Starting this fall, viewers throughout Coral Gables will see something very different when they tune in to the University of Miami School of Communication’s award-winning UMTV cable channel. With more than $1 million in new high-end cameras, equipment and software in its studios, the station will soon broadcast shows and newscasts in full 1080p high-definition.
The picture on the screen will be better and brighter than ever, and so is the outlook for School of Communication students, who have already begun using the new tools. UMTV Station Manager and broadcast journalism student Lauren Behar said the HD upgrade allows students to use professional-grade equipment and gain valuable experience before they embark on their careers. “We get to learn in the environment we’ll be exposed to in the field, so when we graduate or apply for internships, we’ll know exactly how to use everything,” Behar said.
Generous gifts through the School’s Momentum2 campaign made the $1.1 million upgrade possible, said Robert A. Mann, A.B. ’70, campaign chair and Visiting Committee chair for the School of Communication, and a UM Trustee. The School’s Visiting Committee made gifts to the effort and worked with the school and notable companies in the broadcasting industry to get new equipment and software for the studios, he said. Dean Gregory Shepherd and UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc also supported the project within the University.
Grass Valley USA contributed in-kind donations toward eight complete camera packages, new control units and video servers, as well as upgrades to existing equipment. “With the recent addition of Grass Valley high-definition studio cameras and video servers, the University has maintained its commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities that parallel what UM students are likely to encounter in their career path after graduation,” said Bill Powers, senior account executive at Grass Valley.
ChyronHego also provided its BlueNet workflows to create state-of-the-art graphics for UMTV. “We are proud that BlueNet will play a key role in aiding UM students in developing the competency required to succeed in careers within the ever-changing and highly competitive media landscape,” said Kathy Power, senior vice president of worldwide sales at ChyronHego.
The upgraded studios also provide new opportunities for outreach from the heart of the UM campus, as well as lasting financial benefits. “We have professional HD studios in the School of Communication that can be used by anyone at the University and the internet uplink to transmit HD anywhere,” Mann said. “It provides a lot of opportunities within the University, including the possibility to rent the studios and provide additional resources for students in the future.”
But for students like Behar, the studios are already making an impact. “Getting the upgrades is amazing for us,” she said. “It’s the newest technology out there and it’s raising the quality of our shows and the quality of our work.”