The Secret of the Green Wall

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Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh tracks severe weather on the green wall.

The same “green screen” technology that movies use to insert special effects has been a mainstay of television news for decades. It’s called a “chroma key” effect. The chroma refers to color, in our wall’s case, a bright green, and the key refers to electronically replacing everything green with the weather maps and graphics.

So how do our meteorologists know what they’re pointing at when there’s nothing really there?

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Meteorologist Chad Waston tracking storms off the coast during Live 5 News at Noon.

Simple: there are monitors on either side of the wall, so they can look to the left or right, towards the radar image, and see where they are pointing. There’s also a monitor right on the camera below the lens, so that they can look straight ahead at the viewer and still see themselves and where they’re pointing.

But even with a monitor showing you where you’re pointing, it’s still harder than it looks. Think of looking at a map: if the top of the page is pointing north, then you’d point to the west by pointing to the left side of the page. But when you’re standing in front of the map facing the camera, you’d point to your right so you’d appear to be pointing to the west on camera!

The next question we get is, “Why green?” Green and blue tend to be furthest from flesh tones, so they’re the two colors used most often. Green is a better choice than blue because if the wall were blue, it would eliminate close shades of blue from wardrobe choices. Green is a little less common in ties and suits than blue, so green makes more sense as the color to eliminate.

If one of our meteorologists wore green, especially a light, vibrant green the same color as the wall, what he was wearing would “key out,” and you’d see the map instead of the clothes. It’s not x-ray vision, but it would make him look like “the invisible man.”

So now you know how one of the oldest, continually-used TV news special effects works! And keep checking the LIVE 5 INSIDER blog for more behind the scenes secrets!

Woodard Joining Three Rivers

Four-time Emmy Award winner and three-time Screen Actors Guild Award winner Alfre Woodard (“Miss Ever’s Boys”) has joined the cast of the CBS’s new medical drama THREE RIVERS.

THREE RIVERS is a medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country, where every moment counts. However, dealing with donor families in their darkest hour and managing the fears and concerns of apprehensive recipients takes much more than just a sharp scalpel. In this high stakes arena, in which every case is a race against the clock, these tenacious surgeons and medical professionals are the last hope for their patients.

Woodard will play Dr. Sophia Jordan a brilliant surgeon at the top of her field and head of surgery for the hospital. She has a vast amount of experience, training all around the world, which gives her an extremely diverse point-of-view.

THREE RIVERS premieres Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9:00pm on LIVE 5 WCSC.

Sharpe Remembers Cronkite

LIVE 5 WCSC’s own Bill Sharpe had an interesting encounter with CBS anchor Walter Cronkite while shooting footage for a promotional campaign in the late 1970s. Here’s his memory of the shoot and the anchor himself:

I was probably 27 or 28 years old, and I flew up to New York to do what we in the business call a “promo shoot.” As I was escorted into the CBS News studio, I was scared to death! After all,  I was about to meet and be a part of a promotion shoot with a man whom I had seen in my living room for years as I was growing up in Charleston.

Suddenly, there he was! He was gracious and yet ready to get the shoot done. I remember he made some suggestion to let me know he was going to look after me!

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Walter Cronkite at his desk on his last day as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

When It was time for the shoot, I told myself to just make sure I could talk! We did several “takes” promoting Live 5 News and CBS, and then it was done! I had made it ! It was only afterwards when I saw the tape that I realized how scared I was! You could see it in my eyes!

I remember how down to earth Uncle Walter was, and even though I was talking to the “most trusted man in America”, I never felt there was any condescension in his voice. He was just an older, more experienced anchorman trying to help this “greenhorn” anchorman from Charleston.

Years later, I interviewed Walter at least twice when he came to Charleston on his Yacht. Each time he was kind and decent to me, and yet always professional!

I will always be impressed The Great Man himself always made time to talk to “local yokels” like me! We will miss his honest, integrity and just plain decency. The camera can detect a “phony” a mile away. And there was nothing put-on about Walter Cronkite. What you saw, was what you got!

It’s something I think we need a lot more of today.

Cronkite is being laid to rest this afternoon. The service will be carried live online at live5news.com starting at 12:30pm.

Dog Day Afternoon

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Live 5 viewers began lining up a half-hour before the microchipping event began.

With the help of the Charleston Animal Society, we hosted a low-cost microchipping event in the front parking lot of our station. Between the hours of 4:00pm and 7:00pm, pet owners could bring their dogs and puppies and have them microchipped for just $10, a substantial savings for the service.

We had pet owners begin lining up with their four-legged friends at around 3:00pm, and by 8:00pm Tuesday night, we were wrapping up the last of the microchipping. The Charleston Animal Society estimated that about 230 dogs and puppies were chipped.

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This Boykin Spaniel puppy was one of more than 200 dogs that were microchipped.

Thanks to all of those who dropped by to get their pets protected. If you weren’t able to come out, click here to visit the Charleston Animal Society’s website for more information about upcoming events.

Cronkite’s Voice to Remain on CBS Evening News

Back in 2006, when Katie Couric took over anchor duties on the CBS EVENING NEWS, Walter Cronkite recorded the introduction to the program.

When Cronkite died last Friday at 92, CBS announced they would no longer use that recording, fearing it would be inappropriate since Cronkite was gone. But they appear to have reconsidered that decision, after receiving a blessing from members of Cronkite’s family to continue using the famous anchor’s voice.

Cronkite anchored the CBS EVENING NEWS from 1962, when it expanded from 15 minutes to a half-hour in length, until his retirement in 1981.

Remembering Walter Cronkite

In the mid-1960s, LIVE 5 WCSC’s own Charlie Hall and Carroll Godwin visited with legendary CBS Newsman Walter Cronkite and filmed interviews.

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CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite is interviewed by Live 5's Charlie Hall in a promotional film from the mid 1960s.

“I’ve never felt any particular fatigue factor playing a part in those operations,” Cronkite said. “I think it’s possibly because of just being so interested in the story. The adrenaline pumps a little faster, and as a matter of fact, you couldn’t drag me away from a running story if I’ve got an opportunity to do it.”

Godwin asked about critics who even then accused Cronkite of bias in one direction or the other, and asked if Cronkite wished to defend himself or his network.

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Cronkite talks to Live 5 News at the airport in 1986.

It was the Tall Ships that brought Cronkite to the Lowcountry in May of 1986. Upon his arrival at the airport, he told a waiting LIVE 5 NEWS crew that the ships interested him as a sailor and also as a link to our maritime past. Of special interest to him at the time was the appearance of the Danish ship the Danmark, which he described as a “particular favorite” and whose captain was a “definite friend.”

For many news viewers over the years, there were few friends more definite than Walter Cronkite.

Walter Cronkite: 1916-2009

Walter Cronkite, the CBS newsman so revered by Americans that they considered him the “most trusted man in America,” died today. He was 92.

WalterCronkiteCronkite was the biggest name in television news, the king of the anchormen; in fact, he was the reporter for whom the term “anchorman” was coined. He gave up that role 28 years ago, but never lost the weight and respect it accorded him, living the rest of his life as the industry’s distinguished elder statesman.

As anchor and managing editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS from 1962 to 1981, Cronkite became the symbol of CBS News and the face two generations of Americans associate with some of the biggest stories of the 20th century. Speaking in a calm, authoritative voice with a screen presence that exuded confidence and familiarity, Cronkite formed a bond with Americans by bringing stories such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, space launches and the Vietnam War into their living rooms. The bond was so strong that Americans polled in 1973 chose him — by a 16 percent margin over the nearest competitor — as the “most trusted” public figure in the country. He still enjoyed that status 22 years later according to a poll published in TV Guide in 1995, nearly 15 years after relinquishing his anchor chair.

No doubt aware of the power that came with such respect, Cronkite never exploited it. Though it was suggested many times that he run for public office, he knew it would be devastating to journalism if reporters decided to capitalize politically on their popularity.

Cronkite’s popularity was growing for 10 years before he took over the then-15-minute CBS EVENING NEWS from longtime anchor Douglas Edwards on April 16, 1962. The next year, on Sept. 2, 1963, Cronkite’s news became the first half-hour network weeknight news broadcast. In an effort to punctuate the longer broadcast and personalize it in the process that first night, Cronkite conceived and delivered for the first time his iconic sign-off, “And that’s the way it is.” It didn’t happen overnight, but the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH WALTER CRONKITE eventually overcame NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” in the ratings and became the television news broadcast of record.

Cronkite became one of the first nationally recognized television reporters and the model for the electronic news term “anchorman” when he reported from the 1952 Republican Convention in Chicago. There, executives decided he would assume the crucial role on the team reporting the event, a role likened to the anchor spot on a track relay team. Cronkite remained the CBS News “anchor” for conventions and elections until 1980.

If the Kennedy assassination was the birth of modern television news, then Cronkite was midwife at an event that drew an entire nation to the still-novel medium. It was Cronkite, removing his glasses to wipe a tear, who first reported the president’s death on television and the man the country watched for much of the four commercial-free days that CBS News remained on the air — coverage some credit with helping to hold together an anxious nation in the midst of the Cold War.

No other network covered the space program as thoroughly as CBS News, and Cronkite, openly enthusiastic over its advances, became inextricably linked to it and is often credited with being the program’s biggest booster. “Old Iron Pants,” as Cronkite was known for being unflappable on live television, stayed on the air all but three of 27 hours of the Apollo XI lunar walk coverage. He admitted late in his life that he was so awed when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon that, for once, he was at a loss for words and merely uttered “Whew. Oh boy.”

Another story Cronkite seemed to make a personal mark on was Vietnam, also a baptism for television news. Despite the graphic images of death and destruction typical in America’s first televised war, he, like most Americans, seemed to support the conflict. After the bloody Tet Offensive of 1968 signaled a longer war, Cronkite decided to see for himself. He returned from Vietnam believing the war to be a quagmire and, in a rare editorial moment during a CBS News Special Report on Tet, told Americans as much. President Lyndon Johnson, watching the broadcast, is said to have told his press secretary that if he had lost Cronkite he had lost the American public. Indeed, public opinion for the war, already shifting, plummeted.

Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was born in St. Joseph, Mo., on Nov. 4, 1916. He became fascinated with journalism in high school, writing for his high school paper and getting a summer job with the The Houston Post, a paper he wrote for and occasionally delivered, too. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin for two years while juggling writing jobs for the Houston Press and Scripps-Howard as a state capitol reporter. He dropped out after two years to pursue his journalism and broadcasting interests that also included working as a sports announcer for a radio station in Oklahoma City before joining the United Press in 1937.

In 1940, he married Mary Elizabeth Maxwell, whom he met at KCMO radio in Kansas City, Mo. She remained at his side for 65 years, until her death in 2005.

To much fanfare, Cronkite stepped down from his anchor duties on March 6, 1981 to allow Dan Rather to take his place. Cronkite had reached the age of 65, and at the time, that was a mandatory retirement age at CBS News.  He became a special correspondent and hosted several acclaimed CBS documentary programs, including the Emmy‑Award winning “Children of Apartheid” and the CBS News science magazine series WALTER CRONKITE’S UNIVERSE.

In 1985, Cronkite was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. He won four Peabody awards for excellence in broadcasting over his career and won virtually every electronic journalism award in existence during his tenure, including the du Pont Columbia, George Polk and Emmy awards. Cronkite twice won the Radio & Television News Directors’ Association’s highest honor, the Paul White award, a distinction shared by only one other, the late Dr. Frank Stanton, former CBS president. In 1981 Walter Cronkite was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest honor a U.S. civilian can receive.

His voice has been heard every night on LIVE 5 WCSC since 2006, introducing the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC.

LIVE 5 WCSC will broadcast a special, THAT’S THE WAY IT WAS: REMEMBERING WALTER CRONKITE this Sunday night at 7:00pm in place of 60 MINUTES.

Williams Ready to Talk

For longtime Manhattan DJ Wendy Williams, becoming a television talk show host is seeing a lifelong dream fulfilled. “I was born media-ready,” Williams recently told Broadcasting and Cable. WendyWilliamsAThis fall, she will join the LIVE 5 WCSC daytime lineup on THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW.

“I’d been asked to guest host or appear on other shows in the past, but I really wanted something where I could just be Wendy,” she says.

Williams is an outspoken personality who is not afraid to speak openly about deeply personal matters, from plastic surgery to miscarriages, feeling that it’s better to “keep it real.”

THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW’s basic day-to-day format will consist of her “Hot Topics” monologue, a celebrity interview and the very popular “Ask Wendy” segment in which Williams takes questions from the audience.

In an interview for her upcoming show, she joked about a code in her family: T.M.T.F.T.L. — that’s “too much, too fast, too loud.” She says she was always the one saying something inappropriate. “I was always talking too loud, and talking too much, and too fast and I was always this candid. My original family — my mom, my dad, my brother, and sister — they know I was born to do this.”

Her radio show, “The Wendy Williams Experience,” airs in New York and boasts 12 million listeners. She has been on the air for 23 years. She also appeared on VH1’s “Wendy Williams is On Fire.” Williams has written three books and has received the Thurgood Marshall Prestige Award, wendywilliams_logohonoring those who embody the leadership, commitement and legacy for the late U.S. Surpreme Court Justive Thurgood Marshall.

THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW premieres on September 8th on LIVE 5 WCSC. We’ll have much more about the show before then, so be sure to drop back by the Live 5 Insider blog!

McCartney to Make Historic Return to CBS

Paul McCartney will make his first visit to THE LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN on Wednesday night, walking onto the very same stage where he, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison made their U.S. television debut 45 years ago on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

lettermanMcCartney will be interviewed and will perform during the show.

Besides his iconic and groundbreaking work with The Beatles, the multiple Grammy Award-winning artist, named the most successful musician and composer of all time, has also been hailed for his work with his band, Wings, as well as for his solo projects. He most recently released the album, Electric Arguments, his third release under the name “The Fireman.”

McCartney will begin an exclusive series of shows across the United States, beginning July 17 at CitiField in New York City, and then heading to Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta, Tulsa and winding up in Dallas on Aug. 19.

THE LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN airs weeknights at 11:35pm on LIVE 5 WCSC, after LIVE 5 NEWS AT 11.

Meet the New Big Brother House Guests

When 12 contestants walk into the BIG BROTHER house on tonight’s premiere of the 11th version of the series, twists will immediately be waiting. LIVE 5 WCSC viewers will even be able to play along online for prizes from Sonic!

BB11_LogoFor one thing, they’ll be divided into memorable high school cliques: the popular, the athletes, the brainiacs and the off-beats. Then there’s the mystery guest: a 13th houseguest — no one knows who, yet — will be joining them for their competitions for food, safety from eviction and luxury prizes, and that mystery guest will give an advantage to one of the cliques.

“You may have graduated, but the truth is we never leave high school and this summer we are going to prove it,” says Allison Grodner, Executive Producer of BIG BROTHER. “From the brains to the jocks to the off-beat, everyone will be able to identify to one of these cliques, giving the viewers a group to root for and against from the very beginning. The division will cause instant drama.”

The 12 house guests this time around are:

  • Braden Bacha, 28, from Santa Monica, CA, is single and a surfer.
  • Casey Turner, 41, from Lakeland, FL, is a married dad who teaches fifth grade.
  • Chima Simone, 32, from West Hollywood, CA, is single and works as a freelance journalist.
  • Jeff Shroeder, 30, from Norridge, IL is a single advertising salesman.
  • Jordan Lloyd, 22, from Matthews, NC, is single and works as a waitress.
  • Kevin Campbell, 29, from Chula Vista, CA, is a single graphic designer.
  • Laura Crosby, 21, from Atlanta, GA is a single bikini model.
  • Lydia Tavera, 24, from Torrance, CA, is single and works as a Special Effects Make-Up Artist.
  • Michele Noonan, 27, from Pasadena, CA, is a married neuroscientist.
  • Natalie Martinez, 24, from Gilbert, AZ, is single and a Tae Kwon Do Champion.
  • Ronnie Talbott, 30, from Belpre, OH, is a married gamer.
  • Russell Kairouz, 24, from Walnut Creek, CA, is a single Mixed Martial Arts Fighter.

The house itself will be something of a surprise, too, because this time, the house where they’ll live under the watchful eye of cameras has been transformed into a green, eco-friendly living machine. The interior walls of the house are covered with a reconstituted wood panel product made from re-claimed wood flakes. This eco-friendly material reduced the amount of new lumber used to build the BIG BROTHER house. For the first time ever, the Houseguests will be made fully aware of the amount of waste they create, and will be required to sort, recycle and place all food items in an outdoor manual compost center, as well as an indoor automatic composter. The Head of Household Suite feels like seaside in Big Sur, Calif., where actual driftwood hangs on the copper patina tinted walls while a working waterfall, using recycled water, trickles over stacked stone to serve as a headboard. Zebra wood columns (all faux wood) press into the room framing a contemporary window that overlooks the “surf.”

Following tonight’s premiere at 8:00pm, BIG BROTHER will air three nights weekly, beginning Sunday, July 12 (8:00-9:00pm), Tuesday, July 14 (9:00-10:00pm) and the live eviction show, hosted by Julie Chen, beginning Thursday, July 16 (8:00-9:00pm).

Here’s the cool part for LIVE 5 WCSC viewers: you can log on to live5news.com during tonight’s episode and vote for which house guest will be evicted. You’ll have from tonight’s premiere through the start of Sunday’s show to predict who’ll get the boot. On Sunday, they’ll name the two house guests facing eviction, and then on Tuesday, someone gets sent packing.  If you’re right on eviction night, you’re in the running to win a gift card for great food from Sonic.

You can only make your pick each week from the start of Thursday night’s episode at 8:00pm until the start of Sunday night’s episode at 8:00pm. To play, go to the live5news.com Contests page and look for the BIG BROTHER contest button.