New England School of Comm Takes TV Production on the Road

The 400-student New England School of Communications (NESCom), which shares a campus with Husson University in Bangor, ME, has added a mobile television production facility to its curriculum. The facility is housed in a 32-foot truck that's equipped with Compact Routers and Synapse modular terminal gear from Nvision.

"Nvision has enabled us with a compact, yet rock-solid routing infrastructure for use at remote applications. All the Nvision compact routers and Synapse gear have worked flawlessly in the rugged environment of a production truck," said Rodney Verrill, executive director of video production. "With Nvision, we were able to put together a cost-effective and high-quality routing system that is scaleable into the future for added functionality, such as HD and 3Gb/s."

Nvision collaborated with Verrill to determine the routing system requirements for the NESCom mobile production unit, which had a "tight" budget. The solution included several Compact Routers, including a 32x32 SD-SDI router for the internal and external video routing, a 32x32 AES digital audio router, and nine 32x32 remote control panels. NESCom also has two 18-slot frames of Nvision's Synapse modular broadcast products that are used for the audio and video signal processing within the truck, as well as analog to digital conversion.

NESCom students are gaining hands-on experience in the mobile production unit, working side-by-side with industry professionals. Last January a 12-person NESCom crew used the equipment to stream three games of ESPN's HoopHall Classic in conjunction with Grass Roots TV. The games were the first original content produced for ESPN360. Six students had key roles--technical director, replay, audio, graphics, assistant producer--and a graduate student was the director. ESPN provided seasoned professionals, including a CG operator, and Grass Roots had experienced freelancers working the event.

"This type of professional-level experience is invaluable for students," says Verrill. "They're working with and learning from the pros, which gives a huge boost to their confidence and resumes. There's no greater reward than that."

Other projects for the NESCom production truck include working alongside staff of Maine's Public Broadcasting Network for nationwide semi-finals and final coverage of 20 Maine high school basketball tournament games which are televised for three weeks every year. The truck is also used within the Husson University campus for broadcasting basketball and football games, as well as live one-hour broadcasts of concerts on campus.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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