COVID-19 Video Production

How We’re Safely Making Media in The Age of Coronavirus

When COVID-19 struck, news outlets across the world were instantly faced with a difficult question. Everyone realized there was a huge story to tell about the unfolding pandemic– but how could it be told safely, in a way that didn’t endanger reporters?

Chicago’s PBS station WTTW hired StoryView to beef up its coronavirus coverage by shooting and editing a 15 episode season of their series FIRSTHAND. Each episode tells the story of a different Chicagoan affected by the virus, from nurses, to grocery store workers, to family members of the deceased.

StoryView worked at lightning speed around the clock to produce 3 episodes each week. The edited masters were broadcast on local television, the web, and even televised nationally as part of PBS NewsHour’s ongoing coverage.

Here’s what WTTW had to say about the project:

FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus’s producer and director Pat Odom and director of photography Kimmer Olesak are the only people on the team venturing out into the world, and they do so with as much precaution as possible: they wear masks and gloves, continually disinfect their gear, don’t pin microphones to subjects, and keep their distance from other people.

“Pat is super passionate about believing that these stories need to be told right now, and he’s also fearless,” says [Executive Producer Dan] Protess. “But there are still stories we would never do, for safety: for instance, one about people who are currently sick with coronavirus.”

For this project StoryView’s team needed to be nimble and flexible, sending producer Pat Odom and camera operator Kimmer Olesak into the field wearing personal protective equipment. This meant working with a light set of video equipment specially chosen for the project.

Each day the team’s footage was transmitted back to StoryView editor Ken Hall who worked from home to craft the footage into an edited package and remotely uploaded the results to WTTW headquarters for broadcast and syndication.

StoryView was a good fit for this project because we’re storytellers. No matter what the circumstance, we will find the appealing story and draw it out to best engage the public.

Beyond telling stories for PBS, we also produce video content for the largest corporations to the smallest businesses, marketing agencies, and non-profit organizations. View our work.

Do you have a story that needs to be told in the age of coronavirus? Reach out to us.

Featured FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus Episodes

Watch all the episodes of FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus on the official WTTW website.