Education: Live TV approaches to learning without a safety net


Jennie Rawling TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Jennie Rawling
Issue 81 - September 2013
Live broadcasting is the core business of the University of Portsmouth course, BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting, and they are now entering into their fifth successive year of weekly television output.

Course leader and senior lecturer Charlie Watts is delighted with the developments so far, but there is no relaxing, and this is just one of the major stages of television development for the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) faculty, and for the university.

Charlie states: When we first started, there was little belief that a television channel could be created, or work. There was even opposition to us producing live TV. There seemed to be a general opinion that Live was soon to become a thing of the past, and because VoD was becoming the accepted way of watching television, many thought we were taking a wrong turn. Thankfully, live transmission is still a valued commodity amongst broadcasters, and the broadcast of popular soap episodes live, event TV on prime-time Saturday evenings, and live science and nature programming to name but a few, have all helped convince both staff and students that we are correct to offer live TV as a discipline. The multi channel live broadcast of the Olympics last year certainly helped as well!

The course philosophy is to simply do it for real, and this entails producing at least one live programme each week. Students are allocated TX dates, and placed in skills-based groups, and once the TX date is known, it is left to the students to produce, write, record relevant video inserts, and book the talent to front the show. Charlie adds: Its worth stating that this pressure of weekly broadcast is only given to third-year students, and the previous two years of study are all structured to give the relevant skills and abilities to help students become capable in their last year. Its a decision we made when the course was first conceived, and its one that has served us well. I think its rare for a course to be able to deliver weekly live programming to a high standard each week, but any course responsible for a TV channel has to hit at least that expectation, otherwise we are kidding ourselves, and not doing it for real at all.

The television channel is the main focus, and it is designed around exhibiting quality student work from the faculty of CCi. The CCi TV Channel has its own remit, a daily schedule made up of television content that has accumulated over the years, an identity and brand that students support via t-shirts and badges, and it can be seen 24/7 via the web (www.ccichannel.port.ac.uk).
The pressures to continually run a TV channel are felt by everybody, and both staff and students are committed to the needs to generate content. Charlie is well aware of the pressures to deliver. Broadcast is a beast that is continually hungry, and it continually needs feeding, but that is the nature of TV. Thankfully our channel inspires both students and staff to always offer that little bit extra, whether it be their own work or their time, and we also enjoy fantastic IT support to keep operations running.

The broadcast infrastructure is based upon a Capital Networks Audience TV server, a couple of NewTek Tricasters, and Sony EX3 cameras. Editing is done via quick turnaround in a matter of days using offline/online editing workflows and Avid MC 6.5, which are all connected to an Avid ISIS. This focus to be as professional as possible has gained outside industry interest that has also enhanced operations. Charlie adds: The operation of a TV channel should be very visible, and quite early on we realised that we needed to show outside industry what we were up to. This got us noticed by Gearhouse Broadcast, who were encouraged by our technical teaching and passion to champion outside broadcast. Gearhouse have been great, and they have offered support where possible, and this has opened up the door to other interested companies such as EVS, who we hope will become another important educational partner with us. Our focus on TV, and Live TV creation, is respectful to the big players, and we would be doing our students a huge disservice to not try and collaborate with proven industry experts. I think we need to do everything possible to show employers what we are up to, and this has led to students producing original TV programme formats that are eventually transmitted live in one final, huge show.
For two years running students on the Television and Broadcasting course have transmitted a live show with multiple original programmes as part of the schedule. Charlie says: The first show was an uninterrupted four hours to all campus TVs, the web, and to the citys LOCOG Big Screen. This years show was to the same platforms, but six hours long, with an added simultaneous broadcast with an additional TX to a separate channel. All was an uninterrupted TX, with groups of students coming in at different times for their particular shift. There is always a panic trying to get students in and out of the studio on time, but that all adds to the atmosphere of live.

Perhaps It's an old cliche, but live TV offers real learning without any safety net. Students actually have to be really well planned, and they need to know what they are doing. When it goes wrong, which it does from time to time, there is that golden period where the reaction and decisions of what they do next dictates success or failure. Harsh as it might be, whatever happens it is absolutely priceless for learning experiences. Yes its hard, and yes it can be traumatic, but one can only truly learn to ride a bike with the stabilizers off.
Metaphors aside, this playing it for real extends to programmes having to have exact timings, and extensive paperwork for each programme. All copyright must be cleared, music cues listed, releases dated and signed, risk assessment covered, and programme running order decided. All must be delivered before TX, and no paperwork would mean no TX.

This year will see the channel increase the live output to multiple shows per week, and final-year student projects are helping to fill essential management roles required by the channel. This year will see ten students all focus on a particular aspect of broadcast management, with roles such as social networking and merchandising coming online for the first time. Social network blogs have become a necessary requirement of broadcasters, and we would be foolish to not give exposure for many of the unsung jobs on offer. Our mission was always to be a true TV course, and not diluted by short experimental filming making, fiction, etc. Every year we widen our scope and look very carefully at trends in the broadcast industry that we can emulate in some way, which might lead to graduate employment.
For Portsmouth it is all about offering a true and rich learning experience. That does mean very hard work with some unforgiving hardware and software, and high broadcast standards, but the course team believe that to do it any differently would be wrong, and would deny students the opportunities to develop into the professionals they want to be.

Overall it is about getting the students employed, but also getting them to understand the big picture of what it truly means to broadcast content, to keep an audience informed and entertained, and the pressures of running a TV channel. We obviously do the latter on a smaller platform than other broadcasters, but we take it just as seriously, and the BBC and BSkyB have noticed us and our commitment to keep transmitting.

Broadcasting live raises everybodys game, attitudes change, and the pressures bring a priceless atmosphere into the gallery and the TV studio. Everyone has their part to play within the team, and when the red TX light goes on, the only focus is the programme, and delivering it professionally.

Next year students want to broadcast a final-year live show for longer than six hours, and providing the older staff can have a chair to relieve some of the stress, and medication nearby, Im sure we can help them accomplish their aims.


Tags: iss081 | university of portsmouth | television and broadcasting | course | television output | learning | education | live | training | Jennie Rawling
Contributing Author Jennie Rawling

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  • JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

    JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

  • BVE 2014

    BVE 2014

  • BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

    BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

  • RTS Omneo at BVE 2014

    RTS Omneo at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

    Videosys Wireless Transmitters at BVE 2014

  • Angelbird SSDs at BVE 2014

    Angelbird SSDs at BVE 2014

  • Ross Video at BVE 2014

    Ross Video at BVE 2014

  • Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

    Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

  • aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

    aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

  • Sony Camcorders at BVE 2014

    Sony Camcorders at BVE 2014

  • Sony Monitors at BVE 2014

    Sony Monitors at BVE 2014

  • Sony Wireless Microphones at BVE 2014

    Sony Wireless Microphones at BVE 2014

  • Sennheiser HDM Pro at BVE 2014

    Sennheiser HDM Pro at BVE 2014

  • Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

    Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

  • DPA Microphones and Bubblebee Industries at BVE 2014

    DPA Microphones and Bubblebee Industries at BVE 2014

  • NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

    NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD and VS4 at BVE 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD and VS4 at BVE 2014

  • Metus Ingest at BVE 2014

    Metus Ingest at BVE 2014

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2014

    Hireacamera at BVE 2014

  • Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

    Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

  • TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

    TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

  • Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2014

    Grass Valley at BVE 2014

  • ERA at BVE 2014

    ERA at BVE 2014

  • ERA Avere at BVE 2014

    ERA Avere at BVE 2014

  • Camdec at BVE 2014

    Camdec at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

  • Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

    Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

  • JVC HM850 at BVE 2014

    JVC HM850 at BVE 2014

  • TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

    TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

  • Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

    Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

  • Dalet at IBC 2013

    Dalet at IBC 2013

  • DPA Microphones at IBC 2013

    DPA Microphones at IBC 2013

  • Gearhouse Broadcast HD OB trailer at IBC 2013

    Gearhouse Broadcast HD OB trailer at IBC 2013

  • Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

    Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

  • Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

    Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

  • Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • RTW at IBC 2013

    RTW at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2013

    Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2013

  • Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

    Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

  • Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

    Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

  • Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

    Autocue DSLR Prompter using iPad at IBC 2013

  • Blueshape Batteries at IBC 2013

    Blueshape Batteries at IBC 2013

  • Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

    Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

  • i-Movix Slow Motion and D-Flicker at IBC 2013

    i-Movix Slow Motion and D-Flicker at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • Marshall Monitors at IBC 2013

    Marshall Monitors at IBC 2013

  • Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

    Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

  • Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

    Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

  • Tektronix at IBC 2013

    Tektronix at IBC 2013

  • TSL Products at IBC 2013

    TSL Products at IBC 2013

  • TSL Systems at IBC 2013

    TSL Systems at IBC 2013

  • Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

    Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

  • Pixel Power at IBC 2013

    Pixel Power at IBC 2013

  • Albis Technologies celebrating ten years at IBC 2013

    Albis Technologies celebrating ten years at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm at IBC 2013

  • Bridge Technologies QoE Monitoring with Mobile Videowall Display at IBC 2013

    Bridge Technologies QoE Monitoring with Mobile Videowall Display at IBC 2013

  • Broadpeak at IBC 2013

    Broadpeak at IBC 2013

  • Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

    Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

    NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

  • Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

    Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

  • Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

    Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

    Global Distribution with mLogic at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • Softron Media at IBC 2013

    Softron Media at IBC 2013

  • Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2013

    Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at IBC 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at IBC 2013

  • Quantels Stream-based Workflows at IBC 2013

    Quantels Stream-based Workflows at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Maevex at IBC 2013

    Matrox Maevex at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Avio at IBC 2013

    Matrox Avio at IBC 2013

  • Matrox Video with Monarch HD at IBC 2013

    Matrox Video with Monarch HD at IBC 2013

  • NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

    NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

  • Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

    Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2012

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2012

  • IMT Broadcast at NAB 2012

    IMT Broadcast at NAB 2012

  • Root6 at BVE 2012

    Root6 at BVE 2012

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2012

    Garland Partners at BVE 2012

  • Sensio at IBC2011

    Sensio at IBC2011

  • Globecast at IBC2011

    Globecast at IBC2011

  • Digital Rapids at IBC2011

    Digital Rapids at IBC2011

  • SADiE at IBC2011

    SADiE at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • ADDER Technology LIVE at BVE 2016

    ADDER Technology LIVE at BVE 2016


Articles
Sony HDC-4800 Review
Andy McKenzie First announced at NAB 2016, the Sony HDC-4800 is a studio camera system capable of shooting 4K/UHD at up to 8x or full HD at up to 16x. With a price point upwards of £250,000 it is a very high-end product with a wide feature set. In Sony's own words, "This is the future of live production, designed to satisfy the storytelling aspect of modern sports production.” Deliveries began in mid 2017 and, after careful preliminary evaluation, we invested in several systems for our hire fleet ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Tags: iss134 | review | hdc-4800 | sony | finepoint | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Accelerated Workflows with eGPU
Mike Griggs From the UK’s National Trust to magazine publishers to manufacturers, digital content creator Mike Griggs has a wide and varied portfolio of clients for whom he creates 3D art, motion graphics and multimedia exhibits. A typical day might involve sampling birdsong near Virginia Woolf’s country estate or creating 3D animations for VR. To keep on top of these demands, Griggs wanted to take the full power of the GPU computing revolution on the road.
Tags: iss134 | sonnet | egpu | amd | post production | editing | Mike Griggs
Contributing Author Mike Griggs Click to read or download PDF
The brave new world of software based production
Boromy Ung In today’s rapidly evolving broadcast industry, the only constant media organizations can truly count on is change — and the need to adapt as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible. One of the biggest agents of change is the IP revolution, driving broadcasters to migrate their operations to all-software solutions running on commodity, IT-based technologies.
Tags: iss134 | chyronhego | graphics | sports | ott | Boromy Ung
Contributing Author Boromy Ung Click to read or download PDF
What content providers need to know about OTT
Hiren Hindocha As OTT (Over-The-Top) technology has gotten more mature and established robust standards over the years, the concept of OTT monitoring is gaining popularity. With customer expectations soaring, it’s vital for OTT providers to deliver superior quality content. To deliver Quality of Experience (QoE) on par with linear TV broadcast, the entire system, starting from ingest to multi-bitrate encoding to delivery to CDN must be monitored continuously.
Tags: iss134 | ott monitoring | qos | logging | compliance | dash | atsc | cloud | Hiren Hindocha
Contributing Author Hiren Hindocha Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - November 2018
Dick Hobbs - new There is an interesting seminar called Size Matters at the KitPlus Show – organised by the publishers of this fine magazine – at MediaCityUK in Salford on 6 November. It’s a talk by cinematographer Alistair Chapman on the way that camera technology is changing, and in particular the size of the electronic device which creates the image is growing.
Tags: iss134 | cmos | 35mm | AJA | Arri | Blackmagic | Canon | Datavideo | GoPro | Grass Valley | Hitachi | Ikegami | JVC | Kinefinity | Nikon | Panasonic | Red | Sony | jpeg2000 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF