A high school in Nebraska is taking its coverage of school sporting events to the big league, with the help of cutting-edge technology and some tech-savvy students in the audiovisual communications class.

Although Schuyler Central High School in Schuyler, Neb., does not have a tunnel for athletes to run through or a stadium filled with thousands of cheering fans, it does have something in common with most professional arenas. The school is one of the first in the country to offer student-produced instant replay at its live sporting events.

Schuyler’s “Warrior Vision” audiovisual production shows instant replays from athletic events, as well as advertisements and a number of other special programs. Industrial technology teacher Steve Williams said Warrior Vision is like the University of Nebraska’s instant-replay system, HuskerVision, on a much smaller scale.

The program is operated by students enrolled in Williams’ communications technology class. They use cameras, computers, and a projector. All the action is shown on a 10-foot-by-10-foot retractable flatscreen panel that hangs from the ceiling in the school’s west gym.

When broadcasting athletic events, two students either roam the sidelines or stand in a lift to get aerial views with one of two digital camcorders. One camcorder is connected to an Apple iBook laptop computer equipped with iMovie software. The other camera is connected directly to a video mixer.

The camera connected to the mixer films the game play and produces what Williams calls the “live shot.” The camera connected to the iMovie-enabled laptop also records pictures and audio from the game, but it is used for recording the sequences that are made into instant replay.

Besides the two student videographers, another student controls the laptop computer and a fourth controls the video mixer.

“The student who works on the computer and the one who works on the mixer are more or less the producer and director,” said Williams. Those students are in charge of choosing when to show a replay of an interesting play.

Once they make the call, the edited video is sent to a projector that displays the images on the screen.

“I don’t know of any other high school that puts together a program like we do,” Williams said.

The school has used Warrior Vision to videotape basketball games since the middle of the 2000-2001 season, but “we have plans of attempting to put it outside [in the football stadium] next fall,” said Williams.

The biggest obstacle is finding a screen that can be used outdoors, he said. Currently, he and his students are considering building an outdoor screen out of bed sheets.

The Warrior Vision team uses the same technology to produce a number of films from various bits of video footage it has collected. “For instance, we interviewed the members of basketball teams that were going to play in the sub-district finals,” said Williams. “We showed clips of video and put that to music, and we showed it in a pre-game show at the finals.”

“People have really liked the programs we have put on so far,” senior Curt Reha said.

A tribute the students put together highlighting the athlete and coach of the year seemed to mesmerize the crowd.

“I’ve never heard a gym full of people so quiet before,” Reha said.

The cost for Warrior Vision was about $9,000. None of the money came from tax dollars, Williams said. Rather, it came from a student athletic club fund and student soda machine profits collected over the last seven or eight years.

The installation was very simple and involved merely hanging the flatscreen from the ceiling and connecting it to an outlet. Some of the equipment already was on hand, thanks to the school’s student-produced cable television channel, Channel 99.

Students on the Warrior Vision team all come from Williams’ communications technology class, where they first learn the theory behind video and audio technology. They are then trained in the operation of the various pieces of software and equipment the school uses to produce videos.

“After that, we just let them go off and learn on the job, so to speak,” said Williams.

Links:

Schuyler Central High School
http://schs.esu7.org