Shelbyville High School began the school year with a new TV studio fully equipped with two studio cameras, a TelePrompTer, a TriCaster production unit, lighting equipment, mobile production, and a large green screen.
An actual anchor desk and stage is currently being built by students in the technology education department. The studio is new this year thanks to the 36 million dollar renovations that was completed in 2007. Though only ten seniors have signed up for this course currently, the telecommunications/broadcasting vocational course is open to 10th through 12th graders that have fulfilled requirements in computer applications and language arts courses. The class meets from 7:35 AM until 10:29 AM. The schedule allows the students to produce the morning announcements at 8:40 AM that are broadcast throughout the school via ceiling mounted LCD projectors.
The class just finished producing video segments for freshman students during ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress) testing this week. Students have also been recording home football games and the season opener which was held in the new Indianapolis Colts stadium-Lucas Oil Stadium. All of the footage will be compiled later to produce a season highlights DVD. Students will begin working with the local public library at the end of the month to produce public service announcements regarding Teen Read Week. We are currently working with the local radio station so that students from this class can also intern at the radio station. This will allow students to have “hands-on” experience with both TV and radio.
We were able to talk to Amy Fox in more detail:
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
AF: I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Education and I have taught the advanced computer applications courses such as multimedia and web design for most of my career at Shelbyville High School (this is my eighth year). I recently completed my master’s degree in educational technology and an endorsement in vocational business.
Two years ago when I saw the plans for the high school renovation, I noticed a location designated “TV Studio”. This would be the first time that Shelbyville High School had an actual TV Studio. I was very excited and had a lot of ideas for projects that students could produce with a TV Studio. In my multimedia class I always had the students do taping and editing, but never had the equipment to do anything great. So, I went to my principal and asked if I could teach the class. No one else had volunteered or showed an interest in it, so the job was mine.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
AF: The initial funding for the TV Studio was part of the budget for the high school renovation project. We would like to start producing PSA’s and other services/products so that we can have a budget of our own.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
AF: We did not have any equipment prior to the installation in the new TV studio.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
AF: There are ten students in the TV/Video production class. The class is set up as a vocational class which allows us to block three periods of time in the morning for the class to meet. There are two students who are only in the studio for first period, and one student who is in the studio for two periods. The remaining seven students have the class for three, 50 minute class periods. Students can take the course for more than one year. All of the students this year are seniors, so we will not have the leadership I would like for next year.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
AF: We have only been up and operating for two-weeks so our projects have been limited so far. We produce the morning announcements and air them live at the end of first period. The class has done some pre-recorded activities for our testing week of the state graduation exam (ISTEP).
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
AF: Eight students do the morning broadcast. The other two students work on compiling the morning announcements in text form to run during lunch time. We only do a five minute broadcast everyday. Since this is a new program we have not been given any other time slots that would allow for a weekly broadcast. Our first special events coverage was our homecoming football game on September 12th.
SVN: What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
AF: The students work through a two week rotation so that everyone gets the opportunity to be in front of the camera and know how to run the equipment behind the scene as well.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
AF: No, students do not audition for on-air positions. However, when we begin a new rotation we have practice sessions so that the “new” on air talent becomes more comfortable in front of the camera.
SVN: Do they write the content?
AF: Students do not write the content for the morning announcements. That is typically sent in from teachers and the athletic department.
SVN: How long does the show run?
AF: We are limited to five minutes.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
AF: Not yet.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
AF: Our broadcast can only be viewed in our building. We would like to stream our broadcasts via the high school website in the next few months.
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
Three new Canon XH-A1 3CCD HDV Camcorders using analog component output for high SD quality. Viewfinders will be SD/HD 8” Color LCD to be mounted on top of the camcorder. Chromakey can be performed with any camera. Lens controller will be mounted on tripod handle for zoom and focus control.
Libec TH-2000 tripods (x3) with 30lb. fluid heads for sturdy dependable operation. Dual handles. Dollies for mobility.
Telex single channel with single muff headsets for floor director and director, dual muff for three camera people. Camera people and floor director will wear beltpacks. A two-channel main station will be rack-mounted for direct headset plug-in for director in control room. Talkback speaker to be mounted in studio for program audio playback and director talkback.
Camera-mounted 15” LCD flat screen (x3) for compact, lightweight functionality. Uses VGA signal direct from computer for crystal clear text. Prompting software is included.
Two 42” LCD monitors will be wall-mounted in the control room to display all three cameras and program feed on one monitor in a quad-split formation and the TriCaster STUDIO GUI on the other. Another 42” flat-screen LCD Monitor will be provided in the studio for program playback. Director/Technical Director will also have redundancy on the TriCaster STUDIO screen for Program and sources. One 19” LCD computer monitor is provided for TriCaster STUDIO.
SPECIAL EFFECTS SWITCHER
The TriCaster STUDIO features six inputs including (3) analog component for the XH-A1 cameras and YC inputs for the DV/HDD/DVD deck and VHS/DVD Combo deck. A built-in character generator is included for broadcast quality graphics. A hardware switcher interface (Video Mixer) is included with a fader bar and backlit input buttons. Two built-in Hard-Drive recorders provide internal video playback and editing. Chromakey for virtual sets. Basic editing can also be performed with Speed-Edit Lite. 3D-Arsenal software provided for enhanced graphics performance.
Five fluorescent fixtures for base and back lighting and (2) focusable fresnels for key lighting two people. Two pigtail dimmers and a control console for controlling lights independently or as a group.
16-input audio mixer for professional quality sound. Two speakers are provided to be mounted on wall near LCD screens. Three wireless studio lapel mics are included.
Four 14RU 16” deep desktop racks are provided with a power strip/conditioner in each.
SD RECORDING FORMATS SUPPORTED
MiniDV (JVC SR-DVM600US MiniDV/HDD/DVD Combo Recorder)
Internal Hard Drive (SR-DVM600US, TriCaster STUDIO)
SD PLAYBACK FORMATS SUPPORTED
VHS/S-VHS (JVC SR-MV45US)
DVD+R/+RW (JVC SR-DVM600US)
DVD-R/-RW/RAM (SR-DVM600US, SR-MV45US)
Internal Hard Drive (SR-DVM600US, TriCaster STUDIO)
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
AF: Don’t be afraid to just jump in. The only way to learn how to run the equipment and make a production work is to actually do it.