The technical side of 3TV News at 10pm

The technical side of 3TV News at 10pm

The technical side of 3TV News at 10pm

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by Lori Santa Maria, Jim Cole

azfamily.com

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 8 at 2:10 PM

One of the cool things about working for a televison station is the amount of people and talent we have in one building. Have a technical question? Just ask our Director of Technology Jim Cole, his office is down the hall. I sat down with Jim and asked him to tell us about his role in launching the new 3TV News at 10pm newscast. Here's what he had to share...

Once it is decided to add a new show there is a lot to be done on the technical side. The first decision is where will the 3TV at 10pm newscast originate? For this show it was a foregone conclusion. This had to be different from the 9pm show which is produced in The Big news studio that we call studio B so it would have to go into the small studio (studio A). There are already several shows produced in studio A with permanent sets and there is no room or budget for a new set so we would have to use existing sets for this show. The main set that we use for the 8 – 10am block of Good Morning Arizona had already been modified so we could change the graphic panels so this would require designing and building new inserts for those panels. Fortunately the design decisions don’t involve us but it is always interesting to watch the interplay between the graphic artists and the news producers hashing out those decisions. That process alone can provide enough material for its own reality show!

So the group decided that the show talent would stand up in front of those new panels with a couple of monitor trees. Monitor trees are rolling stands with multiple monitors on them. This concept can be very difficult to visualize so we brought in some different types of rolling stands and made a series of foam core cutouts representing different size monitors. That gave us another entertaining afternoon trying out various combinations of monitors, stands and camera angles to come to a decision on what this should look like. Next we have to acquire those monitors and figure out a way to mount them on the stands in the configuration chosen. We need to leave some wiggle room as the real monitor trees will look a bit different from the mock ups. The real challenge is adjusting several different types of monitors so they look the same and also good on television. A television camera sees things differently so all color and brightness adjustments need to be made looking through a studio camera. Television monitors usually have insufficient range to adjust properly so the feed to those monitors has to go through an external device known as a color corrector. Each color corrector costs about $1,200.00 so making those monitor trees is an expensive proposition.

The next challenge we have to deal with is the show presentation. For this show we want to make good use of social media to involve the audience. The talent will have iPads and the producer wants to see the iPad display on one of the monitors. Simple task if that is the only thing you want to see in the monitor but there is no way I can be that lucky. The monitor input has to be switched live and the only way that can be done is with an auxiliary buss feed from the production switcher. The sources that go into that switcher have to be locked to our house reference and input at 1080i. The Apple TV device that we will use to output the signal is a very basic consumer device that costs $99 and has an HDMI output at 720p. So to get this video into the switcher we have to convert the HDMI output to our HDSDI standard; up convert that video from 720p to 1080i and then put that signal into a frame synchronizer to lock it to our house reference. Another simple inexpensive consumer device that costs thousands of dollars to use in our facility.

Per Jim, once they get the monitors in place and attached to the proper feeds it's time for shot blocking, lighting and rehearsals. Stay tuned...


 


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