I’ve been on a lot of TV live shots. I’ve seen a lot of TV live shots. I’ve watched them come from pretty much everywhere (think South Pole) and under nearly every situation (think reporters on a hotel roof at the start of the first Gulf War).
Yesterday, I saw the best live shot ever.
Now that I’ve hyped it, let me add, it was by no means the most important live shot. What it portrayed was pedestrian. However, I’ve never seen a live report that had so much added just by being live.
Ed Lavandera¹ works for CNN. He travels all over the country as a general assignment reporter. Yesterday, he flew cross country, joined along the way by his family.
What made my ears perk up was when I saw Ed reporting live, sitting on a commercial airliner at the gate! His infant daughter was in his lap. As Ed spoke, passengers walked by on the way to their seats.
On-the-air, Ed’s video was put inside a graphic, allowing it to be a lot smaller than full screen. That’s one way of lessening the impact of bad quality video. It didn’t make any difference. Content trumps technical quality.
I would guess the video was sent via a high speed cellphone data link. That’s similar to my tethering my phone to this laptop. Exactly what equipment he used and how he accomplished this feat is nowhere to be found. I’d appreciate any insight.
It couldn’t be too incredibly complex, because he was live from the plane, meaning really limited space. His daughter on his lap limited him even more.
What made this live shot so great was his ability to let me experience travel on the day before Thanksgiving. It’s something we’ve all heard about. Few of us have experienced it. There aren’t more planes flying, just more people who seldom fly!
The pre-Thanksgiving rush is something reporters talk about, but never deliver – certainly never like this.
Hats off to Ed and whoever came up with this idea and then executed it.
Blogger’s addendum – The CNN website has a ‘package’ that was assembled from the elements of the trip. Here’s the link, but I don’t recommend it. It absolutely pales in comparison to that one live shot while on the tarmac.
¹ – Amazingly, on CNN’s own site, Ed’s name is spelled two different ways! I think my choice is right.