Friday, September 14, 2012

Daily webscast is getting better daily

"Hey Wildcats!"

While not a standard way to open a news broadcast, that greeting from Quinn Western is one of the ways the writers, anchors and producers (PR Ortez and Annie Maize) of The Orion's daily webcast are developing their own distinctive tone and style. The minute-to-minute-and-a-half show is starting to become more consistent and more professional with each installment.

One thing that's really helped has been everyone's willingness to experiment in real time to see what works and what doesn't.

The background behind the anchor, for example, has moved from a projected video of students walking away from the camera (last year) to a photo of Kendall Hall projected on a green screen to the current shot from the newsroom. The background for the weather segment has made a similar transition from a projected photo of Bidwell Park to the weather reader actually standing in Bidwell Park or in front of BMU delivering the forecast. Viewers can SEE what it's like outside, a real improvement.

The framing for those shots is changing and sometimes evolving, too. I liked the anchor framing on the Sept. 12 newscast, which lets Quinn dominate the left side of the frame while viewers get to see the newsroom over her left shoulder. Although the outdoor lighting is still a work in progress, I liked the way Renee Crane was framed and Sept. 11, with the forecast projected over her shoulder. I hope the producers keep experiment until they find something they like, then make that look consistent from day to day (even if it means the weather shot moves from place to place, as long as that's done consistently).

The producers also did a nice job of putting Renee outside to do an interview at Grilling on the Grass. More of that, and more video from campus events are the best ways to get people to watch the webcast.

The sound still needs some work, though deploying the handheld and lavalier mics has helped. Using the normalize clip volume function at the end of editing will fix the problem of the clips being recorded at different volumes. (To do that, click on the editing icon that appears at the far right on a video bar that's been placed on the timeline. When the menu opens, select Audio Adjustments. The Normalize Clip Volume button is just below what looks like a football field in the bottom third of the screen. Do that for each clip and all the clips should play at the same volume).

One more suggestion: If the anchor is going to continue reading from the newsroom, it might be time to organize a clean up day in Plumas 001.

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