Last week, a squall line brought curtains of rain through parts of the Midwest. When it turned its attention east, Bernie Rayno, AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist, illustrated the storm’s path with a few taps of a screen.
Rayno’s state-of-the-art tool, an interactive touch-screen system known as StoryTeller, is one of multiple technologies featured in AccuWeather’s new 3,000-square-foot broadcast studio, which the State College company recently announced was completed.
The renovations also include a new control room, which features Ross Video and Wheatstone audio boards. Both the control room and the studio have been operational since March.
“When you have a tool that’s fun to use, your job gets more fun,” Rayno said.
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The studio, decked in orange and gray panels, offers multiple angles and presentation options for the growing weather and digital media company. Besides StoryTeller, which allows meteorologists to jot notes or circle weather patterns on the display, the space also boasts a tabletop screen reminiscent of “Star Wars” or “Hawaii Five-0.” Called Interactive Desk, the display provides the same creative capabilities with an aerial view. The technology is powered by Microsoft.
The studio’s third and largest screen, a nine-panel display, offers the greatest breadth during broadcasts. The interactive devices are an update from the usual chroma key technology used with green screens.
“That’s the way a lot of television stations still do business,” Rayno said. “We still have three (green screens), but we’ll be morphing more into this.”
Rayno and his partner Laura Velasquez have been doing live broadcasts from the studio since late March. They plan on expanding live coverage throughout the year, Rayno said, on the AccuWeather Network.
“We have to work smarter,” Rayno said. “If you don’t do that, you won’t survive.”
Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy