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video production in Chicago

How Video Production in Chicago is Setting the Scene

Recently, Chicago has become the center of many different TV shows, that are being fully produced there, with the cast and crew spending up to 10 months in Chicago per season. Shows like Chicago Fire have spawned similar dramas which have required the local video production and output to skyrocket. With all of this sudden influx of shows and talent, everyone wants to get in on it, but what actually makes a good show and why would somewhere like Chicago work?

Dramas have become the bread and butter for the Chicago TV industry. It’s such an iconic city and this is incredibly important for dramas. Unlike sitcoms, dramas normally need to be filmed on location instead of on a set. This means that if you want a specific scenic location you need to actually find it in the real world. Chicago allows for many great scenes without the costs of working in Hollywood.

Dramas require a great location, but the key is a great script. This is why dramas have huge teams of writers working on their scripts. Once the script for each episode is written it’s put on a storyboard so that the scenes can be set out. The scenes will then be shot multiple times until the director is happy. This process is done for each episode, normally with 22 episodes in total. The video production is done afterwards, bringing all the shots together. They compress the footage into a 45-minute episode, adding video and sound effects to round it out. Once this is all done the season is released and the next season’s production is started after a short marketing break.

Dramas are a good example of how a show is put together because it involves almost all the aspects of production. Using the drama example, we can compare how a sitcom is produced differently. Sitcoms have been around for over half a century, starting with shows like I Love Lucy, and they draw inspiration from radio.

Whereas dramas film on location, sitcoms prefer to film on a set. Sets give a stable, controlled environment to film in. They can also be placed almost anywhere, which means that the crew and equipment do not need be flown anywhere, saving costs on travel and location renting. Sitcoms also have an established storyline template. Most shows are filmed with an A and B storyline. The A storyline is an overarching story which develops through the season and is only resolved in the finale, while the B storyline normally is established and resolved within an episode. Apart from the set and the dual storylines, the production of a sitcom is the same as a drama.

Reality TV
Reality television is actually filmed in a very similar method to sitcoms and dramas. There is an objective being worked towards and the crew needs to get it done. Except reality isn’t supposed to be scripted, so how do you get reality to do what you want?

Reality TV producers have a few tricks they use. Normally a show is confined to a location that they can control, like a house or an island. They can position the characters in specific places to encourage interactions. They also use a controversial method called frakenbiting. Since a lot of footage is taken by multiple cameras nearly 24/7, the producers can cut and paste footage in post-production to create their own timeline and interactions, which may be totally fictional, because the context was removed.

These are just the basics though, and there are many more genres to explore.

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