WMC Goes HD to Earn Bragging Rights, Let’s Do The Fireworks Safety Story and A Commercial to Rival the Head-On Product

Well take that WREG, WHBQ and WPTY/WLMT. WMC is now broadcasting its local news in High Definition. I tuned in for the inaugural broadcast and let me tell you, the folks at WMC are pumped about it. After opening with a hamburger recall story involving Kroger, Joe and Donna proceeded to tell viewers about how WMC is providing viewers with another “first”. Hey, it ain’t bragging if it’s so. Then they rolled into a story about some kid getting hurt at a city pool and during that story we heard the announcer come in on top of that story bragging about the newscast in H-D. Okay, maybe the audio person just forgot to put that voice-over pot in “cue-mode” or maybe the audio person was just so proud of the fact that WMC is broadcasting local news in HD that he or she got trigger happy. There is one little problem for me with the HD thing. I don’t have a HDTV. So I didn’t have the experience “wash over me” as some probably did. Also, is WMC shooting stories in the field in HD too. I will assume that they are. (Please refrain from telling me what happens when one assumes). I’m curious as to what kind of camera they’re using.

I did notice a couple of things though and perhaps someone might be able to share with me if this is a technique that is used when shooting high def in the field. I noticed on the child injured/pool story that several times those being interviewed were shot with the sun over their shoulder. Is that because the sun would bring out too much detail on someone’s face. Normally people are facing toward the sun to get as much light on the face as possible but that is the way we used to shoot in standard def. Maybe it’s different. On the John Ford trial out of Nashville, the video looked really fuzzy and grainy. I thought it might be my TV but then everything else seemed to sharp and crisp. And one other thought when it comes to HD local newscasts. When one uses file video ( and that is a must in a news operation) is it somehow UPconverted to HD and if it’s not, is there a noticeable difference when SD video is show on a HD local newscast. Also, was there any extra training for the people involved in news and production for putting a newscast on the air in HD. Did the anchors undergo training on how to apply make-up for HD. These are things that keep me awake at night. Anyway, congrats to WMC. You got to HD before anyone else.

So, does this mean that this year’s July 4th fireworks safety story will be shot in HD. Come on, I want to see the fireworks blow up the dummy or the doll or the watermelon or whatever is used to show that “fireworks will blow your hand off” in HD. Oh well, someone WILL get all liquored up and hurt himself/herself. Who knows, someone will probably stick some fireworks in the old grill while the tainted hamburgers are cooking. The explosion will upset Meemaw and who will fall over and have to go to the emergency room basically ruining the festivities because someone was showing off.

Finally, I don’t know if you have seen what I have found to be one of the most annoying commercials since the “Head-On” headache remedy. It’s for Sham-WOW and I think the pitchman’s name is Vince. He puts me in mind of a “carney”, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this guy will go places. If he hasn’t already appeared on the national late night shows like Leno or Letterman or The Daily Show, I promise you he will soon be there. Anyway, for those who haven’t seen the Sham-Wow commercial, here it is….I don’t think it’s in HD though!!!!!


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10 Comments on “WMC Goes HD to Earn Bragging Rights, Let’s Do The Fireworks Safety Story and A Commercial to Rival the Head-On Product”

  1. The Rant! Says:

    The only part of the newscast is what’s shot in studio. All field video is still acquired in SD. It’s a cheap way to do it but hey, they’re doing it.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    Well, technically then WMC still gets to say they are the first to offer a local newscast in HD but if another local station is able to rally ALL the elements (field and studio) in HD, that would be a way to counter the “First” HD claim. The question is: Is there anyone in Memphis ready to go to total HD local news route?

  3. Doug Johnson Says:

    I haven’t watched yet, but I’ll crank up the HDTV tonight at 10. It sounds like they’re doing what NBC is doing. Brian Williams’ studio work is HD, but the field stuff is still SD.

    And how can you not love ShamWOW??? It’s from Germany, and as Vince says in the spot — you know how good they are at making things. I bet if we threw a couple in the Mississippi, we’d end up with a dry river bed…

  4. Joe G. Says:

    Check Joey L! out!! With the embedded Sham-WOW video from YouTube!!! Way to go, Joe!!! Now do a YouTube search for WHBQ and embed the two clips from their sales video from 1964.

    As for the HD, most stations are doing studio HD and SD field acquisition. One thing my old station did with the SD stuff is they “up-converted” it to HD. Sometimes it looked crystal-clear and HD-like. Most times, it looked grainy or stretched.

    A few have one or two HD field cameras for docs and special stuff. The way the industry is going, I think it’ll be a while before we see a wholesale shift to field HD.

  5. average viewer Says:

    By the way Rant, the graphics are in HD too. I saw the 10pm news tonight and WOW!

  6. jamey Says:

    the thing about local news in HD that really stands out to me is the weather.

    weather grx in hd pops on the tv screen but seeing a bigger portion of the weather map in wide screen makes the biggest difference. In Nashville, WTVF has been in HD for over a year. Their field reports are in HD but archive footage is not. The live camera on the helicopter is hd too which looks really cool, especially at night.

    But I have noticed that the anchors are wearing a lot more makeup now that they’re in HD. While it is true that more attention must be paid to makeup, anchors need to know that in high definition, that does not necessarily mean MORE MAKEUP.

  7. Doug Johnson Says:

    After watching, I can say this: in studio (and newsroom) looks great. Graphics are sharp & clean (a little too much yellow for me). Field stuff doesn’t look so good. Some looks like SD expanded to fill the screen, very washed out and grainy. 4:3 with the side bars looks a little better. Also, there were some control room issues (graphics popping up at the wrong time, and the like) in the show I watched.

    Overall though, it’s a good step. I’d be willing to bet that 3 will be the next station to go HD.

  8. RP...(Richard) Says:

    Better late than never to comment as I have been out of town to the west coast!

    I am glad to see WMC go HD! I only wish WREG would also.

    As for the make-up application in HD? I read on a TV news prediction site that NBC uses filters to soften the image of it’s morning achors on The Today Show…..primarily it’s female anchor. Shows less “ageing”, if you know what I mean!

    HD is coming Joe and it’s worth the extra cash to receive it. At least in my opinion! I never watch an SD broadcast if there is an HD one available.

    While on our trip, all we had access to was SD broadcasts in the motels we stayed in and when I returned home, I realized how much I missed the HD! So did my wife who could, in the past, care less about HD!

  9. joelarkins Says:

    Hey, I’m looking forward to HD in my household. First, I have to get an HD TV which they haven’t started giving away just yet so I have to rely on the kindness of strangers. That’s the only reason mind you that I’ve been looking in my neighbors’ windows. Seriously, I hope to join the “HD Haves” group sometime in the next year.

  10. Fade to black Says:

    The problem you mentioned (with the HD Open audio being repeated during the story about the kid hurt in the pool) is related to the way the new Opens have to be played – through a previously-unused-for-this-purpose clipstore/stillstore machine called Thunder. The Thunder will allow the input and output of HD video, so all the new graphics were put in there. It’s complicated to have over-the-shoulder and fullscreen graphics in the same macine as the Opens/Stingers. And to avoid missing any audio from the Opens/Stingers, the audio ops were told to leave the pot open. It has taken awhile for the directors to learn the quirks of how the Thunder plays clips (a system clearly designed by an engineer, not someone who has to operate the equipment).

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