First Coast News: Behind the Scenes on a new Set

February 1, 2010 30 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Today, First Coast News is unveiling a new set that coincides with their High Definition rollout. Join us as we go behind the scenes and talk with Mike Garber, First Coast News Director, about the process involved in building a completely new set for a TV news station.


My name is Mike Garber, and I am the news director here at First Coast News.

We are putting in a new set that I think is the first time in ten years that First Coast News has gotten a new set, so it's a big project that we put together in a matter of six to eight weeks.

We got approval to do it, and it was everything from designing a brand new set to getting the equipment in for HD to now the process of learning how to use it to make sure our viewers get the best out of it that they can.

There are several parts to putting in a new set: The technical part, which is all new here and that's what takes the longest to get used to. For the anchors and the rehearsals, what they need to do it figure out where everything is, kind of like moving to a new house. If the bathroom used to be in one spot, it's now in another spot, and that's what they're learning for this part of the rehearsal.

This set has places to go that they didn't have before, it's going to showcase them in ways that the viewers haven't seen. They will look better because of the HD, there's more vibrant colors, there's more choices to showcase stories. There is really a whole new attitude that what we built is something that the viewer is going to look at as opposed to what we were trying to deliver.

When we were designing the set, it's kind of like going through a catalog. The designers will give you things to look at -- backgrounds, desks -- to spark ideas.

The background we have here with the swoops came from China. There was a network in China they built that for, and we said, "We really like that". They gave us a desk that we thought worked very well with that background, and in the initial drawings it looked great, but when we got the rendition of it, it was very big.

Our whole goal was to scale back, to put very little in between the anchor and the viewer at home. So the day we were supposed to apporve the set, we got off the phone after giving approvals and we said, "You know what? It's not quite what we wanted. It looks great, but in a sense it's like going from a Ford to a Mercedes and we wanted to go from a Ford to a Lamborghini."

So primary we focused on the set, and actually an artist here came up with an early conception of this, but this is the only set of its kind in the entire world.

In fact, the designers told us that it was the biggest challenge they've had, and probably the most exciting challenge they've had in years.