Selecting a Textbook for TV Production

The textbook should be an overview text covering all the main areas of production.

No one section is intended to be the end of the educational experience but upon completion the student will have a general understanding of how the television production and broadcast journalism industries operate. Further study in all the areas will be necessary for advancement in the industry.

Total command of the vocabulary used within the industry is critical for employees. Therefore, any textbook should be vocabulary centered. It should introduce terms of the technical vocabulary and their definition at a pace and in an order that is logical to the reader in order to increase retention. Once used and defined, the term should continue to be used throughout the rest of the book. Memorizing terms and definitions is not enough. One must be able consistently to communicate with others using the terms.

There should also be homework and review questions and activities regarding the material in each chapter.

A good textbook also needs good materials to work in conjunction with it.

A student workbook with exercises to further cement principles and concepts from each chapter will give students an advantage.

A teacher’s edition or resource is necessary. This resource should have curriculum guides, timelines for teaching the course, systems of classroom management and grading methods for teachers to use. Sections including forms and handouts to be duplicated and used in teaching the course would be very helpful. Lesson plans for each chapter will help teachers to organize how they will teach the course. There should be a section for each chapter of the book which would include discussion questions, engaging activities for students to do, answers keys to homework questions and student workbook items. Chapter tests and answer keys will help teachers to be more efficient. Additional resources and web pages to pass on to students and teachers would be invaluable.

A bank of 1000+ test questions in a variety of styles (True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching, etc.) which will allow a teacher to mix and match questions to create unique tests for each class – or even a unique test for each student.

A pre-made full PowerPoint presentation for each chapter of the textbook.

In addition to regular textual information in each chapter of the text, chapters should contain:

  • The objectives of each chapter
  • The list of terms the chapter will introduce
  • Where appropriate explanation of consumer terms vs professional terms in both pronunciation as well as sentence usage.
  • A running glossary
  • Sidebars providing helpful hints in understanding particularly complex concepts in terms any consumer can relate to.

Since technology changes so quickly special effort should be made not to concentrate on specific pieces of equipment but rather on the principles of operation of all kinds of similar equipment. In other words instead of explaining how to operate a particular Sony camera model, the text should explain common features found on all types of cameras and how to use them in a generic way.

Individual chapters should cover most of the following concepts:
• Brief relevant history of Television Production 
• Overview of major job titles and their duties and relationships in a TVP environment
• Video Cameras and Lenses
• The variety of equipment that supports cameras (tripods, jibs, etc.)
• Camera operation, movement and composition
• Video recording devices operation and use
• Basic audio for television
• Connectors on equipment and on cables
• Scriptwriting
• Television newsroom production and operations
• Broadcast journalism and ethics of journalism
• Conducting interviews 
• Legal releases and copyright issues 
• Music use in television
• Graphics and image display
• Lighting techniques
• Shooting techniques in the studio
• Shooting techniques on location in the field
• Props, set dressing, scenery and design
• Production staging and interaction with talent
• Directing basics
• Video switchers and special effects generators
• Video editing
• Job search, resumes, demo reels, and employment interviews


Next month in SVN, we'll present a Wishlist of beginning equipment.