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Companies reduce barriers to school video production

For just under $5,000, Roland's VR-5 portable AV mixer and recorder is an “all-in-one” system that simplifies the production, recording, and streaming of any live event, Roland says.

Many schools are building high-quality video production studios to give their students valuable experience in recording, mixing, and producing video broadcasts—from live coverage of concerts and athletic events to student-run news programs.

Using professional-grade video equipment in these efforts can be costly, but at InfoComm 2011 in Orlando, several companies exhibited products designed to make live video production easier for schools.

For instance, Panasonic introduced a product called HDTV Producer, a full turnkey video production studio for under $20,000. Panasonic sells the HDTV Producer as an out-of-the-box system that any English or journalism teacher can set up, with no professional video production experience necessary.

The system includes two cameras with tripods, a mixer, a recorder, a 42-inch LCD monitor, a microphone and boom stand, and all necessary cabling and accessories. The idea is to enable students to learn video production whatever their school’s budget might be, Panasonic said.

“Purchasing and setting up professional video equipment to produce high-quality, [high-definition] content can be challenging and time-consuming,” said product manager John Rhodes in a press release. “With HDTV Producer, we are … making it painless for organizations to deploy a full-featured video production system with a solid-state workflow.”

For schools that already have cameras and are looking for an affordable yet professional-grade live production switcher, Blackmagic Design of Milpitas, Calif., has a solution. Blackmagic’s ATEM line of switchers starts with a basic model that runs on a software interface and includes six video inputs for about $1,000. (An eight-input model sells for $2,500, and a 16-input model sells for about $5,000.)

If a software-based control panel doesn’t meet your needs, the company also sells full broadcast panels that start at $5,000.

Boston University’s College of Communication is using Blackmagic’s ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher and ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel in its Production and Journalism studios. “The ATEM products allow us greater dexterity in our production capability,” said Assistant Professor Christophor Cavalieri, faculty advisor for the school’s student-produced news channel, in a press release. “They are great tools to train the next generation of multi-camera production professionals.”

For $5,000, schools also can purchase the VR-5 portable AV mixer and recorder from Roland Systems Group—an “all-in-one” system that simplifies the production, recording, and streaming of any live event, Roland says.

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