How do they film shows like The Big Bang Theory?

I mean, because they film in front of a live audience, do they film the scenes in the order they’ll be played (takes longer to film, but makes more sense to the audience), or film all the scenes in a particular location first (in this case I don’t think they’ll get many of the jokes)? How about scenes not filmed in the studio? Do they replay those for the audience?

Is that a 3-camera show? I’ve never really watched it, but I can’t figure out if Two and a Half Men is. We never do see the 4th wall.

I think it’s more that the audience is there to watch a to see a TV show being taped…not to see an episode being played out in front of them.

On shows like (IIRC) All In The Family, they would use the audience’s reaction to certain scenes to rewrite and reshoot them later. If something wasn’t funny enough, they could rewrite the joke and reshoot the scene.

I think the stages are large enough that they can have multiple sets available for the same taping. So they might have the guys’ apartment, Penny’s apartment, and the university dining hall all set up and they can just roll the cameras to the one they need to shoot on next. It might take longer to change costumes than to change sets.

Different strategies are used for different situations. A friend’s daughter was in the episode where Raj gets naked in the coffee shop, not sure of the details, but it was recorded with the audience there, but naked Raj hidden from their view (IIRC he was wearing a sock or something). (Then having written that, I may have it mixed up with some other scene, this one may have been recorded prior to the audience coming in.)

ETA: Actual location shots are usually played for the audience to gauge their reaction, and possibly record the laughter.

Doesn’t it take a few days to shoot one episode of a 3-camera show like TBBT?

Three-camera shows (which these days may use four or five cameras) are generally shot in a single night on the soundstage which contains all the sets. The cast and crew will rehearse and do their blocking in the days before the audience gets there.

If there are any location or outdoor scenes, those will have to be shot at another time. Sometimes they can be played back for the audience to get a reaction. Other times they’ll edit a laugh track in.

I attended a taping of Third Rock From The Sun back in the day. (In case you want to know, it’s the episode where Dick keeps getting charges for the little cracker packets by the cafeteria lady, Harry finally graduates from night school and Sally and her cop boyfriend finally kiss). They shot it in order, as far I could tell. They had the main standing sets (the attic apartment, Dick and Mary’s office) plus a couple of auxiliary sets (the cafeteria, the hallway of Harry’s adult school, the interior of a barn). Not all the sets could be seen by the audience, so we watched those scenes being filmed on large monitors.

It was something on the order of three hours to get that sucker in the can.

Even shows that are shot in front of an audience have a “laugh track” of sorts, it’s called sweetening.

If an actor, keeps muffing a line, the joke is not as funny, so the production staff will go back an put the original laughter in. If the audience is distracted by a technical thing, like a boom mike, they may also up the laughter to where they think the joke should be.

They could also edit out some of the laughter. There are those actors like Jack Klugman and Tony Randall that loved an audience (2nd season of “The Odd Couple”) and those who find it hard, as they have to relearn to wait till the audience reacts to say their lines.

Was there a comic there to warm up the audience before taping began? How did you keep entertained during set and costume changes?

At the tapings I have been to - yes, a comic is there to warm up the audience and act as an MC during the change-overs. They keeps thing lively for the audience during the whole process. They work hard!