UWP moves into digital TV age

October 11, 2002

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2002_10_11.jpg Students use the new graphics computer-Deko 500 during a Thursday evening broadcast. Front Scott Abing, back Chad Henneman

PLATTEVILLE- For some University of Wisconsin-Platteville students, lugging around a 15-pound camera with its separate VTR is now a thing of the past. The Department of Communication Technologies and Television Services Department have gradually been entering the digital age of video with new digital cameras, graphic units, audio mixers and nonlinear editing systems.

"For about two to three years we've been adding new digital equipment piece by piece," said Colleen Garrity, director of UWP Television Services. "The quality of video shot digitally is so much higher, it's like night and day. The pictures are crisper, the colors are cleaner and it handles low and bright light so much better."

Not only does the new digital equipment create a better production piece, but students have the option to manipulate images such as adding effects with greater ease and the opportunity to create theatre-style productions.

"The whole television industry is moving or has moved into digital TV so students will need to be familiar with using the equipment," said Robert Snyder, UWP assistant professor of computer science and communication technologies. "By providing digital equipment to our students, they're even better prepared to step into jobs in the industry."

The University has already acquired two digital video cameras, three non-linear editing systems, a digital graphics system and a digital switcher and audio board. However, more equipment is still needed.

"We have a pretty good handle on our field gear used to tape sporting events and things outside the studio, but we would like to phase out our older analogue technology, specifically the SVHS format, by summer 2003," Garrity said. "Eventually, down the road, we'd like the TV studio to go all digital, but that's a slow process. With technology changing so fast, we have to make sure we're making smart purchasing decisions."

Given the limited resources, the digital transformation has been a collaborative effort between television services and communication technology with Funding has come from a variety of sources, including the capital budget, the laboratory modernization fund and the Segregated University Fee Allocation Commission.

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