What does a Director do?

One of the roles I’ve undertaken this year was that of a television director. They are responsible for the look and sound of a production and its technical standards. Directors realising the producer and scriptwriters’ ideas into finished programmes.

For most of the shows we broadcast on CCI TV, there are two directors for each programme. One based on the main studio, located downstairs in the Eldon Broadcast Hub; and one located upstairs in the green screen studio, which doubles as our Master Control area for the transmissions.

In our last show, the inclusion of an additional ‘courtyard studio’ meant we needed an additional director to cut between cameras on location. I liaised between the two directors ‘on the ground’ from in the gallery of the green screen studio, so I could keep an eye on the full programme as it was being transmitted. 

Directing in the green screen studio gallery
Directing in the green screen studio gallery

Normally this would’ve been quite simple, just using DataVideo’s ITC-100 Studio Talkback system to communicate with the studio floor and the University’s Cisco IP phone network for the PA to to communicate with the other studio, however for the Nature programme we had to combine this with walkie talkies to reach our makeshift third studio.

As well as being based in a studio, on location directors make careful preparations in order to ensure the success of each shoot. Rather than shooting endless amounts of rushes, they must have a clear creative vision for the VT they are filming.

Studio multi-camera shoots are essential elements in producing high-volume drama series and soaps. The Director must prepare carefully in order to provide crew members with accurate instructions and directions.

The UK’s creative industry skills body, Creative Skillset described the importance of the director’s role well:

“The Director’s marked studio script is the blueprint from which all crew members draw their requirements. Once all changes have been approved and implemented, Directors are responsible for the creative and technical aspects of producing finished programmes, working to the Producer’s budget.”

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