‘Nightly’s’ newsroom broadcast a mess


Last night “NBC Nightly News,” which was being presented with limited commercials by the oddly-named drug Trilipix, decided to cover the two big stories of the day — Iran and President Barack Obama’s approval ratings — by broadcasting from the newsroom.

It’s an approach the program has used before, more notably when covering the financial crisis from CNBC headquarters and, the next day, back at 30 Rock.

However, this attempt came off poorly executed and unpolished.

See more images and commentary after the jump.

Many of the shots were wobbly and unsteady, and camera people kept showing up in shots.

While the previous attempt at this type of setup had camera people appear on-screen, it was done on-purpose and blocked correctly so they weren’t interrupting the shots as they did last night.


A camera and operator showed up in this one shot of Richard Engel


Some of the bad framing could have been due to 16:9 vs. 4:3 differences, such as the one shown below.


A camera operator can also be seen in this shot

There was also a one-shot with political director Chuck Todd with a large softbox light behind him; an interesting choice for a background element, but at least it wasn’t on…


This one shot of Chuck Todd included a softbox in the background

Lighting equipment and cables also showed up in wide shots, such as the one shown below, and it was also possible to camera cables being pulled around in the background during several segments.

In addition, before tossing to Todd, he could be seen off-camera, patiently waiting for anchor Brian Williams to bring him into the broadcast, another possible 4:3 and 16:9 framing issue.

At times Todd seemed confused as to which camera to look at and the transitions between Brian’s discussion with Todd and foreign correspondent Richard Engel were awkward as well.


Chuck Todd waits in the wings at far right

Overall, this wasn’t NBC’s most effective use of the multi-venue storytelling approach. First, it seemed a bit of an overkill since only two reporters were involved and on slightly but not directly-related stories. Also, the talent should have been better prepped on where to stand and shots should have been planned and blocked out better beforehand to avoid having equipment and crew showing up on-camera.

While live TV is always a challenge and things are bound to go wrong, NBC likely had significant time to plan this and one would expect better from a network that’s usually a leader in on-air production values.

Watch the complete broadcast here.