Behind the Scenes of the Weather Channel's Immersive Reality Segment on Climate Change

The Weather Channel used immersive reality to show the potential effects of climate change.

In a segment about climate change, TV meteorologist Jen Carfagno took viewers to what Charleston, South Carolina could look like in the future. The Weather Channel production team used Unreal Engine, a platform used by video game developers, to create its immersive segments.

“The benefit we have of using Unreal is that the talent can see the environment that they’re in before post production,” The Weather Channel art director Nick Weinmille explained. “So essentially we’re shooting our talent on green screen still. We’re putting in graphics all around them still. But now the talent can actually see all the graphics that they’re being put in so they can react to things.”

The Weather Channel has used immersive reality to showcase other extreme weather, like worsening wildfires. But it says this segment was difficult because it required going back in time to fully showcase the breadth of climate change.

The team says it hopes the use of immersive reality helps illustrate the effects of climate change.

“To talk about climate change and talk about vanishing ice and the glaciers that have been melting, it’s hard to imagine how it was 150 year ago,” Carfagno said. “We tell stories. We share video of the present day. But using IMR we were able to recreate 150 years ago and then that really gives a great visual of how things have changed.”