Blog by Jo Farrow
24th September 2018 14:34

Behind the scenes of television weather. Green screen, clickers and cameras

A little look behind the scenes at how a television weather forecast is put together. From the Edinburgh STV studios, data provided by the Met Office

First thing is to read the guidance, look at the forecast models and observations. Also, the radar pictures which show where the rain is and has been, and the satellite pictures to show where there is cloud cover. 

Then creating the weather story for the day, what is important, what is the message. Tweaking the model data slightly, say one or two temperatures up a degree or so, having a discussion with the media team in Exeter.

Getting ready, lots of foundation and powder so no shiny faces and no tufty bits of hair. I wear my mic pack around my leg in a special velcro strap that I go at STV Aberdeen. Most people just hook them onto their trousers at the back. Pop in the earpiece to hear the director and find the weather clicker, which moves on the charts.  

The graphics are patched through into the studio, the lights go on and weather presenters usually stand in front of a green chromakey screen. Not always as sometimes they can be blue or there is an actual image to point at or a series of screens which show the graphics. 

Sport and Weather have their own spots on the floor for presenters to stand in the right place.

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Sometimes the weather is recorded, sometimes live, maybe with a bit of chat with the news presenters. There is a clock as a countdown and identifier of which weather it is, time and destination. There can be advertising around the weather and then the presentation starts. These vary from 25s to 1:08 to occasional 2 minutes. Fitting in the story to the short or longer times is tricky. Definite wild weather is much easier to talk about than a lingering high pressure with fine dry days.

If you are live, you get one chance and hope that the graphics work. When recording, it's better to be a one-hit wonder. There are plenty of funny out-takes. I don't have autocue, it's fine to just use the graphics, the weather pictures as an aide memoir for the story. The broadcasts are either played out or checked back and sent off, for subtitling and set ready for transmission in their allocated slots. After a welcome cup of tea, it will be time for a review of the models, a look at the observations and most importantly to pop outside at lunchtime and experience what the weather is really doing. 

Nowadays there is also the social media and digital side, in between broadcasts. Viewers photos, will it rain for my wedding /BBQ on Saturday questions, extra videos and chat. Conversations about what is happening around the country, especially when it snows. I always have winter tyres on my car, it can't be that the weather presenter did manage to get into the studio.  

Any questions, there is a thread in the Netweather Community forum 

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