Friday Questions coming attacha.
At a taping of The New Adventures of Old Christine a few years ago, I noticed it was shot digitally, which meant the crowd had monitors showing the footage as it was shot.
In the days of Cheers (and 35mm), was there some sort of vid-tap that fed the crowd what was being shot to monitors, or was it viewed much more like a stage play, and you saw everything at once, and only got the additional camera jokes when you saw it on TV?
In the early years of CHEERS there was no “video assist” as we call it. There were monitors overhead, but those were just used to either show the pilot or scenes that had been pre-shot.
Then cameras were equipped with additional video taps that allowed for instant viewing. And now that multi-cam shows are shot in HD, not film, the quality of the picture is greatly improved.
One thing worth noted: Back in “the day” (although it’s never specified just what that day was), multi-camera shows were either filmed or videotaped. If they were filmed, all four cameras ran continuously, it would take a few days for the film to get back from the drugstore, and the show would be edited later. For tape shows (like ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS), the director would be in a control room assembling the show on the fly. He’d instruct the switcher to “take camera three”, “take camera one”, etc. So at the end of the taping you had a rough cut of your show already.
Now you have HD, which is like the best of both worlds. Looks like film but shot on (far more inexpensive) tape. But they’re still assembled after the fact (a la film). That means, for the studio audience, a switcher is employed, and just for their benefit he edits the show as it unfolds. But the angles you see, and the takes you see, might not necessarily be what is used in the final version that airs.
Still, you think back to those old days before there was video assist and the audience missed half the show. You had the cameras and all the people on the floor, and if there was a swing set constructed just for that episode it was usually tucked off to the side so a large portion of the audience couldn’t see it at all. You attended filmings for the experience then you caught the show on the air to find out exactly what you were watching.
Ken, what do you think of series crossovers, like CHEERS/WINGS? This effectively makes CHEERS, WINGS, THE TORTELLI'S and FRASIER exist in the same universe as one another.
Do you think, despite it being an obvious ratings ploy, that it's nice to have this shared universe among the characters?
On a similar note, what do you think of the CHEERS/FRASIER episodes?
Crossovers can get sticky however, if both shows aren’t from the same creative team. On ALMOST PERFECT we did a crossover with CYBILL. There must’ve been four drafts that ping-ponged back and forth between our writing staff and theirs.
And then there was the CHEERS crossover with ST. ELSEWHERE. That was less successful. Not only did you have two creative teams, you had two genres. The ST. ELSEWHERE folks wrote the scene and let’s just say they did not do a splendid job of capturing our characters or the style of our humor. I’m sure the CHEERS staff would have written a clunky ST. ELSEWHERE scene if the shoe were on the other foot. Although, maybe we could have made Howie Mandel funny.
But here’s where it got really weird: In the finale of ST. ELSEWHERE we learn the whole show was just a dream some kid had. So does that mean CHEERS, even in television reality, was just part of the dream and never really existed? Where’s Rod Serling when you need him?
Jayne L has queries:
I have never seen an end-credits scene on Frasier that didn't have the theme music playing over top, muting the dialogue. Seems a bit of a waste of effort to write dialogue that no one will ever hear, so: was there scripted dialogue for those scenes, or did the scripting stop at the gist of the scene, and the actors left to ad-lib based on the premise?
No dialogue is written. Just a brief description of what the writer envisioned. And even then, there were times there was no written pages. The writers would just tell an idea to the cast and they would all work it out on the spot.
Do you have a favorite home run call? And do you think it's important for one to have just one -- I'm amazed at some of the ordinary or even dumb ones. Over all the years and the number of announcers, it must be impossible to create an original sounding one... What's yours?
I don’t have one. All I care about when calling a home run is that I do it accurately and capture the appropriate drama of the moment. A dramatic walk-off home run is a lot different than one hit during a blowout. I try to be as descriptive as I can.
Announcers today can easily get caught-up in highlights. Your dramatic game calls are now replayed on post game shows, ESPN, and other sports networks. And just like players try to make dazzling plays so they can appear on “Web Gems”, announcers try to make spectacular home run calls so they can hear themselves on Sportscenter. I’m less interested in that unless I can somehow work a plug in for my book during my home run call.
And finally, from Kevin S.:
Will we be seeing you make a guest appearance on the Sunday broadcast of Comedy Central's Roast of Roseanne?
I'd love to but I'm folding my socks that day.
What’s your home run call? I mean question?