Feature: Lights, Cameras, Action: Behind the Scenes of M-A Today
M-A Today, which airs every Tuesday and Friday on highschool Cube, is M-A’s latest means of delivering the school announcements and is produced by Mr. John Giambruno’s TV Communication and Production class.
Giambruno says that he’s been “pushing for [a live show] for ten years”, and this year Principal Zito finally approved it. He used to post videos on YouTube, but not many people knew about it and only some teachers showed it to their classes.
At the beginning of the year, the students rotated positions so each one could get a feel for how the show works, so that later in the year they could pick one role and stay with it. Giambruno writes the first draft of the show’s script, based on information he receives via email. The anchors then edit this first draft to their liking. Giambruno aims to have the class writing the script by themselves by the end of the first semester.
During class on Tuesday and Wednesday, the class practices the show, each student assumes his/her position, and Giambruno assists them with their jobs.
The director makes all the cues, and is the only voice that is heard over the intercom system. It is the floor director’s job to silently convey what the director is saying to the talent with various signs.
The camera operators do exactly what their job says, operate the cameras. They also set up the microphones and lights before the show starts.
The switcher controls which camera view is being shown in the live video. The person in charge of playbacks and graphics plays the clips throughout the show and overlays text and images.
All of the audio is mixed during the live recording. However, the audio editors figure out most of these settings by the time practice recordings are finished.
Finally, one person operates the teleprompter who determines the speed at which the words go by, and another student adjusts the lighting.
All of the clips played throughout the show, including sports highlights or school event reviews, are filmed and edited by members of the class before the live show.
Currently there are some issues with the servers at our school, causing some lag in the show’s live stream. However, the M-A Today team is working to fix this problem. Also, the students who have PE third period have no access to the show. Thus the school is considering purchasing flat screens to allow those students to watch. Giambruno hopes that by January every teacher will be able to easily view the program.
All of the students work hard to produce a show worth watching, and have fun while doing so. Senior Gabie Grant says that she “feels more connected [to the school]” after working on M-A Today, and that she understands how a newscast works, and notices things in professional newscasts, like “when an anchor messes up, and why they did.”