WRAL-TV’s Brain Game Production – the Virtual Experience

The smartest half-hour of television continues to carry on despite COVID.  On Saturday, January 9, 2021, WRAL-TV’s Local Production team recorded three episodes of Brain Game in a virtual format using Zoom.

“This is an amazing example of perseverance and innovation that I’m very glad to say runs deep at CBC,” said WRAL-TV Local Production Producer Steve Elizondo.

The pandemic has not stopped WRAL’s local high school quiz show where local schools compete against one another.  It only changed a few logistics.

Brain Game

A gallery view of the three schools involved Brain Game 2021 season’s Game 8.: Apex Friendship, Triangle Math & Science Academy, and Enloe students – along with their teacher coaches – are all present. WRAL/Brain Game’s Don Ursich, Tresa Jalot, and Randy Mews are all pictured upper left.

What you see above is the gallery view of the three schools involved in Game 8.  Apex Friendship, Triangle Math & Science Academy, and Enloe students – along with their teacher coaches – are all present. WRAL-TV Local Production Manager Don Ursich, Brain Game Producer Tresa Jalot, and WRAL-TV Local Production Producer Randy Mews are all pictured upper left.

The three teams are sent to Zoom Breakout Rooms, while host Mark Roberts, the entire production team, and Brain Game judges cycle between them to run the separate teams through all of the Brain Game question categories:

Brain Game prodution during COVID: The three Brain Game teams are sent to Zoom Breakout Rooms, while host Mark Roberts (center left), the entire production team, and Brain Game judges cycle between them to run the separate teams through all of the Brain Game question categories.

Ursich runs a PowerPoint presentation that acts as the “graphics computer” so that students can see all of the questions and answers, then shares his desktop in Zoom.  The entire production team records the breakout room sessions (for redundancy) to get a clean recording of the show.  Then Mews edits the shows together at WRAL, using the Zoom recording for the main audio.

Mews inserts higher resolution graphics in the final edit, formats the show for time, and sends the show to WRAL Master Control for broadcast.

“The really cool twist on this format is that we get to hear the individual teams deliberate their answer together, which is something viewers didn’t usually get to hear during live studio recordings before,” explained Elizondo.

He continued, “One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that the ‘Crunching Numbers’ segment makes me really glad that I never have to get through another Trigonometry class EVER!”

Brain Game Crunching Numbers

The Brain Game “Crunching Numbers” segment.

Brain Game is currently in its 25th season.  The 2020-2021 games of the smartest half-hour on television airs on Saturdays at 11:30am and noon on WRAL-TV.

“Don Ursich deserves a big pat on the back for creating, managing, and operating a really challenging, virtually driven broadcast production,” said Elizondo.

Link:

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Steve Elizondo for this Capcom scoop and for these Capcom photos.

Brain Game

Brain Game prodution during COVID: The three Brain Game teams are sent to Zoom Breakout Rooms, while host Mark Roberts (center left), the entire production team, and Brain Game judges cycle between them to run the separate teams through all of the Brain Game question categories.

 

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