Shawn Wittrock, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- It takes a lot of people to put on a newscast; a lot more than just the people you see on the air.
It also takes a lot of equipment and a group of highly trained people who make it all work.
"Over the years, we've put new sets in, we've put new control rooms in, and we've put new audio boards in, but we've never done all of that at the same time," said Director of Production John Quesnel.
But that's just what Quesnel and his production department were charged with doing: researching, buying, and installing a new studio and production suite, on time and on budget.
"To do all of that, to keep all the plates spinning simultaneously, if you will: that's been the big, big challenge," Quesnel said.
He knew that only the best would do for Oklahoma's Own News on 6. He started with a key piece of equipment that switches between every element you see on the air during a newscast.
"It's a top of the line switcher. Super Bowl was done on that switcher - a lot of big events," Quesnel said.
He added an upgraded audio board, and decided to try something that's relatively new to the TV industry--LED lighting for an entire studio.
LED lights put out less heat, cut operating costs by about 90 percent and, since they're computer controlled, give our crew a lot more flexibility.
"And actually, nowadays, each light is its own computer," Quesnel said. "It has network cables to it, so it's just like there's a bunch of computers hanging up in the studio.
The only things Quesnel chose to bring from our old building were the graphics system and our studio cameras.
"Our studio cameras we are bring over, because those were natively HD, but really, other than that, it's pretty much a clean slate. So, very uncommon in this day and age," he said.
The studio is a clean slate, too. There's a brand new set, a new weather center, new kitchen, and new areas for interviews and performances.
But aside from the overall new look, the biggest change you'll notice in our studio are the banks of large monitors.
"I think we can enhance our storytelling, because we can bring the anchors and reporters into the story more," Quesnel said.
It took months to install everything and, even as finishing touches were added, the crew got busy learning.
"There's a lot of new equipment, so guys have to kind of re-train their muscles as far as where they go for what - open up this mic, punch that button, put this video on the line - all that kind of stuff," Quesnel said.
And it's not just the production crew that had a lot of learning to do. Everything had changed for everyone involved in a newscast.
So, multiple rehearsals were scheduled for the entire broadcast crew. Practice makes perfect.
"We want to do a good job and we want that initial experience for the viewers to be a positive one," Quesnel said.
He said, even though it's been a big challenge, it's been a lot of fun doing something that's really not done these days.
"New TV stations aren't built anymore. A lot of TV stations are remodeled or expanded, but to build one from scratch - a green space, as they call it, from the ground up - is very unheard of," Quesnel said.