An American journalist friend of mine is teaching a television documentary production class at the Faculty of Communication Arts at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand’s premier secondary school. Since I graduated as a Communication major with a TV production emphasis, I tagged along on a visit to the university, curious to see how a modern production facility compares to what I learned in nearly twenty years ago.
Other than the monitors being large flat-screens instead of smaller tube monitors, the control room looked familiar. I have fond memories of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with my classmates as we would produce mock newscasts and other projects. “Cue camera one… standby to fade in…”
One cool thing that didn’t exist back in my day is the virtual studio. Using the principle of the chroma key (often called the “green screen effect”), the background of the image is created digitally. There is nothing on the studio walls other than a grid that can be used to ensure the effects’ perspective is lined up correctly.
Within the control room, you can see how I’ve been placed “on set” for a Thai TV show. The most interesting thing is how there is ostensibly a raised platform behind me with a mirrored front surface. Of course, that platform doesn’t really exist. What happens if I walk back there and try to step onto it?
Of course, my own career hasn’t followed my TV emphasis that closely (except for my youtube channel!), but other aspects of my Communication degree have proved helpful. Still, it is hard not to visit Chula’s studio and not feel the desire to reengage with TV production, an art I really enjoyed.