TV production room interaction design?

31 Jan 2010 - 10:33am
4 years ago
2 replies
847 reads
Tammy Rose

Having spent many years as both an operator and layout designer of
control booths, I would advise getting to know each of the roles. Be
careful to observe how much light they have to work with under
working conditions, what workarounds they currently have in place and
especially, the moments when they need more than two hands. Find out
the best and worst stories: what causes a train wreck and what
careful choreography they pride themselves on when the time pressure
is on.
I've seen things like main power switches near people's feet, one
person asking another across the room to hit a button and audio
boards used as snack surfaces.
Don't assume that it's only about the displays.

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Posted from the new


2 Feb 2010 - 7:34am

Thanks Tamy, sound advice!

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Posted from the new

5 Feb 2010 - 11:34am
Darian Glover

I've worked in many TV control rooms and each room was usually dedicated to
a specific purpose. Master Control, Production Control, Sub Control, Field
Control (remote truck), etc. In small stations/production houses a control
room may serve multiple purposes throughout the day. The needs of a Master
Control operator are different from a newscast director.

At one station I was at Production Control was used for the morning, noon,
5, 5:30, 6 and 11 pm newscasts. Between the morning and noon newscasts it
was used to produce commercials and some basic editing using the tape
machines in Master Control. Sometimes this was also done in the early
afternoon. Once 3 pm hit Production Control was in pre-production mode for
the newscasts. The morning and noon newscasts were not so demanding,
relying mostly on the elements produced the night before or that could be
put together in an hour or so before the shows went on. Task and workflow
based layouts, such as what Adobe introduced with Lightroom, may be
applicable to your situation.

It would also be nice if today's technology could be used to solve old
problems. For example, I would have loved to have had an audio signal
indicator in addition to the audio level meter. You never knew if a mic was
working unless someone was talking. Having a light indicating the presence
of a signal would have been helpful, say letting you know the anchor's mic
just went dead before you came out of commercial.

Good luck,

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 1:59 AM, steve <stevetaylor123 at> wrote:

> Hi Guys,
> I'm wondering of anyone has any experienced with designing
> interfaces for tv production room monitor-wall / multiviewer
> displays?
> I'm working on an interface for one at the moment which is made up
> of a number of user selected objects such as video tiles, audio
> meters, text displays, clocks and timers (all standard TV production
> tools) and just wondered if anyone has any experience designing for
> this kind of environment that they could share?
> Factors that have come up so far in discussions are legibility of
> displays, font face and size, colour schemes and contrast ratios...
> any advice or discussion is warmly welcomed,
> Cheers,
> Steve.
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