MCN87 Rings in the New Year with Upgrade – The Highlander

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Michael Gombita, Reporter

The communications department is starting off the new year with a long-awaited technology upgrade.

   Dr. Melissa Sgroi, department chair, and Dan Kimbrough, assistant professor, led the way in upgrading the studio to a state-of-the-art Tricaster video control system with the help of engineers Carl Budrecki and Dan Matern from Fox 56.

   “We began on January 5 by pulling stuff out of the studio to finishing the setup and connections on January 8,” said Kimbrough. “We were basically starting from scratch because everything in the studio was in need of replacement.”

   The studio had been upgraded to and analog platform in 2005. Analog is the most basic form of a television studio, which involves tapes and a lengthy process of completing and exporting finalized work. With the upgrade complete, the communications department is able to work in a high-definition or HD. The studio no longer needs tapes to record and the Tricaster eliminates the worry about aging decks and tape storage an organization. Television staffers will now digitally record data and store it in files, similar to a desktop computer saving a Word document.

   “This is an entirely digital system that eliminates an awful lot of hardware because all of the software that takes care of the recording is included in the TriCaster,” said Sgroi. “All of the software and equipment is included in the machine so there is no need for multiple pieces of equipment. The TriCaster does it all.”

   Included in the TriCaster system is the TriCaster control board, two flat-screened monitors, and a new audio board.    

   Sgroi said the communications department is interested in purchasing HD cameras to go along with the rest of the equipment in the control room.

   One feature that students will most likely use in projects allows the creation of virtual sets. Talent featured in shows or projects can be set in a tropical paradise to even in outer space.

   Engineers removed old equipment to install the TriCaster system, and the only snag was stripped screws in the  old equipment that needed to be removed.

   “We were removing so many monitors and cables that were used for VCR and Beta Tapes, and in the digital age we are in now, we are no longer using any of those types of recording technologies. We do have a VCR and Beta Tape player, but it is not necessary to equip the new technology with those types of players.”

   Students will now have an opportunity to use equipment that many professional television stations are also upgrading to. Some professional studios in the area are using the same equipment.

   “We want the communications department and MCN87 to be something that Misericordia University faculty and student body is proud of,” said Kimbrough. “It is good to say that we have a state-of-the-art studio and mean it. Students graduating Misericordia University will be able to get jobs and move  forward in their skill and how marketable they will be applying for a job.”

   Taryn Talacka, junior communications major and producer of the MCN87’s college television show “Hey You, MU!,” looks forward to using the new technology.

   “Our field of communications is always changing, so being able to update our technology helps us transition to the college environment to the work environment, and it is really great to see this monumental change,” said Talacka. “We’re hoping to incorporate some shows for ‘Hey You, MU!’ in the studio because it is much easier to accomplish now.”

   The department always encourages students of all majors to take classes and participate in student media. One course open to all students is Video Production I.

   Students can also be involved with MCN 87’s “MU Sports Reporters,” which is recorded in the studio. This show consists of a three-person round-table discussion of current topics in the world of sports. This is no prerequisite for this activity so anyone who is interested in sports or video production and is willing to work is welcome to sign up with the communications department.

   Faculty and students who cannot make it to live shootings can view all of the studio action on Vimeo at vimeo.com/mucom. Facebook users can also keep up to date on social media by liking MCN87.

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