Steven Trauger, TV/AV facility engineer for Ocean City, N.J. Schools, said it can be difficult for a school to transition to HD production affordably while maintaining a facility that resembles a professional environment.
He should know – he was part of Ocean City High School’s HD upgrade in early 2014, which was integrated by Horizon AV in Pitman, N.J.
New courses were added to the school following construction of a new facility in 2004. I was hired as the program's broadcast engineer and the district additionally hired a separate individual to be the classroom instructor. Today, we have one more additional instructor because the program's popularity has grown.
We introduce our students to film/TV production. The progression is as follows: intro (semester), TV/Media 1, TV/Media 2, and TV/Media 3. TV 3 is our most advanced group and they staff our show. The students in our program spend the first part of their experience learning about various theories and aspects of production. Then we gradually introduce them to the tools (this way they know how to properly use those tools...everything from shot composition/framing with rule of thirds, adjusting the iris, getting good sound in the field, to pacing the edit, storyboarding, scripting, and executing a live-style broadcast). Ironically, storytelling/writing is one aspect we seem to always spend a lot of time on (how to not only introduce a topic but then make a conclusion or point). My goal is for the students to not be turned off by the technical execution. The challenge is finding ways to keep all of those processes simple without compromising the product we put out or the educational value the students gain from the experience. That's what led to the BP story. At the end of the day we want them to experience how the process works in the real world, filling the same positions they'd find in a typical studio/control room. That way they are prepared to further their education while preparing for a career in the industry, but if that's not their plan and they are just taking the course to fulfill their schedule, then at least they will become smarter consumers of media.
The studio at Ocean City High School was recently updated with HD technology. Formerly a DVCPRO facility with an analog Ross production switcher, the revamped facility boasts 40TB of shared storage, Blackmagic Design studio cameras, and a Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 integrated production switcher equipped with Rapid CG. We selected a BroadcastPix switcher because it maintained the traditional feel of a production switcher while offering added benefits such as its built-in multiviewer, media server, and integrated graphics capabilities. The school also uses Rundown Creator, a Web-based collaborative software platform for producing rundowns and scripts for live news and other programs, and Broadcast Pix’s optional Rapid CG software, which uses templates built with Granite’s integrated CG to easily create customized graphics
Students are in the field/editing their segments daily. Since the program was expanding, so too, was the need for greater efficiency. The stories closest to air are tracked on a magnetic white board and their progress is updated each day with icons (idea, script, shoot, edit, delivered). This lets our producers know how close they are to having everything built for the show as well as who is responsible for what story. Once finished and approved, segment producers must record who gets tagged and when in their piece. This is where Rundown Creator comes in. Rundown Creator is how we streamline the process of sending that information and our broadcast script to the control room for prompting/CG. It's newsroom technology similar to AP's ENPS product, but hosted in the cloud, so not platform specific. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection. It's how we manage our scripts. The idea behind using it is simple--it offers us a collaborative platform where scripts can be entered and then moved around in real-time. That way students and staff don't have to waste time typing the script in a word processing application and saving it, only to have to import and clean up the text in another application designed to prompt it.
Where it has greatly saved us is in the entering of the technical commands. I hashed all of those out as part of the script templates so that when a new script is generated, all of its matching technical commands follow suit and are in perfect alignment with the typical 2 column A/V script when printed. That has allowed us to be hands off as the program advisors. Students now direct the show, calling all of the shots, handling all of the technical execution. We also helped initiate was the integration between BroadcastPix's Rapid CG product and Rundown Creator this year. That way we could download and import all of the show graphics files with the click of a button. Of course there was a lot of setup required first (ranging from graphics template creation to the pairing of the CG feed over the looping motion backgrounds and other related setups for timing etc. on the production switcher).
What all of this work has done is maximized our students' time and allowed us to keep a very sophisticated look on air with relative ease in the control room. Using this workflow, they don't have to type in and generate all of the CGs. That is done for them. It also ensures branding and consistency across their show. No matter who worked on the segment, all of the graphics now match. This ensures that professional look/feel viewers expect at home.
This might show it a bit better: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=937979786226826&set=vb.482424038449072&type=2&theater