SMC Broadcasting Dept. upgrades "Lights, camera, action!"

Recent upgrades to the Santa Monica College's Broadcasting department facilities allow students to learn like they already got the job. Over the past 18 months Frank Dawson, chair of Santa Monica College’s Broadcasting department and adjunct instructor Brad Lemonds, researched what equipment might bring the department closer to the forefront of industry standards.

Once Lemonds made the calculations, he and Dawson were able to write a proposal for new studio equipment.

Dawson received a federal grant, known on campus as VTEA [Vocational and Technical Education Act], said Lemonds. The grant enabled SMC to purchase the system.

“Technology is getting to the point where it’s very intricate to doing any kind of production” said Lemonds.

He went on to explain the new “multi-camera remote production equipment,” which includes three high-definition cameras, a switcher, an audio mixer, and a 52-inch flat-screen TV.

The new switcher allows students to control and select cameras with a piece of computer software.

“It allows us to do what we call multi-camera remotes," Lemonds said. "It can be used in studio, thus being a multi-purpose system. Presently, the new equipment is mainly being used to videotape theater productions by Broadcast 46, the television production class,"

This class provides a foundation in video, audio, and editing techniques.

The new equipment will be a major component in the course curriculum.

“It worked out really nice last Thursday night when we did the first play, ‘Cesar and Ruben.’ The new equipment hasn’t posed any difficulties for students to handle,” Lemonds said.

With new equipment come new challenges, though.

“The installation and learning process has been a curve,” Lemonds commented. Just having received the equipment over the summer, the department had to quickly turn from learning to teaching.

“It’s proving to be a great success," Lemonds said. "The students are very enthusiastic.”

According to Lemonds, using this new equipment will give students the expertise in systems common to the professional world.

“Even though the switcher is very small in its footprint, because it is computer-based, it will do a lot more than your typical analogue,” Lemonds stated. “The new equipment enables teachers and students to piece together components that were missing from the previous equipment.”

Not many people at SMC are aware of the new equipment, and once word is out, it is likely to attract a greater interest for the course.

Of the seven classes currently taught, only Broadcasting 46 and 48 will use this technology, but its scope will likely extend in the future.