Chelmsford, Massachusetts – Leading a small video production unit that relies heavily on student crews, Ted Matko, director of technical media, TV and Audio Studios, supports the educational outreach efforts of Hillsdale College, a nonprofit liberal arts college in Hillsdale, Mich. He maintains a very full schedule, covering events in at least a dozen cities annually, plus on-campus coverage of student athletics, seminars, and more. On the road, he relies on a flypack built around a Broadcast Pix™ Granite™ 1000 integrated production switcher, while his campus-based control room is equipped with a Granite 5000.
Granite on the Road
Twice a year, Matko handles production for the college’s National Leadership Seminars, which are held in cities across the country. Other remote shoots include an annual Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C., as well as an annual Free Market Forum seminar for economics professors, which will take place later this year in Atlanta.
Matko first upgraded to Broadcast Pix when Hillsdale replaced its analog remote production package with a digital system. For Matko, an integrated production switcher was an important component for the college’s HD
flypack. His two-rack analog system required interconnecting cables, but the new system, anchored by the Granite, significantly reduced setup time.
“The time involved in all the setup was a pain. I was looking for a portable package that I could take on the road,” he recalled. “I can roll in and be up and running in 45 minutes. For a small shop, that’s the only way to do it.”
Most events feature a three-camera production with PowerPoint graphics, with the Granite 1000 Power Aux output used to feed live I-MAG (image magnification) at the venue. Event coverage is recorded to AJA Ki Pro portable recorders, while some presentations are streamed live using a Niagara streaming appliance.
When a lecturer uses a PowerPoint slideshow, Matko saves the slides as JPEG files, so the technical director can easily access the images from the Granite’s built-in still store during the presentation. “It provides a much better look than if you’re shooting the slide off the I‑MAG screens,” Matko said.
Granite in the Studio
On campus, Matko keeps up his busy shooting schedule. He produces coverage of the Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA), one of the largest collegiate lecture series in America, four times per year. The college also offers free, not-for-credit online courses that currently have more than 1 million students enrolled. Though the courses are shot by an outside agency, Matko is responsible for recording the live Q&A that is available after the lecture.
Matko and his team are also involved in the college’s home athletics coverage. They cover up to six football and nine volleyball games per season in the fall, plus more than a dozen men’s and women’s basketball games. The games are streamed online for audiences around the country.
With a Granite 1000 already in the flypack, Matko chose a Granite 5000 to anchor the college’s new HD production facility, which was installed by AVI Systems in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2013. “To me, it was a logical progression,” he explained. “I’m able to access still stores and graphics at my fingertips, rather than use separate pieces of equipment. Cost was also a big concern. I didn’t have the budget for individual components. Broadcast Pix was just more cost effective for me.”
Hillsdale’s control room is connected to various locations across campus via fiber – including classrooms, performance halls, and athletic facilities – so multi-camera productions can be switched through the Granite. Hillsdale is also connected to all major news agencies through LTN Global Communications; a dedicated output from the Granite allows faculty to participate in live video interviews.
Students handle all the shooting for Hillsdale, from two-camera lecture setups with tripods to three-camera basketball coverage with handheld shots under the baskets. For athletic coverage, Hillsdale uses Rapid CG, Broadcast Pix’s optional software, which streamlines graphics within the switcher’s integrated CG. The Granite integrates with the school’s Daktronics scoreboards, so scores, clock, and other game data are automatically updated in graphics templates with no re-keying of data.
In the control room, the integrated BPView™ multi-view populates four screens, including two large monitors at the TD station and dedicated monitors for graphics and audio. “Each area can see what they need to see,” Matko explained. “We have different screens for each of the different positions. You can customize each screen any way you want.”
About Hillsdale College Hillsdale College, founded in 1844, has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an extensive educational outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 3.4 million.
About Broadcast Pix Founded in 2002, Broadcast Pix provides tailored solutions for any live production environment. From compact mobile units to large-scale solutions, every Broadcast Pix features patented control and automation technology and a performance toolset that make it easy to optimize and customize your workflows. With customers in more than 110 countries, Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrated production switchers for broadcast, streaming, live event, and visual radio applications. Learn more at www.broadcastpix.com.
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