Charlotte anchors startled by ‘giant’ insect on video wall behind them

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Two Charlotte personalities were caught off guard when an insect fluttered past the camera providing a live feed to the video wall background behind them, creating the illusion of a science fiction-level “invasion.”

WJZY anchor Annie Szatkowski and meteorologist Elisa Raffa were wrapping up the station’s July 13, 2022 noon newscast when the cityscape view on the LED video wall background was interrupted by an apparently curious insect.

Like many stations, WJZY uses the feed from a live camera, often remotely controlled, to fill one of the large swaths of video panels on its news set. This allows the station to showcase a realtime view of the city.

These cameras are typically mounted near the top of buildings, transmission towers or other high vantage points that are exposed to the elements.

Because of how optics work, anything passing close to the lens will appear larger than life. In this case, the insect that wandered pass the view of the camera was an ordinary variety of its species but appeared much larger than life.

Raffa appears to notice the insect, which she called a wasp, on an in-studio return monitor, and lets out an audible gasp and turns to the video wall.

“Whoa!” says Szatkowski, her eyes getting wide.

At about the same time, the control room switched to a bump shot from the control room to help fill out the final seconds of the timeslot, which may have been planned in advance but also meant the insect’s guest appearance was cut short.

These incidents happen have been known to happen with insects and other similar critters, as well as birds, which can lead to similar jarring results.

A variation of the issue is when precipitation, such as raindrops, stick to the protective glass or plastic in front of the lens. Because they are often mounted outdoors and exposed to weather, cameras like these are often placed inside of protective enclosures.

Again, because of the optics, the moisture appears magnified on camera. Although they often appear larger than anchors’ heads, they are in reality small dots.

Some stations even have a small windshield wiper-style arm mounted to the front of the camera casing to clear off droplets.