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March 2018
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In the magazine
Only available in print
  • Genre report - Entertainment and comedy
    In a two-part special, Tim Dams reports on TV’s fresh focus on entertainment, and new directions in comedy
  • The art of cinematography
    Four leading DoPs tell Michael Burns the secrets of their craft, and explain the techniques they used to create hits like Jason Bourne, The King’s Speech, Lion and Sherlock
  • The Top Ten Cameras
    Televisual’s annual survey reveals the UK’s most hired cameras of the year and uncovers the models everyone will be shooting on in the year ahead
  • TV Studios
    The television studios sector is in flux, amid a spate of closures and re-developments. Pippa Considine reports on a changing studios landscape
  • Take it outside
    Major technical advances such as UHD, HDR and IP are driving big changes in the outside broadcast market. Michael Burns reports
  • And lots more
    This issue also features the Televisual Corporate 50, bright ideas for lighting, how post houses are dealing with the data bulge and pages showcasing the best creative work in UK post and vfx
From the magazine
Available to read online
  • Game On for C4 & Netflix drama
    Set in the world of computer gaming, C4 and Netflix’s Kiss Me First combines live action and impressive cg animation. Tim Dams reports
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The Art Of Studio Direction Back to Reports & survey Listing




Early stages


My first involvement with a project usually comes in the early planning stages, at a meeting with the executive and series producers of the show. This gives them a chance to outline their creative brief for the show and for me to ask questions about the project. It’s important in these early stages to establish the style and tone the editorial team are looking for, as this will likely affect the choices you have to make technically further down the line.

 Sometimes you come to a project before any design briefs have been sent out, so you can be involved with developing the overall look. But more frequently these days, the set and lighting designs may already be in place and it becomes more about working with key departments to bring the show to life. Develop a good relationship with your line manager in the early days, because invariably all ideas come down to money.   
 
Work with the best
I adore my crew and I’m lucky enough to work with the best in the business. It’s so important to build close working relationships with your team because they get to know your style and preferences and can preempt some key decisions. You spend long hours together, working in high pressure environments, sometimes far from home, so it’s really important to get along.

That’s why I’m always really keen to choose my key crew members; camera supervisor, vision mixer, script supervisor, lighting designer and floor manager in particular. I would say that while they’re all critical roles, the first call I usually make on a job is to my camera supervisor. I’m fortunate enough to work with some incredibly creative supervisors but special mention should go to the talented Nat Hill. We’ve worked together since T4 was hosted by Dermot and Margherita, live from C4 HQ at Horseferry Road and we’re still at it on series four of The Voice at Dock10, MediaCity.  

An eye for detail, a sense of humour and good communication are essential skills for a studio director. Your voice can be heard by everyone via production talkback, so it’s important to be clear who you’re communicating with and what the message is. The tone of your voice will set the mood of the crew, so it’s important to remain calm but enthusiastic, to keep energy levels up. I always have a team meeting with the crew on the morning of the show, to give everyone an overall sense of what the producers want editorially.
 
Coping with stress
Rescue Remedy (thank you Nikki Parsons) is one little tip I can pass on, but in all honesty, if you’ve been thorough in your planning and you’re well rehearsed, then it’s not stress that you feel, it’s just pure adrenaline. And I’m sure, secretly, that’s the reason we all do it.

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