Preface to Version 5.0
What's in a TV Station?
Brief History and Overview
Electricity 101
How It Connects Together
Analog Video
Waveform Mons & Vectorscopes
Monitors and TV Sets
Switching and Video Effects
Video Recording
Editing for TV
Film for TV
Digital Video
The Near Future of TV



What's In A Television Station?

"Photography is going to marry Miss Wireless, and heaven help everybody when they get married. Life will be very complicated."

-- Marcus Adams, Society photographer, in the Observer, 1925.

The TV Station As A Whole

            The basic television system consists of equipment and people to operate this gear so that we can produce TV programs. The stuff you'll find in a television station consists of (and this list is not exhaustive!):

one or more television cameras
lighting, to see what we're shooting
one or more audio consoles, along with sound control equipment, to manipulate the sounds we generate with microphones, audio recorders and players, and other devices
one or more videotape recorders, or other video recording technologies, in any of a number of formats
one or more video switchers, to select video sources, perform basic transitions between those sources, and to create special effects
EFP (electronic field production) shooting and production equipment, and storage facilities
perhaps a post-production editing facility, to assemble videotaped segments together
some special effects: either visual or aural; electronic, optical or mechanical

The Studio Infrastructure

            Whether or not you work in a traditional studio or a new "studioless" environment, the same principles apply. You'll still need:

an intercom system (with headset stations for floor directors)
floor monitors (video and audio)
electrical outlets for both regular AC and lighting equipment

             In addition, your control room or control centre will have:

various program and preview monitors
program audio speakers
time of day clock
video switcher
an audio control room, with audio console, cart machines, turntable and/or CD player, reel to reel and/or cassette and/or DAT recorder and/or other digital recording and playback technology, and auxiliary audio enhancement equipment

Other Areas

            You will also need the services of:

central VTR, with its various videotape machines
master control, without which this whole TV program can't get on the air
an engineering department to keep all of this running, and design and build new and improved facilities

            Over the next several months, you'll be exploring all of this equipment and all of these areas.  

Pictorial Overview of the Television System

For a detailed picture of the television system, click on either thumbnail for the resolution you need (you can also "right-click save" either of these images):

1024x768systemdiagram.jpg (300519 bytes) lettersizesystemdiagram.jpg (1753611 bytes) legalsizesystemdiagram.jpg (2578852 bytes)

1024x768 for browser display (295K)    /    letter size printout (1.65 megs)    /    legal size printout (2.5 megs)

Things To Think About:

Television stations are rather holistic places. There are a lot of components, but they all fit together to make the television production process a smooth one.

Try not to think about the system as a big lump of equipment, but rather consider the components used and their individual importance to the whole.

Be aware of some of the major components in a television station.