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Become a Technical Director

The Technical Director (TD) is the person that turns the Director’s words into the actions seen on the screen. When the Director yells ‘Ready camera 3, TAKE camera 3’ it is the Technical Director who physically pushes the button that "takes" camera 3.control room switcher for technical director

Technical Directors sit next to the Director in the control room, in front of a large control board called a ‘switcher’. The switcher is the Technical Directors tool kit, full of buttons and levers that control the visuals seen on screen.

The mantra of the Technical Director is practice, practice, practice. Learning the switcher well enough to work a live broadcast is not an overnight procedure. Becoming skilled at a control room switcher can take months, mastering it can take years.

Technical Directors often double as Broadcast Engineers, monitoring the technical aspects of all incoming video sources, including gain levels and synch timing. In these instances, it is the Technical Director’s job to ensure all video sources are the highest possible quality.

Job Skills of Top Technical Directors:

  • Focus – A Technical Director has to block out all distractions; The Director is the only voice important to a Technical Director.
  • Dexterity – In 10 seconds a Technical Director will hear the Director say things like ‘Larry’s mic, ready 3, take 3, Add Larry’s name, ready Y, take Y”. Each one of those commands is instructing the Technical Director to perform a specific action, quickly.
  • Thick skin – Everything a Technical Director touches alters the appearance of the Sportscast. A Technical Director is always a mental mistake or a hand slip away from damaging a Sportscast. Technical Directors will make mistakes, they just can’t make them often.

A Technical Director Career May Be For You If:

You are good at taking direction.

Nothing aggravates a Director more than a Technical Director who tries to predict what they are going to say next. You may assume that the Director will want to ‘Take Camera 2’, but you can’t act on your instincts until the Director says so. The best Technical Directors listen well and wait to do anything until they are instructed by the Director.

You play drums or video games, since being a Technical Director means you’ll use your hands, eyes, ears and feet all at the same time!

Minimum Requirements: Technical Director

  • Associate degree in Broadcasting, Journalism or Television Production
  • Relevant work experience, including internships or college television stations
  • Background in other Control Room Operator positions, such as Audio, Playback, Master Control or Graphic Operator.
  • Continuing education and classwork to keep up with rapidly changing technology  

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