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Texas Students Produce New, Original Sitcom

A team of students in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at the University of North Texas is getting real-world media experience, producing its own original sitcom "Peppuccinos." The sitcom, written and produced by former UNT student Noah Sargent, tells the story of fraternal twins, Cici and Maxwell, who run an eatery that is part coffeehouse, part pizza parlor.

The film crew used Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV studio production cameras, with Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units and RU-1000VR remote control panels, to shoot three half-hour episodes. The episodes, which featured actors from the university's theater department, were filmed before a live studio audience.

"This was one of the most ambitious projects we’ve attempted, and the results were impressive," said James M. Martin, a senior lecturer at the University of North Texas and technical supervisor of the sitcom, in a prepared statement released Wednesday by Hitachi. "The Hitachi cameras produced excellent HD image quality, and the students were able to ‘dial in’ the exact look they wanted because the camera shading controls were so easy to use."

The project gave the student film crew valuable experience, according to Martin. "Producing these sitcom episodes put our students in a real-world, multi-camera television environment where they could really apply and refine the skills they learned in class," he said.

"Peppuccinos" was recorded in one weekend last spring at UNT's Studio A. One of two studios on campus, Studio A includes seating for 35 and a control room outfitted with "a Ross Vision-M 1.5-M/E multi-format switcher, Compix Synergy 2 dual-channel HD graphics system, Blackmagic Design Videohub router, and a 360 Systems HD Max server." The university moved to an all-digital HD-SDI workflow in 2010 after acquiring the Hitachi Z-HD5000 HD cameras, according to Martin.

The sitcom, scheduled to debut in February 2013, is in the final stages of editing. The series will air on the university's cable station, North Texas Television and on its Web site.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at knamahoe@1105media.com.

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