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Telecom students get crash course in live video production

group of TV students

Telecom students and staff pose before the practice game.

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Photos by Beth Scott

NNPS Television Production students start learning and training even before school starts on September 3.

Every year, students who are enrolled in TV-I or TV-II are invited to attend Remote Video Production Training at the Telecommunications Center the week before school starts. The training prepares them to be part of the crew that produces the high school football games for television.

The games are broadcast live on TV and also replayed. Four games will air on NNPS-TV this year, on Cox Channel 47 and Verizon Channel 17, Roku, and Apple TV.

Producing football games using the remote video production truck gives the students great hands-on experience. There is so much to capture and report on during a game: students record the sports action, marching band performances, and interviews with coaches and administrators.

They learn how to control the audio, switch camera shots, and create TV computer graphics. They learn how to take direction and work together as a team, and also experience the pressure and excitement of a live broadcast.

During Remote Video Production Training, TV students learn from professionals. Telecom Supervisor Ray Price and Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. lecture on the basics of TV production, demonstrate how to set up and use the video cameras, explain how to use the broadcast equipment inside the production truck, show football video clips, and instruct the students in TV production terminology and studio operations.

And of course, the student crew members learn how to properly roll camera and audio cables!

Bill Barlow, who has 50-plus years in the video production industry, is the Director of the NNPS high school football broadcasts. He speaks to the students during the training as well. Another speaker is NNPS-TV Sports Announcer and "Sports Highlights" Host Greg Bicouvaris, who helps train on-air talent (announcers and reporters).

A student cameraman works in the stands.

This year, NNPS-TV Broadcast Engineer Greg Lesko has outfitted the production truck with new equipment, making it state of the art.

"They could do an ESPN broadcast with this," Price remarked.

Lesko devised the process the student Technical Director will use with the new TriCaster. Rising senior Joshua Stuck came in even before the training camp to learn how to use it.

Another new addition is a telestrator, which allows a commentator to write on the video image, to show football plays, for example.

"It's exciting times," said Price.

After four days of training camp, the student crew will do a practice game August 29 when Denbigh plays Warwick. A week later, they may do another practice game when Woodside takes on Norview. For practice games, they record the game, but do not air it live on TV.

During the training, students will select which crew position they are most interested in. They will be able to apply to work on productions throughout the year, covering football games, basketball games, awards ceremonies, and all six high school graduation ceremonies.

The students are paid minimum wage when they work on a production. Hiring for remote production positions is based on participation in the training sessions, auditions, job performance, and work ethic.

Crew positions include:  Camera Operators, Technical Director, Character Generator, VTR/ DDR Operator (Replay), Audio Operator, ENG Editor, Reporter, Announcer and Assistant Producer.

A Telecom student practices using the TV camera. Telecom students set up the outdoor announcers' table.
The student Technical Director runs the TriCaster. Telecom students work the audio and graphics controls.