Silver Chips Online

Blair's Television Studio undergoes renovation for 2013-14 school year

Computers, cameras and video equipment are replaced

By Abir Muhuri, Online Entertainment Editor
September 7, 2013
On Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, Blair's Television Studio teachers Paris Bustillos and George Mayo concluded renovations on the school's television studio, replacing computers, cameras and video equipment.

The TV Studio's new furniture has replaced the old couch and backboard. Courtesy of Sam Howells
The TV Studio's new furniture has replaced the old couch and backboard.
Renovations began with the old Apple computers. Fifteen new iMac computers have replaced previous desktops. Furthermore, Blair has spent $10,000-15,000 on two new video switchers and three new high-end cameras. In addition to equipment changes, new black leather furniture has been added and studio walls have been repainted.

Blair received money for these equipment replacements through Montgomery County Public Schools' Tech Mod Program. As a county-funded initiative, the Tech Mod program provides funds to schools every four to five years to update technology facilities. According to the school system's Department of Instructional Technology website "schools participate in the Tech Mod Program to update their technology tools and resources to stay current with our world's rapidly evolving technology." Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) chose Blair as one of eleven schools for the 2013 Modernization Project. Blair was also chosen for Tech Mod in 2009.

According to teacher Paris Bustillos, incompatibility was the primary reason for replacing the studio computers. "When running computers that old, they render compatibility issues. Cameras didn't run with old computers," Bustillos said. Prior to renovations, the classroom's computers were used for five years.

A direct benefit of these installations is expanded access to Channel 19, Blair's source for InfoFlow, or video announcements. Previous classrooms that could only view InfoFlow on old TV monitors can now view the show on their Promethean boards. "Every classroom should be able to get Channel 19, [so] that's a big change," Bustillos said.

The television studio's other main function as a learning environment has also seen benefits. Junior Sam Merrill, a Blair Network Communications (BNC) staff member, thinks equipment improvements will yield better quality productions. Merrill has been able to process footage faster, which is useful for time sensitive projects. "[The computers] run faster so production time is cut down buy a lot," Merill said.

Junior Stephanie Renich, a BNC staff member stated that the editing software updates and the new monitors were the most noticeable changes.
"They're really nice. We have Final Cut Pro 10 and better quality screens," Renich said.

In regards to previous computer problems, last year’s BNC staff experienced data loss and media storage malfunctions. Junior Ian Kiefhaber hopes this year’s new computers will help solve these problems. "Last year we had problems with the hard drives and random data would be lost. We’d put our projects on each computer, but sometimes the Media Storage would be erased," he said. Kiefhaber hopes that this year’s new computer setup will help BNC become more productive. He added, "We expect BNC to be more organized this year."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/12143