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Georgia High School Invests in Digital Broadcast Studio

Forsyth County, Ga., located just outside of the Atlanta metropolitan area, is known for many things. Most famously, it was voted one of the "best places to get ahead" by Forbes magazine. According t 10/15/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

Georgia High School Invests in Digital Broadcast Studio

Oct 15, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes




Forsyth County, Ga., located just outside of the Atlanta metropolitan area, is known for many things. Most famously, it was voted one of the "best places to get ahead" by Forbes magazine. According to the rankings, Forsyth County has enjoyed an enviable 21-percent growth in income since 2000.

The school system in the county is also known as a superb teaching organization with a keen focus on new technology. The new West Forsyth High School for grades 9 through 12 opened for the 2007/2008 school year with resources such as Promethean interactive whiteboards, LCD projectors, four desktop computers, scanners, and DVD/VCR units in every classroom.

The school has invested in extra programs such as a professional chef that teaches culinary arts. Other classes include cosmetology, photography, sculpting, construction, sports management, and engineering. There's also an automotive lab with lifts and alignment systems. "There is tons of technology at the school," says John O. White, broadcast video instructor at the high school. "The resources are possible because metro Atlanta is a good tax base. Previous to this new high school, Forsyth County had not built a high school in 20 years. The county is known for its technology."

White teaches five full broadcasting classes that are open to all grades. The broadcasting program began several years ago at a time when there were state grants for schools to install broadcasting hubs. "Prices have come down, so it is easier now to incorporate the technology," he says. "The broadcasting program also provides the technical training for an industry that employs many people. Interest in the broadcasting program has grown over time."

White, a former high school English teacher, drew on his previous background in video production when he was called upon to teach a video module, and then an exploratory class on camera composition. "Within technology classes, the curriculum would have modules of learning. There was a small video module from which the broadcast classes grew," says White, who also has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Georgia.

He moved to the existing high school the year after and wrote the curriculum for the broadcast program, where he taught it for seven years. He first saw West Forsyth High School as a concrete slab on cleared farmland, but he says he knew then that he wanted to get involved in shaping the new school. "I was one of the first people the new principal hired and was involved in the broadcast studio design," he says.




Georgia High School Invests in Digital Broadcast Studio

Oct 15, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes




White specified all of the equipment for the studio with the help of several partners, including Media Products in Atlanta and B&H Photo Video in New York. "I was excited for the $250,000 investment in a new digital broadcast studio," White says. "It enabled us to purchase quality broadcast equipment for our students."

The two-camera digital broadcast studio has a 4TB server with Avid nonlinear editing capability, eight editing bays, Avid Media Composer, a full lighting rig, and light and audio consoles. White also chose a Broadcast Pix Slate 2100 production system that has eight to12 live video inputs and incorporates a switcher and graphics in one platform. White says he preferred the Slate 2100 because of its PC-based workstation. "The 2100 has all the bells and whistles at an affordable price," he says. "I love how the all-digital studio eliminates videotape. Students can send their packages from the server over Cat-5 cable to the 2100."

In its two short years of existence, the broadcast studio at West Forsyth High School has experienced constant use. The studio is used every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for a two-anchor news broadcast. Each broadcast is 5 minutes long, recorded to tape, and aired on the school's closed-circuit television station. The broadcast includes information on activities and announcements. In addition, the station airs news packages with interviews and graphics.

Tuesday afternoon also includes a one-on-one interview show. Advanced classes also produce music videos, documentaries, football highlight reels, and video yearbooks, as well as re-create scenes from movies as an exercise in learning.

This year, the high school is also a pilot site for new classroom amplification systems provided by Audio Enhancement in Bluffdale, Utah. According to the school's website, Forsyth County Schools is also working on a new three-year Strategic Plan: Dream it. Plan it. Do it! The school district is soliciting feedback and ideas from August 2008 to March 2009.




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