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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

We'll Do It LIVE!


Live shots can be some of the most exciting and effective parts of any newscast.  It's powerful to take a viewer straight to the scene to watch a story unfold in real time.  Who wouldn't want to watch live footage over a prerecorded tape?  Because of this, we strive to include a live shot in every newscast.  However, since live shots are, well, live, the unpredictable can happen, causing a lot of problems. 

There's a lot of technology involved with a live shot, like the streambox, which sends the feed back to the studio, and with all of that technology comes technical difficulties.  For our first live shot, we're supposed to find something on campus to cover, just to make it easier on the team.  This way, if things go wrong we can fix them more quickly with the help of our faculty supervisors.  Unfortunately for our team, the streambox has never been operational on Tuesday, so we have not had the experience of using a live shot for our show.  I guess it's a perfect example of how temperamental the equipment can be...

Because things don't always pan out with the live shot, the most important thing for a producer is to have a backup plan.  Every time a live shot appears in the show, including anchor tosses, we MUST have an option below it.  Instead of the live shot we can either stay on camera with the anchor, or switch to a video or an interview.  We can even switch to a map or another graphic; the possibilities stretch as far as our creativity.  This way, if the live shot dies out five seconds before it's time to air, we have a safety net so that the show can go on.  In these cases the viewers would not even notice anything went wrong.  Sure, it's not ideal, but when things go wrong it's more important to make air, not art.  

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