Editor “discovers” new world


Senior Lauren Fabiszak captures the sign in the front lobby of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland on Monday, March 23rd. Fabizak visited the Discovery Channel while on a field trip with her Senior Project group.

Lights! Camera! Edit.

Although the world of ABC2 News consists of live segments and on-your-feet-thinking, The Discovery Channel has a different approach to broadcasting. My Senior Project is a teen project with ABC2 News where 10 other students and I write, produce, and anchor our own newscast that airs on the last Saturday of every month from November-May. To read about my visit to the ABC2 News station, click here.

Every year, the group’s coordinator plans a field trip for the students that gives them a better view of other broadcast media outlets and how they operate. In the past, the groups have visited places such as The Newseum and New York City, and this year we went to The Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, MD for the first time.

At first, I honestly thought that The Discovery Channel strictly worked solely with The Discovery Channel, but I was shocked to see their involvement with multiple other channels such as TLC, Animal Planet, and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). Immediately after walking into the building and through the access key-necessary gates, I saw a wall filled with each employee’s assignment. The board was as big as a movie theater screen, noting the times and project each person is working on.

Our first stop was at a program editor’s booth. An editor like this spends months cutting hours upon hours of video into either a 30-minute or hour-long block that’s fit for TV. The man we visited was working on creating promotions for a live event that will be airing on The Discovery Channel in May hosted by Willie Geist, an anchor of the Today Show. The multiple promos had to each be either 15 or 30 seconds long, and there were different clips in each.

The program titled “Everest Jump Live” centers around Joby Ogwyn, an American mountain climber, BASE jumper, and Wingsuit flyer. Ogwyn plans on combining all of his talents when he climbs up and then jumps off of Mount Everest. The editor showed us the multiple layers of natural sound, called NAT sound for short at ABC2 News, and interview pieces he had to blend together to make the advertisement appealing to the potential viewers. This program editor is allowed about three months for one project. In contrast, employees at ABC2 News have mere hours to put a show together every day. (This jump has been put on hold after Ogwyn’s guides died in an avalanche that killed 13 people total. Read the full story here.)

Next up was the sound station, where all the pieces are sent for sound mixing and music tracks. In the back of the station was a sound booth, which comes in handy for when background noises are needed to enhance a sound clip. The sound man showed us his latest project for a New York City event coming in the spring. Every year, companies hold an event where “upfronts” are displayed in front of potential advertisers as an attempt to gain funding for their programs. These “upfronts” are exciting bits from a channel’s most popular television shows and are displayed in such a dramatic and professional way that the audience can’t help but feel adrenaline from it.

Last was a visit to the 3D area, where a computer science man makes average films or shows come to life in 3D. He edits the pixels and colors, which, as you might imagine, takes a very long time. Then, he adjusts the dimensions so the 3D effect is perfectly visible from each angle. We were then able to put on the special glasses ourselves and watch his promotion for 3D TVs and their family-friendly programs. Needless to say, I certainly have a new respect for those who create 3D movies so seemingly effortlessly because a lot of work definitely goes into its creation.

Overall, it was amazing to see how much goes on behind the scenes at The Discovery Channel in our own backyard. At ABC2 News, everything is rushed and requires quick decision making, but at The Discovery Channel a substantial amount of time is devoted to each program to ensure its perfection for when it airs all over the world.

Lauren Fabizak  is an A&E Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.