Beyond the Green Screen: What You Don’t See on T.V.
It’s just before the top of the hour. The bright lights are shining up the studio and softening imperfections. The floor crew production team yells “Stand by!”, the assistant running teleprompter prepares to roll scripts and the anchors sit up straight and stare into the camera. The meteorologist, at least Terry and I, stand on a tailored wooden box to give us a little height behind the weather center. James is vertically privileged. It’s show time.
You are now standing at the chroma key, or green screen, where we do the weather. The robotic camera in front of us has a clock on the front but we typically have a floor crew member standing to the side to give us time cues during our weathercast. When we look into the camera we are not reading from scripts but rather looking at ourselves and our maps while telling the weather story. We also have T.V. monitors to each side of us that helps us to point to different features on the maps.
These lights do however bother my eyes from time to time. Welcome to our make-up mirror. Sometimes I think I’d rather fix my hair in the dark than see every little imperfection or fly away hair standing straight up on the top of my head. Anchors, reporters and meteorologists all use this mirror to put on make-up and fix their hair. Men wear make-up, too!
Last but not least, here is the weather center. This is where we forecast the weather, put our weather graphics together, eat lunch and check our email. We spend a lot of our time back here. The quiet studio can be very peaceful especially on the weekends. For when it gets too quiet I make a trip to the newsroom where I can find the anchors, reporters, producers and photographers. On a day like Saturday, you don’t really have too many people to talk to, obviously.