Tag Archives: Television

My Top Five Experiences at the NAB Show

Each year a convention is held for the National Association of Broadcasters to showcase their ideas and newest gadgets. I had the amazing opportunity of attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas this year from April 12-15, 2015 with a department professor and ten other peers within the Media Leadership major at the University of Northern Iowa. My expectations were greatly surpassed in all aspects, from the amazing tech tools and equipment displayed to the informative sessions we attended each day to learn all we could about the growing industry.

When walking into any of the four HUGE halls of the convention center, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do first or where to start my journey at the NAB Show. But after jumping into a few informative and entertaining sessions and visiting multiple exhibits and booths, I found out pretty quickly that there is truth behind the saying “time flies when you are having fun!” Here’s a look at my top five experiences at the NAB Show 2015!

5) Experiencing the Canon 4K Theatre

Canon used their 4K theatre to show NAB goers the newest technology in cameras and what it looks like on the big screen. Canon is soon releasing their newest gadget with 4K technology in the form of their professional-use 4K video camcorder, the XF-AVC. This new camera allows for more compact storage of video files, and works across various stages of the production process, from shooting to editing. It was really neat to see what progress is being made in the industry and what we can look forward to as developments continue to happen.

4) Meeting Adam Epstein, the “Saturday Night Live” Editor

adam epsteinWe sat in a session with Adam where he gave us the crazy details on the short film process with the Saturday Night Live crew. He discussed how working on a project that takes a year or two to finish compares to working on the weekly short films created in only 4-5 days for the SNL show each Saturday Night. For example, you might have a few weeks to take dozens of different shots with different angles and make the decision on which shot to go with, whereas with an SNL short film he may only have a few minutes to take all the shots they can and later in editing have a few more minutes to make the decision on which of the five shots to go with. When working at such a fast pace, like he does with the SNL short film crew, there isn’t much time for making decisions and wavering between “yes” and “no,” so he believes when working with such tight deadlines you have to learn how to go with your gut and keep on your toes.

3) Seeing Documentarian Morgan Spurlock

After seeing the movie Super Size Me, I was intrigued to hear from the man responsible for the film. He discussed how success sprouted from this simple documentary film, leading to his two documentary series “The 30 Day Challenge” and “Inside Man”. I also learned how he uses unique marketing tactics to advertise companies that may not otherwise be related to the video. For example, GE sponsored a Focus Forward Short Film Documentary about two women who have created a bike helmet that deploys when impact is detected. I was also very impressed with all of the additional documentaries he has been working on since, such as The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and I’m anxious to check out more of them!

2) Attending the “Women in New Media” Panel

I had the privilege of listening to an accomplished panel of women talk about how they reached their success. Jenn Page (filmmaker and founder of production company Luminave Films), Jenna Edwards (independent writer, producer, and owner of “Create with Jenna” website), Kristen Nedopak (host of Geek Awards, actress, screenwriter, producer, director), and Sandra Payne (director, screenwriter, and producer at SPwrite Productions, LLC), answered questions regarding women’s roles in new media categories, such as podcasting, filmmaking, blogging, and documenting. Women are naturally social beings and we have our own stories and perspectives that we believe should be shared to the world, and therefore we have a lot to offer in the form of video and audio output mediums. These women shared stories that were both were inspiring and encouraging, not only to me as a woman, but also as an aspiring independent media producer.

1) GoPro

I had heard about GoPro cameras before attending the NAB Show, but knew them only as small cameras for attaching to a helmet to capture sporty videos. But I learned GoPro has so much more than that! With all of the supplementary add-ons and neat features and tricks you can use the Hero4 to capture just the right shot. They showed a neat compilation video on how the camera can be used underwater, attached to a helmet or your wrist, and even use the time lapse or slow motion features to customize your video. After exploring the exhibit and seeing the amazing quality of video and photos this little guy captures, I was hooked, and now I have to have one!

Of course this wasn’t all that I saw on the trip, but these are the highlights of my reel. It seemed like there wasn’t enough time in my three days at the convention to see all that there was to see. But we certainly made the most of our trip!

Ali Holtz

Saturday Night Live: Late Night Comedy Is No Joke.

Lorne Michaels has helmed “Saturday Night Live” for 40 years, but in the entertainment business that might as well be an eternity. So how has Michaels kept ‘SNL’ current and fresh after all these years?

Lorne MichaelsOne way he’s accomplished this is by having complete control over the show. Except for an absence in the early ‘80s—when the show was nearly cancelled—Michaels has been the main decision maker for the duration of SNL. Whether it’s who is chosen as a cast member, whether or not a joke works, or who gets let go, ultimately Michaels has that decision.

Saturday Night Live first aired in October 1975, becoming a shining star in the dark landscape of television at the time. Its premise was simple: a late night sketch comedy show broadcast live across the United States once a week. Expectations for the show lasting past its first season weren’t set particularly high, especially by Michaels himself. In an interview with The New York Post, he said, “At the end of the first season I’d written everything I’d wanted to write several times over. I thought of it as ‘That Championship Season.’ I didn’t know what I would do for a second season.”

But SNL survived a second season, then a third and a fourth, and last month it celebrated its 40th season on the air. An anniversary special was aired for this occasion, which brought back cast members from the last four decades.

Michaels uses a specific formula for his show, and will combat anyone who tries to change it. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Michaels describes a few instances when a guest host or the network tried to change that formula. When a network exec tried to cut music from the show, Michaels relented for a few episodes, but ultimately Lorne got his way. Another issue he’s run into is hosts trying to push the envelope of what’s appropriate, but Michaels and his crew have been through it all before, and know when something works and when it doesn’t.

SNL40Ratings for this show were the best SNL—or NBC for that matter—has seen in years. According to Variety, Nielson ratings garnered 23.1 million viewers from 8 to 11 PM for the February 15 celebration. That’s the highest number of viewers for an NBC primetime show since the Frasier finale in 2004. This is clearly a huge success for the network as well as the show, and proves that to this day SNL has remained a relevant television staple.

When asked if SNL should go on without him, Michaels—who will be 71 this year—replied, “I don’t know. I’m going to keep doing it as long as I possibly can because I love it and because it’s what I do.”

Lorne Michaels has kept SNL alive by keeping to a strict formula and maintaining control of his production by overseeing all parts of it, from casting to writing to the format of the show. Saturday Night Live is truly a Lorne Michaels production.

What will the future hold for Michaels and SNL? Do you think the show will celebrate a 50th anniversary?

– Kyle Flathers


Sling Television and CEO Roger Lynch are reinventing how we view television. Sling Television was launched on February 9th, 2015 and is streaming live television over a web service. This is a new and upcoming way of viewing television, but CEO Roger Lynch has key problems with public perception of the price for the service, and with the limited range of channels they offer.

Sling TVThe majority of the people that know about Sling Television do not think the price for the service is worth what you get. The service costs $20/month for 16 popular channels, but you can add various other channel packages for an additional $5/month. For a more detailed look at their pricing visit Sling.com. The public feels that for only 16 channels $20/month is way too much to pay. I personal feel that $20/month is not a bad price for the service, but I most likely wouldn’t get it myself because the channels that they offer are not really what I prefer to watch.

Roger LynchRoger Lynch makes the point that when you compare it to cable you are paying for other associated fees, like an instillation fee. Plus, with a lot of cable companies you usually get tied to a contract, but with Sling you can cancel at any time. Lynch argues that with Sling you are literally paying for what you get, rather then paying for a bunch of unwanted channels that you know you will never watch. I feel that the pricing is much cheaper when compared to cable TV, but yet it is more expensive than Netflix or Hulu. The problem with that argument is that Sling is not like either one of those because it is live TV.

The second issue that has been a problem for Roger Lynch is that there is quite of bit of talk about the available channels. People are saying that, with just sixteen channels, there are not enough options to pick from. In another related issue people are also upset that Sling Television is not available for Apple TV. Lynch’s response to that was that it was nothing personal they just used a different platform and that was not on the top of the priority list.  Check out what else Roger Lynch has to say in this interview here.

Sling TV LaunchSome of the other issues that Lynch is running into are device use and the use of commercials.

If you were in Lynch’s shoes how would you try to validate the price when people are comparing it to Netflix? Are you interested in giving this live television streaming service a try?

Spencer Schmidt

Touchdown for TV? : How Television Coverage Affects Professional & College Sports

TOUCHDOWN! Your favorite football team has just scored the game-winning goal with time expiring. The crowd is going wild, the players are dancing, and the other team’s dreams have just been crushed. You are on top of the world, and you have experienced all of this excitement from the comfort of your own La-Z-boy recliner miles away from the action. How are new technologies changing media coverage of sports, and how is this changing our experience of watching sports in the media?

SportsThe behind the scenes of sports media is not something your average viewer thinks about when enjoying a sporting event on their television. This operation isn’t quite as simple as setting up a camera and plugging it into a satellite truck. The National Football League is the perfect example of how extensive coverage of a live sporting event can be.

On average, 150-200 people are working on a single production. This is everyone from a cable grip, to cameraman, to on air announcers. About 17 cameras are used to ensure the viewer doesn’t miss a second of the action on field. Everything happens very quickly, and the ultimate goal is to tell a story. This piece from The Verge takes us behind the scenes of a live broadcast:

The future of media is changing very rapidly. Today, we have everything from 4K technology, to Skycam’s, to microphones on the players and coaches. With new smaller cameras, we can put GoPro technology right on the playing field or surface. We can even put them onto the players themselves so as a viewer we can get every camera angle we could imagine.

But are these technologies too good? Technology updates have been amazing for in-game features such as instant replay, improving the technology for reviewable plays as well as game tape. These features bring the on field experience to the viewers at home putting them on the field right up and personal with the fans, players, and coaches.

With professional sports tickets prices rising quickly, fans are more likely to stay home for a game, especially because they can have a better overall experience. As a result, average ticket sales are down across the nation. According to sports writer and analyst Bill Shea, many stadiums will cover the number gap by including season ticket sales into their statistics, but ticket holders simply are not coming to every game.

Experiencing the game in the comfort of your own home is too nice to pass up for many people. This kind of pressure has escalated the competition of game coverage. Putting small cameras next to the field or on the mound brings the viewer right on top of the game.

This sometimes comes with a price, sometimes affecting the game in a negative way. In the 2011 Incite bowl, a Skycam actually malfunctioned and fell onto the field. No players or fans were hurt, but this was a very expensive mistake as it took away from airtime when it delayed the game. Not to mention the camera itself was a very expensive piece of equipment at $35,000.

New technology will continue to affect the in game experiences for all types of fans. Professional and college athletics will need to continue to market new promotions and incentives for people to continue to come to the games. People need to continue to attend the events to maintain the atmospheres and create revenue for the sports world to maintain the success that it has today.

Will you continue to be in the stands on game day? Or will you settle for watching that touchdown from your home?

Austin Hansen

Kids, This is the Story of How My Show Ended- HIMYM and the Difficulties of Ending a TV Series

With the recent release of the final season of How I Met Your Mother on DVD, I was once again confronted with an important question: How should a television writer end a show? Should they write for the fans? Should they write for themselves? As someone who is interested in writing for media in the future these are some very serious questions.

HIMYM1According to a Deadline.com interview, the show’s creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas originally had an eight season plan for the show, but through many of the show’s early seasons, the show was run on a season by season basis. Bays and Thomas had other ideas, should the show have a shorter run than eight seasons, but with the eight season plan in mind the two filmed scenes with Ted’s children back in 2006. They did this so that the kids would still be young, should the show go as long as they had planned. For more info visit: Deadline.com.

The show actually went nine seasons instead of eight. So therein lies another challenge: what happens if you have to write more seasons than you had originally planned?

The final season meandered through a wedding weekend, taking 23 episodes to cover events that take place in just 48 hours. The final episode covered future events, over the following 17 years.

The finale has been hotly debated. Just take a look at the show’s Facebook page. Users are still commenting on the finale. The response was so negative, that they released an alternate ending on the DVD. Here are YouTube links for both the original and alternate ending.

Original ending: http://youtu.be/nW82fRNJc84

Alternate ending: http://youtu.be/RoHUs8J7x94

The night the finale aired, Craig Thomas went on Twitter with this to say: “Thank you all. I mean it: Every possible reaction to the last 44 minutes … thank you all … The fact that we have been a TV sitcom that has received this much passion from fans, for 9 years (not just tonight) — thank you. We wrote a comedy with dramatic elements till the very end. Thanks for taking that ride with us. We did a finale about life’s twists and turns and that is not always what happens … but THANKS! Seriously – no matter what you thought of tonight, THANK YOU … you were with us. We love you. Thanks for this ride.”

I was an audience member who was shocked at the ending, and my suggestion for writers would be: write for the fans! The fans sat there through nine seasons, many expecting a very different outcome. However, as an Electronic Media major and as a creative person, I feel that writers have to write for themselves. And you can’t go back later and re-write history. The writers of HIMYM wrote the ending they wanted, and although the fans were upset, the fans aren’t the ones who created it. You have to stick with your vision.

HIMYM2For me personally, I was more upset with their execution of the final season than I was with the way the show eventually ended. Spending so much time on one wedding event that lasted into the final episode seemed like a waste. They could have spent anywhere from 3-10 episodes on the wedding and used the rest of the season to wrap things up. Seeing Ted and Tracy’s relationship develop more before she passes would have helped tie up more loose ends. It has been six years for the children, but for the viewers it was just a few seconds and the mother is suddenly dead. In the finale there was too much ground to cover, not enough time, and too many abrupt endings. Many of my feelings are summed up in this article from tv.com.

What do you think: Do writers have an obligation to their fans when ending a show? Or is the obligation solely for their own artistic needs? What shows in the past have disappointed you, which ones haven’t, and why?

Chris Breja

4K TV and Consumer Adoption — NAB Follow-up

4K-Logo4K technology was featured throughout the 2014 National Association of Broadcaster’s Show in Las Vegas in exhibits, product features, and panel discussions with those developing and adapting 4K. Based upon my blog regarding 4K and consumers, the following video encompasses viewpoints and facts on 4K from locals in Iowa and displays 4K products and insights found at the NAB Show.

Olivia Hottle


Cord Cutting Continues to Grow — NAB Follow-up

My previous post was more of an introduction to cord cutting. It was an overview of what is out there for people who are fed up with paying their cable and are looking for something that is not only less expensive, but also quite simple. Much of what I talked about was online subscription services that are available to consumers for a relatively small subscription fee.

Since that post Netflix has announced a price increase of an unknown amount and Amazon Prime has raised their one-year membership fee from $79 to $99. Although Amazon struck an exclusive deal with HBO to host many of their older shows that have already been completed like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Six Feet Under. This is quite surprising news, as HBO has in the past been very vocal about not allowing their programming on other streaming services.

amazoneprime   HBOlogo

Even with these increases in price, I believe these options are still of better value than any cable subscription. Netflix is the industry leader in original content for a streaming service and Amazon has invested into that realm as well in the recent months. This medium is growing larger and larger at quicker rates than anticipated.

After my last post I jetted off to the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking to answer the three questions below:

1. Have cable providers seen a noticeable impact on revenue due to “cord cutting”?

2. Is the Comcast and Time Warner merger likely to go through? If so what does that mean for consumers?

3. Is measuring cord cutters useful to professionals in the audience measurement industry? Why?

I will start with the first one by answering YES. There is a reason I capitalized every letter in that answer. Because I am shouting it. A recent study claims 1 in 10 cable subscribers will cut the cord this year. That means 10 percent of cable’s customers will not be customers! That is a huge decrease. Just imagine the outlook over the next five years once people understand the financial benefits of cord cutting. This industry is preparing for a significant financial shift.

Second, the Comcast and Time Warner cable merger was not talked about much at the NAB Show as it is very much a broadcasting conference. But since my post, Netflix has come out with a statement opposing the merger. Personally, I still believe it’s a terrible thing for American consumers and am astounded at how far the U.S. Government has let it move forward.

measureLastly, measuring cord cutters has proven to be a bit of a hassle. This is because there is no entity that needs to measure cord cutters for any specific purpose. There are only subscription services that measure the amount of subscribers they have and what exactly their subscribers are watching.

In n NAB I attended on online programming, they mentioned some vital metrics they pay attention to when determining what programming is successful or unsuccessful. These metrics consist of unique views, engagement, repeated viewing, and shares through social media. These are what determine successful online content and encourage content creators to produce more.

I anticipate the future to be cordless place, figuratively speaking. I believe cable will be around for a while longer but cord cutting will eventually take over. It’s very exciting as someone who values quality content on such a personal level, I can’t wait to see the changes it makes to what type of media is produced. The sooner you cut the cord, the sooner you can enjoy watching exactly what you want to watch.

Mitch Ingstad

What Screen Do You Use?

We live in the time of technology. Everybody and their 4th grader has TVs, laptops, smart phones, notebooks, iPods, tablets, smart TVs, desktops… Whatever! You name it, if it has a screen you can probably search, create, or watch content on it. Because of our technology and gadget driven lifestyle, a trend has emerged which is called ‘multi-screen viewing.’

It is a pretty self-explanatory term, but let me ask: How many screens do you have on you right now? Most likely you are reading this blog post on a computer screen, or perhaps a computer that is plugged into a larger screen like a television. Maybe your phone is on the table next to you, lighting up or even in your hands right now while you sit reading. Maybe you’re reading this on your tablet, while doing your homework on a laptop, while also watching TV in the background! I think you get the point.

MultiscreenNinety percent of our media consumption occurs in front of a screen. The reality is that it has become normal for most people to be using more than one screened device at one time, in order to achieve multiple goals.

Studies have shown that there are a few reasons why people are using more than one device at a time. These reasons include playback problems, productivity, time and space, and information flow. People own and use multiple devices in order to stay connected anywhere at any time. In 2012 ThinkWithGoogle.com conducted a study on multi-screen viewing, which you can check out here. This research delves into consumers motives, how they use multiple screens, and how activities on one screen may impact another among several other research goals.

Marketers know that multi-screen viewing is relevant, so in order to keep with the times and engage viewers, we see companies taking advantage of all sorts of platforms. This enables consumers to connect on a broader level with companies and the products that they want.

For example, you may be watching your favorite TV show that is displaying a tag in the bottom corner of the screen. This indicates to viewers that they are able to follow along with an interactive stream of content that is online, most likely a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter, and it is most likely this occurs simultaneously on another device.

For more information on muliti-screen viewing check out this video of a panel of industry professionals at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Media Summit, discussing multi-screen viewing in regards to television more in depth.

I will be attending the NAB Show next week and hope to learn more about how the entertainment industry is adapting to this new viewing model. Monetization is an important aspect of the multi-screen viewing industry and companies are in the processes of developing new coordinated ways to reach consumers on multiple screens.

Paige Buns