Jayasish Saha
Video Editor,
Epic Channel

Technology Trends In TV Production

Television, the so-called idiot box has gone through a drastic transformation from the date of its birth. Firstly, we have to know few things about television.

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves), in a one-to-many model.

An antenna (aerial/dish) on your roof picks up radio waves from the transmitter (satellite). The incoming signal feeds into the antenna socket or set-top box and it is connected on the back of the TV. The incoming signal is carrying picture and sound for more than one station.

The production department works closely with the programming, news, engineering, and sales divisions. Its sole responsibility is to produce various programs, be they news packages, newscasts, public-affairs programs, station-promotional spots, client commercials, or other productions that a station may require. Because of its close relationship with other departments, much of the production department’s costs are absorbed into the other departments.

Production usually consists of a production manager, producers, directors, and studio and remote crews. The studio crews operate the cameras, the audio board, the videotape recorders, the TelePrompTer, the video switcher, the computer or character generator, and any other equipment needed to complete the in-house production. In contrast, the remote crews operate the ENG (electronic news gathering) or more sophisticated EFP (electronic field production) cameras and other equipment to produce programs or packages outside the television studio. Once footage is obtained, editors edit the programs together and insert any computer graphics and audio tracks until the product is satisfactorily completed. Then, the program may be given to the programming department to review and schedule, and then to the traffic manager to enter into a daily log. In the case of news, programs are prescheduled and the production is completed via live broadcast. In the case of any production, the engineering crew monitors the equipment and, ultimately, the transmission of the program.

The linchpin of a television station is the engineering department. It is the duty of this department to transmit the programming product of a station to its audience. An average of twenty employees may have the responsibility of ensuring that a station transmits properly. These employees include the chief engineer, who oversees all technical operations, the broadcast technicians, who help maintain the equipment, and the master control operators, who actually put the programming on air.

The two main areas of responsibility for engineering are master control and technical supervision. Master control plays and transmits the programs, commercials, and live broadcasts according to the daily log created by traffic. In addition, master control also monitors the video and audio signals being transmitted, records incoming satellite feeds, and airs emergency broadcast announcements when necessary. Two general and inevitable trends identified in television must be considered when evaluating the potential future of station operations. The first trend is that of the shrinking local market. Television traditionally enjoyed increase in audience reach and influence. However, individual stations must continually fight for a shrinking piece of the advertising pie. The development and adoption of new media offers consumers more choices, which splits the potential audience and reduces the potential advertising revenue that any one medium may capture. Therefore, sales departments are becoming more creative and other departments more efficient for stations to respond to the changes in their competitive environment.

Mobile is a new TV for us. Over-The-Top (OTT) applications are giving serious threat to traditional broadcasters. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of the hot topics.

Online streaming service providers have made it possible for their users to use mobile device to watch their favorite TV shows and movies on the go.

Technology puts the silver screen on our mobile screen.

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