Live TV is a service that has been available for so long that it’s often taken for granted.
The BBC recorded its first live TV broadcast back in 1929. In fact, most television broadcasts were live back in those days, as video tapes weren’t to be invented for another 28 years.
Nevertheless, to this day, broadcasting a live television show still requires an extensive amount of equipment, preparation, skill and organization.
If you’re broadcasting live, then there is no room for errors or extra takes. For this reason, it’s important to have a detailed plan of action for what is happening and when it’s happening.
The crew and presenters will often arrive early in order to prepare for live broadcasts, as they can’t afford to start late. Presenters need to be prepared for the unexpected and remain unflustered if things don’t go exactly to the plan.
The crew will have to double check that all cameras, lighting and microphones are working before broadcasting live. They will also need access to transmitters that connect the cameras to satellites so the images can be broadcast onto millions of TVs across the world.
Effective use of the control room is arguably more important when broadcasting live too. Sometimes, more than one camera will be focused on a presenter on a live event and a director will select the best shot to broadcast. The best shot is often less obvious during live filming so a director has to be alert to ensure that a golden moment isn’t missed. The use of replays is also key for a lot of live broadcasts, most notably sports matches or events.
A control room is also used to insert graphics, subtitles, or any pre-recorded clips that are due to be inserted into a broadcast. For businesses that don’t broadcast live very often, it is possible to buy or rent satellite uplink services from a third party. Some companies will be only too happy to provide everything from a satellite fleet to a film crew and office staff!
Why broadcast live?
As video tape recorders became more prevalent in the 1960s and beyond, the amount of televisions being broadcast live soon diminished. TV companies generally believed that the quality of broadcasts, especially those involving actors, could be improved by pre-recording it and editing it before it went on air.
However, the majority of non-fictional broadcasts are still broadcast live. In fact, in an age where most news breaks across the internet as it happens, it has arguably become essential for certain genres of TV show to be broadcast using live transmitters.
Most sports fans will agree that watching a pre-recorded is not the same as live broadcasts. News programs need to be broadcast live in order to keep up with breaking information. The unpredictability of concerts or awards shows means they tend to be far more enjoyable as they happen as well.
That’s why TV companies continue to take the risk of a live broadcast and why the demand for live transmitters will continue to be rife.
Related Information: Satellite uplink by Satellite Information Services.