Posted August 16, 2007
Mass communication students at Idaho State University now know what it is like to be taking the shots at university ball games –camera shots that it is.
From behind three mobile video cameras students capture the action thenstream it onto the Web for ISU fans everywhere to enjoy live on their computers.
“People out of state can watch their kids play if they can’t make it to the games,” said broadcast team member Lois Ricardi. “Even grandparents can watch. It might not be live in person, but it’s still live and exciting.”
The system, known as a flyaway package, consists of three cameras and a Sony Anycast Station and was made possible by a $43,000 Technology Incentive Grant from the Idaho State Board of Education awarded last fiscal year with another $15,000 granted this fiscal year.
But the main feature of the package is its mobility. Students can take the equipment and record just about anything, anywhere.
“Everything is so compact,” said broadcast team member Jim Kluza. “Everything needed for a production used to be in a big van. Now it is the size of a keyboard.”
In the past, only one camera was used to record the game, but the three flyaway cameras allow for close-up shots of players and the audience.
“It brings a whole new level of excitement to the game,” said Ricardi.
“Another advantage is Web casting,” said Tom Hallaq, assistant professor of television broadcast. “It allows us to get product to a decent-sized audience without making a financial investment into a television station.”
During the Big Sky conference games, the number of ISU viewers came second only to Montana State University, which had a professional crew.
However, the team’s gears of efficiency weren’t always synchronized.
“It was bumpy to start with,” said Hallaq. “Once we’d been through it a couple of times we had it all down.”
“I get really stressed out,” said Ricardi of the demands of broadcasting live, “but when I meet those deadlines, I find it really rewarding and I’m ready for the next time.” Ricardi hopes that her time broadcasting sporting events will help prepare her for a career in broadcast journalism.
“I really enjoy it,” said team member Bill Kotowski. “A day back at the studio is better than a day at the office any day.”
Kotowski is not going to limit himself to sports. “I grew up on the football field. It’s a great place to start,” he said.
Originally, the flyaway package was not purchased with the intention of recording sporting events. But Hallaq wanted increased exposure and shooting sports was one way to do that.
Even though the team recorded the Kasiska Health Care Conference for the college’s archives, Hallaq believes the university has not fully realized the power of the flyaway package to reveal positive aspects of the university or to broadcast classes to outlying rural areas.
“This is a service for the university many people aren’t taking advantage of at this point,” said Hallaq. “We can cover just about anything that would need to be recorded for future use.”
The team plans to record the inauguration for ISU President Arthur C. Vailas Sept. 14.