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Multicamera setup

Working with three cameras, commonly now four, the multicamera setup is used to shoot most studio-produced television programs such as situation comedies, soap operas, news programs, game shows, and talk shows. Television dramas, however, are usually shot using a one camera setup, as are movies.

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Generally, the two outer cameras shoot close shots or crosses of the two most active characters on the set at any given time, while the central camera or cameras shoot a wider master shot to capture the overall action and establish the geography of the room. In this way, multiple shots are obtained in a single take without having to start and stop the action. This is more efficient for programs that are to be shown after editing, and vital for live broadcasts, as well as providing continuity for the actors and studio audience.

While shooting, the director and assistant director create a line cut by instructing the technical director to switch the feed to various cameras. The line cut may later be refined in editing, as the picture from all cameras is recorded, both separately and as a combined reference display called the quad split. The camera currently being recorded to the line cut is indicated by a tally light on the camera as a reference both for the actors and the camera operators.

Most situation comedies are shot on film, while other programs are usually recorded on less expensive video.