Weather Video Production

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      I’d like to upgrade nearly everything about the current daily weather streaming video I produce for the company I work for. Mainly, graphics, resolution, audio, set. Including adding a stand-up key to supplement the sit-down key I’m currently using. I realize this means more space, a bigger wall for the stand-up key, additional computer power to run a teleprompter and wing (or side) monitors, the ability to change cameras and more.

      I’ve done basic research on turnkey weather graphics systems for broadcast and know that it will be very pricey – $10s of thousands for buy-in, plus thousands per month. That option won’t work for me.

      Currently, I’m using Visual Communicator by SeriousMagic (recently purchased by Adobe) for show production, with weather graphics prepared by our staff. The graphics are satisfactory – accurate (of course!), but no wow-factor. You could say they’re dated – looking like they’re from the 90s (which they are). Visual Communicator works well, and may continue to work well in whatever future upgrade I consider (I’m not trying to ditch it just to ditch it).

      I’m also using a 3-light kit from Lowel with additional shop lights on the key wall, the mic supplied with Visual Communicator, and a 3CCD Panasonic "palm" video camera.

      I’m publishing/rendering the wmv file to Visual Communicator’s "Large" format size – 310kbps, 30 fps, 320×240 – which equates to about a 16MB file for a 6-minute video. I have the ability to go to a higher format if I select "Custom", and it seems I can choose whatever I please.

      I’m not sure I’m clear on what exactly the nature of streaming video is. Most of the time my video plays within seconds of selecting, but some customers complain they have to wait minutes before the video begins to play (is this my problem or theirs?).

      So, my questions to the forum:
      Are there products like Visual Communicator that would help me produce a better show?
      Are there products unlike Visual Communicator that would help me produce a better show?
      Are there weather graphics packages that are not priced for the TV industry?
      How might I increase resolution for the viewer? (Is it just a matter of increasing file size?)
      How large a file should I consider for internet streaming before it’s just "too big"?
      Will the advantages of a larger/better camera be lost in a streaming video effort?
      What do I need to consider when going to a stand-up (traditional TV weatherman-style) key? Are there workstations designed solely for this type of use?

      My background is meteorology, not broadcasting and certainly not streaming video. However, I need to upgrade my daily video in the very near future and I’m looking for advice.

      Many thanks for the help.

      I can send a link to a current video by email.


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