Here Comes The Gear For My Studio

The only real difference is I’m running everything. No director. No cameraperson. No audio operator.


I start in Palm Springs Thursday. My home studio goes live in a few weeks. Right now it’s still a garage! Lots of work to be done.

Boxes are starting to arrive. Think of this as a giant jigsaw puzzle. I know what the finished project needs to do. Now I pray the pieces are the right ones in both fit and function.

IMAG2014-w1920-h1400The garage will be a real TV studio, 21st Century style. There will be a control room, though it won’t be bigger than a breadbox. It’s actually a Tricaster Mini, a special purpose PC designed to process video. The show gets ‘stacked’ beforehand, then I sequence it while on-the-air.

Weather maps will still be produced at the TV station, sent to me via FTP, stored in a server and played back live. Phew!

behr sparkling apple green for chroma keyThe wall separating the garage and kitchen will be painted Behr Sparkling Apple. That’s the Internet consensus for chroma key green.

Chroma key is a process in which one color (Sparkling Apple) is removed and replaced digitally by weather maps and graphics. When I’m on TV I stand in front of a green wall and point at maps that aren’t there. I see them in a few off-camera monitors.

It will be exactly the same process in my studio. The only real difference is I’m running everything. No director. No cameraperson. No audio operator.

The video gets back to the station via a Dejero VSET encoder. Stations use similar methods for ‘backpack’ liveshots. While testing, my video made the trip to Palm Springs in under a second.

Those are the major pieces. There’s also the peripheral stuff–microphones, lights, tripods, monitors, converters and on and on and on.

The station is letting me take a surplus cubicle off their hands, allowing me to isolate any noise from all the gear and providing me with an office.

This is all the more interesting because it allows me to send this live, high quality video anywhere at virtually no additional cost. To other TV stations? Maybe a news website? Who knows?

I’m the general contractor. I’d better not forget anything.

Star Jones And Me

I don’t know Star Jones, but I’ve been following the brouhaha between her and Barbara Walters. Nasty stuff. After Larry King Live tonight I expect nastier.

There’s some advice I can give Star, because I’ve been there. No, not a network job. I’ve been there in the ‘ruining a good thing’ sense.

A while ago, I had a boss at the TV station – Billy Otwell. Billy’s out of TV now, but I consider him a friend and I think he probably feels the same way about me. Still, during contract negotiations he said to my agent (at the time), “Some people burn their bridges behind themselves. Geoff burns his in front.”

That was one of the best lines ever spoken… pretty profound. Billy was probably just trying to get the edge in negotiations at the time, but what he said has stayed with me. And, he was right (back then).

It’s easy in TV, where you’re the product being sold at contract negotiations, to overvalue yourself and act like a spoiled child. There are lots of examples we’ve all seen or read about, and many people get away with it. I probably did.

However, it’s possible to make yourself more of a pain in the butt than you’re worth. That line varies depending on your perceived value.

I approached the line. Star steamed right through it.

Since Billy made his pronouncement, I have tried my best to back off a bit – and hopefully others have noticed. Who knows? Maybe it’s only noticeable to me.

Star will surely back off now. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s been given a lesson in self awareness. She’ll have to implement what she learned from her next job, which will undoubtedly be of lower stature than the one she left this week.