CAMBRIDGE -- A Cambridge man turned his interest in meteorology into an online weather information center complete with homemade video.
Don Keating has maintained his weather Web site for several years but didn't promote it much until he began including a video weather summary package in early September, he said.
"Number one, I like doing the hobby; I like studying meteorology," he said. "And the main reason that I put the videos on there is so that people can get an idea, instead of reading something, of approximately what's going to happen, they get an understanding of why it's going to happen for their specified area."
Though his reports covers eastern Ohio as much as possible, Keating pinpoints his efforts on his hometown of Newcomerstown and his current home in Cambridge.
"Everybody's weather is unique because of geography," he explained. "You can be up on a hill at night in winter and it's probably 10 to 20 degrees warmer on top of the hill than it is in the valley, because cold air drains. So don't expect a Columbus forecast to say 'a low of 10 below zero in Cambridge' when they're actually forecasting 5 above in Columbus."
In order to produce his videos, Keating uses bluescreen technology. In bluescreening two images are mixed. A color is removed from one image revealing another image.
Weather forecasters commonly use the technology. A presenter stands in front of a large blue screen and comments on images that do not actually appear on the screen. Rather, a weather map or other image replaces everything that appears blue. In this manner the presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map. They must take care not to wear blue, as the map would replace that part of their clothing.
Keating experimented with a bluescreen program on his computer, but he met with several technical difficulties. New software took care of that problem.
A blue bed sheet hanging from a curtain rod in a room at his home provides the blue screen for Keating.
He records his forecasts nightly (except Saturdays) at about 10 p.m. They are generally able to be viewed by 11:30 p.m. Each clip lasts about 4 minutes, and takes about two hours to produce.
Keating critiques each performance.
"I'm a perfectionist by nature," he said. "And I want to see what little thing that I did that I didn't like so I can fine tune in the future to make it better than it was."
Also available on Keating's Web site are Ohio and national temperature maps, local and regional radar maps, five-day forecasts for Cambridge and Newcomerstown, a current national weather map featuring fronts and precipitation, weather records for Cambridge for 2007 and 2008, weather records for Newcomerstown dating back to 1996, links to other weather-related Web sites and an elapsed time montage taken from a stationary camera at his East Cambridge home.
Keating's weather Web site can be accessed online at www.angelfire.com/oh3/nctohwx/, though he is seeking a domain name.