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  How Newsround works in Athens
Updated 23 August 2004, 13.20
Live broadcasts
By Neil Doughty
Newsround Online in Athens


When you're watching Newsround in the UK and it switches to Ellie to get the latest news from Athens, it looks like she stepped in front of the camera seconds before you see her.

But it's not like that really, as loads of work goes into making that live update from the Olympics work smoothly.

Last-minute medals and news mean late changes to the script
Last-minute medals and news mean late changes to the script
To start with; Ellie, her producer Ronan and camerawoman Julie, get to the place where they broadcast from - called the live point - as much as an hour before the Newsround programme starts.

It's important to get there early because everything needs setting up and Ellie needs to practise her lines and make sure all the technology is working.

She also needs to stand in exactly the right place so that the background looks good behind her and the sun isn't shining down the lens of the camera.

The master control room (MCR) sends the film to the satellite
The master control room (MCR) sends the film to the satellite
It's also important to be there early so that, if medals are decided as Newsround starts, we can be ready to get that breaking news to you as soon as it happens, which means changing the script at the last minute.

When all that is sorted out a satellite connects Ellie and the camerawoman to the Newsround studio back in London.

Ellie and Julie wear earphones (you can't see Ellie's - it's hidden!) so that they can hear the director and the programme going out in London and know exactly when it is Ellie's turn to speak.

Masses of technology

When the programme starts in London Ellie gets ready and when it is her turn to speak says her piece, or 'link'.

The satellite sends the pictures and sound to the BBC in London
The satellite sends the pictures and sound to the BBC in London
That is sent downstairs to the Master Control Room (MCR) where computers turn it into a signal and then send it 36,000km into space.

It gets bounced off a satellite dish and then whizzes 36,000km back down to London to the BBC television centre - and all that takes just two seconds.

When Ellie introduces reports from Athens, they have her voice on them as well, but she's not reading those words when you hear them.

Instead they have been recorded and sent back to London hours ago. Why? Well, for more details on that, you'll have to read part two...

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