One of three high schools in the Vista Unified School District in San Diego County, RBV is the only one with a studio. The production space, which students began using in November, was built in three adjoining classrooms, allowing space for a studio, NLE computer lab, and control room with enough space to accommodate an entire class.
The three GY-HM890 studio cameras are equipped with ProHD monitors and studio controls, Fujinon 20x lenses, and Prompter People prompters. Three days per week, students produce a live-to-tape news program, RBVTV, which is posted to YouTube. Plus, through a pilot internship program, 10 students are producing almost two dozen promotional videos for the Vista Chamber of Commerce this year.
With no lighting grid in the converted classroom, there has been extensive experimentation with lighting in the studio space. Chris Tompkins, career technical education (CTE) instructor who teaches TV and film classes, said the JVC cameras have “worked really well, regardless of the lighting situation.”
Beyond the studio, RBV students use the new GY-HM170s for ENG and multi-camera productions. When used as part of the school’s new mobile production unit, the cameras are connected to a NewTek TriCaster Mini via HDMI, and students use monopods for stability.
Craig Claytor of PAC Engineering, a design engineering firm in San Diego, recommended the JVC cameras for the RBV project. He praised JVC’s service, pre-sales support, and value. “No other manufacturer offers the picture quality, features, and signal output options as the JVC cameras in the same price range,” he noted.
RBV’s first remote setup was at last year’s homecoming game, where students focused on the halftime show and homecoming court. Since then, students have produced multi-camera, live-to-tape coverage of two fundraisers, a staff/student basketball game fundraiser, and a talent show. Highlights were also shared on RBVTV. Tompkins said more remote shoots are planned for the 2019-2020 school year.
“We really like how light it is,” Tompkins said of the GY-HM170. “We love the option of live streaming and we like the multiple recording formats. It gives us a lot of versatility – and to get an image of that quality for that price, you can’t beat it.”
The new studio and equipment were funded through the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program, which awarded $3.5 million to the school district for various projects. According to Kelly McKinney, CTE coordinator, the TV/film program already has maximum enrollment across all five sections.
Both sets of JVC cameras – along with NewTek switchers, Yamaha audio mixers, and Adobe Studio and Final Cut Pro NLE software – are part of an overall strategy to provide real-world production experience for students. “Our students are supposed to use industry standard equipment,” Tompkins explained. “Once they graduate, they have all this experience using professional tools. Our alumni were so excited to see the equipment that we’re using and were really impressed with the quality.”