Action: Go behind the scenes of AOPA Live
You may have watched the videos, but have you ever wondered how AOPA Live comes together?
Simply, AOPA Live is video journalism. It provides AOPA staff another platform from which to tell a story, and some stories are better told visually.
According to Warren Morningstar, executive producer and director of AOPA Live, at the core of every good video story lies a good human story, an emotional connection.
But not all AOPA Live segments are stories; some segments feature interviews with key players in general aviation on hot topics such as new taxi procedures, the search for an avgas replacement, and NextGen.
Most interviews take place in a small studio at the AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., which houses high-definition digital video cameras, lights, a switcher, and an audio mixer. But the equipment is also mobile, which makes it easy for Morningstar and his technical staff to set up shop anywhere and broadcast live. These broadcasts are taped before a live audience and streamed to the Internet in real time.
Here's how it all works: For a live session at a show, AOPA staff sets up three cameras and wires them to the control center. A TriCaster switcher is the heart of the control center, receiving images from the cameras. An audio mixer receives the feeds from the microphones, and sends them out to speakers for the in-person viewing audience.
If the TriCaster is the heart of the control center, Morningstar is the brain. Under Morningstar's direction, Technical Director Daniel Pixton uses the TriCaster to switch between cameras. The switcher feeds only one camera at a time to the live stream and also controls the graphics seen on the live feed such as name overlays, titles, and credits; it even stores pre-recorded footage that can be shown on demand.
In addition to a live Internet broadcast, the video and audio feeds are recorded to a hard drive for later editing. These videos are then uploaded to the AOPA Live website for viewers who may have missed the live streaming feed.
Once the video stream is recorded, Morningstar edits the video, encodes it properly for Internet, and uploads it to the AOPA Live website.
Just a few years ago, productions like this would have cost tens of thousands of dollars for outside production companies who could field the needed equipment. Due to technological advancements in digital media, AOPA is able to quickly and efficiently bring you a richer experience with a lot less time and cost.
Be sure to visit AOPA Live—in person and online—at Oshkosh! AOPA will broadcast live July 28 through 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central time each day.
July 15, 2010