[identity profile] queenmartina.livejournal.com
Some of you may have seen this clip before, but if not, I thought I'd draw your attention to it as it's quite a gem. Not only do we have the first appearance of this particular variation of the BBC1 mirror globe ident/font combination *and* a snippet of Moira Stuart's first TV news bulletin, the music on this clip is an absolute winner. It sounds to me like Wendy Carlos-can anyone confirm or deny this?

Enjoy! )
[identity profile] loganberrybunny.livejournal.com
cross-posted to my own LJ

These are just quick thoughts, since (of course) I've not seen much yet. Anyway... it's not quite the disaster I'd feared, but nor is it the great advance the BBC are trumpeting. The tilted perspective of the map is appalling, though, and if I lived in Aberdeen I'd be most upset. That really does have to change, and quickly. Contrast on the map is poor, and you have to look in three places at once (rain or not, land colour, time) to get the "snapshot" you used to be able to get at a glance. As I'd suspected, it's difficult to make out the transition between snow and rain, though partly that's that idiotic projection again. The rainfall forecasts are indeed much too specific, and look as if they've been added from computer models with no human alteration at all. And it's very disappointing that North Atlantic charts are only going to be shown when the forecaster things something "interesting" is happening - which tends to mean a deep, gale-producing low.

What is interesting, though, is that the old symbols (or something very close to them) have been retained for the BBC Weather website, and if anything the maps there are an improvement. They're still in 2D (hooray), and considerably larger than the maps the site used to use. The regional forecasts are good, and the introduction of a separate Channel Islands map is also to be welcomed. On the downside, the temperature contour maps have been reduced from the old one-degree resolution to three, which is a silly and retrograde step, and as on the TV forecast, simply showing different-sized arrows for wind speed without any numbers is hopeless. And why is the link to the Sea Temperature map greyed out, despite the graphic actually being there if you put the obvious into the URL?

Overall impressions at the moment? Not great, to be honest. The BBC's previous forecasts were unique because they emphasised detail and accuracy over flashy graphics. The new system looks like something off Sky or even (*shudder*) ITV. It would be some compensation if the Beeb could put on a five-minute "scientific forecast" at some point each day - even late at night would do - including model discussion, jet-stream maps and all the other things that supposedly dumbed-down American viewers happily deal with all the time... but the chance of their doing anything half so sensible is pretty much nil.

Edit: Keep an eye on the BBC website's Have Your Say page - it could be quite interesting if the current balance of opinion is continued, with the great majority of people disliking the new look...
[identity profile] loganberrybunny.livejournal.com
crossposted to my own LJ

I've now seen some more of the BBC's imminently-arriving new graphics, partly via the TWO forum and partly thanks to [livejournal.com profile] enteirah telling me about Weatherscape's own page on the new system, which hosts several MP4 videos of it in action. On the basis of what I've now seen, I'm still reserving judgement, since an awful lot depends on how the forecasters themselves use the new graphics, but overall I'm not terribly impressed. Some things that came to mind:
  • The projection used for the all-UK view is terrible, making northern Scotland look tiny; even on the zoomed-in Scottish map the Northern Isles are hard to pick out. It's entirely possible that this problem will become all too obvious very soon, since on Tuesday and Wednesday the distance between the north coast of Scotland and the Central Highlands could easily make the difference between snow and rain, yet there's hardly any space between the two places on the map.

  • The contrast between cloudy and clear areas of the country at night isn't nearly high enough, and again is hard to pick out at higher latitudes. And I have near-perfect colour vision; people with some types of colour-blindness are going to have a very hard time with this. I don't actually mind the brown colour of the land too much in itself, though.

  • As I said in my last post about this, it's a bad idea to imply (as the second video on Weatherscape's page does) that rainfall can be predicted accurately enough to forecast rain in Leeds but not in Doncaster. By its very nature meteorology is an inexact science and this is just going to lead to more complaints from people who assume, reasonably but wrongly, that the greater precision shown on the map implies a greater precision in the underlying forecast models.

  • Leading on from the above, a much more serious problem: the rain and cloud areas don't match up properly! On this graphic, for example, you can clearly see rain falling from sunny skies in parts of central Europe. This is something that is entirely unacceptable for even the most basic of weather forecasts, so I'm astonished to see it on a shiny new system like this.

  • I'm not at all happy with the simplistic distinction between "cloudy" and "not cloudy" areas on the map. With the current 2D symbols, heavy and overcast weather can be shown by a black cloud symbol and fair yet cloudy weather with a white one. As I said in a post a while back, this is not a particularly wet country on the whole, but is a very cloudy one, and it's important to know what sort of cloud is expected. And what happens if there's a large depression of the kind Britain often gets in the autumn, when the whole country is overcast? How do we know?

  • The satellite-derived cloud pictures (of past weather) are fine, and very clear. But then the maps used for those are more 2D than the main forecast, and I don't think the two facts are unrelated. I haven't yet seen a synoptic North Atlantic chart, so am holding fire on that, but we do need a proper one with pressure centres marked in millibars and warm, cold and occluded fronts distinguished. I really fear a change to hopeless ITV-style "Met Office windflow chart" territory.

  • The animations aren't as annoying as I thought they'd be, but really aren't necessary and are a little distracting. There also needs to be a clear distinction between light and heavy rain, and between sleet and snow. The gradual change in shading of the temperature boxes is fine, but we do also need to retain the temperature contour maps which are excellent for showing at a glance how the overall feel of the coming days is expected to change.

  • There will apparently be more live forecasts on News 24. This is very much to be welcomed, so long as they're not hopeless 30-second affairs, since (despite having a list somewhere) I can never remember which News 24 forecasts are live at the moment! Hopefully forecasters will manage to restrain themselves from showing off too much, and to stick to giving out actual information.

  • Finally, text: the absurdly dumbed-down summary at the start of the forecast is an utter waste of time. "Cool with some sun" is so vague they might as well not bother with it at all; I could probably work that out for myself! The whole point of watching a professionally produced forecast is to get detailed information from experts, not to get one sentence in three seconds. Also, the text saying things like "3PM FRIDAY" at the bottom is, if not terrible, not very well integrated either.
Overall? I'm afraid I don't expect to be happy once this comes in, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some changes were made within the first month as a result of viewers' feedback. It was certainly interesting to note that Everton Fox didn't sound hugely enthusiastic about the new graphics on the radio. Even if it proves a disaster, scrapping the system altogether would be just too big a loss of face (and money) to be contemplated, but I would hope that at least some of the problems that I've listed will be addressed. The coming week should actually prove a good test for the new system, in that at least some parts of the country are likely to see rain, sun, snow, sleet, frost and thunder at various times, with quite widely varying temperatures. So, we'll see on Monday...
[identity profile] loganberrybunny.livejournal.com
(crossposted to my own LJ)

I note that the BBC's long-awaited new weather forecast graphics are to be publicly previewed tomorrow (although we were told yesterday that it would be on today's Breakfast, and it didn't happen...) and if the comments on the various weather forums are anything to go by, you might want to stand out of the way once I've seen it. =:S Someone on the TheWeatherOutlook forum linked to a post on TV Forum by someone (else) who'd sneaked a cameraphone into Television Centre and recorded a monitor showing a rehearsal using the new graphics, and having seen that video...

...I'm not very impressed. Several posters described them as "a cross between Sky and ITV" in appearance, and as ITV forecasts are the subject of general derision within the meteorological community this is not a good sign. In fact, to me the style seemed slightly reminiscent of Francis Wilson all those years ago on Breakfast Time! It's deeply regrettable that the BBC has elected to follow the crowd and succumb to the lure of the 3D flyover; their current 2D maps are by far the clearest on British TV, and it's no accident that the Beeb's forecasts are the ones just about everyone on TWO and other weather forums refers to. The BBC weather charts in their current form are easily the best we have.

The current "flyover" of Britain sometimes used after the 6.30pm news on BBC1 illustrates one of the problems with 3D maps - that on a 2D screen it can be hard to work out which part of the country a particular symbol is over. (It also tends to cut off SE England, but meh.) Except that the new "Weatherscape XT" version won't have symbols; just dark land where it's cloudy and bright land where it's sunny. This is a bad idea because it gives the impression that, say, the location of the edge of an approaching front can be predicted with great accuracy well in advance. As someone else pointed out on TWO, the current "sunshine and showers" symbol is indeed vague, but since it's impossible to predict precisely where scattered showers will fall this is actually a virtue. The new system will show, for example, a one-hour break in the clouds at precisely 2pm and you can bet that some people will take this as a certainty and then complain to the BBC/Met Office when it's not quite like that!

I think next week, when the new graphics are due to be introduced completely, may prove a watershed as far as the British weather community is concerned, since - if the look is as dumbed-down as I fear - we will have lost the last professional TV weather forecast that put clarity and detail ahead of flashy graphics. Thankfully there are many specialist places online that will still show the sort of basic but detailed information that is actually needed for anything beyond, "Will I need an umbrella?", but that's the point: they will be specialist places. Synoptic charts, for example, are extremely useful in making sense of the weather, yet some of the information leaking out from the BBC over the last few days would seem to indicate that isobars are to become a thing of the past. One person has even suggested that the rainfall radar screens will be dropped, though this would be an act of such spectacular idiocy that perhaps even the BBC won't be making it.

Anyway, I shall post again on this subject once I've seen the finished product in action (it comes in fully on Monday, apparently), and if it proves me wrong and is actually an improvement on the 2D charts with their old-fashioned symbols then I shall say so. I just don't think that's going to be the case. =:/
[identity profile] queenmartina.livejournal.com
Did anyone else apart from [livejournal.com profile] keresaspa and I catch the rerun of Election 74 on BBC Parliament yesterday to mark its 30th anniversary? If not, you missed a veritable retropresfest. No expense was spared (!) on the 'Election 74' logo which looked like it was made from polystyrene, and the studio looked like an Warsaw Pact holding centre. They even provided a little pot full of smoking materials on the typical functional studio coffee table for the guests! Can you imagine the Beeb doing that nowadays?!

For some reason I enjoyed the snippets of the likes of Julian Pettifer going out and about and asking 'ordinary' people what they thought and who they would vote for. What outfits! What hairstyles! *cackle* Not only that, the halls where the counts took place were grim-aided by Ian Paisley *singing* when he won what must have been the largest single majority in the whole of the UK. Yikes.

Still, it had stalwarts such as Robin Day, a dark haired and pre-boozer's nosed Alastair Burnett and a chain smoking Brian Walden-what more can one ask for? The things one does on a Sunday! :-D
[identity profile] queenmartina.livejournal.com
One word-unimpressed. Plus the newsreaders looked distinctly uncomfortable standing around towards the end of the broadcast.

What did you think? Take the poll... )
[identity profile] queenmartina.livejournal.com
I recently downloaded the opening of 'Badger Girl' and noticed it had a CBBC DOG in the corner. I know CBBC (not that I ever watch it) was showing 'Look and Read', but when? Is it still being shown?

And most importantly, has 'The Boy From Space' been on, or is it going to be shown?
enteirah: (Default)
[personal profile] enteirah
ITV2 had it's relaunch this morning. New idents, new trailers, new Dog and a new Website (about bloody time). Just a shame it's the same old schedule. The new idents are strange, mainly because they don't feel all that new. They're fully computer generated in 3D, and the background to them is an empty black. I tend to think it's a style almost reminiscent of the good old idents on most stations in the late 80s/early 90s (especially Channel 4 and Central). You know, that time when they'd just found they *could* create 3D graphics with computers, yet those computers weren't as capable of producing the fancy backgrounds. =:D *Suddenly feels all fuzzy*

Images and video are online at The TV Room. Wish I was as efficient in updating my site as Mike is. =;)
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