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The single-camera setup, or single-camera mode of production, also known as portable single camera, is a method of filmmaking and video production.
The single-camera setup originally developed during the birth of the classical Hollywood cinema in the 1910s and has remained the standard mode of production for cinema. In television production, both single-camera and multiple-camera methods are commonly used.
In this setup, each of the various shots and camera angles is taken using the same camera, or multiple cameras pointed in one direction, which are moved and reset to get each shot or new angle.If a scene cuts back and forth between actor A and actor B, the director will first point the camera toward A and run part or all of the scene from this angle, then move the camera to point at B, relight, and then run the scene through from this angle. Choices can then be made during the post-production editing process for when in the scene to use each shot, and when to cut back and forth between the two (or usually more than two) angles. This also then allows parts of the scene to be removed if it is felt that the scene is too long. In practice, sometimes two cameras shooting from the same angle are used: one to capture a medium shot, the other a close-up during the same take.
By contrast, a multiple-camera setup consists of multiple cameras arranged to capture all of the different camera angles of the scene simultaneously, and the set must be lit to accommodate all camera setups concurrently. Multi-camera production generally results in faster but less versatile videography, whereas the single-camera setup is more time-consuming but gives the director more control over each shot.
Unlike film producers, who almost always opt for single-camera shooting, television producers need to make a distinct decision to shoot in either single-camera or multiple-camera mode.
Single-camera is mostly reserved for prime time dramas, made-for-TV movies, music videos and commercial advertisements, while soap operas, talk shows, game shows, most reality television series, and sitcoms more frequently use the multiple-camera setup.
Multiple-camera shooting is the only way that an ensemble of actors presenting a single performance before a live audience can be recorded from multiple perspectives. Also for standard, dialogue-driven domestic situation comedies, the multi-camera technique, which is cheaper and takes less production time, is typically used. Situation comedies may potentially be shot in either multiple- or single-camera modes. It may be deemed preferable to use the single-camera technique especially if specific camera angles and camera movements for a feature film-like visual style are considered crucial to the success of the production, and if visual effects are to be frequently used.
Though multi-camera was the norm for U.S. sitcoms during the 1950s (beginning with I Love Lucy ), the 1960s saw increased technical standards in situation comedies, which came to have larger casts and used a greater number of different locations in episodes. Several comedy series of the era also made use of feature film techniques. To this end, many comedies of this period, including Leave It to Beaver ,The Andy Griffith Show , and The Brady Bunch , used the single-camera technique. Apart from giving the shows a feature film style, this technique was better suited to the visual effects frequently used in these shows, such as magical appearances and disappearances and lookalike doubles in which the regular actors played a dual role. These effects were created using editing and optical printing techniques, and would have been difficult had the shows been shot using a multi-camera setup.
In the case of Get Smart, the single-camera technique also allowed the series to present fast-paced and tightly edited fight and action sequences reminiscent of the spy dramas that it parodied. Single-camera comedies were also prevalent into the early 1970s. With its large cast, varied locations, and seriocomic tone, the TV series M*A*S*H was shot using single-camera style. Happy Days began in 1974 as a single-camera series, before switching to the multi-camera setup in its second season. However, the success of All in the Family (which was taped with multiple cameras live in front of a studio audience, very much like a stage play) and Norman Lear's subsequent sitcom productions led to a renewed interest by sitcom producers in the multi-camera technique; by the latter part of the 1970s, most sitcoms again employed the multi-camera format.
By the mid-1970s, with domestic situation comedies in vogue, the multi-camera shooting style for sitcoms came to dominate and would continue to do so through the 1980s and 1990s, although the single-camera format was still seen in television series classified as comedy-drama or "dramedy".
In the 2000s and 2010s, television saw a resurgence in the use of single-camera in sitcoms, such as in Malcolm in the Middle , Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, The Office, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia , Community , and Parks and Recreation. Unlike single-camera sitcoms of the past, nearly all contemporary comedies shot in this manner are produced without a laugh track.
The 2021 series Kevin Can F**k Himself explores the contrast between single-camera and multiple-camera television, blending both a multi-camera family sitcom format when lead character Allison is with her husband Kevin and a single-camera format when she is on her own.
A point of view shot is a short film scene that shows what a character is looking at. It is usually established by being positioned between a shot of a character looking at something, and a shot showing the character's reaction. The technique of POV is one of the foundations of film editing.
In film and video production, split screen is the visible division of the screen, traditionally in half, but also in several simultaneous images, rupturing the illusion that the screen's frame is a seamless view of reality, similar to that of the human eye. There may or may not be an explicit borderline. Until the arrival of digital technology, a split screen in films was accomplished by using an optical printer to combine two or more actions filmed separately by copying them onto the same negative, called the composite.
A laugh track is a separate soundtrack for a recorded comedy show containing the sound of audience laughter. In some productions, the laughter is a live audience response instead; in the United States, where it is most commonly used, the term usually implies artificial laughter made to be inserted into the show. This was invented by American sound engineer Charles "Charley" Douglass.
Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and drama.
In photography, bracketing is the general technique of taking several shots of the same subject using different camera settings. Bracketing is useful and often recommended in situations that make it difficult to obtain a satisfactory image with a single shot, especially when a small variation in exposure parameters has a comparatively large effect on the resulting image. Given the time it takes to accomplish multiple shots, it is typically, but not always, used for static subjects. Autobracketing is a feature of many modern cameras. When set, it will automatically take several bracketed shots, rather than the photographer altering the settings by hand between each shot.
A cold open is a narrative technique used in television and films. It is the practice of jumping directly into a story at the beginning of the show before the title sequence or opening credits are shown. In television, this is often done on the theory that involving the audience in the plot as soon as possible will reduce the likelihood of their switching from a show during the opening commercial. A cold open may also be used to recap events in previous episodes or storylines that will be revisited during the current episode.
A take is a single continuous recorded performance. The term is used in film and music to denote and track the stages of production.
Film look is a process in which video is altered in overall appearance to appear to have been shot on film stock. The process is usually electronic, although filmizing can sometimes occur as an unintentional by-product of some optical techniques, such as telerecording. The effect is the exact opposite of a process called VidFIRE.
Video production is the process of producing video content for TV, home video or the internet. It is the equivalent of filmmaking, but with video recorded either as analog signals on videotape, digitally in video tape or as computer files stored on optical discs, hard drives, SSDs, magnetic tape or memory cards instead of film stock. There are three stages of video production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production involves all of the planning aspects of the video production process before filming begins. This includes scriptwriting, scheduling, logistics, and other administrative duties. Production is the phase of video production which captures the video content and involves filming the subject(s) of the video. Post-production is the action of selectively combining those video clips through video editing into a finished product that tells a story or communicates a message in either a live event setting, or after an event has occurred (post-production).
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.
This article contains a list of cinematic techniques that are divided into categories and briefly described.
A front projection effect is an in-camera visual effects process in film production for combining foreground performance with pre-filmed background footage. In contrast to rear projection, which projects footage onto a screen from behind the performers, front projection projects the pre-filmed material over the performers and onto a highly reflective background surface.
Virtual cinematography is the set of cinematographic techniques performed in a computer graphics environment. It includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for the automated creation of real and simulated camera angles. Virtual cinematography can be used to shoot scenes from otherwise impossible camera angles, create the photography of animated films, and manipulate the appearance of computer-generated effects.
The multiple-camera setup, multiple-camera mode of production, multi-camera or simply multicam is a method of filmmaking and video production. Several cameras—either film or professional video cameras—are employed on the set and simultaneously record or broadcast a scene. It is often contrasted with a single-camera setup, which uses one camera.
A studio audience is an audience present for the recording of all or part of a television program or radio program. The primary purpose of the studio audience is to provide applause and/or laughter to the program's soundtrack. Additionally, live studio audiences produce an energy off of which the actors can feed, as well as push actors to perform to the best of their abilities. Unlike relying on the ideal chuckles that a laugh track consistently provides, actors have to work for the laughs. A studio audience can also provide volunteers, a visual backdrop and discussion participants. On some game shows, contestants are taken from the studio audience, such as with The Price Is Right.
A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms.
This glossary of motion picture terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts related to motion pictures, filmmaking, cinematography, and the film industry in general.
Television comedy is a category of broadcasting that has been present since the early days of entertainment media. While there are several genres of comedy, some of the first ones aired were variety shows. One of the first United States television programs was the comedy-variety show Texaco Star Theater, which was most prominent in the years that it featured Milton Berle - from 1948 to 1956. The range of television comedy has become broader, with the addition of sitcoms, improvisational comedy, and stand-up comedy, while also adding comedic aspects into other television genres, including drama and news. Television comedy provides opportunities for viewers to relate the content in these shows to society. Some audience members may have similar views about certain comedic aspects of shows, while others will take different perspectives. This also relates to developing new social norms, sometimes acting as the medium that introduces these transitions.
History of the Sitcom is an eight-part CNN documentary television series that traces the development of the American situation comedy show from the 1950s to the 21st Century. The show features 184 interviews with creatives, actors and directors including Norman Lear, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. The series follows a similar format of the CNN Original Series The History of Comedy.