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Live Truck Takes North KC Students’ Broadcast Skills to the Next Level

April 16, 2019 by Chuck Baker

The North Kansas City School District is now operating the first student-run live production truck in the country. Primarily based at Staley High School, the 33-foot long truck is also shared with Oak Park, North Kansas City and Winnetonka high schools for sporting event coverage. Kansas City’s Fox 4 News recently profiled the project.

“We get to set up the cameras. We can plug everything into the live truck, so it’s all us and we can pretty much learn from start to finish how to set it all up and that’s exciting.” Karson Davis, Staley HS student, executive producer.

Staley High School student Karson Davis operating the TriCaster TC1.

The truck was purchased from a television station in Ohio, and equipped with a new NewTek TriCaster® TC1 4Kp60 16-input hybrid IP/SDI integrated multi-camera production system with short panel control surface. The live production system supports cameras connecting either via SDI, or over the network via NewTek’s NDI® bidirectional technology for transport of video, audio and data over standard networks at very high quality and very low latency.

The TriCaster TC1 is the most complete multi-camera integrated live production system on the planet. Production capabilities include CG text and graphics creation, multiple downstream keyers per channel for video layering and graphics and text overlay, multiple Mix/Effects busses for layering and special effects. The system comes with a library of hundreds of built-in digital effects and transitions plus hundreds of graphics templates, many virtual sets, plus the applications to customize all of these assets and create new ones. Also provided are:

  • Publicação em redes sociais em tempo real
  • Media asset storage, management and playback
  • Virtual sets, with virtual camera moves
  • Controle de câmera PTZ
  • Mixagem de áudio
  • Professional broadcast quality video calibration tools
  • Automação
  • And much, much more.

The students can thus experience virtually every variety of work that would be encountered in broadcast production environments, from creating and customizing graphics, audio and video content in pre-production for a show or event, to technical setup and calibration of the production suite, all the way to switching the live production at showtime.

An advantage of the TC1 in the educational market is that functionally, it is not one production system, but the heart of a modular range of systems from entry level production to professional broadcast studio. The NKCSD live truck complement for example is three cameras now. The school district can expand up to 16 cameras, and with optional input modules those could all be SDI cameras. If the current group of cameras is HD, the district can upgrade to 4K cameras in the future and go to full UHD production, broadcast and streaming.

Staley High School student Jacob Dyke is the technical director for the crew, ensuring proper setup and operation for productions. He also operates the 3Play 3P1.

Sports production capability for the live truck is supplemented with a NewTek 3Play® 3P1 integrated sports production system, also IP/SDI, with NDI I/O. The system allows for 4 inputs and two outputs of fully synchronized video for instant replay and slow motion. Customizable graphics, dual channel first replay telestration, four channel simultaneous full resolution recording, social media publishing and many more functions are available in real time for live sports production.

The video production industry, from entry level all the way up to top-tier broadcasting, is moving from dedicated, specialized cabling and equipment to software-driven production based on IT equipment connected over IP networks. The NewTek equipment therefore puts the students in a state-of-the-art environment for the broadcast and production industry they wish to enter. The capability for SDI as well as IP means that they can successfully understand traditional facilities as well, and be comfortable in production environments at any stage in this transition. The use of NDI also gives them a leg up, since it is by far the leading deployed standard for video production over IP, with thousands of products in the hands of millions of users.

“I do want to go into broadcasting one day and do something in sports. I think the live truck is gonna create so many more opportunities for me.” - Emmalyn Downs, Staley HS student, sports announcer.

Staley High School student Emmalyn Downs and crew broadcasting a game.

The suite in the truck’s three operating bays are rounded out with multiple monitor screens, a variety of other production equipment and multiple cameras. Included is a NewTek NDI PTZ1 robotic camera, which has the capability of supporting video, audio, control, power and tally all over a single Ethernet cable.

“We’ve got these high-tech kids who are just eating this up, and then we got the talent, the people who are enjoying being in front of the camera. I’m really proud of how responsible these kids are and that they are so excited and wanting to learn.” - Christina Geabhart, Oak Park HS sports broadcast teacher.

Read the complete story at Fox 4 News, Kansas City: North KC Schools’ first live truck takes students’ broadcast skills to the next level

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