Few feelings compare to walking into the TV studio at La Trobe. At first, there is the awe at the dozens of expensive gadgets everywhere, the lights, the cameras, the news desk and background. And then, if you’re one of the brave individuals to take up a role within the control room, there is an element of intimidation. Televisions, computer monitors, and screens line the walls and desks. There are buttons everywhere, and pressing the wrong one causes some serious headaches for everyone involved.
One of the tech staff, Dean, told me off handedly that “the vision switcher costed about $33,000. It’s probably on its last legs, most of the stuff in here is actually. It’ll be a pain to rewire it all.” Upon saying this, he lifted a little trap door to reveal hundreds of wires beneath. He then told me how he had looked at a slightly better vision switcher with “32 inputs instead of 16, it was only about $50,000.” I shuddered to think of the combined cost of that room.
The price of the equipment is well worth it however, as there is nothing quite like sitting in front of a vision switching board, pressing buttons and watching different people appear on the screen. Months ago, my class did a pre-prepared news show, to get a feel for the roles involved and what we would be doing as our final project. Safe to say that went far smoother than the rehearsal we had for our own show at the beginning of this week.
It is a case of learning a lot, and learning it quickly, but having a blast while doing it. Aaron Tribuzio, our anchor, told me how it was in front of the camera. “It’s intimidating, but it’s fun. You know that everyone’s watching you, and everyone will see if you screw up. But that’s just how it is on camera, it’s as exciting as it is daunting.”
As I am in the control room, I feel a different kind of stress. For an anchor, they have to think about them. In the control room, it’s all about the team, and worrying about what everyone else is doing. Each person has a role, and it is up to the people in the dark room with the screens to make sure it all comes together in the end.
This year, there are 9 making media classes, all of which have to do their own news show. Each of them have slightly different formats, different content and personalities, but I’m sure that they all feel the same rush and experience the same giddiness from being in the La Trobe University TV studio.
By James Wallace