TV From Home
April 14, 2020 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Can someone explain/point a good article on how the shows produced from home are being put together? Examples are John Krasinki's Some Good News on youtube, or SNL At Home night? Are the actors taking clips and sending them via imessage to a production company? I'm interested in how much the workflow might change from 'regular' tv?
posted by sandmanwv to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
YouTube, not broadcast TV, and not an article, but Bon Appetit's videos show some of this at work (Thanks to the whole manufacturing authenticity trend outlined by Lindsay Ellis, where you regularly see the crew). The test kitchen hosts were sent home with some basic filming equipment--definitely a microphone and tripod; you can also see some lighting set up stuff in some shots around the hosts' homes.

The crew is zooming with the host while they film at home; there's also some fun confusion at one point where the main host (Brad) is trying to show something to his co-host (Sohla), and points it at the wrong camera (what he's using to film vs. what he's using to video conference).
posted by damayanti at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2020

I will speculate (my husband is a tv editor, also we've been watching with interest as Bon Appetit often shows bits of their production process) there's a couple of flavors of this going on.

For stuff that's running over Zoom, it looks like most productions are using the webinar version, which lets a director run the show from the background, interject pre-shot video, choose who shows up when.

Bon Appetit is using videoconferencing for directors and producers to do more or less their normal jobs - interacting with the on-screen talent the whole time - while the onscreen folks are largely using good cameras and tripods and whatever lighting setup they've got to work with. They would be shooting to memory card/hard drive and uploading for the editors to cut together like they normally would. I would assume Good News and the late night shows are largely being run the same way, at least the pre-recorded ones. I haven't watched the SNL yet to figure out how much was pre-shot.

imessage is likely not involved, these files are huge. They'd be using whatever cloud storage the production company tends to use, dropbox or whatever. OR, and nobody will say this part out loud, production assistants are being dispatched to porch-network big external hard drives between the talent and the editors, who may have a way to file-transfer electronically a completed production for network broadcast (easily done for youtube, not necessarily so elsewhere), but is more likely a physical hard drive handoff. (My husband has done this a couple times now, and we donated some gloves and wipes to the PAs who are also running drives around town.)
posted by Lyn Never at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2020 [8 favorites]

Limmy's Homemade Show is just his preferred way of working.
posted by scruss at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2020

One example, I don't know how general this is - I have a friend who was contacted by a local TV station here in the SF Bay Area to do a Q&A segment on the evening news. They produced it by dropping off a professional lighting and camera rig, which the technician either set up for them or walked them through setting it up (not entirely sure, they don't live with me). Then during taping, they turned on the lights and camera and did what I believe to be a standard "remote" local TV interview, with the anchor in the studio and the remote person responding in real time at their location. This particular one was recorded in advance and then edited before broadcast; doing it live would also present additional issues, of course.

Anyway, they don't have to put up with Zoom-level video quality. At least some stations and studios view it as compatible with social distancing to drop off and manage studio-quality equipment to the remote correspondents and actors.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2020

This doesn't directly address the process but might be interesting for the discussion about simple ways to improve video quality that YouTubers figured out long ago, and why the show hosts may be deliberately choosing not to do things to make their audio and video better: Why are Talk-Show Hosts so Bad at YouTube? A Closer Look
posted by Lexica at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don't know how true it is, but when Colbert was interviewing Conan (I think) there was a brief discussion about the set-up, and Colbert said something to the effect he had a satellite truck sitting on his front lawn. Now that might be a huge exaggeration, but at the same time, I can see a network making that kind of investment in one of its flagship shows.
posted by sardonyx at 2:15 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have a TV anchor working remote right now and he's using LiveU Smart to turn his iPhone into a camera that ties into our broadcast production system. LiveU runs a cloud backbone distribution network that lets you take camera inputs and put them out from a box in our building over the internet. It's also how CBS Newspath is routing a majority of their satellite feeds to affiliate stations around the nation.

From that point it acts like any other camera in our studio, passing HD video and audio to our router where it can be used in TV broadcasts or recorded and chopped up as needed. He's got that on a tripod above his laptop that is open with a VNC screen showing our prompter, and his iPad showing scripts from our news system to follow along with. Our photographer dropped off a lighting rig and we got him positioned and lit before the shows started going.

I legitimately think LiveU is one of the most interesting broadcast products out there right now. They got their start taking a bunch of cell phone modems (like 8 at a time), putting them in a backpack with a big battery, and letting professional cameras plug into them. They bonded the cellular data connections from those modems into a single pipe and enabled photographers to un-tether from microwave or satellite truck links. Since that start they've broadened their product offering a lot but still does a great job.
posted by msbutah at 2:38 PM on April 14, 2020 [10 favorites] is a cloud service that many in the post-production industry use. They've been doing articles on people's WFH workflows, like this one on Conan:
posted by abrightersummerday at 3:10 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

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