A HALF-HOUR TV SITCOM… “4-Camera or 1-Camera”
You’ve watched TV. You have a great idea for a half-hour sitcom that has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen. OK is it a Louis CK or Ricky Gervais 1-Camera Shoot or is it an Ashton Kutcher or Chuck Lorre 4-Camera Shoot?
You don’t know? You don’t even know the difference? Then please tell me who the heck in the TV industry is going to finance you!
There are two popular styles of Comedy Production…. Single-Camera & 4-Camera (aka: Multi-Camera) with different pros & cons for each style.
The bottom line is that Multiple-Camera is the old style, where a scene is done once, and there are 4 cameras shooting simultaneously (Master Shot, Medium Shot #1, Medium Shot #2, & Close-Up or Reaction Shot framed as Close-Up) and the director, sits in the editing booth and actually edits it live. Thus, the actors only need to do it one time.
(PS. It never works that easy)
The Single-Camera, has a larger amount of hand-held shots (Master, Medium, CU, ECU, etc) and the actor does it once for the Master, then likely repeats it again for the Medium, then possibly repeats it again Medium, etc. The benefit f 1-Camera is slightly better lighting and a closer focus on each individual take.
Another difference in the two methods is the “style of the look” in the end product.
The 4-Camera looks smooth, polished & professional.
The 1-Camera looks live, natural & slightly amateurish.
They both take a lot of work and preparation.
Examples today of 4-Camera (“multi-camera”) and 1-Camera (“single camera”) sitcom shows are:
2) “CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM”
3) “MODERN FAMILY”
4) “30 ROCK”
1) “BIG BANG THEORY”
2) “TWO & HALF MEN”
3) “MIKE & MOLLY”
4) “TWO BROKE GIRLS”
5) “CHEERS” & “FRIENDS”
So which one are you? Which style (aka: look) do you envision. Now, when you meet with the proper executive to co-produce with you can talk a little intelligently.
Now, stop focusing on 1-Camera or 4-Camera. Go back and focus on (A) writing the sample script, (B) making it great and then (C) getting it to one of the established (see above) Producers who have deals with TV & Cable networks and have proven that they can deliver quality week after week, after week, after week.
Happy Filmmaking, The Filmbay Team,
*Produce *Finance *Write *Direct *Distribute *Profit
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