How to Set Up a TV Production Studio

Written by leonard dozier
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How to Set Up a TV Production Studio
(Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Prime time dramas, the nightly news, reality shows and sports programming all are produced by television production studios. Television production studios are designed to create live television programming and edit and convert footage in post-production. As such, these studios usually consist of a production room and a master control room.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Video cameras
  • Video switcher
  • Graphics generator
  • BNC cables
  • Video distribution amplifier
  • Studio lights
  • Safety chain
  • Clamps
  • Ladder
  • Dimmer board
  • Mixing console
  • Soundproofing styrofoam
  • Microphone intercom system
  • Replicating saw
  • DVD player
  • Graphics generator
  • Boom mics
  • Lavalier mics

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  1. 1

    Find a building that has plenty of space and is not located near a lot of noise, after you have obtained funds to begin your business. Production studio equipment is expensive, and you are looking to spend thousands of dollars in set-up costs. A good business plan can land you a business loan, to offset these costs. Be sure the building is zoned as a business, or you may find yourself in legal trouble once your production business begins. Lease or purchase the building and begin assessing where you want to place the various types of equipment. Check to ensure that the space has enough electrical sockets and a diverse set of sockets (two-prong, three prong outlets) to accommodate your equipment.

  2. 2

    Purchase a minimum of three videocameras with tripods on wheels, so that cameras can move, if needed. Purchase videocameras made by Canon, Sony or KiPro. Order these cameras by going to the websites of each of these brands. Be prepared to pay a several thousand dollars for these cameras. Purchase a video switcher, such as the AVT-5841 or the Video Scaler Pro.

  3. 3

    Place your cameras across your room, facing the same direction and equidistant to each other. Check to see if your switchers have automatic timing--meaning they can be plugged into your cameras and begin working--or if they have connectors that are labelled (e.g. "Ref In," 'BB," "S/C.") Locate the BNC connector on your cameras and purchase at least two BNC cables for each camera, from your local electronics store. Consider purchasing extra cables as replacements or for additional connections. Make sure the cables are long enough to reach the switcher.

  4. 4

    Check your switcher for multiple blackburst connectors (or "BB' connectors) on the back of the switcher, as this is important in establishing a reference signal from it to the cameras. Purchase a video distribution amplifier online, if your switcher does not have enough "BB" connectors. Connect one of your "BB" connectors to the input on the video distribution amplifier.

  5. 5

    Purchase floodlights, backlights, fill lights and keylights to light your studio. Purchase a pipe grid from a theatrical supply company; most will provide quotes over the phone. Use your ladder and the help of other individuals to set up your lights. Grab your safety chains and clamps. Purchase these items from your local hardware store, if you do not have them. Purchase a dimmer board from a theatrical supply company. Call several of them to compare quotes.

  6. 6

    Place your lights on the grid, with the key light situated prominently in the middle. Place your clamps on the lights, and use a safety chain to attach the barn doors of your lights to the grid. Plug your lights from the grid into the dimmer board.

  7. 7

    Order at least two boom mics (to record sound without physical attachment) and a few lavaliere mics (to record sound with attachment, to talent) from a theatrical supply or sound company. Store them in a safe place, until ready for use, as these items are costly.


  1. 1

    Identify a separate room in the space that is located nearby the production room, to be used for the control room. Purchase soundproofing styrofoam from a soundproofing company, to insulate the control room and prevent conversations and noise in the control room from being picked up by mics in the productions studio, during tapings.

  2. 2

    Purchase at least three monitors to view what has been recorded in the studio, on each camera. (Each camera needs its own video source). Consider purchasing a few monitors to display images on various screens, simultaneously. Place your monitors in your master control room, in close proximity to one another

  3. 3

    Purchase a DVD player to play pre-edited clips, during your show or program. Purchase a graphics generator, which is used to create on-screen graphics and can be purchased online.

  4. 4

    Invest in a mixing console, to control the audio levels in post-production. Invest in an intercom microphone system to communicate with production personnel from the control room. Cut out a hole in your control room wall, using a replicating saw, preferably on the walls farthest from the production room. Use the brackets or flanges that comes with your intercom system to mount it onto your wall. Follow the instructions for installation.

Tips and warnings

  • When purchasing cameras, purchase digital cameras, as analogue production has become mostly obsolete.
  • Some television studios use video switching software on computers to switch cameras during editing.
  • Be careful when setting up lights, as they can break and are costly to replace.
  • Make sure lighting cords are attached to the ceiling, not the floor, to avoid congestion and accidental falls.

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