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Television Production Systems, Part 2

Aug 24, 2010 12:00 PM

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I read some things about the Fluent Watch-folders feature on the switchers. How are you using that?
We're using that for a lot of our live programming that we do during the day so if—we teach a couple of high school classes, and the high school kids do a show, and what ends up happening, they don't always finish their projects when they're due or the show has started. And then they're doing tweaks and finishing up the little packages, and what they end up doing is, over the network, they just drop the file into the watch folder, and then it's ready by a certain amount of time. It also teaches the kids the workflow of, "OK, this is an A package, a B package, a C package. This needs to be done in this order, it needs to be dropped by this time." Also it gives them a little bit of learning, a little bit of workflow. [Timestamp: 6:44]

And I noticed in a picture I saw there, I don't know if that was you in the shot, but it showed your control room, or one of them, and I was curious as to who made your production consoles.
Actually, TBC Consoles; it's a great console. It's a very easy to use and the design actually was chosen by us—we designed it for our space, it fits perfectly where we want it to go. And again, it's designed in the way of one person can sit there as the technical director and handle all aspects of the control room—handle the record side, handle the playback side, handle the audio, the CCUs, everything else. But at the same time, it's large enough where you can have multiple people sitting at the desk and then start breaking roles out to other people. [Timestamp: 7:31]

Yeah, that's one of the areas where it's probably the biggest payoff when you have the actual production person like yourself doing the installation.
Yeah. Now it's definitely helped out. And it's a lot of trial and error. Brookline is actually my third access center that I've built out, and you learn a lot of things along the way. [Timestamp: 7:50]

What are your future plans for video on the website up there?
Well, we currently—we're one of the very few access centers that broadcast all of our programming online, and one of the very unique things we do is we archive all of our programming for two years on our website. We are planning on upgrading our online, on-demand content to HD by the end of this year. It all comes down to a bandwidth issue and being able to transcode all the video. The disadvantage of public access is what we broadcast out at. A lot of people say, "Oh well, its poor quality," they don't watch their public access. The shame is it's not really poor quality when it's produced and recorded in the studio or out in the field, the quality issue comes down to how the signal is delivered from the access center to the cable provider, and then by the cable provider out to people's television. [Timestamp: 8:48]

So what we're trying to do is really showcase our programming and the quality of our programming out on our website. And we've actually had a lot of positive feedback for people being able to view all of our programming online. [Timestamp: 9:00]

I guess it's a challenge. You probably do most of the training of the volunteer crew people too.
Correct. We have a variety of workshops; we actually have some type of a workshop every single day of the week. [Timestamp: 9:11]

Where do you think public access is going? I mean, there are all kinds of opinions on that. Where do you think its heading?
I think it's going to go the way of a community multimedia technology center. I think it's the only way public access can really survive is adapting with the future. Public access had its heyday a while ago—back in the '80s and early '90s, when people were able to go to an access center, be able to use equipment that they didn't have access to at home. When technology was very expensive. For example, people couldn't afford VHS cameras at several thousand dollars at home, so they had the ability to go to their access center and be able to use that equipment, learn that equipment. And I think what ended up happening somewhere along the line is public access centers weren't upgrading their equipment, and then the consumer market became better than what you could get at your public access center. So why would you go to your public access center and use an old 3/4in. deck when you have a VHS or a 8mm at home? So the problem is you really have to provide a service to the community and that service that we're providing is state-of-the-art equipment, training—a place for people to go. We're not only a public access center. Like I said earlier, we are a community multimedia technology center; we're a venue. We do live music concerts out of our studios; we have documentary film screenings in our theaters; we have a gallery stage for local artists to display all of their gallery work; we're a remote gallery for another museum. So we really try to encourage foot traffic in bringing any type of event into our space that is going to take use and make use of the space because if you're not using the space, it's not worth it. It's going to become what a lot of people consider public access, which is this hole in the wall that nobody's involved with, nobody really goes to. And it's the job of every single access center to change that opinion and really become proactive in the community and change that idea of what public access is. [Timestamp: 11:33]

Yeah, if you provide meaningful content that they can't find anywhere else, they'll find you.

All right, Peter Zawadzki of Brookline Access Television in Brookline, Mass. It's been great talking to you Peter. Good luck with the web video, and I hope everything works out for you there.
All right. Thank you.

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