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Tennis tourney is Telecom crew's first HD remote production
Tennis tourney is Telecom crew's first HD remote production
setting up
NNPS-TV Broadcast Engineer Greg Lesko talks about the new HD cameras during set up before the tennis match.
Photo: Carl Daniels, Jr.

Just like they do every year, Telecom students video-recorded the annual Dr. Mary V. Bicouvaris Memorial Tennis Tournament for television. But this year something was different: Their remote video production truck was newly upgraded so they could record in HD (High Definition).

Thanks to NNPS-TV's Broadcast Engineer Greg Lesko, who installed new equipment in the truck, the production stepped into the modern era with the high-quality wide screen format.

The new HD cameras are Hitachi 6000s, which boast color monitors and modern technologies like "tallies" and "returns." A tally light is a small signal-lamp that indicates that the camera is 'live,' meaning the technical director has selected its signal for the main program. This is good information for the camera operator to have when working on a multi-camera production like sports or graduation. With a "return," the camera operator can see the other cameras in his/her camera monitor.

White HouseDr. Mary V. Bicouvaris met President George Bush and Mrs. Bush at the White House when she was National Teacher of the Year.

The tennis tournament, which was held April 14 at the James River Country Club in Newport News, is an eight-game pro-set. The past two years the tournament featured a high-school player versus an adult player, but this year it was a match for the grownups: Tidewater Tennis Center Pro Donald Widener took on John Baumann, an accomplished tennis player who is a former NNPS teacher and administrator. Donald Widener won the tournament, defeating John Baumann 8-7.

The tournament honors a local educator, Dr. Mary V. Bicouvaris, who taught at Jeff Davis Middle School, Bethel High School, Hampton Roads Academy and Christopher Newport University. She was the Virginia and National Teacher of the Year in 1989, and was recognized for her accomplishments by President George Bush at the White House.

Dr. Bicouvaris passed away in 2001, and has been remembered in this made-for-television tournament ever since. Her son, Greg Bicouvaris, of GJB Productions and Marketing, is the producer of the tournament's television broadcast. Bicouvaris also served as one of the announcers.

Assisting with announcing and commentary were: Daily Press sports writer and copy editor Sonny Dearth, himself a past winner of the tournament; James River Country Club Tennis Pro Brian Hogge; and Father George Chioros of Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, whose Greek Festival is a sponsor of the tournament.

Besides honoring a special educator, the tournament is a hands-on learning opportunity for Telecom students, a SkillsUSA fundraiser for them, and programming for NNPS-TV (Cox Channel 47/FiOS Channel 17).

Telecom Supervisor Ray Price served as Director and Editor, and Telecom Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. was Technical Director. Eight Telecom students made up the student TV crew, mostly serving as production assistants and camera operators.

TV Broadcast/Webcast

Throughout the month of May NNPS-TV Cox 47/FiOS 17 will air the 16th annual Dr. Mary V. Bicouvaris Memorial Tennis Tournament at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. A webcast is available at the same times on www.nnpstv.com.

The student crew members were:

Benjamin Anderson, Camera Operator
Cheyanne Brooks, Production Assistant/Camera
Summer Eley, Audio/Announcer Setup
Muriel Gamble, Camera Operator
Courtney Luther, Production Assistant/Camera
Brandon Marrero, Camera Operator
Carmen Scott, Camera Operator
Eleanor Stuck, Production Assistant

The students worked court-side and in the upgraded remote video production truck.

The match will be broadcast on NNPS-TV (Cox 47/FiOS 17) during May: at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.  A webcast is available at the same times on www.nnpstv.com.

Telecom Supervisor Ray Price says using modern equipment like that found in the workplace is important for the students. It makes them familiar with state of the art technologies so they are prepared for jobs in the future. He is hoping to procure other advanced equipment like score-keeping capabilities for sports productions.

"We are planning to do more sports next year,” Price said. "Soccer games at Todd Stadium definitely."

"And the graduations will look great," he said of the new HD format, "especially CNU’s outdoor ceremony on the Great Lawn." Video-recording the Christopher Newport University graduation is another fundraiser/hands-on training opportunity for the Telecom students.

The only drawback to recording in HD is that the file size is so large, he said. It takes longer to convert the file to the various formats needed. But that of course is well worth it for the quality image it provides, and the opportunity for the students to work with it.


Past Tournament Winners:

2001: Marvin Hedgepeth and Zach Vaughan
2002: Richard Parker, Fax McCandlish, Sonny Dearth, JoJo McCandlish
2003: Richard Parker, Bill Saunders, Sonny Dearth
2004: Hugh Spain
2005: Eric Christiansen
2006: Niclas Kohler
2007: Yakov Diskin
2008: Eric Christiansen
2009: Bill Saunders and Carter Ficklen
2010: Jessica Sain
2011: Violet Hahn
2012: Claire Spencer and Maelyn Platon
2013: Marvin Hedgepeth and Carter Ficklen
2014: Bill Saunders
2015: Herbie Morewitz

Tennis tournament shoot: