but both positions need light coming from the same angles so hanging new fixtures won’t work.
We will have to use a broader florescent fixture that will work for both positions. Relighting that studio will take about 8 hours and the only time we can get the studio for that long is on a weekend. That normally isn’t a problem but proper lighting requires having the talent or other persons who are the same size and coloring standing in the positions to be lit. Our usual solution is not a very pretty one. The lighting director has to work with a stand in.
The last week leading up to the show will be full of rehearsals. This gives everyone a chance to work out the inevitable kinks in the show. This is a busy time for us as things will change rapidly and we have to improvise to meet the needs of the show as they develop while still keeping all the other shows up and running.
Here's our schedule as we lead up to the launch of the show...
Saturday, August 13th
- Lighting the studio
Sunday, August 14th
- Lighting tweaks
Monday, August 15th
- Prep studio
- Shot blocking with new lighting
Tuesday, August 16th
- Additional shot blocking and tweaking
Thursday, August 18th
- Prep studio for rehearsal
- Rehearsal with full talent and crew
Friday, August 19th
- Further rehearsal based on Thursday's session
Monday, August 22nd
- Launch of the new 3TV News at 10pm show