Morning Announcements: Recording or Live?

Video production - live or pre-recorded? © fotolia / bepsphoto
Video production is the most important element of every morning announcement. Simply put, the better your production values are, the more engrossed your audience will be. However, it's hard to resist the tendency to over-produce the material till every element of spontaneity is drained out of it. You know something's wrong when what's supposed to be a live interactive session ends up becoming an over-shot, over-edited infomercial style section. And make no mistake, your audience will pick up on it too.

Video production is the most important element of every morning announcement. Simply put, the better your production values are, the more engrossed your audience will be. However, it’s hard to resist the tendency to over-produce the material till every element of spontaneity is drained out of it. You know something’s wrong when what’s supposed to be a live interactive session ends up becoming an over-shot, over-edited infomercial style section. And make no mistake, your audience will pick up on it too.

The moment your students feel like something has been overdone just to impress, they will no longer feel like actively engaging with the material. They will take an ironic stance and hold back from engaging themselves in a discussion afterward. That defeats one of the main purposes of a morning announcement, which is to build a sense of community and responsibility among your students. Moreover, the students who are producing and presenting the section don’t get to challenge themselves and think on their feet.

To go live, or to record, that is the question!

Having said that, there is no reason to throw the baby with the bathwater. Pre-recording does help in a lot of ways. After all, it would be pretty irresponsible and reckless to just walk into a studio setup with nothing in your hand. Some parts of the morning broadcast, like a local news feature, a weather report, or an on-field interview would work better when they’re done live. Not only will they help the presenters stay on their toes, but they’ll also help their peers appreciate the responsibility their fellow student’s shoulder. That would encourage them to be supportive and egg them to participate in the process. Speaking of which, half your work is done right there. So, let us look at some of the advantages of pre-recording before we get to the vital role that live broadcasts play.

Advantages and disadvantages of pre-recording

There are certain advantages to a pre-recorded broadcast. However, as we will see below, they are a double-edged sword. What really looks like an advantage is just a crutch if done exclusively.

  • Flexibility – The primary advantage of pre-recording is that it offers you flexibility. You and your students get to correct your mistakes and keep working on the material till you perfect it. If there are any failed scenes, you can re-record them the way you choose to. Here’s the catch though. You and your students will work hard to perfect it. But, deep inside you will know that there was considerable effort involved. Once you do, you will come to the realization that neither you nor your students ever really risked live participation, which, in more ways than one, is one of the main reasons behind a morning announcement. The idea is to get the presenters to take risks, remain open, engage and respond. That’s not going to happen till you egg them on to do a goodly portion of it live. Pre-recording just turns the entire affair into another showbiz-style hoopla, and believe us when we say this, the audience will see right through it – especially when they did not pay for the tickets and the popcorn.
  • Control over timing – Pre-recording also allows you to control the duration of the morning announcement. With live broadcasts, you stand the risk of going overtime, and that can be a bit of a problem if you have important classes or tests scheduled right afterward. By shooting it and editing it beforehand, you get to make sure that the morning announcement lasts for a specific duration. However, that takes away a critical skill that your students get to learn by doing live broadcasts – to handle the unexpected. Tackling problems on the go is a skill they need to master if they want to take away something from the experience when they leave school. By pre-recording the entire affair day in and day out, you are not helping your students equip themselves with any marketable skill.

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Why should you do a live broadcast?

As far as live broadcasts are concerned, there is no need go the whole nine yards. That would not be ideal either. If your students want to hunt for news stories from the local community or interview people who cannot make it to the studio, then they have no choice but to prepare it beforehand. And make no mistake, that is a good thing. It will teach them invaluable video production skills that will help them when they go to college. However, recording things like the daily news, weather forecast, studio interviews, and live demonstrations make no sense whatsoever. The entire point of these sections is to have your students engage with their peers and enter into a discussion. You take that away if you have them produce it beforehand. So, what are the advantages of a live broadcast?

  • It’ll enhance your students’ skill set – That’s right! The cinematographer will learn how to change the framing of the shot as the audience is watching, the presenter will learn how to deliver the news feature live, the lighting technicians will learn how to control the lights on the go, the graphics producer will learn how to time the graphics with the green screen while the reporter is in front of it, and so on. In short, your students get a taste of what it is like to produce professionally.
  • It will boost audience engagement – Just knowing the fact that their peers are doing the morning announcement live will make your students watch it with anticipation. This will increase their curiosity and they’ll inevitably pay more attention to what is being said making it a lot easier to invite their participation afterwards. Don’t forget the fact that this is one of the main objectives behind doing a professional morning announcement.

In conclusion, some sections of the daily morning announcement can be pre-recorded, especially if your students have gone out of their way to do hunt for good material. But once the material is assembled, you should strive to do a live broadcast

Photo Credit Featured Image: © fotolia / bepsphoto

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Live or pre-recorded? Let your students draw a comparison with our free worksheet.