An investigation into the limitations of the stage area as imposed by the television camera

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An investigation into the limitations of the stage area as imposed by the television camera

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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Radio The University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts

by Gordon E* Bar to June, 1950

UMI Number: EP65335

All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.

Dissertation Publishing

UMI EP65335 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code

ProQuest' ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106- 1346

T h is thesis, w ritte n by

........ Q .Q R D m ..E .^ .3 M T .Q ........... under the guidance of h .X & - F a c u lty Com m ittee, and app ro ved by a l l its members, has been presented to and accepted by the C o uncil on G ra d u ate S tudy and Research in p a r t ia l f u l f i l l ­ ment of the requirements f o r the degree of

________ MASTER. OF...ARTS_____________ _____________

D ate.



J ’

Painting is concerned with all the ten attributes of sight, namely, darkness and brightness, substance and color, form and place, remoteness and nearness, movement and rest; and it is with these attributes that this, my small book, will be interwoven.**. Leonardo Da Vinci

To the Faculty of the Radio Department of The University of Southern California, whose democratic spirit is in highest keeping with the traditions of the University.



THE PROBLEM AND THE M E T H O D S .....................


Statement of the p r o b l e m .....................


Importance of the s t u d y .....................


Method of p r o c e d u r e ..........


Method of r e s e a r c h .......................... Organization II.

. . . . . .


6 9

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND DEFINITION OF T E R M S ............................................. 10 Review of the literature..............


Television Production and Programming . . . .


Television T e c h n i q u e s .......................... 11 Television Primer of Production and D i r e c t i o n .......................


Definition of terms used.......................... 13 III.


THE C A M E R A ............


Characteristic and make-up.................


Limitations of the c a m e r a .....................


THE S E T ............................. Limitations of the set......................... Space



32 33 33

Miniature sets.................................. 34


PAGE Rear p r o j e c t i o n s ............


Mechanical wgimlcks,f.......................


K a l e d i o s c o p e s .................


Shadow b o x ..................................


Film i n s e r t s ................................


Properties . ............... * ............





L i g h t i n g ....................................


Actors and the s e t ..........................


Importance of the set .......................


C o l o r ......................................


Composition in sets..................... * . •


LIGHTING . . ....................................




T i m e .........................................


Types of lights................................


Carbon arc lights.



Incandescent lights.

. . ...................


Mercury vapor l&mps..........................


Fluorescent light.



COMPOSITION....................................... Limitations of c o m p o s i t i o n ................... Movement • . • • • • • . . • • •

61 62



L i n e .........................................



PAGE Mass or psychological weight....................70 Form or aesthetics h a p e ......................... 71


S O U N D ................................................ 74 Limitations in sound.............................. 78 M i c r o p h o n e s ..................................... 78 Extraneous s o u n d .............................. 83 Sets............................................. 84


TIME AND SPACE..............................


T i m e ............................................. 86 L i m i t a t i o n s .....................................87 Time........................................... 87 Camera editing................................ 87 T r a n s i t i o n s ...................................91 R e h e a r s a l .....................................96 S p a c e ............................................ 101 IX.

THE VIEW F I N D E R .................................... 106 Limitation.


. . . . . .


. 112

C O N C L U S I O N S .........................................115 Review of the literature......................... 115 The camera........................................ 115 Lighting.................................. Composition . .

............. , . . . . . . . .

121 . 123


PAGE S o u n d ............................................. 125 Time and space.

............................ 127

Experiment with view f i n d e r ....................... 131 Advantages. • .

............................... 132

Limitation....................................... 133 BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................




Statement of the problem*

It was the purpose of

this study (L) to investigate the limitations of the playing area in a live drama, as imposed by the television camera:

namely, to study the limitations of the following

-- the camera, sets, lighting, composition, sound, time and space; and (2) to prove by experiment how the view finder may be used in the early stages of preparation for a live dramatic show in o r d e r t o facilitate the later camera rehearsal. Importance of the study.

The following statement

by Gyorgy Kepes reveals the importance of television as a means of disseminating information and entertainment: The language of vision, optical communication, is one of the strongest potential means both to reunite man and his knowledge and to re-form man into an integrated being. The visual language is capable of disseminating knowledge more effectively than almost any other vehicle o f .communication.. With it, man can express and relay his experiences, in object form. Visual communication is universal and international: it knows no limits, of tongue, vocabulary, or grammar, and it can be perceived by the illiterate as well as by the literate. Visual language can convey facts and ideas in a wider and deeper range than almost any other means of communication. It can reinforce


the static verbal concept with the sensory vitality of dynamic imagery* It can interpret the new under­ standing of the physical world and social events because dynamic interrelationships and interpene­ tration, which are significant of every advanced scientific understanding of today, are intrinsic idioms of the contemporary vehicles of visual com­ munication: photography, motion pictures, and television.1 Realizing the importance of the visual aspects in dispersing facts and ideas, scientists have been experi­ menting for many years in an endeavor to transmit visual signals over the air waves*

Yet as they progressed in

scientific development of television, the histrionic phase of this medium was neglected so that today problems of entertainment presentation loom momentuously before tele­ vision producers. It is true, there were some men who foresaw what television might present, nevertheless, they failed to predict or offer an effective means of transmitting infor­ mation and entertainment. As stated by R. Hubbell in one of his publications in 1892, a gentleman by the name of Max Plessner wrote a little piece about something called the telectroscope (the name ^television” had not yet been coined).


predicted it would present the stage, opera, Important

1 Gyorgy Kepes, Language of Vision (Chicago: Theobald,. Publisher, 1949)7


events, parliament, lectures with demonstrations, church services, visits to watering places, races, regattas, parades, city sights and the head of the state addressing the whole nation.

About the only thing Plessner'omitted

was that ”television,” as we now call it, would create a new art form--partly out of the techniques to be estab­ lished by its journalistic side and partly out of the artistic revolution it would cause by opening a new world of opportunities to artists in every field. Whether he knew it or not, Plessner was establish­ ing a pattern for most speeches and writings on the sub­ ject for the next half century and more.

He was specu­

lating on what television would present, not how to present it.


In recent years however, various writers and pro­ ducers in the field have attempted to solve the problems which television is presenting.

One of these men is

Edward Sobol, who is, investigating both the visual and oral, problems of the medium.

As he stated, The effect of

a visual image on the mind is almost instantaneous, but the effect of the spoken word is delayed, since the liter­ ary meaning (the appeal to reason) takes time to be com­


R. Hubbell,.Television Programming and Production (Hew York and Toronto: Murray Hill Books, Inc., 1945), p. 3.

4 prehended.

When speech and visual action are synchron­

ized, the scene can be absorbed in a flash by the eye, and a delay may be imposed on_the„ visual_action until all the words have been spoken arid their meaning absorbed* This may produce a conflict between the oral and the visual appeal, one which was noticeable in early sound pictures and in early television*

Sound pictures have

largely overcome this conflict by learning to blend the two appeals smoothly, by developing a condensed method of handling film speech and a better technique for film music and sound effeets--coupled with pictures which tell most of the story (visualization as opposed to illustration)* Music and sound effects can be almost as rapid in their effect on the audience, because they appeal directly to our emotions and do not have to be filtered through our sense of reason.

For this reason music and sound effects

often displace speech in motion pictures during scenes with rapid action* In radio the function of sound effects is to supply impressions of background, scenery, properties and various actions* ages*

Sound is also used to effect transitional pass­

With a few easily recognized.sounds one can cover

a situation which would otherwise require a good deal of talk by a narrator or a group of actors*

It should also

be noted that in blind radio practically all effects are

5 of this simple, easily recognized type— a necessary limi­ tation, because If the sound effect is not so completely familiar to the listener that it instantaneously evokes a mental picture, it only causes confusion in his mind. In television the video will show most backgrounds, scenes and properties, as well as most actions performed by the actors.

These actions, involving properties on

the set, will, make their own natural noises, which will be picked up. by the speech microphone.

As a result most sound

effects of the radio type will be unnecessary, and the development of a technique for the expansion of television sound effects will, have to begin just where radio left off.3 As well as developing a technique for sound, as stated by Sobol, a method must be developed for a satis­ factory visual.transmission. j*f entertainment.


this can be accomplished, the limitations of this medium must be investigated and circumvented. What are these problems that tower so gigantically before the television directors, threatening to hamper their every creation? Television Is overwhelmed with a myriad of these


Edward Sobol, Television Director, NBC, West Coast Division, lecture at University of California at Dos Angeles.

problems, ranging from difficulties experienced in trans­ mitting the pictures through cables, and toward reflectors, to the controversial issue regarding color that is now the item ot much persiflage between rival networks. This study, however, is concerned only with those problems affecting the actual presentation of a live dra­ matic telecast from the studio proper.

Are these studio

problems many in number? Prom this investigator1s readings, interviews and experiments, in addition to observations in the various studios,4 numerous limitations have been discovered. Joseph Conn remarked that these problems go unsolved probably because the directors are experimenting excessive­ ly with new techniques and are not attempting to solve the problems before them. In this study an attempt is_ made to investigate these limitations which are present in the production of a live dramatic telecast, and where it is feasible, solu­ tions, or possible methods of correction are offered. II.


Method of research.

4 Stations: Calif.


The source materials used in

KFI, KLkC, KTIA, KTTV, I,os Angeles,

Interview with Mrs. Joseph Conn, KTTV, Los Angeles



this study were largely obtained from books, for in recent years there have been an influx of publications on the sub ject of television and the arts closely allied to this medium. Additional information was obtained from interviews These interviewees were people in the fields of telec






the theater,


and make-up*

Other information was derived from personal observations in a motion picture studio and in numerous television studios.11 The result of these phases of research were docu12 mented. The books read were from the fields of tele­ vision, cinema, photography, art, the theater and radio. e

Television Directors: Allen Buckley, Henry Vought, Anthony Kelly, Paul Knight, Dan Patton, Robert Divings ton, Truman Smith, John Claar, Klaus Landsberg, Kenneth Taylor, Mrs. Joseph Conn and Bob Davy. Los Angeles, California. 7 Cinema Directors: Lazio Benedek, R. Weinberg. Los Angeles, California. q

Theatrical Directors: Baron Harvey Leepa, Johannes Muncis. Los Angeles, California. 9 Radio Directors: Jennings Pierce, Meredith Wilson. Los Angeles, California. 10 Make-up Artist:

Hai King.

Los Angeles*

Moving Picture Studio: R.K.O. Pictures, Los Angeles. Television Studios: KFI-TV, KTTV, KTLA, KECA- / TV. Los Angeles, California. Bibliography A.

' r ^ s/



Authorities in television and its allied fields

were interviewed personally, and their, remarks were noted for reference in this thesis*

This method was pursued in

preference to the questionnaire method, as a free dis­ cussion of certain problems_was essential and it was doubtful whether the desired information would be forthcoming with the questionnaire approach.


As a further me ana to acquire the necessary infor­ mation for this study an experiment with a Mair^Hancock View Finder was conducted. The experimental activities were divided Into two phases,


the first consisting of. the experimenter1s

method of becoming, familiar with the view finder.


was accomplished through perusal of cinema booksx° and by interviews with authorities on the instrument.


second phase was the actual experiment conducted with the view finder on the sound stage, of the Cinema department at The University of Southern California.

The purpose of

this, experiment was, primarily to discover a means of planning angle shots during the early phases of television 13

The investigator had previously conducted a questionnaire study of television, the results of which were unsatisfactory. ^


Chapter IX.


9 rehearsal to facilitate operations at the later camera rehearsal III.


The data secured from bibliographical sources, Interviews, observations and experiment are presented in ten chapters:


The Problem and the Methods;


Review of the Literature and Definition of Terms; (3) Camera; Sound;

(4) Sets; (5) Lighting;

(6) Composition;


(8) Time and Space; (9) The View Finder; and a

concluding chapter which will summarize and evaluate the problems and solutions that have been investigated within the paper.

16 Ibid.



In the past few years a number of books have been written in regard to the prevalence of problems in tele­ vision production, but only a brief summary of the work of experimenters on issues very closely related to this will be given. Television Production and Programming#

In this

work Hubbell states that certain facts have been estab­ lished and basic methods evolved; but to date no one with extensive practical and theoretical experience has co­ ordinated and evaluated this knowledge and presented It In book form.

Hubbell has undertaken to do this in the hope

of providing broadcasters, advertising men, writers, di­ rectors, actors, designers, students, technicians, and theatrical, radio, and motion-picture people with a foundation on which they can build their television plans and projects more rapidly and astutely.

He has attempted

to achieve this aim by analyzing the fundamental nature of television, by evaluating the progress made, and by sug­ gesting practical ways In which the techniques of tele-

11 vision may be Improved. Television Techniques.



compiled infor­

mation for his book as a means to provide a foundation for production techniques upon which the potential director can build his ideas.

First, he has tried to orient the

reader to this medium, television— to its limitations as well as to its great potentialities, in order that the director may make the most effective use of this medium. In describing television techniques he has endeavored to make their psychological, and aesthetic significance clear and understandable; to show when and how certain tech­ niques may or should be employed, and the effect on the audience thereby produced.

But above all, Bettinger has

attempted to set forth in usable form the underlying principles which govern this complicated art; principles which have stood the test of time and will remain in force long after the dust of battle over color versus black-and-white has been settled, and friend again shakes the hand of friend. Purposely avoiding the how-to-do-It approach, he

^ R. Hubbell, Television Programming and Production (Hew York and Toronto: Murray Hill Books, Inc•, 1^45)• — 2 H. Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York: Harper & Brothers, 194717

12 has chosen the much more difficult task of dealing with fundamentals, hoping thereby to provide a solid founda­ tion upon which the worker in television may build his own techniques.

He has endeavored to analyze the fac­

tors entering into virtually all types of program pro­ duction and to bring out the basic principles involved. He has tried to clarify the application of these princi­ ples and to set them up in such a way that the reader may apply them according to his own tastes and in his own way. Television-Primer of Production and Direction.


this book, Sposa^ has attempted to list the prime funda♦

mentals of production and direction for television, where­ by he gives the reader a schematic picture of the whole field by explaining first, what television is, the tele­ vision system, the camera, lighting for television, scenic design, titles and video effects, motion picture film in television, scripts, commercials, production and direc­ tion, programming, and lastly, a chapter devoted to what his ideas are on the future of television.


L.. Sposa, Television Primer of Production and Pi rection (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1947)7


s rS i

DEFINITION OF TERMS USED A camera shot taken from any position

except straight on the scene. ANNOUNCER.

Usually has a sound proof booth from

which he reads the commercials —

introductions to the

play, and whatever transitions are necessary between scenes or acts. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR.

His. duties, as the title im­

plies, are to handle most of the separate details and so to relieve the director from them, who is concerned most­ ly with unifying the production into a rhythmic whole. He pre-cues the cameras, readying them for each shot; also keeps track of timing, and directly cues music and announcer. AUDIO MAN.

He is located in the control booth,

usually seated in front of and beneath the director. ^He controls sound volume, bringing each microphone in and out of play.

( \


'lJU L




Any material, sets, flats, drops,

L. Sposa, o£. cit. J. Dupuy, Television Show (General Electric, 1945).

14 drapes, etc., used behind actors or other foreground sub­ jects . BLOW-UP.

Photo enlargement of written, printed, or

pictorial material, in order that they may be effectively photographed and transmitted through television, or serve as a preview of certain shots to the director, f„ BOOM,



A mechanical contrivance for suspending a

microphone• BOOM DOWN,

The lowered position of the camera dolly

boom and consequently of the camera.

The dolly boom is

lowered, thereby lowering the camera, for a head-on shot or a tilted-up^shot. BOOM U P .

The camera dolly boom is raised, thereby

elevating the position of the camera for a high head-on shot or a tilted-down shot. BRACING FLATS.

Anchoring scenery flats by means of

stage braces and weighing down the braces with sand bags. Stage screws are not used because they would mar the studio floor. BREAK CAMERA.

An order or direction to move the

camera from one shooting position to the next as soon as it goes off the air.

Specific directions to break camera

are given when rapid moves are necessary. BRIGHTNESS.

The degree of Illumination of a picture

on the receiver or picture tube. BRIGHTNESS CONTROL.

A control on the receiver for

regulating the over-all brightness of the picture. BUSY BACKGROUND.

A background of a picture or

stage set with too much detail or with the same general tonality as the action played in front of It. BUSY PICTURE.

A picture with too many shapes or

pictorial elements or too much detail. CAMERA LIGHT.

Pilot light on cameras Indicating to

the actors which camera is on the air. CAMERA SHOTS. Close-up Medium close-up Tight or big close-up Long shot Medium shot Pan, which can be effected to the right or left. Tilt, either up or down with the camera.

Two-shot, when two people are held In the picture* Follow shot, the camera follows the action or performer* CHEAT*

An acting technique, peculiar to all camera

work, by which the performer 11cheats11 on perspective or normal position-relation to other performers or objects. A performer, for instance, would cheat in body position when talking to a seated companion*

He would stand close

against the chair, facing forward, Inclining the head slightly toward the companion without actually looking at him.

Thus the television audience would see both persons

and they would appear in "normal” perspective to each other on the receiver screen. CL-OSE-UP.

Usually a bust, head shot,. , or any

narrow-angle sho t • CONTRAST*

This refers to the ratio of the dark to

the light portions of a television picture.

Pictures hav­

ing high contrast have very deep blacks and brilliant whites while a picture with low contrast has an over-all gray appearance. CONTROL, ROOM*

Nerve-center'for the whole complex

of television production is the control room.


17 behind a battery of buttons, needles and knobs sit the ones who make the decisions guiding the quality of the picture the audience will see, the sounds it will hear. Its an atmosphere of static insanity, of many utterances, subdued but pressing.

Each key figure concentrates on his

own area of operation— calling directions out to the floor, to galleries above and rooms below, through an intricate interlocking communication system. CUT.

A control technique by which a scene on a

camera is instantaneously switched on or off the air. DIRECTOR. entire production. and technicians.

The director is the supervisor of the He coordinates the work of the actors He watches tensely his three monitors

in the control room — one for each camera-- and calls out the number of the camera whose picture he wants to use at each moment.

He is connected directly by phone with

cameras and technicians but makes his desires known to the cast and stage crew through his field boss, the floor manager• DISSOLVE.

A control technique by which a picture

on a second camera is made to merge with a picture on the air and is gradually brought into full view while the other picture is gradually faded out.


Vx*v DOLLY. .... .

The movable stand or base on which a camera

is mounted. DOLLY MAN.

The operator who pushes or moves the

camera while the picture is on the air. SHOT.

A camera picture which involves the

moving^ of the camera while the picture is on the air, such as dollying in from a long shot to a close-up. DRAPES.

The curtains used as stage set backgrounds

or used on travelers to curtain off a stage set. ELEVATION PLAN.

A scaled sketch made of stage sec­

tions and special props to facilitate construction and painting of the set or props. FADE-IN OR FADE-PUT.

A control technique by which

a scene is gradually brought into view from black level or is gradually dimmed from view to black level. FIELDnically.

The word may be used program-wise or tech­


The area of a stage set or scene

covered by the camera as seen on the receiver tube, de­ pending on the type of lens and distance of the camera from the scene.


Field refers to a set of

scanning lines making up a television picture.


A portion of a telecast made up of

various motion picture scenes; or in a motion picture, the relation of various views of a scene which build into an incident climax# FILM LOOP.

A short piece of motion picture film

spliced end to end to form a loop, which can be threaded on a projector and run continuously during a show so that it can be brought into the picture sequence as desired# FILM INSERTS.

A length of film shot inside or out­

side the s tudio, which is used to render location or gaps in time that might not otherwise be filled by television camera action alone# V - FLAT LIGHT. Lighting a scene or stage set with \ — overall brightness without modeling or highlights. FLATS.

The canvas sections used for room walls or

backgrounds In stage sets.

They are usually nine feet

high and from one to six feet wide# FLOOD-LIGHTING.

Focusing the full brilliance of

ceiling lights and spotlights on a scene. \ , FLOOR MANAG E R ♦

The floor manager, or stage manager

as he is sometimes called, receives instructions by one-way

20 ear phone connection, and can move freely about to give entrance, exit and time cues to actors or directions to the crew. FLOOR PLAN.

A scale diagram indicating the position

of stage sets in the studio for a program or a series of programs• FOCUSING.

Adjusting the optical lens in a camera

to bring a scene into clear view on the mosaic, and con­ sequently clearly to the eye when viewed on the related camera picture monitor. FOLLOW FOCUS.

The technique of constantly adjust­

ing the focus of camera lenses while a scene is being shot.

Follow focus is required when either cameras or

performers move about while a scene is being shot, such as during a dolly shot or during a pan shot while follow­ ing the movements of a dancer. FOREGROUND.

The front or forward space of a stage

set or playing area. HOT BACKGROUND.

The lighting of a playing area

background is too strong, or is caused to be of high illumination.

Usually, hot backgrounds are not desirable

since there is not enough light contrast between center

21 ground and background, causing the two areas to blend and giving a flat picture.

However, a hot background may be

desirable for silhouette and dramatic effects. LINE MONITOR.

These are found above the individual

camera controls, carrying the picture being used by each individual camera. LONG SHOT.

A full view of the set including full-

length view of actors. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP.

A shot that cuts off the players

just above the knees. MEDIUM SHOT.

A shot halfway between a long shot

and a close-up. MIDDLE GROUND.

This term applied to the playing

area of a stage set refers to the middle portion of the set as contrasted to the foreground or the background. MODELING LIGHT.

A light source so placed and of

such intensity as to bring out the countours and volume of a subject.

The antithesis of flat light.


A series of three or more pictures

achieved by superimposing one camera pieture over another by means of dissolves.



Bens with narrow angle of pro­

jection used for close-up camera work* FANNING*

A short term for "panorama.,f Sweeping of

the scene by moving the camera from one side to another.

PEDESTAL* \ mounted.

The solid base on which a camera may be

Such a base is equipped with small casters so

that the pedestal and camera can be moved rapidly from position to position. PICTURE*

The image telecast.


The physical space in a studio occu­

pied by a stage set in which a scene is played. PROPERTIES *

All the physical items of a show or

program, except the costumes and scenery, required for performer business or to furnish the stage set. R&KE*

A. term used in connection with stage scenery*

To rake a set or flat means to shift its position or angle of alignment for more suitable stage set placement. RETURN PLATS.

Narrow scenery flats added to the

sides of a stage set to extend or confine the background so that cameras shooting at angles will not get off set background in the picture*

Return flats are also used to

23 add depth to some architectural features of stage sets, such as a window return or a mantel’breast return.


return flats are placed in back of the window or mantel. j y ^RIM LIGHTING.

Spotlighting from the back, designed

to bring individual subjects out of the background by virtue of their brightness; that is, the rim light around the edges of the subject. SCENE.

The term may be used in a television sense

and in Its theatrical meaning.


picture or camera take being televised.

The momentary


A por­

tion of a program or play, or the locale or mood of a program which ”sets the scene.11 SHADERS OR CAMERA-CONTROL M E N .

It is their duty to

watch camera monitors and control the quality and bright­ ness of the picture. SPLIT FOCUS.

Adjusting the focus of a television

camera midway between two subjects when one is in the foreground and the other in the rear.

This is usually

done in two-shots to give both subjects equal dramatic value. SPOTLIGHT.

A type of luminalre or light source

designed to direct its output onto a relatively small

24 area of a scene or stage set*

It is usually used for

rimming or highlighting, or for other special effects or purposes * STOCK SHOTS*

Film shots taken of people, objects

or places as they made news, or special portions .of motion pictures which have been filed for possible re-use* These shots are usually available at film libraries or from the files of newsreel or motion picture organiza­ tions.

Stock shots can be used for pictorial value or

story emphasis in television studio programs. STRIKE S E T .

Dismantle a stage set*


Usually the largest monitor in

the control room, placed in good view for the director. It carries the picture that is being telecast to the public. TAKE.

A picture or scene held by a television

camera, or as a command to switch a camera on the air* TECHNICAL.DIRECTOR OR "SWITCHER.”

He Is the

technical supervisor in the control room, where arranged before him are a battery of lights and buttons.

He is

the person who puts the show into action by punching up each camera’s picture as the director calls the specific

25 pictures*

He maintains careful contact with everybody in

and out of the control room, on and off the floor.


also performs as liaison man with the master control room, dispatch-point for the show. TITLE SLIDES.

Slides, either drawings or film,

which announce the title and credits of a program. TRUCK SHOT.

A camera technique by which a line of

performers (a chorus, for instance) or a scene is covered by dollying the camera along the line of subjects or along the scene while the camera is on the air. VIEW FINDER.

A box affair that contains two lenses.

(In the Maier-Hancoek Type) By holding It to the eye, one is able to see the scene as it would be visualized in the camera* WIDE-ANGLE LENS.

A lens with a wide angle of pro­

jection, used to pick up a large portion of the set at a short distance.

CHAPTER III [THE CAMERAj I'tee foremost requisite for Ken Taylor stated that|the a successful production in television is to be aware of the characteristics of the television camera*

The direc­

tor need not be familiar with all the technical aspects of the camera, but he should have some knowledge of its Inherent characteristics:

videlicet, what it can do, what

it does best, and wherein its weaknesses lie*

To realize

its limitations and potentialities, it is necessary, with­ out bordering on the scientific, to understand its make^Characteristic and make-up:

Considering its tasks,

the television studio camera is quite similar to the movie camera*

hike its counterpart, the cinema camera,

it is quite bulky, consequently, to make movement easier it is mounted on a base with wheels called "a dolly*” In a number of studios, tripod supported cameras / - ’N

& are used In addition to the dolly supported type.5

Used by a small number of studios because of expense, mainly, Is the crane type camera support*

This, as the

name implies, Is a structure resembling a huge arm stretch­ ing up from a platform upon wheels*

Upon the apex of the

27 arm is located the camera, with a seat behind it for the camera-man.

Such a camera support is a great help to the

director because with it he is able to maneuver his camera up stairways, over obstacles, and, in general, in every direction .r /Concerning the types of cameras in usage today, Glenn Gardiner states: Most of the local stations use the RCA camera. However, KECA-TV is equipped with General Electric. The new RCA TK-10A studio camera requires only 100 foot-candles of light. The iconoscopjucamera of years past required 1000 foot-candlesTjYThe lower part of the camera contains a 3 ” Image Orthicon pickup tube, the scanning wave-form generators and the video amplifier. The upper part contains an electronic viewfinder. This viewfinder consists of a 5 ” picture tube and other parts. Looking into the viewing hood at the rear of the camera, the operator sees on this tube the picture output of the camera. By observing this picture, he can point the camera to follow the action, focus the scene correctly, and monitor the quality of the picture, all at the same time. ^ i—


IPertaining to the characteristic importance of the camera the G.B.S. book, "Close-Up” states: And now we meet the camera.•.a cumbersome four­ eyed monster of appalling intricacy in design, operation, and maintenance. Television cameras are variously mo ionted: on a tripod, for location and outdoor shooting; on aT pedestal, which allows adjust­ ments to various heights; and on a dolly, or moving platform, with a long, swivelling boom, permitting

^ Lecture by Kenneth Taylor on television camera to television class #498a, University of Southern California. [ 'S , Glenn Gardiner, Television Workbook, Chap.II,p. 4.j

28 the maximum of mobility7] Studio shooting employs two, three, or four cameras, all operating at the same time from different positions on the set. W e ’ll use the customary set-up for a dramatic show: two pedestals, one d o l l y * 3 the lenses on the television camera, Gardiner states: There are seven standard sizes of lenses used on the television cameras* Each has a different focal length and is used for a definite purpose* Only four can be mounted on one camera but two or more cameras will offer a wide choice of lenses. The first is the wide angle lens, used when a large por­ tion of the set is shown at one time. This is a 2^|•f, lens or 50mm* The medium long lens is used when a large portion of the set is desired and the camera can be moved back. This is a 4” lens or 90mm. The medium close-up lens is used to get from foot to head of an individual. This is a 6 tf lens or 135mm. The close-up lens is used to get a half-length of an indi­ vidual. This is an 8 ” lens. The semi-tight close-up lens is used to get the shoulders and head* This is a 10° lens. The tight close-up lens is used to get the head only. This is a 12” lens. The super-tight close-up lens is used to get a fly on the end of a nose. This is^known as the telephoto lens. It is a 17" lens.*i r ............j

In the book Close-up published by C.B.S. there Is listed four main lenses which are used in dramatic produc­ tions:

the 50mm lens, or wide angle for the long shot;

the 90mm lens for the medium shot; the 135mm lens for a semi-tight close-up; and lastly the 8^ff lens for the t c ^ight close-up.° 3 i


C.B.S*, Close-up. Glenn Gardiner, o p . cit., Chap. I, p* 5*| C.B.S., Close-up.


Limitations of the camera;\ Before investigating the limitations of the stage area imposed by the television camera, the investigator felt that it was necessary to inquire into the limitations which the camera itself en­ counters . Sposa states regarding movement of the camera; Trailing behind the cameras are long, black snakelike coaxial cables, larger in diameter than garden hose. In planning camera movement where more than one camera is involved, it is important to chart the camera assignments so that they do not cross over each other*s cables lest the cables be damaged or the cameras robbed of mobility.® Also pertaining to the restrictions of camera move­ ment, Kenneth Taylor stated; l S Movement is one of the major limitations of the television camera, for the bulk of the camera plus the handicap it suffers from the cables zigzagging behind it really provides a problem in attempting to achieve any amount of fluidity in dollyingTp ■t#' £ r h e television camera, unlike the movie camera in one great respect, cannot remain fixed upon an object indefinitely as can the cinema camera, because in the television tube a phenomenon takes place known as ^burning in the tube,” if the camera is fixed for a period of time exceeding 30 seconds.) Pertaining to this limitation,

L. Sposa, Television Primer of Production and Di­ rection (New York; McGraw-Hill Book,Co., Inc., 1947},p. 33.


Kenneth Taylor, Lecture to 498a Television Class.

30 Taylor stated: Burning in the tube intends that if the camera is held on a subject or object for longer than 30 seconds an image is retained on the face of the tube for an indefinite period of time* Also pertaining to this point, one must be very cautious about cover­ ing the lenses* For instance, one day a couple of us left the studio with caps upon the camera lenses, but while we were gone some novices in the art entered the studio and began experimenting with the camera* The first thing they did was to remove the caps from the lenses, which they did not bother to put back when they finished viewing with the result that all night I had super-imposed upon the image in my camera a grand piano and something or other.8 The investigator has observed that at many tele­ vision studios,^ cameramen in order to eliminate the possi­ bility of "burning in the tube11 or for other myriad rea­ sons, will move the camera, often erratically*

This move­

ment should be performed as gracefully as possible, unless of course the dramatic rhythm of the production calls for a "swish pan," or some other shocking camera movement. Truman Smith states that to prevent burning the tube it would behoove the director to darken the objects being photographed; however this should be done only as an emergency measure when it is necessary that the camera remain on an object for longer than 30 seconds.^-8

Ibid. 9

KFI, KTTV, KECA, KTLA, and KTLS, Los Angeles.

Truman Smith, Television Director, KTTV, Eos Angeles, California.


for the investigator believes that regardless of the type of camera covering a production,

ts lens will determine

the quality and extent of the picture.

In this connec­

tion Sposa states: The lens determines how wide an area may be covered by the camera at one time and thus dictates the width of the set and how widely the actors may be spaced in order to fall within the limitations of the pick-up equipment. It also indicates how brilliant the light may be (in conjunction with the type of pick-up equipment), and how deep may be the portion of the televised scene that is held in sharp or even recognizable focus. This, In turn, influ­ ences the director in placing his actors. If it is necessary to give dominance to one and the depth of focus is great, the dominant actor may be near the camera, the secondary one(s) farther from it. If the depth of focus is limited, the director will have to resort to distinctive costuming, placement of the actors in the relation to the background, or composi­ tion of the picture (one actor in one corner of the scene balancing a group in the opposite corner, for example). Another power given the director by knowledge of the capacities of his lenses Is that derived from selective focusing. Knowing that the lens has an insufficiently short depth of focus to record the actors in the foreground and the sets in the rear may cause him so to design the sets that they are extremely foreshortened and use strong perspective lines rather than actual depth to convey their impressions. Or It may cause him to use certain properties In the same plane as the actors rather than having them as painted portions of the set. Selective focusing lets one actor be seen sharply while others in a plane considerably closer to or farther from the camera are made indistinct. Appli­ cations of this lens knowledge to the actual program

L. Sposa, -op^~TcIt^, "Chap. 3, p. 38.


s e t ]}

Edward Sobol believes from observing many television dramas on the receiver screen and in the studio proper, that not enough emphasis was placed upon the value of the backgrounds for the performers. He has discovered from his investigation of drama in the past years, that primarily a set is constructed for audience response.

Maybe it is just a part of a barn

or the inside of a luxurious home.

The design of that

special set, for a love scene or a murder, or whatever It is, is made a part of the set. the Idea of the story,

The background should help

jrhe design of the set should give

a foundation to the tale to be revealed, and it should fit the action of the story.jf He stated further that j^he pri­ mary considerations ap^e-etreS^fo— be- in the mood of the stage business, a n d t h e

producer should attempt to

enhance that mood as much as possible, being always aware of the limitations present.11

Interview with Edward Sobol at University of California at Los Angeles.

[limitations op THE SET_7 /spacetl John Claar is or the opinion that [the limiLtations of space presents a great handicap to the set



designer in television, for in a live studio production he is sometimes required to attain effects of vastness with a limited number of setsTjf He, the designer, must also consider the field of scope of the camera, for it is the camera that dictates how high, how wide, and how deep a set may be, jj$le height of the set and the effect of the same is immediately handicapped in television due to the four to three ratio of the picture televised by the camera; that is to say, that the rectangular shape of the television screen limits the height of the set, this in turn, con­ stitutes a limitation upon the psychological effect which can be obtained by verticle linesTp

For example, Ernest

hindgren cites an illustration of the importance of verticle lines,

A sketch was drawn by Paul Leni for the

movie "Backstairs,1* in which he used a predominance of verticle lines to exude a morbid sense of confinement. When this sketch was adapted to the horizontal movie frame, it lost much of its effect for the movie frame cut

2 Interview with John Claar, Director for KTTV.

/ i

k rr c pil 34 down the excessive play of verticle lines*


£Bettinger*^ states that if not only the verticle lines, but the effects of width and depth, as well, are to be achieved there are six types of video effects which have been demonstrated to date to augment these illusions of space* Miniature sets:

Which are realistically built with

fidelity to scale can render the illusion of vast outdoor or indoor scenes, which would be very expensive were a scenic designer to attempt a full scale reproduction. Regarding the expense of a miniature set, Bettinger makes the foliowing remarks: Since television is a "one shot” matter and program production is time consuming, it is always a moot question whether the preparation of expensive miniatures can be justified. In some cases their cost is less than to send a motion pieture crew out on location^ and where the results achieved warrant the expense it can be justified. For the most part, however, miniatures must be kept simple.4 Concerning the resemblance of the miniatures to the area or structure of the set it is representing, Bettinger stated: If a miniature set Is to be convincing it must be realistic. If it is to be realistic it must be prepared with attention to detail. More than likely


Ernest Lindgren, The Art of the Film (London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1949*77 P* 36*

1Ti[H. r

Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), pp. 56, 5 7 . y *****

35 it will, be a set devoid of motion (which would add to the cost) and will consist of a long-shot picture neither of which contributes much in television. A good piece of art work will often do just as w e l l . 5 jjlear prejection^

Lazio Benedek states that£rear

projection has proved very useful in making outdoor scenes appear real, though these are shot in the studio. In motion picture terminology, this procedure is called "A process Shot.”

This consists of projecting motion

pictures or

stills on to the back of a translucent screen,

in front of

which the "live” scene is acted;

then the

television camera picks up both simultaneously.

It is a

"must” to have very strong lighting in the back of the screen; so most studios when undertaking this method will use the powerful cinema lights.

The purpose of these

powerful lights is to compensate for the spill over of v, & 6 light from in front of the translucent screenj** Three .

"musts” listed by Bettinger, when adopting this process are: All pictures must be projected at the rate of thirty frames per second. And the light on the set must be carefully controlled with cross and rim lighting for the higher light levels. Further, the depth of focus must be sufficient to hold both the screen and the set in sharp focus.7 5 - Ibid. G Mr. Lazio Benedek, Hollywood director of such pictures as "The Kissing Bandit,” etc. 7 Bettinger, o p . cit., p. 58.

36 One example of adapting the process screen to tele­ vision may be cited by Bettinger, as follows: We have a scene in a fleeing car, and through the rear window we wish to show the pursuit. A skeleton set, is constructed showing the interior of the rear portion of the car. It is placed just in front of the rear-projection screen, so that when a stock shot of weaving street traffic, with oncoming cars, is thrown on the screen a convincing illusion is produced on the television tube.8 It was observed by the investigator that Television Station KECA-TV uses a process screen large enough to back up an entire set, and on this screen is projected innumer­ able happenings. Mechanical ^gimicks♦n

These include a wide range

of gadgets, such as synthetic snowstorms created by shoot­ ing through a rectangular tank of water containing a flaky white chemical used in children's snowstorm globes; rotating display cases; puppets and marionettes. Kaledioscopes.

Interesting abstract effects may

be obtained by kaleidoscopes, used either as part of a shadow box or as a separate camera attachment.


the limitations of the kaleidoscope Hubbell states: In monochrome television the effectiveness of a kaleidoscope is largely limited to brief novelty purposes or to transitions from scene to scene as

8 Ibid., p. 7.

a substitute for a dissolve* However, with the advent of large screen color television, both the kaleidoscope and the color organ may provide interesting visual accompaniment for musical programs. Closely allied with the use of a kaleidoscope are concave mirrors and various "distortion” lenses which twist normal images into weird shapes.9 Shadow box.

Television producers in attempting to

arrive at some of the motion picture techniques of optical printing whereby many trick effects are obtained, have devised a gadget called ffa shadow box” .

Hubbell briefly

describes its make-up and performance, as follows: The shadow box works on principles long familiar to display men. A hand-operated shadow box is comparatively inexpensive to build and operate, but an automatically operated, precision built model would run to several thousand dollars— and be worth it. This type of device has several stages, each of which can accommodate flat or three-dimensional objects such as moving title cards, puppets, ani­ mated maps, product displays, and even close-ups of live actors* Each stage is separately lighted and controlled by standard dimmers. A simple system of two-way mirrors is used to connect them visually and make possible the dissolves, cuts, fades, and superimposures within the pickup. Thus an inexpen­ sive shadow box will do the work of several ex- f-i pensive cameras without tying up more than one.lOj Film Inserts

In various dramas the director is

confronted with the problem of an outdoor scene.



R. Hubbell, Television Programming and Production (New York and Toronto : Murray Hill Book Co7, IncT^ 1945), p * 124.

limitations are such that he cannot re-create the same in the studio, and even if he could, he finds that the time limit involving the movement of his characters from the indoor set to the simulated outdoor set is so short that his characters would not have time to change their costumes a change being required here for example only.


answer to this director’s prayer is the film insert, a device that can show changes in vast locales, various out­ door scenes, fires and sundry disasters, commercial plugs, and screen credits.

These film inserts, often prepared

by a studio’s cameraman, can draw on all of the techniques —i /%, v y of the movies•/ o Properties;

Many words have been spent between

directors, teachers and students in regard to the amount of properties that should appear in a scene*

Glenn Gardiner

stated that properties should be held to a minimum on the stage, whereupon only the more important ’’props” are accentuated.

He also declared that the props should be of

a type or character wherein they easily are identifiable and not conducive to creating detrimental emphatic re­ sponses upon the eyes of the viewer*

For example, in the

employment of a vase, the director should make sure that it is treated so it will not reflect light in an unwanted

39 manner Sposa states concerning the use of properties: Owing to the tendency of the television camera to make things look larger than they are, it is advisable to "overdress" a set by adding clocks, candlesticks, hand properties, and pictures that would not ordinar­ ily be there. A blank wall would make a delicate Georgian set interior look like a cheap restaurant.15* Lighting:

Once the director has weighed the value

of his colors in the set in terms of the gray scale, he must ponder upon the principle that light paints with shadows as the painter applies paint to the canvas.


gardless of the work put into the set by the designer, all of his ends can be negated by the improper usage of light. Yet, with skillful manipulation of light, the director can achieve many illusions.

Sposa cites an example of what can

happen as a benefit from good lighting when such a task is entrusted to the direction of an artist: By throwing a hard, shadow-casting light on those portions of the set which are truly threedimensional, the authenticity of the whole arrangement is strengthened. Similarly, painted portions that are supposed to be three-dimensional art can be protected from exposure by the use of soft, diffused lighting or by illumination that throws them into a shadowed, subordinate position.15

11 Interview with Glenn Gardiner. L. Sposa, Television Primer of Production and Direction (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1947}, p. 3l.

13 Ibid., p. 12.

40 Actors and the set.

In the case of this study, the

writer was of the opinion that the limitations of the set in terms of the actor surely was a point to include, for actually it is because of the actors that the set exists. A number of television dramas


were viewed by the inves­

tigator, whereupon he observed that the sets were expert­ ly lighted and decorated; however, when the performers appeared they seemed to fuse into the background.


from this, it appeared ostensible to the observer that stage settings in television should be designed for the wholeness of the play, videlicet, efforts should be made to plan sets and lighting arrangements so that the players are not sacrificed for stage effects. Mr. Knight is of the opinion that sometimes even when close attention is given to the lighting of the set in a manner to benefit the actors, the players appear to me lb into the background.

In cases such as this, attention

must be given to the apparel of the actors, plus the effects upon the camera of certain skin tones and shades of hair.

Miss Dupuy cites an instance when this undesir­

able effect occurred: The walls in the stage sets one and two of "Time and the Conways" were painted a dusty brown


Interview with Mr. Knight, KFI cameraman.

41 (fifty per cent gray scale) which under normal circumstances is safe* Usually in black-andwhite television, costumes are on the light or dark side of the gray scale* However, it is impossible to predict redheads and blondes and in this case, they melted into the background. In act two the settings were changed, giving a modernistic touch to the room but the blue and white drapes used turned out to be a highlight. All the characters wore dark suits, Including the women, so the drapes always caught the e y e . ^ Regardless of how much attention the director has devoted to the contrast values between sets and actors, all of his desired effects may be lost if he neglects to think of space relationship between actor and set in terms of the lens coverage, for no matter what type of camera Is used to televize, its lens is the governor of how much will appear on the screen.

The lens dictates how wide an

area may be covered by the camera at one time and thus restricts the width of the set and how widely the actors may be spaced in order to fall within the limitations of the pickup equipment.

It also shows how brilliant the

lighting may be and how deep may be the portion of the televised scene that is held in sharp or even recogniz­ able focus.

This, in turn, influences the director In

actor arrangement.

If he wants one to stand forth and

the depth of focus is great, the main actor may be near

^ J. Dupuy, Television Show Business (New York: General Electric, 1945),

42 the camera, the secondary one(s) farther from it.

If the

depth of focus is limited, the director will have to resort to distinctive costuming, placement of the actor in relation to the background, or composition of the picture. In order to further the distinction of the actor Sposa suggests a manner of diminishing the actual depth of the set, as follows: Another power given the director by knowledge of the capacities of his lenses is that derived from selective focusing. Knowing that the lens has an insufficiently short depth of focus to record the actors in the foreground and the sets in the rear may cause him so to design the sets that they are extremely foreshortened and use strong perspective lines rather than actual depth to convey their impressions. Or it may cause him to use certain properties in the same plane as the actors rather than having them as painted portions of the set. Selective focusing lets one actor be seen sharply while others in a plane considerably closer to or farther from the camera are made indistinct. Applications of this lens knowledge to the actual program are endless.15 Importance of the set.

As stated in the beginning

of this chapter, too frequently Insufficient time and thought are devoted to planning stage sets for effects of color and mood. show.

The set is an important factor of the

It is always on the screen as a background for the

show action.

To further illustrate the importance of the

values in settings for television, paragraphs are included from the C.B.S. bo o k ”Clo se-up,n as follows:


L,. Sposa, o£. cit.

43 Materials and supplies flow into this shop in a steady one typical week it devours such man-size portions as 3400 board feet of lumber ...5400 square feet of plywood...100 pounds of dry colors...100 of whiting and another 100 of glue... and bushels of bolts and nails. Much of what these men build must be more than make-believe. Doors have to be slammed, stairs climbed, walls leaned against. And often, many shows must be mounted at the same time. Observers accustomed to the less feverish pace of other kinds of show business are reduced to a state of starry-eyed wonder at the size and speed of this shop’s output. Finished sets move from carpentry shop to paint dock, with a stopover for fireproofing on the way. Faints are mixed to correspond with television screen-tested samples, so color quality will be in proper balance. You w o n ’t see a stark white or a dead black anywhere... too drastic for the sensitive television tube, which is likely to retaliate by painting an unasked-for halo around any object so colored. Muted tones are the best for television... but y o u ’ll see just as much variety and gradation-of color as you would on any stage set. Paint works economic wonders, too... transforming las t w e e k ’s brick wall into this w e e k ’s pine-paneled study. A set is more than paint and canvas. I t ’s an easychair, too...and an office desk...a dozen roses and a dice-table...a cut-glass decanter and an ivoryhandled cane. So the property man goes to work, armed with an inventory of his needs and a sheaf of sketches of the kind of props the script calls for. All around the town, from theatrical supply house to auction room to antique shop...assembling housefuls of assorted chattels to be brought in for one show’s fantastic make-believe moving day.3*® Color.

The principles of composition are directly

applicable to color; that is, color in the hands of the expert can create certain effects upon us as can the

^ C.B.S. Close-up (U.S.S.: System, Inc., 1949).

Columbia Broadcasting

44 arrangement of shapes and forms.

For example, blues and

purples are colors that exude a feeling of coldness; red and orange, because of our associations with the warmth of the sun, we sense as being warm colors; red, because they impinge violently upon us, are thought of as exciting; white, due to the conditioning process through the ages, we ? associate with purity; and black, is symbolic of death, \

or morbidity. The limitation in color, according to Hal King, regarding television is simply this:

until differences

between major organizations are made harmonious, tele­ vision composition will suffer wherever color would be employed to enhance the effect upon the viewer. ^Composition in sets♦


Television, like the other

picture mediums ,, o tafcoa.D o n -Fatten?' strives to give the viewer third dimensionality on. a two dimensional surface, and it achieves this effect of depth with the correct employment of the techniques handed down by painters and photographers. For example, the television studios are limited by space:

so to achieve the sensation of depth, the scenic

designer up to date has been employing two methods of

17 Interview with Hal King, Max Factor.

45 attaining this effect:

the use of linear and aerial

perspec ti The investigator has experienced some chagrin in resorting to the time-worn example of linear perspective, but due to its triteness attracting recognition, he chose to state the same, /hinear perspective is easily recognized in the merging of the railroad tracks as they appear to vanish in a point in the distance.

All horizontal lines

above the level of the eye appear to slope downwards, while the ones below the eye level seem to go upwards. So, to compensate for lack of space in the tele­ vision studio, the scenic designer uses the forced slant­ ing of horizontal lines as a device to create depth and make the small set look vast. Sometimes, but not too often, the television set designer, to compensate for the closeness of the tele­ vision studio sets, will utilize the shadings of aerial perspective to create depth. seen all around us.

Aerial perspective can be

It is portrayed in the depreciation

of color or haziness that envelopes an object as It recedes into the distance.

So, it seems apparent that the set

designer would soften his colors and lights in the back-


Bon Fatton, Director KFI.

46 ground of his sets to give the illusion of d e p t h ^ ^


The investigator has discovered, from Earl Loran’s book on Cezanne's Compositions, what he believes is another way of creating the illusion of depth in a set through the use of overlapping planes into space. Overlapping planes are nothing more than a configu­ ration of static planes which, through overlapping, created a definite fixation in space:

this is accomplished by

setting the planes, each slightly higher than the plane preceding, with only a part of all planes except the first showing.

The result of such an arrangement is that the

observer senses a feeling of depth, for such an arrangement is patterned after the effects around him everywhere.


example, as the observer stands looking off into the distance, those objects in the distance appear to him to be on a higher level than the objects in the foreground.


wise in set design this use of overlapping planes can create an effective illusion of depth. This can be accomplished in two ways:

first, ob­

jects could be painted in a manner of overlapping planes upon the. set.

This would give birth to a sensation, in

the eyes of the viewer, that, as in reality, he is look­ ing into distance; second, if painting the set in such a

19 Hal King, Max Factor

47 manner in any way proves impractical, these overlapping planes may be used in another maimer: namely, parts of the set can be constructed so that they are placed behind and above each other, the higher objects placed farthest from the camera, while the nearer objects are situated toward a lower level, nearer the camera* Furniture can also be arranged on the set to create this sensation of space by placing those pieces farthest from the camera on a higher level than the furniture in the foreground.

The differences in height between the

objects in the foreground and those in the rear of the set will vary with the size of sets used. These statements regarding the effects of over­ lapping planes are substantiated by Earl Loran, as follows: Overlapping planes are a configuration of static planes which, through overlapping, create a definite fixation in space; they relay the sensation of moving into depth. Thus, synamic. or three-dimensional move­ ments can be created with static planes. Space, as Cezanne achieved it, was not dependent on the diminish­ ing sizes of scientific perspective. In the use of overlapping planes there is no convergence, no vanish­ ing point, and the sizes of the planes increase rather than diminish, as they recede into depth. But the location in space is factual and not subject to question as many perspectival projections might be. ^ The writer believes that not only will the use of overlapping planes In television set design help to create 20

Erie Boran, Cezanne *s Composition (Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press), Part II, p. 19.

48 the illusion of depth very effectively, but, in addition, that correction manipulation of these planes (objects) will aid ^compositional** feelings.

For instance, if

these planes (objects or persons) are placed in straight lines,

the sensation upon the viewer will be one of

rigidity, and directness.

If they are placed in the form

of curves, the sensation will be that of watching some­ thing graceful and charming.

Arranged in a broken manner,

these planes (objects, persons) will tend to express informality, disorder, and similar states.


arrangement of the planes will convey a feeling of repose and tranquillity.

Verticle arrangements of the planes

will express importance, and feelings of spirituality. Diagonal arrangements of the planes convey sensations of force, action, aggressiveness, and change of movement. They are the most dramatically exciting lines, because of their power to attract and hold attention.


H. Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York and hondon: Harper Brothers, 1947), Chap. 3, pp. 20, 21.

CHAPTER V [l i g h t i n g ] ^Lighting, when manipulated by the skilled director, can completely change the personality of a face, can give birth to atmosphere ranging from light-hearted gaiety to intense suspense, can beautify or disfigure, give depth to a scene, or flatten a scene regardless of the pains suffered by the scenic designer to create a third di­ mens ionT^* ^


As stated b y Robert Weinberg, all of these effects listed above are possible in the art of the cinema, for, for the most part, this agency is not pressed with the problem of continuous production:

consequently this

medium can make the most of the three principal ways in which the cameraman controls lighting:

in direction, in

intensity, and in degree of diffusion. The main source of illumination in a picture is named the key-light, and the first limitation to contend with is the direction from which the key-light should fall.

In exterior sets erected in the studio, the key-

lighting will be designed correspondingly to simulate the

* K. Landsberg, Television Director KTLA, Los Angeles, California.

50 the sun.

In interiors also, where no special effects are

required, the key-lighting wiLl come from above*


will arise many occasions, however, when the key-lighting must rest on the subject from some other direction, such as the glow of a fire; then this becomes the key light. The next consideration is given to the intensity of the light, for upon this will depend the lighting mood of the picture as a whole.

For example, the investigator

considered a very simple scene:

a den in a luxurious

home where sits, before a dimly lighted desk, a man with a pistol in his hand.

If this scene were presented in eerie

tones with elongated shadows playing across the room, the observer will feel the macabre effect. hand,

If, on the other

the room is In lighter tones, with a cheerful splash

of sunlight flooding the room, attitudes conditioned by situations will tell the viewer that this cannot be a scene of impending doom. Dark tones canalize one’s thoughts Into dark, mysterious, hallways of depression, while the rays of sun­ shine tend to make one light and airy. Lastly, diffusion is a very important consideration in lighting, for it serves an important purpose. warmth and interest a picture.

To give

Without diffusion, a sub­

ject may be lighted by a single light of great intensity with the areas of light and shade sharply contrasted and

51 harshly defined.

Direct, harsh light of this kind shows

sharply the main contours of a subject and emphasizes linear perspective; then again it gives a picture which is simple and flat, tending to monotony.

Normally, there­

fore, the motion picture cameraman will call for lighting hy bringing in subsidiary lights*

In lighting a human

figure, for example, if the key-light is falling on the figure from above and in front, he may introduce a back light of lower intensity to throw the figure into relief by outlining its shape and bringing it forward, as it were, from the background.

He may erect a helping light to the

side of the figure which the key-light leaves in shadow. In this manner, by different intensities of light, the cameraman can manipulate light from as many planes as possible.

The effect achieved by employing these subsidi­

ary lights is the same as holding a diffusing screen in front of a strong key-light whereupon the light falls on the subject from a large number of points of relatively low intensity instead of in a concentrated g l a r e d In television It is true that these three methods of lighting are employed to some extent by the directors; however, a great line of difference is drawn between the effects achieved in the cinema and those accomplished in


Robert Weinberg, Cinema Director, RKO Pictures.

52 television because of the greater number of restrictions with which television is confronted, according to Henry Vought.^

L imitations ] The greatest handicap by far in television lighting is its demand of continuous performance.

Yet it

is lighting that provides emotional or intellectual con­ tent for the drama.

Also through lighting, detail is

accentuated or suppressed; space is increased or diminished; composition is able to come into its own.

Lighting can

make or break the show, yet its effective use is greatly

states: The most serious limitation is experienced in lighting effectively for television because of the element of sustained production. Yet it is light that makes television. Light causes the modulation in the picture signal that is transmitted to the receiver; light causes the screen to glow with a visible image; and it is by painting with patterns of light that the lighting director gives the screen image meaning--both intellectual and emotional. Through the manipulation of light and shadow, pictor­ ial composition is achieved; detail is accentuated or repressed; moods are established. The picture can be made good or bad by its lighting a l o n e . 4 It is due to the factor of fluidity of performance 3 Henry Vought, Television Director, KFI-TV. 4 London:

H. Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York Harper Brothers"^ 1947).

that television has been so cruelly criticized regarding its ,fflat lighting*”

But because of the editing taking

place in the camera, rather than in the cutting room, as in cinema, much flat lighting is now practically unavoidable, for the television camera is moving almost continuously, necessitating that the floor space be as free as possible from excessive light stands.

Hubbell considers this

problem and offers a probable solution: There are certain general problems, mainly concerned with the way in which lights are in­ stalled and controlled which will apply in most studios and which need extensive investigation. Here flexibility is the keynote. Because of the sustained performance in television, it is desirable to keep the floor as free as possible of equipment in order to facilitate camera movements. One way to accomplish this is to have a small number of high-power, mobile lighting units on the floor instead of a large number of low-power units or big, clumsy clusters of low-wattage lamps. On this score 40 watt fluorescent lamps and 1000 watt water-cooled mercury sapors are less desirable than ineandescents and carbon arcs, both of which are commercially available in single units up to 10,000 watts and more. Also, as an economy note, at a given color-temperature, high wattage, incandescent lamps have a longer life than low wattage ineandescents, because their tungsten filaments are thick and do not evaporate as rapidly as the thinner fila­ ments of low wattage lamps. Another answer is the installation of overhead lighting fixtures which leave the floor relatively uncluttered. Obviously the usefulness of such u will be increased if they can be easily adjusted To the investigator it appeared that regardless if

R. Hubbell, Television Programming and Production (Hew York and Toronto: Murray Hill Books, Inc., 1945), pp. 127, 128.7

54 frontal and overhead lighting were used in a manner benefitting camera movement, an element of flatness will still appear in the scene because of a lack of modeling lights, which, as previously stated, add depth to the scene* Some directors state regarding the lack of adequate model­ ing effects, that in using these side and back lights to give dimension to the character and sets, a risk is in­ volved; namely, because time necessitates constant camera movement, there is the danger that should one camera move to another position in order to face a player who has stepped slightly beyond his pre-planned position, it might pick up unwanted light*

There is present also the problem

that if modeling lights are used below, to the sides and above, there still exists the handicap of the moving actors on the set who, because television is continuous, cannot stop their performance while the lighting experts plan a new light position* On the other hand it seemed that if the scene were well rehearsed, there might be some way of allowing for the continuous movement, yet keeping at least a modicum of modeling light upon the performers and sets*

The idea of

using the remote controlled rotating lights now found in many of the television studios seemed out of the question, because modeling lights in order to achieve a proper effect, require concentrated hand focusing; it was thought that it

55 might be possible to have the modeling lights controlled by immediate contact with a person concealed nearby and in the stage vicinity.

Hubbell states a point directly re­

lated to this: One is to use small spots or floodlights mounted on wheeled racks which can be pushed (like a lawn mower) into the foreground of any scene without coming into camera range. The other way is to design the studio so that there is a cellar made under the studio floor. If expensive elevator stages are out of the question, it is a very simple matter to cut trap doors in the studio floor at various strategic places. By raising the trap door footlighting can be introduced from a subterranean angle --without running wires across the floor of the set. If the raising of the trap door will show or if action must take place directly over it, the regular door can be replaced with one having a heavy glass or lucite panel through which light can be projected. Trap doors can be useful, not only for lights, but also for camera-cable outlets, electric sockets, outlets for special-effects equipment such as steam pipes, water, and dry-ice fog, and for making people, corpses, and announcers disappear.® It appeared that regardless of what arrangement of lights were chosen by the director, some definite scheme of planning light action seemed necessary to achieve the modeling effects which are agreed upon by authorities in the field to be the factors making or breaking a show. Judy Dupuy offers, in her book, what she chooses to call f,a light chart for shows.15 She states under this caption: A light chart showing direction and placement of light units for every scene should be made during

® R. Hubbell, o£. cit., pp* 130, 131.

56 final rehearsal of all shows. This is not normally done under experimental conditions but must eventually become a part of television production, the light script cue sheet taking its place in importance along side the producer’s, the technical director’s, and the sound operator’s shooting scripts and the filmprojection room’s cue sheet.'

-&3~"far-~a-s— the ~investigat©r''has~~ppobe-d, there have A not been to date, any radical changes in the type of light­ ing equipment used in the various studios in this area of Los Angeles, only improvements on the four major types: carbon arcs, tungsten incandescent, mercury vapor, and fluorescent.

Following are listed the characteristics and

limitations of each: Carbon arc lights:

Standard equipment in motion

pictures, give the highest source of illumination available. They flood the set with a pure white light, which can be directed upon the set from overhead or from the floor, a result of its feeding system operated by silent motors. They do not use much power, and may be killed or turned on automatically, but they have their disadvantages.


lists their limitations: Even, though the Duarc lamps require no attendant operator, they, too, have certain disadvantages in —,


J. Dupuy, Television Show Business (New York: General Electric, 1945), p. i57.

57 frequent dressing of tiie carbons and in their com­ parative ImmobllltyTjl^Zven though they operate con­ tinuously for a b o u t o n e and one-half hours, this operation time will have to be expanded to make them practical for full-schedule television, and the need for redressing them at regular intervals will require frequent lowering of the lamps to within the opera-. tors1 reach or climbing to them for servicing.® Hubbell states briefly of the carbon arc lights: Perhaps because they need thoroughly professional handling by skilled electricians they have received little attention from early, amateur-staffed tele­ vision studios.® Incandescent lights:

Used considerably in the past

and today are still in a favorable light with some of the studios.

Television station KIAC uses the incandescent

lights in forms of ceiling mounts, with auxiliary lights to the side and back of the stage area./ Though the studio is air conditioned at KL&C, the performers complain that they still suffer considerably from the intense heat radiated from this type of light.

ISposa describes the discomfort

experienced in the studios from this type of light: The Writhing of television s tudios to escape the handicap of heat from incandescent lighting at the required light level has brought them to try many other types of illuminationTpQ // Hubbell states of the incandescent lights:

I V E«. Sposa, Tele vision Primer of Production and Pirection (Hew York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc*, 1947},p. 5 4 7J Hubbell, 0£. cit., p. 126.

i< r Sposa, ££. cit., p. 50.1 u J'

58 Incandescent lights, similar to those in most home lighting fixtures, have been widely used for television* They are easy to handle, noiseless and comparatively safe from a fire prevention point of view, but the light from this type of lamp is weak at the red and infra-red end* While It compensates for the extreme blue-violet sensitivity of the iconoscope, and also takes advantages of the small peak In sensitivity on the red end, it still leaves the green-yellow response low and Introduces a serious problem of heat. In a studio lit entirely with incandescents the heat is almost unbearable if there is sufficient light to get any kind of focal depth. When incandescents are used In conjunction with the cooler type of lights, the problem tends to disappear in a well air-conditioned studio. At the CBS studio, incandescent 5 kilowatt spots were used for modeling lights along with overhead hanks of "cold” light (mercury vapor and fluorescent) and the heat problem was |Sfc>,l*rr

f Mercury vapor lamps: Developed by General Electric with the comfortable result that almost no heat was given off into the studio.

Because so much electricity is packed

into a small space in this type of lamp, it is necessary to cool it with water.

This factor alone posed the problem of

danger resulting from a break in the water cooling system which flows into the lampTj The obstacles presented from using such a light are further explained by Hubbell: The necessity of having this circulating water system introduces problems of Its own, including noise and danger of breakdowns which flood the inside of the lamp housing and the floor beneath. A newer type of mercury vapor lamp, the AH9, Is air-cooled but considerably larger in size. The light from both



0 £.

cit., p. 126.

59 these lamps contains a great deal of blue-violet and ultraviolet and little red-yellow.12 Sposa seems to agree with Hubbell regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the mercury vapor lamp.: More successful as a type of television illumi­ nation though not entirely satisfactory, are the water-cooled mercury-vapor lamps. These were developed by the General Electric Company and were given their most thorough test at that company*s Schenectady television station WRGB. The fact that each lamp is cooled in a water jacket reduces the temperature to a comfortable level. The daylight level of these lamps is also in their favor and they are not so bulky as the fluorescent lamps in propor­ tions to the foot-candles of light they yield. They are large, however, and are impeded in flexibility by the need for keeping a hose attached to each light. In the past these jackets have often broken, resulting in water running into the studio. The installation problem is not a simple o n e . 3 Fluorescent light: JUtthen-y-ifcell-y, believejl that due either to technical difficulties or discomfort, it appears that most of the television stations have abandoned the three preceding types of lights for the more practical fluorescent lights.

These are set up in the studios as

long tubes mounted in parallel rows, and sometimes are banked on to dollies whereby they can be wheeled from position to position with ease.

Their limitation rests

upon the fact that they do not generate much light,



Spose, op. cit., p. 50.

Ibid., pp. 50, 51.

consequently have to be used in great numbers, thereby imposing the problem of added obstacles upon the studio floor.

Also they contribute to flatness in the picture,

due to the fact that they are long and tubular; thus making it impossible to concentrate intense light upon

Excluding natural light, these are the four types of light used in the studios today.

Each type of light

seems to have its own peculiar advantages and disadvantages so it appeared to the investigator that the studios should try to incorporate into their dramas combinations of two or more types.

For example, banks of fluorescent lights

could be put on the stage floor facing the actors, because these lights are more practical in such a position from the standpoint that the players are able to look into them without squinting, and if they are touched they will not do harm as they are a cold light.

The daylight brightness

of the arc light might be utilized from an overhead posi­ tion to highlight a subject.

The incandescent lights

could be placed behind and to the sides of the set in order to enhance the modeling effects of the players desired.

14 Anthony Kelly, Television Director, KFI-TV, kos Angeles, California*

CHAPTER VI COMPOSITION Concerning the elements or composition In television the Investigator was very disappointed in his interviews with some television personnel*

They seemed to be of the

opinion that the fundamental principles of pictorial de­ sign were rather unimportant in television due to this m e d i u m1s continuous movement, and replied with answers like this:

”how can we possibly line anything up for pictorial

effect when the players are romping around the stage with the cameras trapsing after them” ; or, f,this artistic stuff Is a lot of baloney..*0rson Wells tried it in Citizen.£>Kane, and what happened...did anybody take up where he left off., of course not, for the people are not ready for that pic­ torial effect business” ; ”so all that we give them is action.•.people like anything that moves.” It was true that not all the people in the field of television retorted in the fashion listed above when asked their opinions on factors pertaining to balance, for some conveyed at least overtones of interest in pictorial effect.

But the Investigator has cited these examples as

cross sections of the opinions expressed commonly regarding picture situations with the idea in mind that, at last,

62 composition is not given the enthusiasm it warrants by the people in the industry.

Another producer, when asked what

he thought of the psychological factors involved in pic­ torial composition, replied f,there are really no laws regarding how that which we see affects us mentally and physically." Bettinger is of a totally different opinion when he wrote as follows: A picture is an arrangement of shapes. Shapes are made up of line, mass, and form. Our emotional reaction to shapes is very pronounced. We react differently to the huge, bulky shape than we do, let us say, to the petite blonde. It is on the known reaction to shapes, coupled with other psycho­ logical factors, that we compose pictures to produce definite— and predictable— responses on the part of the audience. LIMITATIONS OP COMPOSITION Before these pictures can be composed effectively, for television presentation,

there are many limitations

to appropriate composition that must be considered. Bettinger lists these limitations: Movement;

Television is enjoyed primarily because

it is a moving medium of entertainment.

Its very life

depends upon its constant flow of pictures, which are

^ H. Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), p. 19.

arranged Into continuous forms.

When one sits down before

the receiver and views the thousands of pictures flashing before him daily, it is no wonder, as in the case of the producer mentioned above, that he is skeptical as to the possibilities of weaving a picture into a composed unit.


Hubbell states regarding movement handicapping composition The television cameraman is faced with a particularly important and difficult problem in the composing of a good picture in a minimum amount of time. The television action is continuous; there is no opportunity to spend hours over the composing of each angle. The cameraman, equipped with a flexible camera, must be able to select the proper angle (with assistance from the director as to general approach) and polish up the fine details which bring the shot to perfection all in a few seconds or ”instantaneously!, if he is flon the air.1^ At this time the investigator deemed it appropriate to state that the rules of composition applied to painting and still photography do not fit the composed effects of the moving television picture regardless of the fact that a background encases the action, for the subjects seen on the screen are constantly moving; therefore it seemed logical to state that only when there is no action of the screen do the rules of linear design (drawings, paintings, photography) become of primary importance.


It would

Bettinger, o£. cit., p. 19.

^ R. Hubbell, Television Programming and Production (New York and Toronto; Murray Hill Books, Inc., 1945),

64 appear then that movement, being so important as to com­ pletely dominate a scene, should involve some principles of composition itself, for it seems almost ostensible that the composition of an effective moving picture is not limited to the relationship between various objects or masses alone. Hubbell states that relationships do exist between movements just as a static picture envelops objects or lines that are placed to obtain certain effects*


continues, that there are relationships between two or more movements, between high lights and shadows, as well as the visual texture of objects, and eventually the con­ trasts between various colors.

Also, is the statement he

made that a relationship of distinct importance in tele­ vision is that between the video and the audio with its various types of sound and silence; that is, in many cases the relationship of the picture with the source of sound will be of primary importance in composing the 4 television picture. Evidently to circumvent the obstacle of movement handicapping effective composition in television, Hubbell has applied the laws of dynamic composition to give that most striking force in television, movement, a composition

^ Hubbell, o£. cit., p. 104.

65 effective in its own.

Then, not only to hurdle the ob­

stacle, movement, he additionally set down some general rules which describe how to make movements impinge against the nervous system in a manner which probably supersede the elements of static composition, for they are more nearly allied to the kinesthetic forces in our body.


rules are as follows: (1) Movements toward and away from the camera are more dramatic, give better picture values than lateral movements going sideways or across the camera. (2) D o n ’t let a vertical line in the scenery or background divide your picture into two equal halves, and don’t let any horizontal or diagonal line do the same thing. It kills a pictorial value. A slight change of camera angle will usually remedy it. (3) Compose the picture as a unit. (4) D o n ’t let anyone cross right In front of your camera, especially up close, unless you plan It that way for a specific purpose and will pan with the person. (5) Don’t use a confused, fussy picture which Is difficult to make out. Straightforward, simple pictures are the rule, particularly until television is much further developed. (6) D o n ’t use unusual or distorted camera angles for their own sake. They must have a reason and contribute to the telling of the story. (7) Try to get Interesting perspective into your picture, as opposed to shooting a scene from squarely in front of it and using a flat, blank wall for a background. Try to include several horizontal and vertical planes in the composition. Horizontal planes might include an inanimate object in the fore­ ground, such as the edge of a chair, or the branch of a tree, or somebody’s back: then a little farther away, your subject; and still farther off, something in the background. Vertical planes might include two

66 or three walls of a room, or several trees and build­ ings * This adds an illusion of depth to your twodimensional picture* (8) Dontt compose your picture so that it is perfectly symmetrical in its balance, for perfect symmetry kills all feeling of movement and visual interest* Such a composition is monotonous and jolts the* audience— the wrong way. (9) Any object which is framed, slightly at an angle usually has more pictorial appeal than when it is framed straight. (10) Since the shape of the television frame is rectangular, avoid any compositions which are rec­ tangular or square in shape, unless they are at an angle which contrasts with the position of the frame. As a general rule a triangular composition is both pleasing and easy to get. Failing this, a diagonal line can usually be obtained by shooting at an angle* In picking up motion, try for an angle that will show it moving across the frame on a diagonal line as opposed to a horizontal line. (11) Try to get a variation in illumination on different planes of the framed area— a dark fore­ ground, a light center area, and a darker back­ ground.® In contrast to Hubbell*s approach to solving the problem of movement in composition is Bettinger*s method which requires first of all a working knowledge of com­ position; second, a carefully thought out plan for build­ ing the continuity.

Rather than utilizing the movement

itself as a dynamic force in composition, Bettinger advo­ cates that the director should build his show around the key picture situations which constitute the essence or high points of the program.

He believes that these main

® Hubbell, 0£. cit., pp. 104, 106, 106.

67 pictures are the ones that will have the strongest appeal for the audience, and, that they are the only ones that they will remember*

So forceful are these pictures on

the memory that the chances are they will make or break the show; therefore they are the pictures on which the director should concentrate.

Bettinger continues to say

that first of all, the director should analyze the produc­ tion and determine the key situations around which the story revolves.

This will provide a safe structure on

which to build the intervening continuity.

Knowing the

pictorial arrangement and how the players are to be placed in the key situations, the producer has only to plan the action and stage movement which lead up to them. So it is clear that Bettinger believes that the basic structure of the picture --the abstract form around which it is built—

governs our emotional response to it.


lists such basic forms and structures following a comment on line, mass, and form— as follows— to compensate for movement interfering with pictorial composition in tele­ vision: Line:

as it is thought of in a picture, is formed

by the edge of a mass or an area*

It may be a line that

is actually seen or a line that is suggested by a repeti­ tion of spots.

Such lines are called transitional lines—

68 a means of getting from one place to another.

OUr mental

reactions establish lines where none actually exist.


"feel" a line running from head to head in a scene in­ volving a number of people, provided they are arranged in some geometrical pattern* such as a triangle.

Line may

also be felt by direction of movement. We think of lines as being straight or curved or broken, and as being horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Each has its psychological meaning. The scenic artist uses the psychology of line in set design.

He must fit the linear design to the mood.

If the content of the scene is light and informal, he will use broken horizontals— perhaps In combination with curved lines.

If the feeling is formal and dignified,

the linear structure of the setting must be formal.


will not design his sets merely to look well as sets, but to contribute to the effect which the producer wishes to achieve• The cameraman uses line as the structure of his shots. If a feeling of stability Is desired, he grabs on to a near horizontal for the lower part of the composition.


watches out for the distracting vertical that divides his composition centrally into two pictures.

He looks for

transitional lines that will hold the picture together. The producer uses line psychology in the placement

69 and movement of his characters, in the disposition of properties, and in the lighting effects. Since line is produced on the television screen by contrasts of light and dark along the edge of masses, it will be seen that linear structure can be regulated in two ways:

(1) by utilizing the degree of contrast in the ob­

jects themselves, that is to say, by putting a light object against a darker one, or vice versa; and (2) by lighting the edges of objects so that they separate from what is behind them. We must also think continually of the intensity of the line, because the same linear structure can produce two different psychological effects.

Brightness, gaiety,

and excitement are expressed if the shapes are "edgy" and the lines strongly felt; calmness, solemnity, and peace if the lines are soft and diffused. (a)

(b) (c)



Straight lines give a feeling of directness, rigidity, masculinity, and the like. They should be used where those feelings dominate a scene. Curved lines express charm, grace, movement, and femininity. The curved line is the line of beauty and graceful movement. Broken lines express informality, indecision, disorder, and similar states. Broken lines may be used to give a feeling of informal casualness. Horizontal lines express repose, tranquillity, and stability. They are monotonous if used to excess. Vertical lines are expressive of importance,



uplift, aspiration, and spirituality. They possess more attraction power than do hori­ zontals. Diagonal lines are the lines of force, action, aggressiveness, and change of movement. They are the most dramatically exciting lines, be­ cause of their power to attract and hold attention.

Mass or psychological weight: ary sense is a quantity of matter.

Mass in the diction­

Pictorially, mass is

used to denote the psychological weight of an area, an object,or a group of objects.

We intentionally or instinc­

tively group individual shapes into masses, because the arrangement produces an emotional response.

We are moved

by the wide expanse of the sea, by the precipitous drop of the cliff, by the majesty of the mountain.

We speak of

cathedral pines, for we associate the regular massing of tall verticals with things spiritual. ©ur emotional response to mass is definite, as a few examples will prove.

The virile, dominating husband

playing against the weakly submissive, frightened wife could not seriously be cast with a puny, dried-up specimen of a man against a big, raw-boned, Gashouse Gertie hunk of a woman.

It would not feel right.

Conversely, its absurd­

ity could be turned to advantage in a comedy. A graceful informal massing of living-room pro­ perties induces nostalgic feelings of ordered domesticity, but bring a jumbled group of characters into the room and

71 disorder prevails. The character of masses, their relationship one to the other, and their distribution, together with the linear structure of the television picture, play a vital part in establishing the mood. picture:

These factors are present in every

they should therefore be carefully analyzed and

used in a way that will create harmony between content and treatment.

If not, they may induce contradictory

emo tions• Form or aesthetic shape:

Form, in the sense we are

using it here, is the aesthetic shape of the areas and masses which make up the picture.

Whereas we think of

mass as light or heavy, slight or bulky, we think of form in a more specific way, for we instinctively associate form either with our knowledge of things or our emotional response to them.

For instance, we speak of Venus as "the

form d i v i n e , o f the "tubby” man, of the "towering” giant; we associate the square with honesty, the circle with continuity, the scales with justice.

Form calls to mind

conscious associations and subconscious reactions.


this reason it is imperative that the pictorial forms used be compatible with the intent of the scene. We use form in two ways:

first, in the individual

picture units; second, in the structure or basic form of

72 th© picture as a whole.

A picture affects us in two ways:

our minds take in its content; our emotions respond to its mood.

The one is concrete and obvious; the other is ab­

stract and not apparent to the uninitiated.

But the ab­

stract form of the picture is what makes it what it is, and the selection of the right basic form is the first step in composition.

It is the abstract structure — the frame-



on which the picture elements can be arranged. It will help In grasping the significance of these

basic forms if the mind is kept closed to recognizable shapes and if they are looked at in the abstract, as line, mass, and form. All the foregoing forms may be used in perspective as well as In the two-dimensional vertical plane.


other words, the picture may (and should) be composed in depth by applying the same principles.

Too often the

spatial composition is completely disregarded. The investigator has included examples of Bettinger*s form, for he believes strongly In the manipulation of the aesthetic shapes of area and masses to excite a definite feeling within the nervous system and muscles of the body. If a director, with the principles of Bettinger in mind, were to make the most of composition in his show by

6 Bettinger, o p . cit., pp. 24, 25, 26.

73 designing certain positions of actors and settings, plus the use of lights, etc*, he might apply any of the follow­ ing forms:

The radii form would be used to convey the

idea of extreme interest of focus;

the WZ B shape or

arrangement of players could be used to express excite­ ment of interest or reversal within the story;


tally, this information was used very effectively to convey this idea in the movie, "Whirlpool," starring Gene Tierney); the cross connotes the feeling of equality of interest or dignity; the circle expresses continuity of interest or continuous movement of forms into and out of space, or might be employed to show warmth in a family scene; the triangle expresses unity of interest, rigidity, or possibly a peak of interest; the right angle expresses antagonism, opposition of forces or informality; and, the tfS ,f curve delineates graceful movement, interest in visual rhythm.

CHAPTER VII SOUND The use of sound in television, including general sound, sound effects and dialogue, indeed constitutes a problem for the director, because the public long condi­ tioned to aural entertainment via radio, and aural plus the visual in the movies and legitimate theater, expects the same amount of proficiency from television.

Yet tele­

vision at the moment is suffering from many problems that handicap effective sound presentation for it is a medium differentiated by a quality of immediacy which makes it peculiarly its own. It resembles radio in its presentation of sound in the degree that both mediums use similar types of micro­ phones and turntables in addition to other equipment.


in radio there is not the visual element to contend with. In a dramatic radio show to add sound perspective, all that is. necessary is to wave the players farther from the micro­ phones, or create the sound effects at suitable distances from the microphones to obtain the desired effects.


the producer wants an intimate quality from the actors, for example, In a love scene, he merely waves them closer to the microphones so the lower partials in the voice will

75 be given adequate amplification*

Then, if the producer

wants to employ sound dimension to his radio show by try­ ing to portray in the m i n d rs ear and eye of the radio audience the extent of the room in which they are playing, he can place one player speaking his part close to the .microphone and another actor coming in from a varying distance from the microphone as he states his lines; this dimension, of distance will register with the audience for they hear one voice close to them and another farther away. The stage really has few problems of sound for the sound effects can be presented directly before the audience, and the distances from which the sounds are created will register with the audience for the players are at the proportionate distances from the theater goers.

Then, if

the drama on the stage necessitates some sound effects, such as a train thundering by, even if there is not a close approximation to the actual sound of a train, the conven­ tions of the stage protect the drama, for the audience has been trained by the traditions of the theater to, at times, "put their tongues in their cheeks." The movies have been greatly responsible through their effective sound presentation for the many stones hurled at the auditory endeavors of the television pro­ ducers.

And because television and the movies are so

closely allied, both being picture mediums,

the viewers

76 expect the same well modulated and faithful representstion of sound from television.

The average televiewer

fails to realize that sound creation in the movies is re­ lated to sound presentation in television.

Yet vast dif­

ferences occur because in the movies no immediacy of pre­ sentation is required.

For instance not many of the viewers

are aware of the fact that in the cinema sound does not necessarily have to be recorded simultaneously with the picture.

That in movie making, if the producer is not

satisfied with the sound that has just accompanied a visual take, he may record the sound in later through a process known as dubbing. Ernest hindgren describes dubbing as the flexibil­ ity of sound-recording methods.

This is well illustrated

by the device known as pre-scoring (dubbing), which was used, for example, to record Deanna Durbin's singing in ”A Hundred Men and a Girl.”

First both orchestra and

soloist mouthing the words silently and the musical direc­ tor following her. is dismissed.

If this is a good "take" the orchestra

The procedure is very economical, as we

finish with the musicians in one-half of the time that used to be required to record both voice and orchestra at the same time.

Next we play back the orchestral record we

have just made, using headphones to listen to it.


soloist has just one earphone, so that she is able to hear

77 the music played back with one ear and her own voice with the other.

In order to pronounce her words clearly and

get the proper tone placement in her throat, It is some­ times necessary for the singer to make peculiar faces, which she can do without embarrassment as she is among friends and not being photographed.

In recording the

songs it is not necessary to make many takes, as we are able to take the best parts of two or three and assemble them into one good take, which saves a lot of time in addition to the soloists voice.

When this assembly has

been done, we make a combined record of voice and orchestra which we use as a playback on the set when photographing the scene.

This is done as follows:

The record of the

song is placed upon a reproducing machine which is inter­ locked with the camera so that the camera and the playback run at the same speed.

As the camera turns and photo­

graphs the actor, the record is produced over a loud­ speaker and the singer mouths the words of the song again — she can now think about the scene and look her best, without having to worry about the quality of her singing. Yes, this advantage is one of the many that movie sound production holds over television because mainly of

-*• Ernest Lindgren, The Art of the Film (Pre-scoring for song sequences In the Journal of tlhe Society of Motion Picture Engineers; London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., October, 1937), p. 356.

78 television's handicapping element of spontaneity of pre­ sentation.

In addition to this one, there are many more

restrictions in sound presentation that confront tele­ vision. LIMITATIONS IN SOUND Microphones:

As stated by Jennings Fierce, the

microphone plays an important part In radio, for in this medium it rules supreme.

Studios are streamlined, sound­

proofed, and the actors are trained how to "play to that microphone."

Everything is focussed upon that which

emanates from the microphone.

But, in television, sound

is relegated to a secondary position, and this is Its rightful place.

Tests have been conducted to prove that

the visual aspects predominate over the aural; therefore, sound should be used to enhance the picture as much as possible.

However, sound should be used only where it

is absolutely needed. The question has now arisen, what is to be done with the microphones?

They cannot be kept in the picture:


the television producer soon realizes that he has on his hands a most troublesome appurtenance.


The problem in using the microphone in television, 2 Jennings Fierce, Lecture at The University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

79 according to Paul Knight, is that it must be so placed as to pick up all the sounds emanating from the television studio but at all times it must remain unseen.

To over­

come this handicap, the television producers have been employing myriad ways of concealing the microphone.


way is to have microphones concealed behind objects in the set so that the sound retains some of its intimate quality.

Some studios have tried the lapel microphones,

but they limit the movement of the actors for they have to drag around with them the cord attachment to the microphone. The most commonly used microphone device is the boom microphone.

It is a heavy duty tripod on castors that can

be moved about the studio; from this tripod, or dolly, ex­ tends a long arm.

This arm can be extended or shortened

by means of a hand-operated crank which is geared to the movable arm.

The whole apparatus can be raised or lowered

on its base.

The microphone is fastened to the end of the

long arm and can be easily swung into any position with relation to the actors or cameras. But this device, too, has its problems, according to Phillip Booth, for now the producer must hire another attendant.


This attendant has his individual problems for

Paul Knight, Television Producer, KFI, X»os Angeles, California.

80 he must try at certain times to keep the microphone as close as possible to the speakers•

This means that if the

picture at any time is on a close up, filling the television viewing screen with the head of an artist, the mike should be just above the head of the speaker.

Now if the next

shot is to be a longer one, such as a three-quarter shot, or the area is to be widened to take in two or more people, the microphone must be elevated so as not to appear in the next picture.

Also, when these actors in the long shot

are talking to each other, the boom man must manipulate a control which flicks the microphone from one to the other, a process which if timed incorrectly, makes for disturbing differences in the levels of sound.


Besides timing the action of the microphone from player to player in the long shot, George Cahan observed another limitation in sound perspective.

That it is true

that as the performers move farther away from the viewer as in the long shot, the audience naturally expects the sound to sacrifice its intimate quality, and it does in television shows mainly as a result of an act of necessity, for as the camera pulls back its lens takes in more of the set, consequently the mike boom must be elevated as to

^ Phillip Booth, Television Director, KECA, Los Angeles, California.

81 remain out of the picture.

Here it was assumed that the

players were performing in a casual scene lacking warmth whereas the viewer accepts the distance in sound as natural.

But, supposing the scene was a love sequence

taken in a long shot, and the producer wanted to convey to the audience the feeling of intimacy and warmth. foregoing procedure, as used in the studios today:

With the with

the microphone suspended quite high above the performers so as not to be seen, the sound of the voices, of the lovers, lose that romantic quality due to the fact that 5 they must project to the microphone. Bettinger comments as follows on this phase of sound reproduction: The television play introduces some entirely new and complex elements. Here, in addition to the faithful transmission of sound, we are concerned with emotional factors, since the effect on the audience will depend largely on the quality of the sound. For one thing, in the voice of a character shown in close-up on the screen we wish to establish a feeling of closeness; ”a far-away” quality would destroy the effect. Then, too, there are times when to achieve a feeling of realism we must have per­ spective in the sound— a sense of depth, Natural sounds are sometimes difficult to control; hence to make them "sound natural” we often must create artificial sound effects. Throughout the play we are concerned with the dramatic quality of the sound and its emotional impact. To this end, therefore, we must devote much attention to the voicing of the actors and, here and there, to heightening the effect with music and sound effects.^ ^ George Cahan, Television Director, KECA. ® Bettinger, o£. cit., p. 74.

82 Regarding this problem of microphone placement for the faithful perspective in sound, Thomas Hutchinson states: This is accomplished by telephonic communica­ tion and practice. The boom man is equipped with a pair of earphones, just as the cameraman are and he also receives his instructions from the control room. Practice with his equipment in rehearsal usually makes it fairly simple for the boom man to judge just where his mike should be. He quickly learns the approximate distance he must be above the heads of the actors through a knowledge of the field of the cameras from any given distance. If he should guess wrong, he will immediately be told from the control room to raise or lower his microphone as it will appear on the preview monitor screen. It is his responsibility to have the mike just above the actor or actress who is speaking at the moment. If an artist crosses from one part of the stage to another the mike must follow. If for any reason a scene is rehearsed with two actors seated at a distance from each other— the boom man must swing his mike back and forth between them to get the best possible pick up. This is bad production technique. A scene staged in this fashion should be avoided if possible although sometimes it is necessary. At all times the boom man is one of the busiest men in a television studio and one of the most important.''' It seems feasible to state from what Hutchinson has said concerning problems in microphone placement, that these limitations can be compensated in two ways:


by the boom man practicing with his equipment in co­ ordination with the audio man in the control room during rehearsals; and, secondly, with the producer arranging


Thomas Hutchinson, Here is Television (New York: Hastings House, 1946), pp. 21, 22.

83 his actors in a manner to facilitate microphone placement. It might be profitable for the television writers to bear this point in mind, videlicet, write the play with action that is most harmonious with microphone placement. Extraneous sound.

This is indeed a problem to

proficient television production for there are many hard surfaces which are highly reflective --the floor, scenery, properties, lights, and cameras.

In motion picture pro­

duction there are many ways of overcoming sound pick-up difficulties.

The picture can be broken into short takes

to enable the sound men to make the correct set-ups.


television, however, there is the need for continuous pro­ duction and transmission of sound and caireful attention must be paid to the control of extraneous sound.


advocates that extraneous sound can be fairly well controlled in the studio by the use of noiseless equipment, by care in moving scenery, and so on, and by the usual precautionary Q

measnares, plus the use of directional microphones. These precautionary methods might be summed up as follows:

be careful with properties on the selb.


lists some vital measures to take in order to minimize extraneous sound: 0

Bettinger, o£. cit., p. 77.

84 Be especially careful with the sounds made by properties. If a package is to be unwrapped, have the paper slightly dampened to avoid the disturbing rattle which dry paper makes. The same holds true of paper props such as newspapers. If a cartoonist is working on a large block of paper and is to turn the sheets over as he works, dampen the upper part where it folds over. A prop telephone should have black friction tape wrapped around the cradle so that a loud crash will not result from replacing the instrument. Hand tools, dishes, and parts being demonstrated should be handled quietly and cushioned whenever possible. Prop dishes can be provided with felt or cloth cushions where the contact comes.9 Secondly, keep sound away from hard, reflecting surfaces.

Third, to eliminate as much extraneous sound as

possible, keep the microphone as close to the actors as the camera permits. Sets:

Sets present a serious problem in the control

of sound in the television studio.

Many ask, "Why should

television have difficulty with sound reflection— are their studios not treated acoustically like radio studios?*1 These people fail to take into account the fact that sets are brought into the television studios, which oftentimes perform like perfect sounding boards.


studio that was formerly treated for sound reflection, suddenly with the advent of the sets becomes very "live." To control the problem of reverberation of noises on or about the set, Bettinger suggests:

Ibid., p. 77.

85 Avoid as much as possible having sound originate close to a hard, reflecting surface. If a speaker is seated at a desk or table, cover the table with cloth or some other sound-absorptive material if it is possible to do so. Keep actors or musicians as far away as possible from the hard walls of the set. If a considerable sunount of important dialogue must take place close to the scenery, use draperies or a hanging on the near wall. Carpet the floor of any set where there is seated dialogue or where the set is large. Use carpeting for seated musicians, except in large groups where their clothing usually forms sufficient cushioning. Avoid deep, three-sided, small sets having hard, reflecting walls. They are certain to give a barrel-like quality to the sound* The ideal set is one in which the walls are treated acoustically.^0

10 Ibid,, p, 78.


The biggest problem before television pro­

ducers today is the item of time, for this element is the very hub around which all the other phases of the show turn; It is the actual aspect of television which sets It apart from the other mediums.

Today the question seems

to be whether or not television will be able eventually to juggle time and space around as do the other mediums. Most producers are of the opinion that it certainly is difficult to regulate time without resorting to the use of film sequences.

Then we may ask, is this utilization

of film being faithful to the art principle which states that you remain faithful to your materials in exploiting your medium to the fullest.

Again there are retorts, why

should television remain in the conventionalized shackles of the other mediums when it Is obviously an entertainment means of its own; leave the art principles to the "long hairs."

These opinions are not really here nor there,

but they do convey the overtones that, at least, this element of time does pose some problems.^*

^ Paul Knight, Television Director, KTTV, Los Angeles, California.


The limitations of time present themselves

in a countless number of forms.

There are limitations of

time encountered in the program length;

there are time

considerations to be given to transitions in the show; there is time to be considered in the use of flash backs; time must be recognized in the script itself to allow the actors sufficient time to change their garments; and the time limitation that must be taken into account when planning rehearsals. Camera editing.

Before proceding to the limita­

tions of television camera editing, the investigator thought it best to summarize briefly what editing is in the movies; in this way a fuller appreciation may be afforded the reader of the problems confronting editing in television. The one great advantage that movie making holds over television is that the film can be cut and joined so that the film does not have to be shot in one continuous process, but can be built up from many lengths of film shot at different time sequences and in different places.


practice that is indulged in by the cinema producers is to simplify the art of shooting by enabling all the shots

which require a given set or location or group of actors to be shot together; they will be arranged later and put to­ gether in their.correct sequence when the editor assembles the film.

Also, if a director desires to create the effect

that a certain scene is taking place in Paris, he does not have to transport all his cast and technicians there; he obtains a number of shots of Paris from the studio film library, or from a stock-shot library specializing in such material, and then he inserts these shots into his scene in such a way as to suggest that the whole action was photographed in Prance. Immediately the contrast is apparent between television editing and cinema editing when we consider that in editing for television the action is given a single continuous performance in the broadcasting studior and the television cameras, working to a pre-arranged plan designed to insure smooth continuity, move from one position to another to pick up their various parts of the action as it proceeds.


Judy Dupuy states of this time factor in tele­

vision editing as follows: Unlike the movies which can rely on cuts to redo bad scenes, the television performance depends upon fluidity, which puts a tremendous strain upon the producer.^ 2 ~ Bon Patton, Television Producer, KFI, Los Angeles. ^ Judy Dupuy, Television Show Business (New York: 'Electric, 1945), p. 31.1

89 Miss Dupuy continues on this point by citing an example of the limitations that time imposes on the tele­ vision editing.

She described a fluff that took place in

a television drama entitled, ”lhe Death on Plight 40.” This drama involved a Nazi spy and an army private who are passengers on a transport in flight.

The stage set is an

interior of a plane, erected on a platform three feet off the studio floor, allowing excellent camera coverage for close-ups and panning along the row of seats.


was introduced' into the melodrama by cutting in on cue a film showing a plane in flight.

This heightened the drama

of the story, especially when a Nazi was forced out the door; a moment which almost turned into a performance of catastrophe.

The door stuck.

The alert producer covered

the awkward moment by quickly cutting to another camera.^ Because of the immediacy of camera editing there seemed to exist no real solutions as to what might be done in a situation, as cited by Miss Dupuy, except the inves­ tigator thought it quite feasible to outline a chart of anticipation;

that is, the director should have marked

down a list of possible contingencies that might creep into his show; then he could have before him a pre-arranged plan of what he might do with the camera at this moment.


Ibid., p. 31.

90 For example, as cited in "Death on Flight 40," the producer could have had a series of "cutaway shots” that he could have relied upon at this moment; these shots would be directly related to the action so as not to interfere with the story line of the drama; then when the door stuck, the camera could have been whipped to these inserts while the door was being pried loose.

Also, by anticipat­

ing, the producer could have had his stage manager test the door as silently as possible while the camera was playing some other part of the scene. Hubbell has groped with this problem of camera editing in television, and he believes that what are called disadvantages by so many concerning this point are really advantages, for it gives television a character of its own. He makes the following statement: The fact that live television programs require a continuous and sustained performance, with no retakes and leisurely editing over a period of weeks, is not necessarily a handicap. On the contrary, it will undoubtedly prove to be a most important factor in making a new art form out of television. It is physically impossible to imitate motion-picture technique beyond a certain point. This will make us develop new techniques which suit the demands of television. Cameras, lights, micro­ phones, and studios themselves leave much to be desired. New designs are needed to provide more flexible cameras, microphones, and lights.5 5

R. Hubbell, Television Programming and Production (New York and Toronto: Murray Hill Books, Inc., 1945),

p . 43.

91 Transitions.

The program segment called transition

or continuity also ushers in another obstacle Tor it intends that the parts of the story achieve a transitional flow from one element to the next and still maintain tension or interest, according to Ken Taylor. But before proceding on to the problems of effecting transitions, an explanation is offered here on the various devices used in television to conduct changes from one action to another.

F a des: are accomplished by turning up

the dial which controls the ”video gain.”

A Fade-out is

brought about by turning the video gain down.

Fades are

used to open and close programs and to end a sequence, an action which is comparable to the dropping of a cur­ tain between acts at the theater.

A fade-out gives the

sensation that something is ending for the moment, and for that reason it should be kept to close sequences or the total production.

Fades vary in length depending upon

the subject matter of the story.

If your drama is a comedy

then your fades will be fast, for good comedy moves at a fast pace without too many Intervals which would allow the audience to think just how threadbare the s tory line really Is.


A cut is the abrupt transition from one image

to another, an effect that produces a subconscious shock in the viewer1s mind by the sudden change from one

picture to another.

A dissolve takes place when one pic­

ture dissolves into another:

it creates in the viewer*s

mind a mental dissolve as opposed to the staccato shock obtained with a cut.


This is a trick varia­

tion on the regular dissolve, one that is achieved bythrowing one camera out of focus until the image is com­ pletely blurred and unrecognizable♦

Then a cut is made to

the next camera, also equally out of focus, and it is brought into focus revealing the new image.


This effect is what photographers call a double exposure. One image is superimposed on another.

Printed titles:

This device has also been used in television to make transi tions •^ The question now arises when one is informed that these devices are most of the methods to make transitions from action to action in television,

just how long can

these bridging devices be held on the screen?

That is

the producer's problem, for immediately upon the ending of one scene or sequence (the time when he would be em­ ploying one of these methods), he must think of the next setting or set-up; how long it is going to take the next set to be ready; the time consumed to get the actors in their places; if a costume change is necessary, he must

Ken Taylor, Cameraman, Don Lee Television Studios.

93 count on a longer bridge of time. These bridging devices, when employed in the movies, can be stretched for long periods of time because the movie camera projects a picture that at all times is clear in definition, and the audience being aware of this clar­ ity accepts these transitional devices.

When a picture

fades, the audience recognizes it as a fade and does not confuse it with faulty picture definition, A, Gaskill states: Transitions in space and time can be accom­ plished by the movie camera in fade-out and fadein, the dissolve, the wipe, and the blur pan. These effects were discussed in relation to clean exits and entrances, but their primary and most important use is to make time-space transitions, A fade-out "closes u p ” and "locks” a scene with unarguable finality, and a fade-in does the opposite. A considerable span of space and time can be covered between the two shots without dis­ turbing the audience in the least, as long as there is a logical connection between them.7 But as Gardiner pointed out, if you attempt to stretch the time of these bridges in television transi­ tions, the audience immediately becomes restless, for they assume that something is wrong with their sets. This mis judgment by the audience is usually well-founded, for they are accustomed to the various distortions upon the television screen which sometimes in themselves appear

7 A. Gaskill, D. Englander, Pictorial Continuity (New York: Duell Sloan and Pearce, 1947), p* 98.

94 Q

like fade-ins, fade-outs, or camera tricks. The problem remains, how can the producer keep the show moving when these transitional devices allot him such little time to get ready for the next scene or sequence? The investigator’s research has disclosed a number_of ways to overcome this limitation. First, if the producer needed enough time to allow the members of the cast to change their costumes, he might make use of a film insert to bridge the time gap. Of course it must be an insert that is directly related to the story.

For instance, if a detective at the close

of one scene were telling the heroine that he is about to visit a suspicious looking dwelling,

the time gap from the

end of that scene to the beginning of the next scene, where he actually is in the dwelling, could be filled with a film insert that was shot of the detective friend walk­ ing down the street where he pauses to look at this dwelling*

then as he approaches the door of the house,

the scene can be dissolved to the next set, which is the interior.

Hubbell states briefly of this point:

Whether live television will eventually juggle time, place, and action around as much as motion pictures do is a matter for conjecture. Certainly it is physically difficult today without using film sequences.9 o


Glenn Gardiner, Lecture to Television class 498a.

Hubbell, op. cit., p. 30.

95 Gaskill and Englander recognize this problem of juggling space and time and they offer other methods of filling those precious moments between scenes and sequences: Devices to bridge time might be conducted right in the studio without resorting to film by utilizing a movie technique of spanning time. This might be accomplished by portraying falling calendar leaves or successive shots of the same clock to indicate the rapid passage of time. 0r a clock used to make the passage of five minutes seem like hours, by means of constant, repeated cut-aways to the minute hand as it slowly crawls from point to point. Hundreds of thousands of miles are bridged by successive shots of a speedometer showing different readings, by cuts of auto wheels spinning rapidly, by the sight of different signposts, by passing from a shot of snowy mountains to a scene of sun-kissed shores 110 Miss Dupuy has another slant for covering the gap between sequences.

She suggests as a possible bridge the

following: Intermissions may be advisable for stretch periods and spot commercials. Special pictorial effects suggesting the mood of the show can be telecast during intermissions and a bell rung, or other oral announcement made, calling the home audience’s attention to the resumption of the pe rf ormance • 0 f course it must be taken into consideration that such a method as Miss Dupuy suggests could only be employed at the end of sequences, which are comparable to acts upon the stage.

If this practice were tried between scenes in


Gaskill and Englander, o£. cit., p. 98.


J. Dupuy, £j>. cit., p. 27.

96 an attempt to bridge time, these rest periods would occur too often and the whole pacing of the show would be disrupted. Rehearsal.

Radio broadcasts almost always finish

on time, because through the years this art has reached a high degree of perfection, so states Meredith Wilson. Television, like radio, too is very concerned with the time clock, but in television it is necessary to plan the shows with even more care than in radio because the visual has been added to that which we hear.

In television if

the producer attempted to speedup the action as well as the sound the effect would appear ridiculous.^ Sposa lists three simple rules to follow in timing a show and getting if off the air ”on the nose” : Make sure that there is available, as part of the show, some feature or device flexible enough to stretch or condense it if the time does not seem to fit perfectly. Always go on the air with as close to the exact amount of show you need as it is possible for you to attain: never with more than you could possibly fit into the allotted time. Make sure that your addition or subtraction of all timing of units is accurate.13


Director. 13

Interview with Meredith Wilson, Radio actor and

L. Sposa, Television Primer of Production and Di­ rection (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1947), pp. 164, 165.

97 Also with th© timing sense, the director must be very wary of pacing.

Bob Davy spoke as follows regarding

the problem that pacing presents to the director of a television drama: Facing must be considered as well as timing within the television drama* Unless a director watches his cast closely, the tempo of his drama may speed up, the actors may waste too much time with stage business, play too much with their lines as they suddenly discover new interpreta­ tions, or do any bit of vocalizing and pantomiming that may upset the pace of the s h o w *14 Then considering the elements of the various types of dramas, comedy requires a different pace than tragedy; so the producer here would encounter problems before he even attempted to put his show on the air; that is he would have to equip himself with methods of controlling pacing, not only as it progresses on the air, but in the initial planning of the show to insure satisfactory pro­ gression of interest.

Sposa offers suggestions toward

planning a well-paced presentation: Changes in the speed of characters actions and in verbal delivery are not the only pace controls at the director’s disposal. By frequent shifts of camera positions or of subjects being recorded by the cameras, he can also affect the timing of his shows. An emotional devise at his disposal is the light volume of the .picture being broadcast. Bight, bright pictures are cheerful. Heavy, deeply shadowed, somber ones are more forbidding. Sound, too, is a weapon with which the director can assail the emotions

^ Bob Davy, Floor Manager, KFI-TV, Los Angeles, California*

98 and intelligence of his audience, particularly the use of subtly blended background music or startling crashes of unexpected music at climac­ tic moments•15 & phase of television production that is being given much thought today is rehearsal time.

In full dramatic

productions, every bit of rehearsal time possible should be granted, for the director needs the coordination of the complete studio crew who will achieve a sense of correct­ ness only through adequate practice time. The average amount of rehearsal time made use of by the television stations today is approximately six hours of rehearsal to one hour of show.

Some producers

advocate twenty hours of rehearsal to one hour of show, a dream that never materializes due to the limited budgets.

Truman Smith is of the opinion that most pro­

ducers agree that there should be at least three kinds of rehearsal, each to iron outits own functions. all is the f,dry rehearsal.”

First of

This is similar to the basic

rehearsals of the stage, termed ”walk throughs.”


rehearsal takes place without equipment and continues until the cast is acquainted with their dialogue and stage movements.


purpose of such a rehearsal is to famil­

iarize the cast with all of their functions so


L». Sposa,

0 £.

cit., p. 166.

they will

99 approximate a finished performance without involving the entire production crew.

The second rehearsal is known as

the technical rehearsal, the purpose of which is to ac­ quaint the technical staff with their duties. comes the camera rehearsal.


This, is comparable to the

dress rehearsal in the theater.

In this rehearsal the cast

and technicians will perform exactly as they would if they were on the air. The dress rehearsal is by far the most important phase of the entire dramatic preparation, for it is at this time that all of the unpredictable gremlins of pro­ duction make their appearance.

But, due to the expense of

operating a full crew on lights, sound and camera, these rehearsals are now being held to a minimum amount of time, as the director does not have a sufficient amount of time to iron out the unanticipated contingencies that tend to distract from his show.-**6

Sposa states about the value of

rehearsal time: The biggest bugaboo in the live studio presen­ tations is rehearsal time. Experience has shown that an average of six hours of rehearsal time are required for a one hour show. Some shows require a great deal more rehearsal than others. Rehearsal time depends on the type of show presented. Most difficult of all to produce and probably the most satisfying, are full dramatic productions.

^ Truman Smith, Television Director, KTTV, Los Angeles, California.

100 These require every bit of rehearsal time for smooth operation, and they heed complete studio crews throughout studio rehearsal periods.17 Realizing that rehearsal spends valuable time and money, Sposa continues that both can be saved if the pro­ ducer and director hold cast line rehearsals outside the studio and abstain from calling for studio time until the lines are all down pat.

Stage business, too, he writes,

can be rehearsed outside the studio if the producers and directors train the casts to work closely together (a concession to the comparatively narrow angle of most tele­ vision camera lenses).

Knowing the physical size of the

studio, the program officials can mark off a corresponding area and take into consideration the range of the camera. By proceding in this manner they will find that the three hours of studio rehearsal time normally allotted for onehalf hour show can be devoted primarily to camera shots ift and angles. Prom the facts that the investigator has listed pertaining to rehearsal, it is ostensible to him that the phase of dramatic preparation termed ^camera rehearsal" is the most vital of all.

Disheartening to state, it is

the unit of production planning that is given the least

17 lft

I*. Sposa, o£. cit., p. 184

Ibid., p. 17.

101 amount of time due to the expense incurred by the cameras; consequently, and the dramatic producers admit the fact, the television dramas are suffering greatly. /SPACE In writing about space limitations, Bettinger makes an important point in regard to the monocular vision of the camera.

This throws linear perspective out of balance

and makes it difficult at times to show objects as they appear to the human eye.

Since we normally have binocular

vision— seeing with two eyes— we see things in a different perspective than the one-eyed camera sees them.


one has taken a photograph of someone reclining with their feet towards the camera.

The feet looked tremendous and

the head very diminutive in size. ^ Edward Sobol states t h a t ^ n motion pictures, where only one scene is shot at a time, the camera can be set up at the most advantageous angle.

In live television this is

not always possible— even with, the use of a number of close-up cameras./ Certain shots--sometimes shots that are badly needed--have to be eliminated. Space limitations are met in other w a y s :


In the

H. Bettinger, Television Techniques (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), p. 15.

102 live studio production there are limitations of space imposed by the size of the studio and the number of sets required.

For example, one might want a scene where a man

is walking past a number of buildings; there are restric­ tions placed on the movement of talent in a direction toward or away from the earners, because of the focal depth of the camera lens; there are lateral limits of movement, both as to distance and speed, presented by the urgency of shooting in continuity and by the lack of time and space to get the best camera shot set-up. ******

jrhere are ways now employed to overcome the handi­ cap of the size of sets in the studio, the most common

Sposa suggests also the use of film to circumvent this obstacle of space: Important is the need for using film in many television programs. To the armchair adventurer in his home the televised movie can bring the jungles of Africa, the frozen North, South Sea Island adventure and experiences on the high seas. To the student it can bring historic world events of today or yesterday, visual lecturers on chemistry, aviation, history, geography, and many other academic subjects; Qr the film can be made a part of an otherwise live studio program, such as the opening and closing signatures of a production.2-1' But Gardiner was of. the opinion that this procedure

20 21

Edward Sobol, Television Producer, N.B.G

L. Sposa, op. cit., p. 105

103 of inserting film into the program to circumvent space limitation presented problems of its own:

first, it en­

tails considerable expense whether or not the film is rented or shot on location:

(The investigator here made an

inquiry about the expense of shooting a fifteen-minute out­ door sequence, which he, himself, was going to direct, and was informed that the expense of a full crew plus the cost of film, would, at a minimum, approximate one thousand dollars); secondly, so often the film sequence is recog­ nized as being different from the live studio presentation; thirdly, there is the constant danger in resorting to film that the long shots will be too ’’busy” for the small size of the television screen as compared with that of the motion pictures. t**— ISometimes the producer does not deem it practical to use film inserts in order to hurdle space problems, but he discovers that his studio space is completely filled with sets for the various succeeding shows:

so he, indeed,

has met a problem, for there is no available space next to his main sets where he could place additional s ceneryjp^ The investigator thought that possibly to conquer this handicap the producer could erect some form of simple backing in front of one of his main sets, which will be


Glenn Gardiner, Lecture to Television Production Class 498a.

104 shot during a later sequence; then he, the director, could photograph an added scene from the front of this backing* When he has finished with this set-up, he can remove the backing from the front of this major set so as to have it ready for the next action in which it will be used* /Miss Dupuy calls this form of scenery set-up "nesting sets” : Nesting arrangement of sets may be necessary* Occasionally action calls for more sets than a studio will accommodate. A set which is going to be used in a later scene is set up and a set called for in the early action of the show is set up in front of it* This is called "nesting.1* The set for the early scene is struck (dismantled) while the cameras move on to another set. The later scene set is then ready for perfor m e r s ^ ® ~ '& The inquirer has heard many teachers and students ask, "Why not have some sort of circular arrangement of scenery in the studio which the camera would follow con­ tinuously in a circle; thus giving the illusion of con-, stant, straight-line space?"

The writer made some inves­

tigations into this added possibility of conquering space, and discovered that Lee DeForest gave an illustration of this practice in his book: Illusions of size and distance can be achieved by special scenery arrangements and camera posi­ tions* When Dallas Bower produced "Emperor Jones" for television, the forest scene was arranged in a semicircle around three sides of the studio* Robert Adams, as Jones, followed this semicircle, plunging through the forest, and the camera followed


J. Dupuy, oj>* cit., p. 167*


105 him. In the televised picture he appeared to be going always straight ahead, for a distance impos­ sible to represent as a straight line within the limits of the studio.24 Besides all of the methods now being employed to obliterate this space handicap, there is another which the writer thought could be put to practical use. use of rotating walk in the studio.

This is the

By observing various

movies and stage productions in which this contraption was used, he conceived that it might be feasible for tele­ vision use.

The problem that instantly becomes appalling

when considering the usage of such a "gimick1* is this: when the actor walks upon this rotating gadget to give the illusion of actually spanning space, what happens to the stationary scenery behind him?

It would appear ludicrous

if the player were seen walking while the background remained fixed. To give the appearance of reality to the scene as the player walks upon this rotating walk, the investigator suggests making use of a process backing upon which might be projected a f,stock shot” of a camera dollied street scene; then as the actor moves his legs, the street moving in the other direction is projected, and the total effect is one of an actor covering distance. 24


Lee DeForest, Television Today and Tomorrow (New The Dial Press, 1942), p. 197.

CHAPTER IX THE VIEW FINDER As verified by Melvin Sloan, advisor to the inves­ t i g a t o r ^ experiments with the view finder, all of the material preceding this chapter is dependent upon what will be seen through the view finder, for this instrument is directly related in performance to that of the tele­ vision camera during the early stages of rehearsal The following experiment was supervised and ap­ proved by Mr. Sloan as being valid. |rThe^~experiment was conducted as a measure to prove the effectiveness of the view finder as a substitute for the television camera during the preliminary stages of rehearsal. Approximately fifty hours were spent in the study of cinema and television books as preparation for this phase of study alone. Benedek.



One hour was spent with Lazio

4. Four hours with Melvin Sloan,1* and twenty-

eight hours were spent using the finder on the set of

^ Melvin Sloan, Production Manager for Cinema Pro­ duction Operations at The University of Southern California 2 See Bibliography. 2 Lazio Benedek, Hollywood Director of such pictures as "The Kissing Bandit," "Port of New York," etc.

4 Note 1, above.

107 ”The Return of Ulysses,1,5 In this experiment the following procedure was followed: 1,

The investigator became acquainted with the operations and characteristics of the view finder through an interview with Lazio Benedek.


Prom Melvin Sloan information was

obtained that

the view finder would function in any intensity of light that the eye 5.

A comparison was made

was capable of perceiving. between the various masks

on the view finder and the lens of the television camera.

Diagrams were drawn by Mr. Sloan to

prove how a mask In the view finder could serve to encompass the same portion of a set or figure as the lens on a television camera. 4.

Since Mr. Sloan Is accepted as an authority for cameras and view finders, the investigator followed a plan of experiments under his super­ vision. a.

They were as follows:

The movie,

f,The Return of Ulysses,” was used

as the testing round for the experiments


University Motion Picture shot on the Sound Stage of the Cinema Department, University of Southern California. 6 Interview with Lazio Benedek, see note 3, above.

108 because the Investigator was dialogue di­ rector for this picture and as such he was able to conduct his experiments unhampered. b.

The initial experiments consisted of testing varying intensities of light in order to see if certain areas of brightness or darkness might handicap the scope of view seen in the view finder.

Thirty areas of light were

checked with the result that the view finder suffered no limitations.

Mr. Sloan substan­

tiated this result with the statement, ”the view finder will catch any intensity of light that the eye is capable of registering.” c.

Next, thirty-seven long shots were taken with the same extension of focus.

The results

were the same In every instance. d.

Twenty-two medium shots were viewed with con­ stant focus and the results were identical.


Eighteen close-ups were viewed.

There were

no variances or distortions present. f.

Subjects were then passed in front of the lens (immediate foreground), while others remained in the background.

Both groups were distinctly

outlined in the view finder. g.

Subjects remained stationary while the

109 experimenter moved with the view finder. distortion was present.


The subjects were

clearly presented. h.

Different degrees of angle were shot towards the set.


All angles registered clearly.

Subjects were viewed from low angles, high angles, said from lateral trucking movements. All views were clear.

All of the foregoing shots were measured carefully each time as to height of the view finder, distance from subject, and angle of point. The experiments revealed that the view finder resem­ bles the television camera’s function in rehearsal in the following w a y s : The view finder can take in the same amount of scope as can the television camera view finder; there it can serve to supplant the television camera during the early stages of rehearsal*

This was due to the fact that the

view finder can be correlated to the angle of view of the television camera by masking (framing) the size of the image in the finder to correspond with the image projected upon the mosaic of the camera.

For example, there are

masks in the view finder to correspond to all of the lenses on the television camera, the view finder has a corresponding

110 mask; for the ninety millimeter lens on the television camera, the view finder has a mask allowing the same size image to enter; for the one hundred and thirty-five milli­ meter lens,

the view finder has the appropriate mask; and,

for the eight and one-half inch lens of the television camera, the view finder has a mask to obtain the same image. The view finder has a focal adjustment that makes it possible to simulate the movement of the camera by dollying forward, backward, or by trucking laterally or vertically.

This action is accomplished by the viewer

simply moving a compensating knob located to one side of the view finder• The view finder can duplicate any angle of the tele­ vision camera. The view finder can receive any intensity of light that the television camera can; this is due to the reality that the human eye is capable of compensating for light intensities which the view finder receives through its lenses. The view finder aids the viewer in perceiving the scene objectively. The view finder can receive the same view of the sets and intensity of light that the television camera can. The view finder minimizes all extraneous matter on the set by canalizing the observer*s attention to its

Ill particular scope of field. The view finder’s adaptability to masking, permits the viewer to change the size of the area viewed; thus saving the expense of purchasing different size lenses to obtain the same effect as in the television camera,


television camera uses different size lenses because it has a definite size mosaic, and in order to change the size of the images on this plate, different focal length lenses are required). There is no need to duplicate

your shots with the

view finder, for once you have measured the proper distance and inserted the corresponding mask, the result seen will be the same for the related television lens. The advantages of the view finder over the tele­ vision earners, in rehearsal, as discovered by the experi­ ments , are as follows; During the early stages of rehearsal when the cast is blocking out its lines there exists much disorganization around the set; actors, technicians and equipment are scattered everywhere.

This confusion makes for impractical

movement of the large and cumbersome television camera, for the director cannot very well move the camera through a maze of props, sets and actors to obtain some special angle. But this director with the view finder, due to its small size, can move anywhere in or out of the sets to obtain

112 desired preliminary angles. The view finder can be used with a lesser amount of light upon the set than can the television camera. ■The view finder does not require the video engineers in the control room; it does not necessitate an additional man for operation of the camera dolly; it does not entail lighting technicians as does the television camera. The view finder aids the director in thinking visually, because it can canalize his attention to some object, which he might believe has pictorial possibility. Its small size makes this possible, for he can carry it anywhere.

There is no need to state why this would be

impractical with the television camera. By employing the view finder in rehearsal, the director eliminates one more obstacle on the studio floor: namely, the television camera. Only one limitation pertaining to the view finder was discovered, and that is as follows: The view finder suffers one set back only, as com­ pared with the television camera In rehearsal:

this is by

the employment of a single view finder the director cannot match the rapid editing accomplished by the television camera.

For example, when using the actual television

camera, the director, when he wants a cut to another angle, merely orders a button pushed and an additional

113 camera is switched in immediately* With the view finder, in order to change to another shot, it is necessary to halt the action and move to the spot that would be occupied by the second camera, which had been immediately switched in*

This action would cause

enough delay to label it a limitation of the view finder. Though this limitation appears startling enough,, it does not affect the use of the view finder, primarily because it is not intended that the view finder should take the place of the camera during camera rehearsal.


it is merely used to prepare the way for the camera rehearsal through the pre-planning stages.

These prelimin­

ary shots with the view finder will save the expense of additional camera hours, for they are the very essence of the later camera rehearsal.

They determine the types of

shot, distance from subjects and the sequence that the shots will follow; then the director has only to order his cameras placed in the pre-spotted positions and view the entire proceedings as to the dramatic requirements of his show — the view finder having served to facilitate the mechanical planning of the show. This experiment was successful for it revealed that the view finder suffered no restrictions save the one stated concerning "camera editing."

114 This experiment was approved by Mr. Sloan as being successful, for no negative results were discernible. Mr. Sloan stated:

f,this experiment was as comprehensive

as need be to obtain the results of whether or not the view finder can serve as a substitute for the earners in the early stages of rehearsal.”^


Melvin Sloan, Production Manager for Cinema Operations at The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

CHAPTER X CONCLUSIONS Now that television is accepted as a medium for dispersing entertainment and information to the masses, full consideration must be given to its importance.

It is

primarily a language of vision medium, capable of relaying knowledge almost as effectively as any other medium. In the early years of television development, ex­ perimenters devoted attention mainly to the technical side of this medium with the result that today producers are confronted with many limitations in producing live dramatic shows effectively. To overcome these obstacles hindering live dramatic

/ t /

productions it is necessary for producers to investigate and attempt to solve these limitations. Review of the literature.

In the past few years

television authors have discovered certain facts and established certain basic methods to facilitate the pro­ duction of live dramatic shows, yet to date no one with extensive practical and theoretical experience has co­ ordinated this knowledge into book form. The camera.

The starting block for the signal as

/ /

116 it traverses the complicated television signal is the television camera.

No function is more important in the

structure of a program than the camera, for this apparatus is the dictator of what will appear on the television receiver. *

To utilize this piece of equipment to the best ad­ vantage it would behoove the director to familiarize him­ self with its limitations. The limitations and solutions for the problems out­ lined in this paper are only a few of the many which could be stated, but those that came to light as a result of this investigator*s examination are as follows: Problem.

The camera is restricted in movement

due to its cumbersome structure, and to the cables which trail behind it. Solution.

To overcome this difficulty, extensive

planning is necessary by the director.

He would

profit by charting camera assignments so that the camera cables extending from the various cameras do not cross each other.

This preparation will

facilitate camera mobilityTJ Problem.

Due to a phenomenon known as ”burning

in the tube,” the camera cannot remain fixed upon an object for more than thirty seconds. Solution. 7To prevent this accident the producer

can include on his manuscript, along with his camera angles, notations as to the time that the camera will remain focused upon an object.


the script requires that the camera remain focused upon an object for a period of time in excess of the safety period of thirty seconds; then the possible solution is as follows:

in the event

that the dramatic action precludes the safety period of time, thirty seconds, then the producer can safeguard the tubes in the camera by darken­ ing the objects being photographed/^ Problem.

The lens in the camera determines how

wide an area may be covered by the camera at one time.

This dictates the width of the set and how

widely the actors may be spaced in order to fall within the limitations of the pickup equipment. Solution.

Knowing that the lens has an insuffi­

ciently short depth of focus to record the actors in the foreground and the sets in the rear, the director can compensate for this problem by using sets that are extremely foreshortened with strong perspective lines, rather than actual depth to convey the impressions of the actors.

Or, the

director may use certain properties in the same plane as the actors rather than use them in deep

118 perspective• The set.

A set is constructed for audience response.

Perhaps it is just a doorstep or the inside of a palace. The design of that special set, for a love scene or a murder, or whatever it is, is made a part of the set. background should help the idea of the story.


The design

of the set should give a foundation for the tale to be revealed, and it should fit the action of the story. Television sets should be designed to create a mood, but before this can be effected,

there are certain

limitations to consider in the design of sets.


problems are as follows: -*-•

In a live studio production there are problems of space presented by the size of the studio and the number of sets required. Solution.

Miniatures which are realistically

built with fidelity to scale can render the illu­ sion of vast outdoor or indoor scenes.

Rear pro­

jection has proved very useful in making outdoor scenes appear real though they are shot in the studio.

The kaleidoscope can be used to obtain

interesting abstract effects in the studio.


shadow box is used to arrive at some of the motion picture techniques of optical printing whereby many trick effects are obtained.

A film insert is

used to show changes in vast locales, various outdoor scenes, fires and sundry disasters. Problem,

The excessive use of properties can

easily "over dress" the appearance of a set, while too little use of these materials will project a picture of "emptiness," Solutions,

Properties should be of a type

wherein they are easily identifiable and not conducive to creating detrimental emphatic responses upon the eyes of the viewer. example, in the employment of a vase,

For the

director should make sure that it is treated so it will not reflect light in an unwanted manner• Problem.

Because television is a medium which

presents pictures on a two dimensional surface, the director is faced with the problem of creating the illusion of third dimension. Solution.

To achieve the sensation of depth,

the scenic designers up to. date have been employing two methods of attaining this effect: the use of linear perspective; and aerial perspective♦ Problem.

Sometimes the effects attempted for

through linear and aerial perspective are lost

by improper "flat lighting" in the studio. Solution.

Another manner of achieving the

illusion of depth, regardless of the "flat lighting," would be through the usage of the pictorial essence known as overlapping planes. These overlapping planes could be painted upon the set proper, or use of these planes could be made by arranging parts of the set or properties so that they rest on a higher platform in the rear of the set.

Because it

is natural to see objects in the distance at a higher level than objects in the foreground, this illusion could also be achieved in tele­ vision set design. Problem.

Regardless of the effort put into

a set by the designer, all of his work can be negated by the improper use of light.


example, the "flat lighting" prevalent in television productions today, distracts from the illusions of depth tried for by the designer. Solution.

To overcome the effects from "flat

lighting" the director can order a hard, shadow casting light directed to those portions of the set which are truly three dimensional.

121 6*


Even if the director has exercised

lighting precautions, actors frequently blend into the background erected for the drama. Solution.

To overcome this difficulty, the

director should give attention to the apparel of the actors, plus consideration to the effects upon the camera of certain skin tones and shades of hair. Lighting.

Lighting, when manipulated by the skilled

director, can completely change the personality of a face, can give an atmosphere ranging from light hearted gaiety to intense suspense, can beautify or disfigure, give depth to a scene, or flatten a scene regardless of the pains suffered by the scenic designer to create third dimension. The problems of lighting for television are as follows: 1.


There are certain problems mainly

concerned with the way in which lights are installed and controlled which apply in most studios today. Solution.

Here flexibility is the keynote.

Because of the sustained performance in tele­ vision, it is desirable to keep the floor as

free as possible from equipment in order to facilitate camera movements.

One way to

accomplish this is to have a smaller number of high-power mobile lighting units on the floor instead of a large number of low-fk>wer units or big, clumsy clusters of low-wattage lamps. Another way to &eep the floor as free as possible from bulky lighting equipment is to design the studio so that there is a cellar made under the studio floor.

Prom this cellar

footlighting can be introduced from a sub­ terranean angle,

lighting from this angle

will achieve modelling results, which will tend to eliminate much of the ”flat lighting” effects• Problem.

Much of the ”flat lighting” could be

eliminated by erecting lights to the rear of the sets as well as to the front and sides, but directors today hesitate to attempt such a venture for fear that the lights in the rear might appear in the camera shots. Solution.

These lights can be set up at the

rear of the set if the director devises some form of lighting plan which will inform him exactly where he can and cannot place his

123 cameras• Composition*

The problem in composing pictorially

effective pictures for television are as follows: 1.


The television cameraman is faced

with a particularly important and difficult problem in the composing of a good picture in a minimum amount of time.

Television action

is continuous, therefore there is no oppor­ tunity to spend hours over the composition of each angle.

The cameraman, equipped with a

flexible camera, must be able to select the proper angle and polish up the fine details which bring the shot to perfection all in a few seconds or "instantaneously11 if he is on nthe air•" Solution.

The television director should

build his production around the key picture situations which constitute the essence or high points of the program.

These key pic­

tures are the ones that will have the strongest appeal for the audience, and they are probably the only ones it will remember.

These are

the pictures on which the producer should con­ centrate.

His first step should be to analyze

the production and determine the key picture situations around which it revolves.


will provide a safe structure on which to build the intervening continuity. Problem.

Due to the continuous movement of

the performers there does not appear to exist a suitable method for maintaining pictorial effectiveness during their action. Solution.

To not only circumvent this char­

acteristic of movement in television, but also add effectiveness to it, the rules of dynamic composition should be followed. follows 2

They are as

Movements toward and away from the

camera are more dramatic, give better picture values than lateral movements going sideways or across the camera; verticle and horizontal lines dividing the picture into halves should be omitted; compose the picture as a unit; don’t let anyone cross right in front of the camera, especially up close, unless you plan it that way for a specific purpose and will pan with the person; don* t use a confused, fussy picture which is difficult to make out; don’t use unusual or distorted camera angles for their own sake; try to get interesting

125 perspective into the picture; don*t compose the picture so that it is perfectly symmetrical in its balance; try to frame objects at an angle; since the shape of the television frame is rectangular, avoid any compositions which are rectangular, or square in shape; try to get a variation in illumination on different planes of the framed area. Sound.

The use of sound in television, including

general sound, sound effects and dialogue, indeed con­ stitutes a problem for the director, because the public long conditioned to aural entertainment via radio, and aural plus the visual in the movies and legitimate theater, expects the same amount of proficiency from television. Yet television today is suffering from many limitations that hinder the effective transmission of sound.


limitations are as follows: 1.


Microphones must be used in tele­

vision, yet they cannot appear in the picture. Solution.

One solution is to conceal the micro­

phones behind various objects on the set.


is to place upon the actor a lapel microphone. The most common device used today is the boom microphone.


In using the boom microphone the

director encounters difficulties, for if the switch on the boom, which turns the microphone from player to another, is not pressed in co­ ordination with the dialogue of the different players, a disturbing difference in levels Is discernible• Solution#

This handicap can be overcome by

telephonic communication and practice.


boom man is equipped with a pair of earphones, through which he receives instructions from the control room.

Practice in rehearsal with his

equipment usually makes it easy for the boom man to synchronize his movements to those of the players# Problem.

This is indeed a problem to proficient

television production for there are many hard surfaces which are highly reflective, such as the floor, scenery, properties, lights, and cameras.

Sound created on the set reflects

from these hard surfaces and causes disturbing effects. Solution.

Extraneous sound can fairly well be

controlled in the studio by the use of noiseless equipment, by care in moving scenery, and by the

127 use of precautionary measures.

An example of

a precautionary measure is, take care in the handling of properties on the set. Time and space.

The biggest problem before tele­

vision today is the item of time, for this factor is the very hub around which all the other phases of the show turn; it is the actual aspect of television which sets it apart from the other mediums.

Its limitations are as

follows: Problem.

Because of the immediacy of camera

editing required in television, there appears to exist few solutions as to what might be done when accidents happen on the set during the telecast. Solution.

As a safety measure against con­

tingencies entering the show, the director should outline a chart of anticipation; that is he should list a number of possible detrimental happenings that might take place during the telecast.

Following this he could insert on his

manuscript a number of camera actions which might be used in the event that something un­ foreseen interrupted his show. 2.


The program segment called transition

or continuity also ushers in another obstacle, for It requires that the parts of the story achieve a transitional flow from one sequence to the next and still maintain tension of interest.

Often this is difficult to accom­

plish, for time must be allotted for changes of sets, lights, microphone placements, and costumes. Solution.

Film inserts which, of course, are

pertinent to the story line are excellent ways of bridging the time gaps reserved for changes during the show.

Other devises to bridge the

time gaps might be effected in the studio with­ out resorting to film by utilizing a movie technique of spanning time.

This method fills

in time gaps by portraying falling calendar leaves or successive shots of the same clock to indicate the rapid passage of time.

If the

television play exceeds a half hour In length, intermissions may be held at the end of se­ quences to provide for changes on the set. Problem.

The element, pacing, must be considered

as well as timing during the performance.

Ac ­

tors have a tendency to vary their tempos as they discover new interpretations in their lines.

129 Solution*

To overcome this difficulty, the

director, from his position in the control room, can relay instructions via earphone con­ nection to his floor manager to change the speed of the character’s actions and speed of verbal delivery.

Also by frequent shifts of

camera angles, the director can vary the pacing of his show. 4.


A big obstacle confronting an effec­

tive television production is that of limited rehearsal.

Dramatic shows necessitate every

bit of rehearsal time possible, yet often this preparation time is sacrificed due to the expense entailed by a complete studio crew. Solution.

Rehearsal time and money can be

saved if the producer holds cast line rehears­ als outside the studio and abstains from call­ ing for studio time until the lines have been satisfactorily delivered.

Stage business, too,

can be rehearsed outside the studio if the directors and producers train the casts to work closely together. 5.


Because the television camera has

monocular vision, linear and aerial perspec­ tive are sometimes put out of balance;

consequently objects appear distorted to the televiewer.

For example, if one end of an

object is placed quite close to the camera it will appear very large on the screen, while the end farthest from the camera will seem diminutive in size. Solution.

To circumvent this limitation, it

would benefit the director to prepare a chart wherein he would insert camera angles to be taken from the most advantageous positions* Problem.

In the live studio production there

are limitations of space due to the size of the studio and the number of sets required for large productions. Solution.

The use of film inserts will solve

the problems of space limitations.


film can portray to the armchair adventurer, pictures of Africa, the frozen North, South Sea Island adventures and experiences on the high seas.

Another solution for overcoming

space limitations in the studio would be a nesting arrangement of sets.

Using this pro­

cedure, a set which is going to be used in a later scene is set up and a set called for in the early action of the show is set up in

131 front of it*

Illusions of size and distance

can be achieved by special scenery placement and camera positions.

This can be effected by

arranging the scenery in a semicircle around the sides of the studio; then when the camera televises this scenery in one continuous move­ ment, the impression upon the audience is that of having viewed a considerable amount of space. A n experiment was conducted by the writer with a view finder to prove the effectiveness of this instrument as a substitute for the television camera during the preliminary stages of rehearsal*

The results of the

experiment were as follows: 1.


view finder

can take in the same amount of

scope as can the television camera. 2.


view finder

has a focal adjustment that makes

it possible for. this apparatus to simulate the focus movement of the television camera. 3*

The view finder can duplicate any angle of the television camera.


The view finder can receive any intensity of light that the television camera can.



view finderaids the viewer in perceiving the

scene objectively.

152 6.

The view finder can receive the same view of the sets and intensity of light that the tele­ vision camera can.


The view finder minimizes all extraneous matter on the set by canalizing the obs e r v e r s atten­ tion to its particular scope of field.


The view finderfs adaptability to masking (fram­ ing), permits the viewer to change the size of the area viewed.


There is no need to duplicate your shots with the view finder. The advantaged of the view finder over the tele­

vision camera in rehearsal, as discovered by the experi­ ments, are as follows: 1.

Because the view finder is not large and cumber­ some like the television camera, the director holding it can move it anywhere in or out of the sets to obtain desired preliminary angles.


The view finder can be used with a lesser amount of light upon the set than can the television camera.


The view finder does not necessitate a crew of engineers in the control room to operate it, for one man is all that is required to handle it.

133 4.

The view finder aids the director to think visually, because it concentrates his attention upon some object, which he might believe has pictorial possibility,


By employing the view finder in rehearsal, the director eliminates one more obstacle on the studio floor; namely, the television camera. Only one limitation pertaining to the view finder

was discovered, and that is as follows:

The director by

employing the view finder cannot match the rapid editing accomplished by the television camera; however, this only effects the usage of the view finder indirectly, for it is not intended that this instrument be a substitute for the camera at the final camera rehearsal.

This apparatus

is to be used as a means of planning the angles through the early stages of rehearsal, thereby facilitating the later camera rehearsal. This experiment was approved by Melvin Sloan, Production Manager for Cinema Productions at The University of Southern California, as being successful, for no nega­ tive results were discernible.

Mr. SUSlgfn stated that this

experiment was as thorough as necessary for the experiment undertaken. Because of the fact that in past years television

134 was exclusively under the guidance of the technicians, the histrionic phase having been neglected, the result is that today myriad problems have arisen from the com­ plex nature of the television play which have erected impenetrable walls of uncertainty before the producers, the writers, and the actors in this medium. These limitations will persist until these people cease regarding this 11visual language” as a novelty and, instead, thrust investigative salients into its most seemingly impervious barriers.

No matter how minute the

results of such ventures they will lend encouragement for others to follow, and soon the obstacles confronting this art will diminish one by one, the failures will be less frequent, the mimicking of other media, will vanish, and the television drama will be heralded as a great form of entertainment that is peculiarly its own*


BIBLIOGRAPHY/ > BOOKS Abbot, Waldo, Handbook of Broadcasting. New York; and London: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1941. 422 pp. Alton, John, Fainting with Light. millan Co., 1949. 191 pp. Arnheim, Rudolf, Radio. 1956. 296 pp.


New York:

The Mac­

Faber & Faber,-Ltd.,

Baleon, Michael, Ernest Lindgren, Forsyth Hardy and Roger Manveil, Twenty Years of British F i l m . London; The Falcon Press, Limited, 1947. 96 pp. {Bettinger, H., Television Techniques. Brothers, 1947. 237 PP*^

New York:

Harper &

Burnford, Paul, Filming for Amateurs♦ New York and Chicago: Pitman Publishing Corporation, 1948. 107 pp. Cameron, James R . , Television for Beginners. Cameron Publishing Co., 1940. 94 pp.


Campbell, William Giles, A Form Book for Thesis Writing. New York; Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939. 121 pp. J C. B. S., Close-up. U.S.A.: Columbia Broadcasting *— System, Inc., 1949. 50 PP*/ Crews, Albert, Professional Radio Writing. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1946. 473 pp.

New York:

De Forest, Lee, Television Today and Tomorrow. The Dial Press, 1942. 361 pp. Dolman, John, Jr., The Art of Acting. & Brothers, 1949. 313 pp.

New York:

New York: Harper

, The Art of Play Production. New York and London Harper & Brothers, 1946. 421 pp.

137 Duerr, Edwin, Radio and Television Acting* Rinehart & Go*, Inc*, 1950. 515 pp. /Dupuy, Judy, Television Show Business. General Electric, 1945. 246 pp.?

Hew York:

New York:

Eddy, William C., Television, the Eyes of Tomorrow. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1945. 256 pp. Eisenstein, Sergei M., The Film Sense. Brace & Co., 1947. 288 pp.

New York:

Gardiner, Glenn N., Television Workbook One.



86 ppjTj

Gaskill, Arthur and David A. Englander, Pictorial Continuity. New York: Duell Sloan and Pearce, 1947. 149 pp. Harrington, Ruth Lee, Your Qpportunities in Television. New York: Medill McBride/iCo., 1949. 322 pp.