Some years ago, most plays, whether in a theater on film, or television, had very few settings. Nowadays, the action roves, moves and jumps quickly from one setting (the location) to another. If such an action is to be televised without a break, the sets must be positioned closely together. It is quite obviously out of the question always to use real locations because of the prohibitive amount of time, travel and money involved. This means that the rehearsal and shooting spaces must have plenty of room. Such places are not easy to come by and even when they have been found they seldom have the facilities needed by radio and television, especially the complete control over sound and light (and even more especially over silence and black out). The answer was, as with films, to build special studios.
What does television studio look like?
Television studios look like elaborate electronically controlled film sets. By comparison—but by comparison only—radio studios seem to be sparsely equipped. Since many sets have to be built, workshops are usually nearby and both workshops and studios need plenty of space to handle the many sets in use during any one presentation, never mind the numbers handled during one week.
However, not all radio or television presentations come from studios. Programs, which take place away from the studios (sport, news, open-air features, etc.) are covered by on-the-spot Outside Broadcast(OB) crews. They work with mobile miniature control rooms and frequently go on air live, through a land-line or portable transmitter, which they rig up themselves and so remain in touch with the main studios and transmitters.
Films and tapes are very important
Outside Broadcasts (OB’s) are not always transmitted live and much material comes into the central studios on tape (for both radio and television) and on film (television only). The material may be used straight away (if of immediate interest, like ‘hot’ news) or stored for later production.
The tape used for storing radio programs is like that used in domestic tape-recorders: ¼ inch wide magnetic tape. That for television is 2 inches wide and records sound and vision on two separate tracks on the one width of tape.
Film used in television is the same as that in the cinema. The film size (gauge) varies from 8mm to 16mm to 35mm. A special telecine projector converts the cine film images into electronic impulses for transmission.
The organization, production and direction employ many people, talents and equipment, and draws on many resources from industry, commerce, advertising and the arts. The selection of programs to be shown, however, is not in the hands of these people but in those of the program planners.