VIDEO-OVER-IP: A NEW TOOL IN THE TOOLBOX

As bandwidth expands and television stations’ budgets shrink, a solo journalist with a 3G air card-equipped laptop is a very practical and inexpensive option for covering breaking news.

Below, is footage from NewsChannel 5, Nashville, TN that shows how aerial coverage from the station's helicopter and streaming video from an air card-equipped laptop on the ground were combined to cover weather and traffic.

(Above: NewsChannel 5 (Nashville,TN) recently used video-over-IP footage to augment it’s weather coverage during a snow storm.)

Let’s face it, a solo, mobile journalist with a dashboard-mounted camera can capture traffic and weather by simply driving around the city while streaming video back to the station. The same mobile journalist, news photographer or reporter can dismount the camera and stream breaking news footage back to the station.

Back at the station, the voiceover can be done by an anchor or in-studio reporter with the producer and/or mobile journalist in her/his ear. All this can be done for a fraction of the cost, time and expense that it takes to roll a live truck. In fact, the live truck can arrive later with a reporter and take over from the mobile journalist who can stay on the scene for secondary coverage or return to the station.

Latency has been an issue that prohibits live stand-ups, but we have found that most stories can be shot, edited in the field and streamed back to the station with video-over-IP. Also, latency can be overcome by reporters simply doing voiceovers off-camera.

Another option is to account for the latency, time the reporter’s live intro and stream the package back to the station.

Again, video-over-IP is not a panacea, but nor is a $250.000-$500,000 live truck or satellite truck. Instead, video-over-IP is another tool in the toolbox.

And can’t we all use more tools to cover news faster, better and less-expensively these days?

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