As the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person collaboration, creators for Panorama TV, Panorama’s resident-run television station, adapted their normal operations so that they could continue to provide necessary programming from home. Brian Hovis, a Panorama TV producer and resident, says there was no doubt that production had to safely carry on as a service to fellow residents. Not only providing entertainment, Panorama TV is also a source for community news and information for those living within Panorama’s boundaries.
“It just felt irresponsible to ever stop production,” says Hovis. “There are people that really depend on us to be able to watch these shows. Not just the entertainment shows, but also information like our show, ‘The News with Lu.’ If you really want to know what’s going on, you have to watch those shows because it’s happening daily, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic.”
Although in-studio meetings have not been possible, the resident creators for Panorama TV have successfully transitioned to remote production. Working with Panorama’s IT team, the station’s resident producers are filming and editing their regular programs from home. Hovis has also created multiple video production courses so that more residents can remotely create their own segments for Panorama TV.
“The level of collaboration that is occurring now, we’re talking daily,” explains Hovis. “Emails back and forth on the shows that are going in. The IT team have understood the importance, the key importance of Panorama TV for communicating with residents, so that level of support just stepped up to a basically hand in hand partnership. The technical support we get from IT is amazing.”
On Panorama TV, residents within the Panorama community can tune in for educational, and cultural programming, most of which is created by fellow residents. Focused on local happenings, Panorama TV hosts a “Meet Your Neighbors” series, as a chance to introduce new residents to the community. Additional programs include profiles on local history and interviews with public servants, like Congressman, Denny Heck. In addition, Panorama TV provides a wealth of fitness and movement programs, so that residents can stay active while at home.
There are also multiple weekly programs that cover the community’s news. Lu Hamacek, the producer of “The News with Lu,” has been a Panorama TV producer since she first moved into the community. More important than ever, Hamacek shares the latest updates and information about community safety guidelines. Hamacek says delivering news via television is vital, because not all residents are able to access information via the internet.
“We have a resident portal, but it requires internet,” explains Hamaeck. “We have residents who don’t have internet and can’t see the kind of information that’s out there, so they rely on the television. I want to be able to bring some of that information, and some of what I call ‘other stuff,’ which includes pictures from around Panorama. So, I get videos or photos from residents and I’m able to incorporate all that into the show. I also get a little bit of news from management including what’s going on with resident groups.”
Through remote production, residents have been able to introduce new types of programming to Panorama TV, including the live streaming of virtual performances as part of their “Backyard Concerts” series. Hamacek is also creating a series of emergency preparation videos, using Zoom to interview guests.
“The nice thing is I’m here alone in my home and the person I’m interviewing is in their home,” explains Hamacek. “We don’t have to worry about whether we have to social distance or wear masks, and we can still bring the information to everyone.”
Reflecting on Panorama TV’s transition to at-home production, Hovis credits the channel’s continued success to the collaboration between Panorama residents and staff. As residents have stepped up to create, edit and brainstorm new virtual programming, the Panorama IT staff have also continued to provide ample support to the channel’s resident producers.
“Panorama TV has always been important for providing information for our community,” explains Hovis. “But since the pandemic, it has filled a crucial role. An amazing partnership with Panorama IT staff is one of the great rewards we received as a result of this crisis. Now we’re producing as many shows as we were doing before, just in a different way.”
To learn more about Panorama TV, and Panorama’s efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit the Panorama website.