Broadcasting Goes High-Definition

Students majoring in the university’s expanding broadcast production programs at the University are now learning their craft in a newly redesigned facility outfitted with the latest high-definition equipment.

The $2.5 million upgrade to Hobart Hall’s two-studio TV complex includes seven new high-definition television studio cameras, as well as two identical state-of-the-art high-definition control rooms which are designed to control either or both of the studios. The redesigned layout now includes a green room for guests.

“Our students are chomping at the bit, and excited to have the tools to match their creativity,” says Loretta McLaughlin-Vignier, assistant professor of communication and a former producer for Court TV who developed the initial proposal for the upgrade. “This facility mirrors what you would see at any professional facility in a broadcast or corporate setting.”

“This is a very innovative, student-centered approach,” says Alfred Clarke, who joined the campus as the television studio manager in June 2013. “This gives our faculty who are teaching broadcast courses the flexibility to use both studios for a production. This means the content quality is now aligned with the television industry standard, which is important for our graduates.”

Studio B, which is used for the department’s news programs, sports a new high-definition set donated by SNY. A new jib—a camera on a long boom arm that allows camera shots from the floor to the ceiling—in Studio A provides new options for courses in episodic television production.

In addition, Hobart Hall’s editing suites were upgraded with new high-definition computers and software. Students also have access to twenty-four high-definition digital field cameras, as well as a new fourteen-foot mobile production truck to allow for high-definition field recording in support of campus athletic, cultural, and academic events. The end result is that students can now film, in the studio or in the field, and edit entirely in high-definition format.

The high-definition upgrade supports students in the Communication Department’s film program as well. “Several of the field cameras are cinema HD camera, which have interchangeable lenses so that the filmmaker can finely adjust the size, focus, and exposure of an image,” says Chriss Williams, a professor of communication who teaches filmmaking. “Our film students can now work with equipment and workflows that are used in the film industry, and to face real world industry challenges and concepts. This new technology will help students leave my class with a strong foundation in the art of filmmaking, the technique used to create it, and a of course, film's grand history.”

Having the latest technology definitely provides students with an edge when they seek internships or graduate and enter the job market, McLaughlin-Vignier says. “To be able to say that you used the latest industry equipment is a definite edge because a student’s learning curve will be shorter,” she says. “The storytelling doesn’t change, but the having the latest tools with which to tell that story and demonstrate your skills is tremendous.”

New Broadcast TV Studios Prepare Students for Success