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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Dean's Green Screen Lesson

    Hey Fox Fans!


    I thought I would blog about the “Green Screen” or “Chroma Key” this week. I get so many questions about how I point to something that’s virtually not there when I do the weather … many people who take a tour of FOX are always intrigued by the “Green Screen” when they come in to see the studios we work out of.

    For all the technically inclined, I thought I would give you a definition of what I spend most of my day in front of: (And just to let you know – this is the first time I’ve ever researched what exactly a “Chroma Key” is, so we’re learning together!)

    Here the definition from the fine folks at Wikipedia:

    Chroma key is a technique for blending two images, in which a color (or a small color range) from one image is removed (or made transparent), revealing another image behind it. This technique is also referred to as color keying, colour-separation overlay(CSO; primarily by the BBC[1]), greenscreen, and bluescreen. It is commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map, but in the studio it is actually a large blue or green background.

    Did you understand any of that? I’m still pretty confused about how it works, so I’ll just stick with “it’s TV magic!” One of the big no-no’s in working with the Green Screen is to never EVER wear the same color as the background behind you, as you are more than likely going to become a weather map with a head floating on it. I’ve learned this the hard way – and fortunately 80s neon green is not flattering on me, so I don’t often get caught with the map of Texas on my torso.

    Once the maps are in place, I can see myself in the camera with the maps behind me – contrary to what some people think, tv weather people do not have a teleprompter. We need to see ourselves in the camera to help us orient ourselves and the map. I also have two “cheat cameras” placed to the right and left of me so that when I turn to show what’s happening on the east or west coast, I can also see myself pointing to various cities or states to explain what’s going on in weather-land.

    I’ve always thought it would be fun to get some of our favorite anchors from FOX to do some greenscreen weather someday. It would make for some very entertaining television, don’t you think ? In fact, let’s do a poll!



    Who would you like to see do a little green screen weather on FOX? Post your suggestions below in the comment area! Have a great weekend! Blogging resumes on Monday!

about this blog

  • Janice Dean joined FOX News Channel in January 2004 and currently serves as Senior meteorologist. She is a member of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval in 2009. Dean is the author of the forthcoming children's book, "Freddy the Frogcaster" (Regnery Kids) which will be published in August. You can also follow Janice on Twitter.