Sunday 21 July 2019

RTÉ takes the wraps off its 'fake' newsroom after €1.4m revamp

New home: Eileen Dunne in the new RTÉ News studio. Photos: Kyran O’Brien
New home: Eileen Dunne in the new RTÉ News studio. Photos: Kyran O’Brien
Keelin Shanley and Caitriona Perry on the newsroom couch. Photos: Kyran O’Brien
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

It's a trend that all TV news outlets have liked to follow in recent years - a news studio in the centre of a bustling and fast-paced newsroom.

BBC News has its studio right in the centre of the newsroom, and Sky News had a similar model before it built its 'glass box', which is perched on top of its newsroom.

So it came as no surprise when RTÉ showed off a backdrop which appeared to show a pristine and futuristic newsroom as part of its newly revamped RTÉ News studios.

Indeed, some people could be spotted sitting at the numerous news terminals in the background.

And the backdrop of Dublin city could be seen farther away.

A media wall - displaying numerous screens - was also sighted.

The backdrop has a day and night setting - not surprisingly the backdrop is fairly empty at night.

But none of it is real - it is a "naturalistic representation of a TV newsroom".

Instead RTÉ has followed another path - its new 24-metre 'videowall' shows a digitised newsroom, and not the actual RTÉ newsroom.

In fairness to RTÉ, ITV News and Al Jazeera also have a similar model.

The national broadcaster spent €1.4m on the revamp, money which was acquired from the sale of land at its Montrose campus in Dublin 4 which raised a total of €100m.

The videowall is not the only new asset.

A supersize couch and new desk also feature.

Speaking about the 'fake' newsroom, a spokesperson for RTÉ said it will be obvious to viewers that it is not the real deal.

"The background is a naturalistic representation of a TV newsroom, but viewers will also clearly see that it is a videowall, as various graphics and footage are superimposed to illustrate different news reports during the news bulletins.

"The skyline seen in the background is a composite of selected city views, taken at different times of day and night.

"Viewers will be familiar with this style of background from the previous studio but can now enjoy a more enhanced quality digital imagery.

"RTÉ's main newsroom office space is separately featured on-camera on occasion and within reports from time to time."

New automated HD cameras have also been installed, while the news theme tune has also been tweaked, with composer Ronan Hardiman reworking the familiar jingle and recording it with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

The studio will be unmanned apart from presenters and a person operating the autocue. 'Six One''s Caitriona Perry and Keelin Shanley were the first anchors to test-drive the new studio last night.

The last major revamp for the studio - which cost €1.3m - was done in 2009, and while it was designed to last five years, it had been in operation for 10.

The studio will be home to the 'Six One News', 'Nine O'Clock News', 'One O'Clock News', 'News with Signing', 'News2day', 'The Week in Politics', 'Leader's Questions' as well as breaking news specials, budget and referendum coverage, and national commemorations.

Irish Independent

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