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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Make The Live Shot Worth It

Week two of live shots was a success. It went a lot smoother this week than it did the previous week. I was lead producer on the previous show, and it was fun to try to come up with an idea for a live shot. The possibilties are endless, and I think that's my favorite part about it. 

This week, one of the reporters, Ani Ucar, was put on a story involving the Religious Freedom Law both Indiana and Arkansas had passed. She was going to do her segment at the green screen, bring in a live guest and try something creative for this story. Unfortunately, no one would call her back about an interview so things started to fall through. It was fortunate for us though because our newscast benefitted from it.

Governor Jerry Brown conducted the snow pack test on Wednesday to see how much water California has. After the test revealed that there wasn't any snow on the ground to actually test, he made an executive order to reduce water usage by 25% all throughout California. Because this happened, Drennon who was the lead producer for the show, switched Ani to this story and we ended up putting a USC angle on it. We decided that since she was putting a USC angle on it, we would have her do a live shot on campus. She interviewed a couple experts at USC who spoke about how this reduction would affect USC's campus and the look of it. She was very composed during the live shot and did an excellent job getting all of the facts out so naturally. We had issues communicating with the live shot operator last week during the newscast, but this live shot with Ani seemed so smooth and there was barely any delay. 

A live shot is good when it's not put in the newscast just because we can do it. There needs to be a reason for it. In Ani's live shot for example, it could have easily been done at the monitor in studio but instead we chose to do it live. It added so much to the story though because she was standing in a very green area on campus and it just showed how much USC must water daily in order to keep it that green. It made the viewer think about the situation and what's going to happen to the area surrounding them. 

Another good live shot happens when you're at an event or somewhere where there's a lot going on. It's very visual when people are walking all around the reporter for example in their favorite sports jersey or the reporter is standing in front of a dance competition. It's also engaging when the reporter joins in on the fun and incorporates themself into the live shot, whether that's dancing with one of the dancers in the competition they're at or even just interviewing someone as they walk by. 

Live shots are just an exciting part of the show because they are so unexpected. Sometimes, something goes technically wrong and they don't work during the show so it ends up becoming a learning experience, which is great too. They are an opportunity to think creatively and add a little something extra to our newscast, so it's definitely beneficial to have one in the broadcast. It's an even better learning experience for the crew, the camera operator and the reporter, which is really what ATVN is all about. It's exciting when the live shot comes out really nice, the reporter is happy about it and things go off without a hitch because as a producer, you've added something extra to the broadcast and helped initiate some learning in the process.   

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