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Communications dept. zooms in on new equipment

by Aaron Cerbone - News Editor
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 09:00 pm
Breonnah Colon/COPY DESK CHIEF

The School of Arts,  Humanities and Social Sciences recently purchased  equipment for its Studio B in the form of two new robotic cameras.  Pictured above are the current cameras that will be replaced with the new ones.
Breonnah Colon/COPY DESK CHIEF The School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences recently purchased equipment for its Studio B in the form of two new robotic cameras. Pictured above are the current cameras that will be replaced with the new ones.

A grant through the Dean's office of the School of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences purchased two robotic cameras for Studio B in the basement of Edwards Hall last week. The studio is the set for Talon Television broadcasts and video production students who want to create but it has never had cameras of its own. To film, large and archaic studio cameras had to be rolled down to hall to the studio.

Looking like R2-D2 and having an unnecessarily long name, (JVC KY-PZ100 Robotic PTZ Network Video Production Camera) the cameras are ushering in the second phase of the studio's long-term renovation.

"It's been so long since we had any new equipment in that studio," Professor Kim Young, Talon Television's advisor, said.

Young put in the camera grant request to the Dean's office as she is trying to bring the studio up to date with modern television newsroom conventions.

"Most television stations in the marketplace, Channel 10 included, have robotic cameras," Young said.

In fact, Channel 12 in Erie purchased the same cameras being installed in Brockport after Young bought them for the Penn State Behrend College's studio.

The cameras bring Brockport's studio into the same arena as many small-market television studios, featuring a higher quality of video and operation.

The new technology behind the robotic cameras has also lowered the price on quality studio cameras significantly. The two cameras cost $3,000 each compared to the $20,000 studios previously dropped in order to film.

The camera is controlled by a joystick from the control room, eliminating the need to have a floor director and moving everyone involved in production out of the studio, leaving it open for the talent in front of the camera.

"You still need a camera operator, a switcher and a director ... but everybody is in the booth, nobody is in the studio," Young said. "That really is the way it's being done everywhere. That's always been my goal, to replicate what's happening in the marketplace."

The robotic camera's biggest benefit for students is the independence it allows for everyone to operate cameras and produce television packages by themselves. Students have relied on the studio's support staff, Alex Alexandrov and Jim Bareis, to move cameras from studio to studio, operate the equipment and shift cameras around inside the studio. 

"We will actually be able to run two studios at once," next year's co-manager of Talon Television, Johnny Nixon said. "We are going to be able to work with camera angles and cutscenes."

Nixon will co-manage the station with Jordan Soldaczewski; their goal is for the members of Talon to be able to self-produce their own content and have the ability to prepare for a career through the studio.

"Most of our students can walk into any begining market TV newsroom and get a job," Young said.

The cameras will be the same equipment students will see when they graduate and start working in newsrooms of the "real world."

The station is making changes to its content as well as cameras to adapt to today's online world.

"We want to cut down the length of our programming to be more friendly to the web," Soldaczewski said. "We want to have more shows and more productions from each department with smaller lengths."

As managers of Talon, Soldaczewski and Nixon emphasize they are ready and excited to work with any group, club or individual on campus who wants to produce a web video or television spot.

"Video is a great way to create a message," Nixon said. "It is a platform to get a message out and be heard."

This is the second phase of the renovations to the studio with the first being last year's set purchase. This phase is transforming the studio from being nearly unusable to opening up to the entire campus.

Though students will have to get used to operating the sensitive camera joystick, the highly simplified cameras are making Studio B more accessible than ever.

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