University's School of Communications and Department of Instructional
Technology have launched the first year of a $1 million, three-year
digital conversion plan.
This year the
university is focusing on the first phase of the control room conversion.
The second phase will be completing the control room with a digital
Grass Valley, Kayak switcher. The third phase will be to add a router
system, to complete the room's capability to produce and broadcast
about what upgrades to make are well researched," explained Linda
Lashendock, assistant director of instructional technology services
for TV Services. "During this first year of the digital conversion,
Jeff James, our chief engineer, examined the latest digital technology
at the National Association of Broadcasters conference to find the
solutions to fit Elon's needs."
and faculty members next prioritized a phase-one equipment list
in the amount of $100,000. "Dean Paul Parsons along with people
in the Office of Elon Television and the Department of Instructional
Technologies have agreed that the transition to digital broadcasting
is necessary to maintain Elon's competitive edge in the world of
television," Lashendock explained.
were started this summer in the master-control room. "We added a
tape-less system - a 360 Systems ImageServer," Lashendock explained.
"This video server will replace out current VTR stack, satellite
ingest and will act as a real-time play-to-air server. The 360 Server
includes three video channels, and stores up to 100 hours of MPEG-2
compressed video on internal drives. With this multi-format Image
Server, we will be able to play multiple file formats and full-screen,
animated graphics. The 360 System will allow School of Communications
classes, students participating in Elon Student Television (ESTV)
shows or anyone else at the university to do a live shot or send
a story from any wireless area via a computer. The server will be
able to stream the story on air immediately."
Among the other
purchases this year will be two 47-inch, flat-screen LCD monitors
for the control room. Communicating with the flat-screens will be
two Miranda Kaleido-Alto multi-image-display processors. The Miranda
Kaleido-Alto has a 10-input processor and uses high-quality image-display
technology, allowing for clear, bright digital broadcasts. It has
SDI/Composite inputs and displays clocks and timers, UMD, tallies,
audio metering. It offers fast start-up, with simple, offline layout
editing with full choice of window size. Both common aspect ratios
(4:3 and 16:9) are featured, and multiple layouts can be stored
and recalled afterward, allowing several users to customize operations
for their particular needs.
also have embedded audio and can be de-multiplexed from an SDI signal
to provide four stereo peak meters displayed on-screen with audio
phase correlation metering. The clocks can be synchronized with
time-code input from Elon's news production software.
layout editing program, known as K-edit software, allows offline
creation of layouts. There is a drag-and-drop interface, so any
video, audio, texts, time-code and clock element can be positioned
freely inside the pages on the monitors.
players round out the technical equipment purchases for the first
in this first year of the transition will be control-room furniture
from Forecast Consoles Inc. Its open architecture allows for complete
access and ventilation, and it features integrated AC power that
will allow cables to be hidden by rack mounting. Finishing the console
tables will be flat-screen monitors and a black counter-top with
will provide the flexibility our university needs to grow and change
with technology over the years," Lashendock said.
Studio A was newly renovated in the summer of 2004. Lashendock and
her crew managed to get an $80,000 studio suite put together for
a cost of $20,000 - they did a lot of the work themselves. Part
of that makeover included the acquisition of three Sony digital
studio cameras with 17-inch, flat-screen TelePrompTers. The prompter
software is from EZNews. It allows scripts to be typed into the
system and automatically times each show and segment, allowing made-to-fit
last-minute updates to written copy.
a former CNN producer, takes a great deal of pride in the Elon staff
and facility. The Elon Television office now has 60 digital cameras
available for checkout by Elon's communications students. Engineer
James has more than 20 years of professional television news experience,
and he's a certified Sony Digital engineer. Staffer J. McMerty is
certified in Final Cut, and he offers workshops to students in addition
to his work on special projects, including Project Pericles documentary
productions in Namibia. Audio expert Bryan Baker is certified in
two digital-audio systems - Pro Tools and Logic - and he conducts
workshops and assists faculty who teach audio courses. Office manager
Marion Aitcheson worked this summer on a Project Pericles effort
in her home area in the former East Germany.
said the support of Elon administrators, including Provost Gerry
Francis, Vice President Gerald Whittington, Rex Waters and the Media
Board and Parsons - is what makes it possible to staff and outfit
the school at a high level of excellence.
"I just push
while living up to the 'Elon Way,'" she said. "'No' is not an option,
and other options are possibilities driven into reality."
She said a
friend from CNN visited her a few weeks ago who told her, "No wonder
you don't miss CNN, you're doing the same thing except you work
in a beautiful environment!"
says the three-year Elon transition to new technology will go smoothly.
"Completing the digital transition over a period of three years
is the most economical approach for the university," Lashendock
said. "Also, it allows faculty and staff to train on each piece
of equipment in a timely process as the technology becomes available.
There is a need to complete the entire process in a timely manner."
The major equipment
acquisitions were made through Clark-Powell, based in Winston-Salem,
a recognized and respected provider of technology.
was competitively priced and Clark-Powell can provide immediate
technology service, if warranted," Lashendock explained.
is crucial for Elon to maintain it's current edge in the broadcasting
industry," she said. "Students, faculty and staff all benefit from
the upgrades we are undertaking. In order to produce industry-ready
graduates with the skills needed to succeed, we need to make this
transition a reality by completing it in a timely, and thorough