For just a few moments in time at the Atlanta headquarters of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the ordinary noise of work was interrupted, replaced by something almost foreign – the sights and sounds of a busy television studio.
“Stand-by. We’re on in 30 seconds,” a staffer from the division of communications announced to those gathered, marking an imminent inauguration of the department’s new broadcast studio and an end to months of preparation.
“Thank you for joining me and welcome,” DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., announced to Public Health practitioners statewide. “It’s a pleasure to talk about our important public health work with you.”
The statewide video conference involving some 4,000 public health staff happened in April. And now, some five months later, the ‘secret’ is out on the studio.
Lodged in a small 216 square foot space, most recently a storage room, the studio is equipped with three broadcast-quality high definition cameras, lighting, backdrops, a teleprompter and an audio system – all connected through a professional audio/video switcher with graphics and green-screen capability.
Already, the division of communications is producing radio and internet social marketing spots, conference presentations and training videos, as well as lectures from top DPH subject matter experts involved in moving the department from “Good to Great,” a concept by book author Jim Collins, which defines characteristics that determine whether some organizations shine while others maintain the status quo.
“With video increasingly supplanting traditional web content so rapidly, it was clear we needed to make the move,” said Ryan Deal, DPH’s director of communications who began engineering the project 18 months ago. “We took a small storage room and built something I know will push our health messaging to the next level. The potential here is endless.”
This summer, YouTube green-lighted DPH’s request to stream live video globally, bringing the department unprecedented ability to connect with Georgians – anyone – in real time during a public health emergency. And planning is now underway to test the studio’s ability to connect live with global television stations and networks, a replacement to costly alternatives.
Already, the cost of the studio has paid for itself by eliminating costs associated with production, Deal says. The department had previously outsourced that function.
Later this month, the division of communications plans to produce a series of videos as part of a new campaign to connect HIV positive individuals in Georgia with medical care.