The TV-Production Shift During the COVID-19 Health Crisis: How TV Language Changed As a State of Alarm Was Enforced in Spain
AbstractTV consumption has broken records in Spain during the COVID-19 lockdown period enforced in the country subject to State-of-Alarm provisions. Audience data have shown unprecedented consumption rates. Specifically, over 335 minutes of consumption per citizen per day; and a 2.1-million news-bulletin viewer growth in March (Barlovento, 2020a). TV script writers, camera operators, directors, editors and producers alike have been working under the strictest rules to comply with all the health and labour standards. The production team —specifically, its director— makes important decisions as regards pre-production, recordings, actual production and post-production. Upon going live, a director relies on their team’s professionalism, being ultimately responsible for deciding what —and how and when— is seen on screen, as well as for its visual quality. A director is the person at the heart and core of a program broadcast on TV (Bernad, 2016). This paper aims at bringing to public notice a change of method in live TV production team work during the first month of lockdown, as well as in the workplace shift. It also aims to reveal the increase in the use of video conferencing signals, Skype or WhatsApp, which have replaced the traditional satellite and radio frequency signals, a process entailing visible quality losses. The analysis system is based on questions posed to those professionals involved in TV broadcasts during the first month of State-of-Alarm enforcement by means of video calls, online surveys and WhatsApp messages. Keywords: production, TV, Skype, coronavirus, quality
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