WVUE Studio Tour 5

My first impression of the news set was that it is a lot more cramped and less spacious than it appears on TV. The square footage of the entire news set room is much less than I imagined.

This first picture is of an area that is to the left of the main news desk as you face it and at slightly wider than a right angle to that news desk.

To the right, those of you who watch the FOX8 news will recognize an area where an anchor or reporter will often stand to introduce or conclude a story. The "coming up" graphic on the screen was animated just as it is on the air. Even though this picture was taken at about 8:00 PM, this graphic had been left up from the previous newscast.

I recognize the small desk in the center of this picture as one that is often used for interviews of, for instance, a local politician or sports figure.

Here's the newsdesk. This surely looks familiar to viewers of FOX8 news. The lights are florescent, and put out very little heat. That is a live shot from the "TowerCam" (atop the microwave tower on top of the WVUE building) on the screen on the front of the desk.

Here are the cameras facing the newsdesk. They have teleprompters attached to the front. I was intrigued that the monitors that allow the people at the news desk to see themselves are dirt cheap consumer TV's (and rather old at that). But, they don't need to evaluate video quality, they just need to see themselves. The green screen area can be seen in the background.

If Bob Breck turns to his right (your left) when in front of his green screen (remember, everything having to do with weather at WVUE is "Bob's") this is what he sees. A monitor so that he can see what he is pointing at. Again, a dirt cheap consumer TV is used for this. They also display a view on the teleprompter on Bob's camera, so that he can see what he's pointing at if he's looking straight at the camera.

This is what's on Bob's left when he's in front of the green screen. The console of any of the weather servers, seen earlier on this tour, can be brought up on this workstation via a KVM switch. I'm amused how the workstation monitor is taped to the top of the TV monitor with the same green tape that holds up the green screen.

WVUE has a system that can track the Meteorologist's finger, allowing him to "click" on items in the displayed graphic, and cause something to pop up or whatever. I think Chris Franklin is the only meteorologist I've seen using this feature.

Taped to the front of this cart, was a piece of lined notebook paper on which was written in fat black sharpie: Volumetric Imaging and Processing of Integrated Radar. It was probably written by Bob. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of it.

Here is the weather center. It is adjacent to the news set. It should be very recognizable to anyone who watched FOX8's news. When I took this picture, the big screen in back had been left on the "Landry's Cam" from Richard showing it to Bob Breck. It's almost black now because the sun had set and it was pointed out over the open lake.

There are two workstations on each side. Each workstation, including the one on the front desk can access any of the weather servers via a KVM switch.

Usually during the newscast, you can see one of the other meteorologists (usually Kim Vaughn when Bob is on the air) sitting at that workstation on the right assisting with the graphics.

During the rest of the tour of the news area, I neglected to take pictures of a few things that I really should have.

An XDCamHD and Professional Disk editing station. The news videographers use XDCamHD which record to Professional Disk media. Essentially a recordable Blue Ray in a plastic carrier. I was so fascinated with the tour I forgot to take photos of these.

A consumer video dubbing station. In the news department there was a rack of playback equipment for just about any type of consumer video that has ever existed: Beta, VHS, VHS-C, 8, Hi-8, Digital-8, DV, a computer equipped with drivers for hard drive and flash based camcorders using AVCHD, and probably several others. This dubbing station was for getting amateur video into their servers for airing in the event that an amateur videographer catches cool footage of breaking news.

Finally, here is a shot of the microwave tower, taken from just under it on the roof.

During the tour, Richard told me that he would be visiting the transmitter the following Saturday morning between 12:00 AM and 5:00 AM to perform some maintenance. He invited me to tag along. Sadly, I had somewhere I was committed to be Friday night between about 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM, and somewhere else at 8:00 AM Saturday morning. In my wilder days, I probably would have attempted to slip this trip to the transmitter between these other commitments. However, I regretfully declined the offer.

I will get to the WVUE transmitter some day, and post some pictures of that!

Here are some links to related sites:

WVUE's Web site

Wikipedia entry on WVUE

FCC query of WVUE.

Report and Order to delete channel 8 from the New Orleans Table of Allocations and replace it with 29 (approval of WVUE's move to 29).

My tour of the New Orleans TV towers.

Some pictures of the Dish Network and DirecTV New Orleans receive facility.

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Email the tourguide: <marksu@spectra-one.com>