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PEG Station Broadcasts with Broadcast Pix, Part 2

Sep 19, 2013 11:00 AM, With Bennett Liles

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And that makes the audience more demanding too, for better production quality because they’re used to seeing that. How heavy are you on pre and post production? I would think that you want to come away from shooting the coverage with as close to a finished product as you can have.

Well we do, I would say, more preproduction than postproduction. We do try to make it so that when the sports event is over it’s ready to go on the air. That was really the idea that we can turn it around quicker and not make people wait, because they’ve just been at the game. Their interest is a limited time period and you want to try to get it up and get it on the air as soon as you can. So we try to teach people to sort of skip over their mistakes. I mean if you watch a 2-hour football game, you’re gonna see mistakes, but you probably won’t remember them over the course of 2 hours. So we try to train them to work with that and then that helps them work past their mistakes much more quickly and sort of make corrections without feeling like “I gotta edit that 1-second shot out.” So we do a lot of that. In studio there tends to be a little more postproduction because of the nature of some of the shows, but in sports—in the field—we tend to look at it like it’s one take. [Timestamp: 5:50]

And since you get volunteers who may be interested in one particular aspect of the TV production process, you probably get some sound techies in there who want to specialize in that part of it.

That’s right.

How are you equipped for sound? You have mics, mixers, recording and playback stuff?

Mm-hmm. We actually designed a little announcer’s setup so that it’s fairly decent. Again, easy to set up and use. That’s the main thing. For the sports stuff, that’s how we do that, but with some of the other productions, for example at the senior center here, we’ve designed and we’re about to install a new sound system for them, but specifically part of it is built around our coverage of larger community meetings in there. And that’s something that’s taken us some time to figure out, you know, what exactly do we need in that room and how can we best put it together to use with our remote systems? We just actually finished that, waiting for all the equipment to come in, and then we’ll install it in that room. And that’s always a big consideration as far as I’m concerned, that the audio has to be just as good as the video, if not better. So we’re always working on improving that aspect of it. [Timestamp: 7:02]

And the broadcast integrated production stuff is the perfect thing for getting people’s feet wet on the TV production tech jobs, you can automate so much of it.

That’s right.

I’ll bet you have some interesting things happen mixing volunteers with some of the especially creative program formats.

Yeah we don’t do it, but there’s a woman here that produces an arts program. And I think because of the way she came in on it and we talked to her about it, she realizes that accidents can actually turn out to be a really good thing in her program. So she’s willing to experiment with it and just to push the envelope a little bit and see what it can do, and willing to take the mistakes as part of the program. And that’s one thing, as advanced as the equipment is, I mean to make a distinction, you’re right. When people watch sports they expect a lot more, plus you want to have a really good graphics package built and prepared so that when people are watching the program then they can keep track of what’s going on, they know what they’re seeing, it’s not just a single camera coverage. On the other hand, with some of the other programs, you try to show people that by now people are so media savvy and media cognizant, that you don’t have to always present this façade of well, there’s no fourth wall there, that you’re watching something for television and don’t acknowledge anything that’s going on. We’re showing people it’s fine to shout at the director and say, “Hey, do you have that shot ready of such-and-such? Okay, let’s show that.” Because if you see what I mean, it isn’t like it was in the 1890’s where you’re watching a film of a train go down the track and people might think that the train’s actually coming at them through the screen. People understand that there’s lots of stuff going on in the studio and any attention you can call to it actually makes the program more entertaining. It challenges you a little bit more in the technology because you swing the camera around into a position maybe you didn’t do before or maybe it allows you to use some graphics that you might not have thought of using. [Timestamp: 9:06]

How do you handle tech support there in the studio? Do you the installation yourself and kind of maintain everything or do you contract with somebody?

Our technical director does most of the day-to-day support, but we have a service contract with most of our vendors, and The Camera Company has been great at backing up their installations. Although they’re not an engineering company by trade, I think what has made them our preferred vendor, I guess, is that they’ve been proactive about supporting the installation and solving problems. So that’s been a real plus. [Timestamp: 9:40]

And of course, the basic move is to select quality gear that doesn’t break down much and need fixing.

Right. Yes.

Well, what’s coming up next? Have you got some programs in the works or anything coming up at the Belmont Media Center?

Well, there are some plans right now for a music program. We have a fairly nice studio that we’ve added to and enhanced and so we’re hoping to have local bands come in on a regular basis. We actually have started a weekly or semi-weekly news program in conjunction with the local newspaper and we’re about to move them into Studio A. So we actually have a new producer on that program to expand the news coverage, so we think that’s gonna be a really popular show because we’re gonna be presenting more news and more local coverage. [Timestamp: 10:28]

Alright, sort of getting the people there in Belmont involved and connected with their community and a pretty easy way to do it. Jeff Hansell from the Belmont Media Center. Doing the things that PEG stations do. Spinning a lot of plates and keeping them all in the air.

That’s a good way to look at it, yeah.

Appreciate your being here.

Thank you.

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