The director tells you when your shot is about to be used
and when it is being used live. Even when your shot is
not live, you should attempt to keep a shot that the
director may find useful to the program. This will allow
him to use that shot for coverage if something goes
wrong with another shot or camera.
You may receive instructions from the director to
move the camera, either to a new angle or to a new
position on the studio floor. It is essential to a successful
television production that all camera movements be
carried out correctly, quickly, quietly and smoothly. The
director relies heavily on the conduct of the television
camera operators, and his job is easier when you respond
to his commands not only quickly but accurately. This
is particularly important during unscripted programs.
(Television shooting techniques, including specific
camera movements, are covered later in this chapter.)
The floor manager stays in the television studio
during a production. Through a headset system, he is in
direct, two-way communication with the director in the
control room. Normally, the talent is not able to use a
headset and cannot receive instructions directly from the
director. It is the prime responsibility of the floor
manager to act as a liaison between the talent and the
Since it is not practical for him to instruct the talent
orally during a production, the floor manager stands or
kneels next to the camera that the talent should speak to
and uses a system of hand signals to relay the directors
instructions. Although any hand signal system
understood by both the floor manager and the talent will
work, we recommend you use the universally accepted
system shown in figure 14-11.
The basic hand signals that both the floor manager
and talent must understand are listed in the following
Stand by. For the hand signal to stand by, the
floor manager raises his hand and arm at the
beginning of the show or following a spot break
Cue. For the hand signal to start talking or
begin action, the floor manager raises his hand
and points to the talent.
Cut. For the hand signal to cease talking or
stop action, the floor manager draws his hand
across his throat in a slashing motion.
Stretch. For the hand signal to stretch it or
slow down, the floor manager pulls his hands
apart as if stretching a rubber band. Longer
amounts of time are indicated when the floor
manager places his hands farther apart at the end
of the stretching motion; shorter time amounts
are indicated when the floor manager places his
hands closer together.
Speed up. For the hand signal to talk faster, the
floor manager rotates his arm and hand
clockwise in a circle above his head. The speed
of the rotations are related to the urgency of time.
OK. For the hand signal that everything is fine,
the floor manager makes a circle with his thumb
30 seconds to go. For the hand signal that there
are 30 seconds remaining in the show/segment,
the floor manager forms the letter T with both
15 seconds to go/wrap it up. For the hand signal
that there are 15 seconds remaining in the
show/segment and the talent should wrap up
what he is doing, the floor manager creates a
grabbing motion with his hand that results in a
Speak more softly. For the hand signal to speak
more softly, the floor manager raises the palm
of his hand to his mouth.
Speak up. For the hand signal to speak up, the
floor manager cups his ear with his hand.
Speak or look at this camera. For the hand
signal to speak or look at this camera, the floor
manager points to the on-air camera with his
hand. A waving motion from one camera to
another alerts the talent that the director is
switching the shot to another on-air camera.
Be precise and deliberate when you deliver hand
signals. Do not wave your arms in the air frantically
this will only confine and imitate the talent.
During a television production, the studio floor is
usually a maze of lighting and camera cables that can
hinder the movement of the cameras and also be a safety
hazard. The floor manager must make sure these cables
are stored or positioned safely. Furthermore, he should
find out from the camera operator and director how
much camera movement is expected.