JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "TV Studio Lab"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Brian Thomson
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: W 3:30-6:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above, COM 230

Many contemporary television sitcoms, news programs, variety shows, and events are shot with a multitude of cameras and are often cut and mixed live for instantaneous broadcast. This course prepares students for work as part of a multi-cam production team by giving them hands-on experience developing content for multi-cam production, prepping broadcast-ready assets, coordinating and executing live shoots, and live-streaming content on a variety of online platforms.

The course is based around three class projects. We investigate how multi-camera techniques have developed in a dramatic context by developing and producing a short episodic program. We then introduce the tools and techniques of live production by creating a short variety program before jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire of our final project: covering a live event.



By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • understand how and why multi-camera production took root in the television industry 
  • identify its relative strengths and weaknesses as both an art form and a business practice
  • develop material suitable for multi-camera production techniques
  • prepare audio and visual assets for use in live production scenarios
  • work on a multi-cam production team as a camera operator, audio mixer, vision mixer, or director

Game show formatThis is a GROUP assignment.10
Game show programThis is a GROUP assignment. Anybody who does not participate in the preparation of the shoot and on the day of the shoot will lose ALL 15 points on their final grade.15
Variety scriptThis is a GROUP assignment.10
Variety programThis is a GROUP assignment. Anybody who does not participate in the preparation of the shoot and on the day of the shoot will lose ALL 15 points on their final grade.15
Final ProgramThis is a GROUP assignment. Anybody who does not participate in the preparation of the shoot and on the day of the shoot will lose ALL 40 points on their final grade.40
Multicam program pitchThis is an INDIVIDUAL assignment.10

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


1 absence: No worries; happens to everyone

2 absences: Your maximum grade is a B

3 absences: Your maximum grade is a C

4 absences: You have now failed the class

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week One

In the field: Futbol! (aka, Multicam bootcamp)


Week Two

Intro to Motion (Building a Bug, a Lower Thirds, Scoreboards, and a Timer)  

Assignment: Finish editing the game. Add the graphical elements. Add commentary.


Week Three

Follow-up: Watch the finished games.

Intro to the studio, develop/shoot black box tutorials

Assignment: Develop a game show idea in groups; write a synopsis and a breakdown of the resources required; DUE NEXT WEEK


Week Four

Follow-up: Comment on and critique the game show ideas

In the studio: black box tutorials continued


Week Five

In the studio: Using Airserver to connect iPhones and tablets to the switcher

In the lab: Prep the game shows: graphics, set, format, etc.


Week Six

In the studio: shoot the game show

Assignment: Write Last Week Tonight / Samantha Bee style comedy piece 


Week Seven

Follow-up: table read and critique

In the studio: greenscreen,  virtual sets, and the teleprompter

Week Eight

In the studio: shoot the comedy pieces

Assignment: develop pitches for a final project as individuals


Week Nine

In the lab: listen to pitches, greenlight, and development


Week Ten

In the lab: introducing the field switcher for mobile production


Week Eleven

Foosball! (aka, Mobile live multicam bootcamp)


Week Twelve

In the lab/studio: Workshop on the final project I

Assignment: Develop multicamera program pitches for the final exam


Week Thirteen

In the lab/studio: Workshop on the final project II


Week Fourteen

Wrap-up, screenings, Q&A


Final Exam

Multicam program pitches