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The Must-Know TV Terms

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Rom Rosenblum, Applications Engineer at Clear-Com explains some of the most common TV terms in the industry. How many of these do you know?

1)            EIC:  The Engineer-in-charge is the guy or gal who runs the studio or truck and is the primary source of information pertaining to all things that are technical.

2)            Tape Room: The “tape” or video storage room is where the playback machines are operated. In the modern world, the word “tape” is not even used, but the terms “hard drive recording” are used. In the old days, Sony beta machines, ¾ inch machines, 1 inch and even 2 inch machines from way back were used for playback. It’s also sometimes colloquially referred to by the audio guys as the “snake pit”.

3)            Elvis: This is the common term for a tapeless playback device. EVS’s ™ LSM® was the most common machine. It had a series of hard drives all controlled synchronously for video and audio playback.

4)            Melt:  This term is most commonly used in sports broadcast and refers to all the day’s highlights. These highlights are edited together in a stream and “shipped down the line” to the station over the transmission lines, or brought back to the station on a tape or removable medium, from the remote site for archiving and playback later.

5)            A-1:  The head audio engineer in a broadcast. This person is responsible for all audio in the broadcast and will manipulate the sounds of the show accordingly. The better ones also control the intercoms and route the IFBs for talent.

6)            A-2:  The A-2 is the assistant to the A-1. This person reports to the A-1 and sets up all the audio gear and the mics the talent use to keep the whole show running.

7)            IFB: This stands for Interruptible Fold Back. “Fold Back” is an audio monitor. The interrupt part is achieved when a producer pushes a button on the intercom panel to break the signal going to the talent’s ear, and replaces it with the producer’s voice. This is used for cueing and informational purposes.

8)            PL:  A common and often misunderstood term that stands for “Party Line”. It is also the common term for an intercom system. A party line is most often an audio conference that can be heard by anyone listening and they can be, in turn, heard by anyone on that PL. This is used more frequently than a “point-to-point” communication device, which is found on more sophisticated systems.

9)            Mult:  A multi-cabled “snake” or fat cable that contains many cables inside, so one only has to drag one large cable instead of a collection of many thinner cables. Hopefully, they are labeled correctly on each end!

10)          Pair:  A whole cable, usually within a mult. A 12-pair mult would have 12 mic cables contained within it, for a total of 36 wires.  Each mic cable has one twisted pair (two twisted wires) and a ground drain, and all three are separately shielded and contained in one jacketed sleeve. Then, the whole bundle is wrapped in a single sleeve.

11)          “Wet” vs. “Dry” lines:  When we refer to a line or circuit as “dry”, we mean that there is voltage on that line to power up a beltpack, a remote station or a microphone. A “dry” line would be an unpowered audio or data circuit. Sometimes, a “dry pair” cable is used for mics or line connections. “Dry pair” is the common term for phone company wires. Analog phone lines are also wet.

12)          Turnaround:  Commonly a male to male or female to female XLR adapter. It is used to change the “sex” of the connector.

13)          Shore Power: When using power from the “house”, which is the building you are in, that is considered shore power. This is not the case when using a portable generator.

14)          I/O panel:  The Input / Output connector panel on a TV truck or studio wall is where we plug in all the connectors to interface to and from the show.

15)          Single-Muff and Double-Muff: Intercom headsets come in the one ear-cup and two ear-cup varieties.  The single muff is most commonly used in quiet work environments and for hand held cameras, as the right ear-cup would bump against the side of the camera on your right shoulder.

16)          “When’s lunch?”: This is the most often asked question. It is usually asked at CALL, when one arrives on site.

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