FEED issue 28 Web

31 ROUND TABLE Remote Studios

SHUTTLEWORTH: WHAT SKILLS WILL OUR PRESENTERS AND TALENT NEED TO DEVELOP TO MAKE OUR VIRTUAL STUDIOS IDEA SUCCESSFUL? GIDEON FERBER: Basic understanding of shot blocking, how far to sit from the camera, which angles work best and how much they can move while on air, as well as lighting skills – where to place the lights, how strong or how many lights are required. Once the set-up is up and running, the talent won’t have to change it or deal with it, and most of the skills mentioned above can be taught over the phone. LIAM HAYTER: Some familiarity with camera and lighting would be a huge benefit, as they’ll need to set this up themselves. However, this isn’t anything they can’t be remotely assisted with. IAN HUDSON: I’d like to say none. A good studio should be easily controllable from a remote location. We have seen, especially during the lockdown, a number of programme contributors giving us muffled, low-res audio and ‘up the nose’ framing using webcams on their PCs. These shots look and sound so bad, because the contributors are presenters, politicians and scientists, not camera operators, lighting directors, audio engineers or TV producers. Presenters should understand how to turn the system on and off, the rest should be handled remotely. DANIEL MALONEY: They will need to be more self-sufficient in many respects. They will need to acquire the basics in the art and technology of live media production. The technology may be the easier part, as technical people can always walk them through the installation and operation. It may be the more mundane things like wardrobe and makeup that are initially frustrating. In the end, there is no doubt the talent will appreciate the skills required to put on a successful live show.


GIDEON FERBER: If the space allows it, add more cameras. It will give you the ability to cut between shots and create a more dynamic production. Second, duplicate the set-up for more talent. You can either have different shows with different talent, or virtually add more talent to the same virtual set. For talent without space for a green screen, you can use the same camera set-up to add augmented-reality elements to enhance their storytelling. You could also create a small form factor travel case with the camera and embedders, and send it out to guests you want to add to the different shows. IAN HUDSON: My next steps would be to add a simple green screen pop-up

background and use an integrated system with a built-in chromakeyer for simple static backgrounds. For more complex graphics or complete virtual sets, use a production system. There are excellent productions systems that can be managed locally, or you can use a cloud-based system where everything can be managed remotely. DANIEL MALONEY: A virtual set is actually easier on the talent, because a green-screen backdrop requires less staging as it will be all keyed out in the vision mixer. The next step might be to incorporate a second remote feed into the production to perform remote interviews. Finally, a more ambitious plan would be to have both the talent and a remote interviewee face to face in a virtual set.

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