Before I even get started with this post, I have to mention that when I initially compiled this list, I got tons of invaluable help from Nick Hollensbe, who is the video-editing and motion-graphics guru at the Naples Daily News.
Ever since I started this blog series, I’ve been wondering how to post this list of equipment, because there’s a ton of it.
As I was putting it together, I thought about trying to provide product links, etc…, (and I may go back and add them) — but to be honest, just pulling this thing together definitely wore out this nerd from Kansas.
And I’ve tried to proofread this stuff, but I’m kind of posting this late at night after a very long day, so I’m sure there are probably some typos and other goofs that I’ll try to fix later.
Please kindly overlook and forgive them.
Lastly, let me say that I am in no way saying that every newspaper should go out and buy all of this stuff, and then try to launch a TV-quality vodcast. The circumstances in Naples were very specific, and we tried to come up with a unique solution for the opportunity we had.
With all of that out of the way, here goes …
In addition, we had three very inexpensive Panasonic 3CCD cameras for breaking news, on-location multi-camera shoots and big news events. When I say inexpensive, I mean probably less than $500.
We also had three other Panasonic DVX-100 cameras as the full-time cameras in our studio. So, if you’re scoring at home, that’s six total Panasonic DVX-100s, one GL-2, and three cheapies.
I understand that’s a lot of video cameras for a newspaper of this size.
Heck, it might be a lot for a newspaper of any size.
As I’ve tried to explain in earlier posts, the biggest reason we did it at that level in Naples was because we really were trying to created a credible, broadcast-quality program that we knew would be showing up on people’s big-screen televisions via Comcast.
I can tell you that the quality we were aiming for was the key to getting some of the bigger advertisers on board.
Now, back to the list …
The VT switched between the three in-studio cameras (those Panasonic DVX-100s I mentioned earlier) via s-video cables.
For our wired lavalier mics, we used Sennheiser MKE-2-PC Omni-Directional lavalier mic.
In fact, we had two of these badasses behind the keyboard.
I forgot to mention that other killer graphics guy we had on staff was Chris Cost. When Nick and Chris weren’t creating graphics for Studio 55, they were building commercials for clients.
+ Four Image 80 and two Image 20 KinoFlo florescent lights
+ Four Arri 650 watt lights
+ 2 Arri 300 watt lights
+ Light board dimmer
+ Lowel Rifa-88 softbox
In the control room of the studio, we had a Strand Lighting Series 100 12/24 Channel board. It cost a little over $400 and supported 24 channels.
Nick told me that the way it worked for us is that we daisy-chained all the lights together into the board and programmed each light to have an address. That address corresponded to a sliding knob that allowed you to dim each light separately or each group of lights separately. So it technically only had one 4-pin XLR connection for DMX lighting and all the lights were daisy-chained to that one connection.
+ High-powered Dell XPS desktop computer with Adobe Production Bundle.
+ High-powered Dell XPS laptop computer with Adobe Production Bundle
+ High-powered Mac G5 with Final Cut Pro Studio.
+ Standard Dell desktop computer with Adobe After Effects.
Our on-air folks (some of which also worked full-time as production on our website, as well) had high-powered Dell XPS laptops equipped with the standard Microsoft Office suite and the Adobe Production Bundle so they could update graphics from their stories and edit packages. They also had the EZ News software on their machines for writing scripts.
Four 50-inch Plasma televisions were looped together and powered by the Standard Dell desktop computer that I mentioned above. The way we powered our video board was disgustingly easy. Everything we edited for use on the video board was broken into either halves or quarters during the editing process. The plasma TVs were sent one signal, not four separate signals. The four TVs literally just acted like one big monitor.
Nick and Chris would do a few other little tricks related to the video board during the recording of the newscast. But I’m getting tired, so just give me a call if you want more info on what we did to pull off the effect of having a real video wall, when it wasn’t.
It’s probably obvious what we used to encode the Windows Media version.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, one of the most important parts of Studio 55 was the killer crew. Iâ€™ll try to talk about their job responsibilities and daily workflow in the third part of this blog series, which I hope to post sometime next week, unless I get really motivated over the weekend.