Principles of Broadcast Production

(JOUR 3644 (TV-1)

Fall 2016 Syllabus
(Week 1-8) Tuesdays and Thursdays, ATLAS Production Studio

(Week 9-16) Tuesdays and Thursdays Location TBD

Instructor: Adam McPherson

Email: (best way to contact me)

Cell: (248) 767-4627

Class Website:

Office Hours: By appointment


One of the most challenging things in life is figuring out who you want to be, and what you want to do for a career. In this class, consider yourself a seeker, embarking on a journey towards your goals. Maybe you want to be an on-camera presenter, an anchor or a reporter. Maybe you want to work behind the scenes producing news or documentaries, writing scripts, operating cameras and editing. Whatever your goals, I want to help every one of you succeed. 

To work well in this profession it helps to have a solid background in journalism and production. But talent and skill alone are not enough. Broadcast professionals will advise you to seek out opportunities and learn everything you can. They will recommend strongly that you do internships and get to know people who work in the business.

The path ahead is sometimes rocky and it will require commitment on your part to stay the course. But don’t be afraid to wander a bit and to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.


Employers are looking for a range of skills in job seekers.  Whether you intend to become a camera operator or a news anchor, experience is the key to finding a job. But showing your motivation and passion is another way to win the hearts of employers. TV-1 will help qualify you for the skills that employers are looking for, but it will take some personal commitment on your part. Broadcast is a highly competitive field and there are many other students who want the same job as you. Therefore, you need to learn, learn, learn, and make opportunities to get experience beyond just the regular assignments. Here are some skills that I hope you will obtain as the semester progresses:

   Demonstrating that you can apply the standards of broadcast excellence to recording video and audio. Showing that you can competently run camera, get proper exposure, sharp focus and balanced composition. Demonstrating these skills will help you stand out in the competition. And I'm here to help you become the best you can be!

   Learning the basics of Adobe Premiere to edit video creatively and seamlessly. I know that learning computer software can be intimidating, so I hope that you will take advantage of individual instruction with me to help you stay on course.

   Developing time management skills and time-saving professional workflows. Knowing how to do this will help you become more efficient and meet your deadlines. And yes, applying these skills will save you time in your busy school schedule!    

   Learning how to evaluate video productions critically.

   Acquire resume material that you can add to your e-Portfolio. If you want to get noticed by an employer, then you need a portfolio that showcases exemplary work.

My tip: don't treat assignments as the only opportunity you have to gain experience and develop your skills. Seek me out for assistance and individual learning. Going the extra mile in your work shows that you're not only on the path to doing exemplary work, but also you're more likely to be someone I would recommend for a job!

If you ever need extra help, I welcome you to contact me. 

Required Text and Supplies

Students are required to use the Telelvsion Production handbook, 12th Edition, by Herbert Zettle, a professor emeritus of the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department at San Francisco State University. This textbook provides highly detailed descriptions of available equipment, television systems, analogue versus digital, HDTV, lighting, and especially aestheitcs and design. Professional television requires a mastery of many techniques and tools. Zettle's book is just one of these tools.

SDHC cards
You will need these cards to record you video and audio in the camera. You should get either a 16GB (50 min) or a 32 GB (1 hr 40 min), which should be plenty for most of your projects. Make sure you get a Class 6 card or higher. Anything less won't record video.

3 DVD-R's
You need these to record studio projects. These DVD's must be DVD-R (minus R) because our recording hardware does not support the DVD+R (plus R).

USB Flash Drive
Try to get one with at least 3GB of space. You will need these drives to store video files of finished assignments and when you turn them in for evaluation. USB flash drives are also known as "jump drives", "memory sticks" or even "thumb drives." Mechanically they are very robust, allowing plug-ins on nearly any computer. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But don't use them to store entire projects, which often run larger than 5 GB. For projects that you can edit from you will need a portable drive.

Portable Hard-Drive. Recommendations are to get the Lacie (Lah-See) Rugged with at least 250 GB of space. These drives have become very popular for their mobility and size. They are said to withstand falls from up to 7 feet, but don't test this theory! They come in several versions, including 500GB and 1TB. 

-           6 AA batteries for the camera sun gun

Class Expectations:
You will be evaluated based on your level of participation in class, your professionalism, the content, execution and creativity of your work, quizzes, pop quizzes and exams. However, simply fulfilling these requirements will not earn you an A. To get an A you need to do exemplary work, not just in your efforts, but also in the end product of your work.

Exemplary work means going the extra mile and taking ownership of your lessons and responsibilities; It means that you've taken the initiative to exert effort to produce work that represents strongly the standards of broadcast excellence. Many of you probably considered that the ultimate end point to this class is employment. But there are thousands of other students who want the same job that you want. Therefore, to be successful you need to spend time and energy, learning your craft. But let us agree on what constitutes this effort and how much of it is necessary to get an A.

    Showing up for class and participating in its activities is important to make the course work meaningful. Showing up regularly, and on time, doubly so. Attendance and course performance are highly correlated. Your presence in class gives me the chance to interact with you directly. Also, your attendance adds to your participation points especially since some of the activities involve demonstrations and hands-on learning experiences. But not showing up or being consistently late reflects poorly on your professionalism. It's also a distraction to other students. The bottom line is that you're responsible for your own education, but it's unlikely that you'll get a high grade if your attendance is poor or you don't show up for in-class assignments. I'm sympathetic to personal problems that sometimes get in the way of your studies and attendance. You can talk with me in confidence and we can try to arrange some form of accommodation.

    Be respectful of others. The students who are your peers today will be your work colleagues tomorrow. Don't burn your bridges before you even get started. Distracting students who take their education seriously will not be tolerated. Coming to class late, or not bothering to listen to the lecture while doing online shopping on your mobile device, chatting on Facebook or watching funny animal fails on YouTube - that's a distraction to others (and to me) and it's also disrespectful. When you work in group projects, make sure that you respond to e-mails and phone calls promptly, and that you don't keep your group waiting when they designate a time and place to meet. I know you're all busy with other classes and work schedules, but remember to take responsibility for your actions.

    Do the assignments and meet the deadlines. Assignments serve to help you develop your skills, but they also provide lessons in time management. The end product of your efforts is what the audience (and potential employers) will see. It's expected that you demonstrate not just knowledge of the course content, but also that you're acquiring competencies. Getting late starts on your assignments could result in halfhearted efforts that contribute to a lack of quality.


    Get to know your profession by monitoring what professionals are doing. Watch the news, watch documentaries and even go to movies. There are many videos on YouTube that will help you study your chosen craft.  


In this class, I am trying to introduce you to what working in journalism is really like. What you wear is part of this. On the days that you are on camera, I ask that you are dressed up (this is part of your grade). What does this mean? No hats, t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, etc. We will discuss this more on the first day so you have a clear idea of what I’m looking for.


I get it, there are days where you just don’t want to be in class or life happens that requires you to miss class. Please keep in mind this is your job and you are adults. I trust you to make the decisions necessary for you to be successful. With this in mind, you are give 1 free day, meaning you don’t have to show up for class and you will not be penalized for it. This includes sick days. If there is an ongoing medical issue, all I need a note from a doctor. This is so I can weigh your absences appropriately at the end of the semester.


Extensions are granted only if there is a compelling reason. However, one of your learning objectives is that you develop efficient time management skills. The quality of your work depends on whether you give yourself enough time to do it. Your effort is considered in the grade, but the end product shows whether you fully understand the material. I welcome your questions and will gladly offer help if you ask for it. But for the most part, late work will not be accepted.


In past semesters, students have abused the privilege of using computers and mobile phones in class. Sometimes during video screenings and demonstrations I've noticed students never once looking up from their laptops. I welcome innovative ways to use mobile technology in the classroom, but only if it's relevant to the course. If you can make a compelling argument that Facebook chatting, online shopping or watching sports events are connected directly to learning the necessary knowledge and skills that you need in the broadcast profession, then maybe I'll allow it.

How to Contact Me: I can be reached by either phone or email. I work the early shift at 9NEWS and tend to go to bed early. I have my phone on me all of the time and will have email linked to it and will respond as quickly as possible.

Teaching Philosophy: I have a passion for broadcast. My intention is to foster learning in a friendly, relaxed environment that is conducive to multiple learning styles.  One of the best ways to do this is to organize the material in a way that is user-friendly. I also believe that learning requires a strong commitment and work ethic. Video production is a craft, which is why I highly recommend that students make opportunities to get practice beyond the usual assignments. The most successful students are those who take initiative, who are resourceful, and who value high production standards and are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone.

Grading Criteria: All assignments and course timelines are subject to last minute changes. Assignments will be graded based on technical execution, content and creativity. Bonus points may be awarded if the work demonstrates superior quality.

Field Assignments (5 total) *

Studio Assignments (3 total) *

Quizzes and Tests (6 quizzes, 1 tests) *

Attendance and Participation (see Grading Matrix below) *

These are estimates and may change as the semester goes on.


Grading Matrix:

1. Class Attendance and Participation (attendance will be taken)

·      2 points per class (5-15 minutes late will lose a single point). By as much as 15 minutes will be considered an absence) (see above for attendance expectations)

2. Assignments:

Studio Production                                           

·       Interview

·       News Break

·       Final Project

 Diversity Stories
You will be expected to cover stories that involve the fullest possible range of people and issues. This means the inclusion of those who have frequently been left out of news, particularly African Americans and people of all races and ethnic groups, gays and lesbians. Find the stories that aren’t being told. Strive to tell these stories without euphemisms or stereotypes.


Field Production                                    

·       Story Board

·       Editing Exercise

·       5 Shot

·       Matching Action

·       PSA

·       Final Package




Tuesday,– 23 August

Hello and Introduction- Television Production Process Module

Introduction to the Studio

Lecture: Directing- Watch video and discuss what we heard and saw. Go over cameras, XLR


ASSIGNMENT: To be due on Tuesday September 15: Hard drive and camera flash card are due (you will bring them in so I can see that you have them).



Chapter 1 – The Television Production Process

   Section 1.1 What Television Production Is All About

   Section 1.2 Technical Production Systems


Chapter 4 – The Director in Preproduction

   Pages 58-70


Chapter 7 – Camera Operation and Picture Composition

   Section 7.1 – Working the Camera

   Section 7.2 – Picture Composition


Chapter 13 – How Switchers Work

   Section 13.1 – Basic Switcher Functions

   Section 13.2- Special-Purpose Switchers




Thursday, – 25 August

Instruction: Use of Studio Equipment- Studio Camera Module


·       Cameras and Microphones

·       Video Switcher

·       Character Generator

·       Audio Board

·       Practise Directing





Chapter 8 – Audio Sound Pickup

·       Section 8.1 – How Microphones Hear

·       Section 8.2 – How Microphones Work

Chapter 14 - Design

·       Section 15.1 - Designing and Using Television Graphics

·       Section 15.2 - Scenery and Props


WEEKEND HOMEWORK: write your director’s cheat-sheets and write 5 questions you would want someone to ask YOU about yourself. I will be checking your cheat sheets on Tuesday and the do count towards your assignment       



Week 2

Tuesday, 30 August



·       On-camera performance

·       What to wear

·       Go over director cues



Chapter 9 – Audio Sound Control

·       Section 9.1 - Sound Controls and Recording

·       Section 9.2 – Stereo, Surround Sound, and Sound Aesthetics


Thursday, 1 September





Week 3

Tuesday, 6 September

Guest Speaker




HOMEWORK: Write 3 VO’s/readers. Each should be between 20-30 seconds long (please read, out loud, before turning them in)



Thursday,  8 September



Week 4

Tuesday, 13 September


*Please have hard drive, SD Card, and thumb drive for review



Thursday, 15 September




Week 5

Tuesday, 20 September          


Discuss final studio project, select groups and begin planning

Newsroom viewing/discussion


Thursday, 22 September

Continue planning studio project







Week 6

Tuesday 27 September



Thursday 29 September




Week 7

Tuesday, 4 October




Thursday, 6 October




Week 8

Tuesday, 11 October


         -Talk about midterm 



Thursday, 13 October






Tuesday 18 October

Sequences and Continuity Module

  • Stages of Production

  • Generating Ideas





Chapter 15 – Television Talent

·       Section 15.1 – Television Performers and Actors

·        Section 15.2 – How to Do Makeup and What to Wear


Thursday, 20 October

Production Demonstration- Production Planning Module

Camera 1&2 and JVC GY HM100 Camcorder Module (in class)

*Discuss ALPHEBET ECERCISE Due Tuesday October 27

  • Composition (types of shots)



Chapter 17 - Field Production and Big Remotes

·       Section 17.1 – Field Production

·       Section 17.2 – Covering Major Events

Chapter 18 – Postproduction

·       Section 18.1 How Nonlinear Editing Works

·       Section 18.2 – How Linear Editing Works

Chapter 19 – Editing Functions and Principles

·       Section 19.1 – Continuity Editing

·       Section 19.2 – Complexity Editing



Week 10

Tuesday, 25 October


Video Alphabet Exercise DUE

- Sequences and Continuity and Post Production Editing Module




Chapter 5 – The Television Camera

·       Section 5.1 – How Television Cameras Work

·       Section 5.2 – Resolution, Contrast and Color

Chapter 6 – Lenses

·       Section 6.1 - What Lenses Are

·       Section 6.2 - What Lenses See



Thursday, 1 November

Editing Session- Meet in classroom the go down to edit lab

  • If time, more on Adobe Premiere editing


Chapter 12 - Video-recording and Storage Systems

·       Section 12.1 – Tape-based and Tapeless Video Recording

·       Section 12.2 - How Video Recording Is Done





Tuesday, 1 November


Lecture: Setting up interviews, microphones, sound in packages


Review Chapter 5 – The Television Camera

Review Chapter 6 - Lenses           


Thursday, 3 November



Review Chapter 8.2 – Framing Effective Shots

Review Chapter 20 – Editing Functions and Principles

Chapter 10 – Lighting

·       Section 10.1 - Lighting Instruments and Lighting Controls

·       Section 10.2 – Light Intensity, Lamps, and Colour Media

Chapter 11 – Techniques of Television Lighting

·       Section 11.1 - Lighting in the Studio

·       Section 11.2 – Lighting in the Field           




Week 12

Tuesday, 8 November

5-shot sequence exercise due (view in class)

Guest speaker- Lighting demo



Review Chapter 10 – Lighting

Review Chapter 11 – Techniques of Television Lighting



Thursday, 10 November

Review – Discussion


Camera exercise: get the most unusual shots you can



Chapter 2 – The Producer in Preproduction

·       Section 2.1 – What Producing Is All About

·       Section 2.2 – Information Resources, Unions, and Ratings

Chapter 3 – The Script

·       Section 3.1 – Basic Script Formats

·       Section 3.2 – Dramatic Structure, Conflict, and Dramaturgy



Week 13

Tuesday, 15 November

Matching action shooting/editing in class

DISCUSS PSA Assignment and time to shoot

Discuss Final Package assignment (first draft due Tuesday December 8)


Thursday, 17 November


Lecture: Producing and Scripting

·       Documentaries

·       News

·       Magazine Features

DISCUSS PSA Assignment and time to shoot

Discuss Final Package assignment



Week 14- Fall Break!!!

Week 15

Tuesday, 29 November

PSA’s Work day – you will be expected to shoot today and begin editing. PSA will be due on Thursday December 3

Class evaluation


Thursday, 1 December



Week 16

Tuesday, 6 December

NEWS PACKAGE 1st DRAFT DUE - Class discussions

Review session


 Thursday, 8 December



-Due back by Monday, 12 December at 5pm!