Students tuning into new broadcasting facilities

TV studio workStudents Keith Monette and Bobby Reeves sit in front of 15 monitors of various sizes and other state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment. It’s show time.

Monette fires off a series of cues to Reeves and other students in the control room: “Roll tape! Open mikes! Cue music! Fade up!”

All the subsequent action in Lanigan Hall’s Studio A takes place on new, digital equipment. While it’s only a practice session—students in the “Advanced TV Production” class staging a mock show titled “Downtime”—it showcases the results of the $875,000 grant to renovate the college’s broadcasting facilities and upgrade to high-definition capability through a grant secured by state Sen. James W. Wright.

The four new widescreen studio cameras, control-room monitors, video switcher and server, updatable teleprompter and other equipment in Studio A represent just the beginning, says Fritz Messere, professor and chair of communication studies at SUNY Oswego.

Six new digital editing suites featuring Final Cut Pro sit across the hall, with another six coming to the Center for Communication and Information Technology graphic and computer lab in Lanigan. All video will be placed on a central server where “students will be able to access it from any of those locations,” Messere says.

Down the hall, work continues on Studio B, which will house student news programming. A new high-tech fluorescent lighting system and control room similar to Studio A are in the works.

The former WRVO newsroom and studios are in the middle of an upgrade in replacing the former Poucher Radio Lab. Messere hopes to have all five editing stations ready for student classes by fall. Plans include classroom space along with an infusion of digital audio, new equipment and a multi-track recording system.

Messere says the renovations culminate nearly a decade of planning and provide a recruiting tool for the department and the college. “I think it’s a real boost for the students,” he notes. “This is a facility where they can learn what they can do on today’s equipment. Because we have these capabilities, we can support new and exciting programs.”

The added capacity and equipment can lead to the production of longform video and audio dramas, news programs, online broadcasting and other opportunities to serve the campus and community, he added.

Doug Smart, who teaches the advanced production class, admits to an initial learning curve but says that the overall potential has greatly increased. “The biggest impact has been the addition of the third and fourth camera,” Smart says. “We are now truly a multi-camera operation and competitive with anyone. The additional cameras open up more opportunities in the ways we can approach a production and afford us a level of professionalism that was previously unavailable.”

Students say they are happy to work on such advanced equipment. “It’s a huge difference,” Monette explains. “I was in Studio A before it was remodeled. Now it’s high definition with flat-screen monitors, so you very see everything really well.”

Over in front of the character-generator graphics machine and the video playback computer, Lance Glover agrees. “It’s really nice to have equipment that is state of the art,” he says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Studio session—Senior broadcasting majors Rob Forrester (left) and Scott McGregor work behind the cameras as Johnny Gomez, a senior graphic design major, plays host for an exercise in Doug Smart’s “Advanced TV Production” class in Studio A of Lanigan Hall. Studio A’s full renovation with new state-of-the-art equipment was part of the first phase of work done under a $875,000 state grant secured by state Sen. James W. Wright.

(Posted: Apr 19, 2006)