Management at ABC 7 News (WLS-TV) committed to setting a new standard for innovative news broadcasts with a state-of-the-art news studio on State Street. The 8,200-square-foot conversion of existing 1920’s style retail space is unique and features an expansive bay window at the sidewalk. The new set provides an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the city's top-rated newscasts. As a part of the overall project, designers wanted large flat panel displays placed on-camera so that news anchors could show graphics, interact with remote interviews, and gesture to weather and traffic details without using the older “green screen” technique. The new displays were also needed to give the director and production staff a lot more visual choices such as allowing news anchors the option to stand up, and have multiple places to stand or sit within view of the new LCD displays.The Station’s Challenge
When using TV cameras to capture video images on a screen, there are a number of problems that can occur. The biggest challenge is color balance. What looks good to the eye will not reproduce accurately on the TV camera, so the technical team needed to find a flat panel display that had extremely flexible color temperature adjustments. Additionally, natural ambient light enters from the street windows and combines with special overhead fluorescent lighting to create a difficult lighting situation to manage. Many flat panel displays simply don’t have the ability to adjust for this environment, which requires serious color saturation and a color shift towards the red spectrum.
According to David Hewitt, Technical Facilities Manager at WLS-TV, this color adjustment “requires hard core setup flexibility.” Hewitt and his team performed a product shoot-out with other models and brands of flat panel displays, and at the time NEC was the only manufacturer that could display accurate color while under ambient lighting conditions. Hewitt also leaned towards LCD technology because LCDs don’t suffer from “image burn-in” that some other technologies can exhibit over time.
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