What would soon be part of the editorial content center within the multimedia department, this photo was taken during the Internet access and electronic systems phase of the construction.

Once at the heart of the production process, half of the seventh floor had slowly become a ghost town during the mid-90’s. Known as the composing department, everything touched this floor on its way to the printing press.

In its hay day, composing was home to four large image processors, two large cameras, a dark room, several rows of drafting boards, typesetters, designers, paste-up artists, programmers, scanners and strippers.

Now a boomtown gone bust, the age of desktop publishing dried the wells of the ink pens and stopped the churning of the wax machine. All that remained were a hand full of production administrators, the scanning department and a few guys from IT systems. Half the floor was gone.

It’s ironic to think of what would soon be a new media frontier begins right here on the seventh floor – a place technology left behind more than a decade ago.

The smallest and first of our two video studios, the control room was one of the most important rooms in the project. Not only did everything need to fit, it had to work with ease, thus setting the standard for our future work flow. My ultimate goal was to create an environment that anyone could learn to use in minutes.

Control room and video studio (Before)

The first major step was to get the walls built, then concentrate on interior design and product population. Using Photoshop, this next image is a rendering with a few product photos dropped into place. In a lot of ways, The Oklahoman is blessed to have a talented group of electricians and carpenters on its payroll.

Control room (Product rendering)

To make sure equipment would fit before we purchased it, I cut pieces of paper to actual product size. This helped determine the space each item would require. It was also helpful in determining work flow issues, the producer’s view over the monitors and the number of tracks we could get into a sound board. For a complete list of hardware and software purchased for our small video studio, read Level 1 Studio Set-up in my blog.

Control room (Before)

Control room (After)

With the completion of the video studio, The Oklahoman has the capability to produce video content that can be immediately placed online. Using the Blackmagic Multibridge Extreme, two HD Canon XL-H1 video cameras are fed to a desktop switcher software application that gives us true 1080i HD video. Digital video can be captured and posted to with-in minutes. The entire process can take as little as 15 minutes.

Read more about the Blackmagic Multibridge Extreme system in Level 1 Studio Set-up .

Below are interior studio renderings I produced of the walls. The first image shows a picture of the state capitol mounted on foam board. Using a rail system, themed photos or logo images can be slid into place giving us different backgrounds to shoot against. The opposite wall of the studio (second rendering) would have a 50-inch plasma.

As you will see, when you look at the after photo, I was very pleased with the final result.

Video studio (Rendering)

Video studio (Rendering)

Video Studio (After)

Kim Henry, first lady of Oklahoma was the “first guest” to record in the new video podcast studio. Using yellow gels over the background lights, I was able to match my rendering and achieve the warmth I was looking for.

I used the same process on the audio podcast studio below. For a complete list of hardware and software purchased for our small audio studio, read Level 1 Studio Set-up in my blog.

Audio Podcast Studio (Rendering)

Audio Podcast Studio (After)

Audio Podcast Studio (After)

Once a chemical processor room with a tubbed floor and a drain, this is my future office. After 11 years in an small office away from the windows, I am excited to not only have windows but a corner as well. Tell me if I begin to glow green. (Laughing-out-loud)

Here’s an after shot of my new office. I know… Dang! The monitor is an Apple 30 inch cinema display. For a guy like me, technology has come full circle. This monitor is a lot like having the drafting board back after 20 years. Trust me. I sometimes miss the days of working on a nine inch black and white screen.