Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tamil TV shows sets checked at CNN-IBN

In the list of parameters that Tamil TV channels have to compete with rivals, stage sets for different shows also found its place a few years ago. But considering the attention and detail given to set designs, they have become one of the quintessential aspects of a TV show, with special budgets allotted to it. As a result, the whole concept of a set has undergone a makeover, benefitting art directors and TV channels that use them.

One of the factors for the success of Beach Girlz in Raj TV, apart from the lively hosts, is its set. Though it looks simple, the set creates the necessary effect to make you feel the sea breeze with all the suitable props.

But why do channels concentrate on sets so much these days? “The concept of programmes have become very similar in all channels, so it’s only the sets that differentiate them,” says DRK Kiran, art director, who designed the set for the current edition of the reality show, Super Singer, on Star Vijay.

“In all other reality shows, audiences would be sitting on a steps-like structure, whereas I came up with a different theme of pit-like model and it was readily accepted,” he says. Kiran has been an art director for over 15 years and has designed sets for more than 1,000 commercials. He was also the art director for Ko.

After the producers discuss the concept of a new programme, their requirements and budget, the set designers sketch a rough design or make a miniature model. Once it is approved, they erect the real set. Depending on the size, it takes about 3 to 15 days to complete a set. “The set of Super Singer measures 4,800 sq ft and it took 15 days to complete it, while Deela No Deela (which used to get aired on Sun TV) took two weeks,” he says.

While improvisations keep happening while erecting the set, a trial show is also done before the actual shooting, where cameraman, sound engineer and the host of the show will check if everything is according to plan.

The small set for Kutram, Nadandhadhu Enna, which is aired on Vijay TV, where the host Gopinatah narrates a variety of issues, easily catches the audiences’ attention. “We created the set keeping in mind the time it is telecast,” says Maniraj, art director, who has also designed the set for Neeya Naana. “The colours, lighting and props will give you the subtle mood to watch the programme. It’s simple, yet elegant,” he says.

But Kiran and Maniraj agree that Mumbai is much ahead in terms of set-making. “There are not much options in terms of materials here. Still, we’re able to differentiate the sets with its design,” says Maniraj.

Aaryan, cinematographer for Neeya Naana, explains, “Even when erecting a set, we’ll decide where the cameras need to be placed. And depending on the colours used on the sets, we’ll use suitable lights to give a balanced feel.”

Seven cameras were used for Neeya Naana, he says. “There are not much difference between shooting outdoors or in the sets, as both have their positives and negatives,” he says.

While other reality shows carry out minute changes to give the set a fresh look, Manada Mayilada� keeps bringing new elements every week based on the theme of the show. Art director Anbu, who is busy shooting the finals, says, “Kala master decides everything. After the week’s theme is decided, we get the set ready in three days,” he says.
But why do we need sets? “Because, it’s fantasy. It’s something which we create using our imagination that audiences haven’t seen before. That’s why innovative sets attract them,” says Kiran


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