Insert studio

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An insert studio is a purpose-built or adapted location that encompasses the lighting, photography, set design, and sound reproduction for a remote component of a video or television program.

Overview[edit]

Insert studios are generally smaller than a standard soundstage, and are used for television and media interviews with individuals or small groups of people. It is also common for the host, or presenter of a program to conduct their part of a show from an insert studio when they are away from their home base.

Insert studios usually have permanent or on-demand connectivity to larger entities via telecommunications networks using various means including coaxial cable, fiber, VPN, or satellite uplink.[1] Telephone lines are required for coordination, direction, and interruptible feedback.

Effect on contribution content[edit]

Insert studios play an important contribution role in modern public affairs television programming. They can be in places far removed from the shows and networks they serve.[2] This enables contributors in remote places to be part of a discourse. They also help equalize a tendency to over utilize sources in major cities.[3] They also enable entities like small market television stations to get content for programming without a travel budget.

Technological advantages[edit]

Because insert studios frequently take advantage of terrestrial communications circuits, there is reduced latency when compared with traditional satellite uplink from remote locations. This often allows for a faster exchange between program host and contributor/guest, and has led to a new breed of programming that utilize pundits and a rapid fire exchange of ideas as a staple of content.

Economic considerations[edit]

Insert studios also play an important role because they can be used (“booked”) for periods less than a traditional production day. They are also self-contained, allowing for economy compared with traditional newsgathering methods involving the use of separate individuals in the field responsible for producing, camerawork, sound, and transmission on a temporary basis in remote locations. Because insert studios are pre-set, the technology can be often be run either by a single de-skilled operator or even remotely. Travel costs can be reduced because the subject(s) may go to a local or nearby site.

Implications for television journalism[edit]

Contributors must travel to the camera inside the studio, rather than the camera moving closer to the story. This is an important distinction because the camera is further removed from a documentary role on the newsgathering process. Also, as traditional sources of television news shrink their production budgets and rely on remote studios more for content, there is a new and increasing bias toward including experts from institutions that pay to maintain their own studios, and contribute content at a discount relative to traditional coverage methods, or even completely subsidize their own coverage.

So while a more diverse list of contributors benefits programming coverage, technology and economics can enable contributors to effectively pay to play which if not disclosed can negatively impact journalism.

References[edit]

SatelliteNewsgathering, Second edition. Jonathan-Higgins. Focal Press. 2008. p239

Balancing Business Pressure and Journalism Values. Bob Steele.