Friday, September 12, 2008

Inside the control room

This is what our control rool looks like. It's kept dark to reduce reflections on all the monitors. I didn't want to be a distraction, so I didn't use a flash. The people in this shot are (from the left) the technical director, the director and the producer.

The producer decides what content will be in the show. The producer may write the stories, or may have associate producers write. The producer is responsible to arranging the newscast into a coherent order, so it will hopefully produce a useful and interesting flow of information. The producer also has to be able to make quick changes to accomodate new information or breaking news.

The director translates the producers design, called a rundown, into technical commands for the rest of the crew. The director gives commands to the technical director, graphics operators, audio ops, video and camera ops, and anyone else involved in the broadcasts. The director will tell the crew what to expect next, and then when to execute, such as when to take a camera shot, or animate a graphic, or roll a video clip. All members of the crew are connected to the director via a mic/headset. This allows everyone to hear what's going on, and to provide feedback when needed.

The technical director operates a large piece of equipment called a switcher. On the switcher is a button for every video or graphic source available for air. When the director calls for a camera shot, the t.d. selects the shot on the preview bank, then takes it to air on the director's command. The switcher allows for different combinations of sources and effects, providing the wipes, boxes, and other special effects you see during a newscast.
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