What is involved in a TV news “live shot?”

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The fatal shooting of a TV news crew in Roanoke, Va. has sent waves throughout newsrooms across the entire country.

A large part of the conversation that people are having in the wake of the attack is that the reporter and photographer were performing what the news business calls a “live shot” when they were gunned down.

Setting up and performing a live shot can be tough and potentially dangerous work. Once a reporter and photographer arrive on location in their live truck, the crew first checks to make sure the location is as safe as possible.

Once the location is determined to be safe, the photographer calls the station and tunes in either the truck’s satellite, mast, or mobile backpack unit.

“Once that shot is established, what we do is go to the back of the truck and take out our reel,” said WTNH photographer Joe D’Addesse. “We find out where we are going to go do our live shot, set up our tripod, drag the cable over to the live location, place it on the tripod, hook up the line cable to the side of the truck, place the camera on the tripod and you’re ready to go.”

After everything is set up, you at home are able to see what the camera sees, which, more often than not, has a reporter looking into the camera. This moment is also the same time one might say the crew is most vulnerable to anything dangerous happening.

It’s important to note what happened in Virginia is rare. That said, it does serve as a reminder that crews need to have safety be their first priority.

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