Guide to a TV studio

Floor manager Ed Sharpe takes us on a tour of the studio where Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up is filmed for CBBC.

Before production starts, a TV studio is just a big empty room with a lighting grid in place in the ceiling. Everything in the studio, from lights to the set, has to be designed, built, brought into the studio and put together. Studios are usually either specially built or adapted industrial buildings. They are normally sound proofed and have high ceilings and large access doors so that scenery and equipment can be easily loaded in and out.

"As long as everyone communicates clearly and knows what they're doing it can be a really fun environment to work in." – Ed Sharpe

The studio floor is where the show takes place and where the audience, if there is one, sits. As floor manager, Ed listens to the producer and director to make sure everything on the floor is going to plan.

Behind the scenes are the various galleries. Lights are controlled in the lighting gallery. The sound gallery is where sound is mixed by a sound supervisor, and music and effects are played out by a grams operator. The show is directed from the production gallery where the director, producer, script supervisor and vision mixer work. The galleries and the studio floor are connected by talkback systems which ensure that everyone on the production can hear the instructions of the director.

The director coordinates the camera operators to get the shots needed while the vision mixer cuts these together on the TX monitor. They sit with the producer, who is responsible for the editorial content of the show, and the script supervisor who makes sure that the filming runs to schedule.

Studios are highly regulated spaces with rules which govern etiquette and behaviour on set. Crews can often consist of 50 people or more with cameras, cranes and other equipment moving around, so health and safety is a particular concern. Before any show goes into studio a set of risk assessments which cover the precautions to protect crew, audience and performers need to be in place.


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