Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Handling the Truth
Once upon a time, sharing courtroom video took little more than a gentleman's agreement and the toss of a tape (or two). No more. It's rare these days for any two stations within the same market to record video on the same format, let alone ALL of them. So when some judge stops brushing crumbs off his robe long enough to decide he can abide but ONE camera in his courtroom, a delicate, digital dance begins. Except it ain't so delicate. Not with a handful of fully grown A/V geeks scrambling around bug-splattered news wagons. Pop quiz, Hotshot. Your biggest competitor's got hot footage of the star witness blowing her nose under cross examination. He'll share it with you, too - but only if you make it easy on him. Too bad his station records images on used solar panels, while your employer prefers computer cards the size of postage stamps. Hey, did I mention everyone's boss is screaming into their headsets for you vested oafs to figure it and feed the video NOW so that said Star Witness can wrinkle her Kleenex on the promo leading into Dr. Oz? Well, they are, so you'd better daisy chain those cameras together and pray in the name of Saint MacGyver that Missus Witness pops up on that one inch screen. But don't think all your energy's going to waste. Somewhere in a courthouse window, a judge is chewing a toothpick and humming a familiar tune as he watches blue-collar Joe's do the Hokey-Pokey.
And isn't THAT what it's all about?