What are the Major Differences between TV and Film Production?

TV and film media comprise a large part of our daily entertainment. From science fiction films on a large cinema screen to streaming sitcoms on Netflix, we consume huge amounts of media each day.

TV and film productions employ a huge number of people, from actors and costume designers to sound artists. As a sound engineering graduate from a reputed audio engineering school in Toronto, you can find employment in both set-ups.

Although both movies and TV programs form a part of the media industry, there are fundamental differences in the production styles of both set-ups that you should be aware of before you start your career. Read ahead to learn about the major differences between TV and film productions.

1. Production phases:

Irrespective of whether the production set is for a TV program or a movie, most media projects have three major production phases:

  • Pre-production, which involves the planning and preparation for the project
  • Production or the filming of the project
  • Post-production consists in adding soundtracks, special effects, and editing.

Movie productions tend to follow a linear process, i.e. follow the production phases one after the other. However, with TV show productions, the production phases can sometimes overlap or supersede each other. For instance, while the post-production team might be editing an episode, the pre-production work would be ongoing for the next episode.

2. Scheduling of the project:

There are a lot of factors that go into setting up a production schedule, like the availability of locations or actors. In general, most movie productions last for three months to a year. However, smaller independent films can have shorter schedules.

In contrast, the production time for shooting single episodes of TV programs can take significantly less time. For instance, the Directors’ Guild of North America estimates that it might take anywhere between four to eight days to shoot a single episode.

3. Role of the showrunner or director

The role of a creative director also depends on the type of production set. For movie productions, the director is responsible for all aspects of the set-up and coordinating between the staff and the producers.

On the other hand, TV show productions aren’t singlehandedly run by a director. There are other important players like the showrunner, director of photography, or lead writers. It might also happen that each episode is being directed by a different person.

Additionally, production budgets also differ depending upon if it is for a TV show or a movie. A multi-episode TV show can have a larger budget than an independent film, while a multi-starer movie can cost more to produce than a small TV program.

With TV programs gaining more worldwide recognition and the interest of renowned directors, the differences between the two production styles continue to diminish. A qualified audio engineer can find suitable employment in both production set-ups and eventually start their own production company if they so desire.

Invest in a good audio engineering program today to start a successful sound career within the media industry.

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