Studio adds technology, advantages for students
Mill Valley High School broadcast students are getting a leg up on their peers at other schools.
This year, the school opened a new broadcast room, equipped with a green screen, professional cameras and a teleprompter.
“It’s brand new everything,” said senior Aaron Herrington. “A few months ago there was nothing, now it’s a full working studio.”
Students in Cindy Swartz’s advanced broadcasting class have been getting acquainted with the professional equipment they might see in college or at television broadcast studios.
“The room had just been finished when we got back to school in the fall,” Swartz said of construction at the high school that created the room. “They added this room a little bit later, but they knew it was something they wanted to do.”
Students record news episodes once a week in the studio. Swartz said students were always excited in class but that the equipment could be a challenge at times.
“It’s similar to what we’ve done in the past years,” she said. “We use a tri-caster and the virtual set. Now we’re able to have more students involved in the final project.”
Aaron said the differences in production are astounding.
“It’s a black and white difference,” he said. “Last year, when we anchored we had a big flag behind us, now we have a huge green screen and three camera angles. One of the biggest things, and the coolest in my opinion, is that we’ll be airing live next semester.”
Another change relating to the studio is the convergence of news and video between broadcast classes and the school’s newspaper.
MVNews.org, the department’s converged website, offers news stories with videos for the community to view.
“They write the stories, then we go shoot a segment,” Swartz said. “We hope to make that a class of it’s own someday. We’ve had some really good packages.”
Swartz’ students also have received awards for their work.
In November, the class attended the Drury University Competition, receiving first place in the Midnight Madness competition. Students were given a topic with prompts and allowed a few hours to produce a package.
The class also received an honorable mention at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention for a package story in November.
The students also participate in the Journalism Educators of Metropolitan Kansas City mail-in competition. The Kansas Student Press Association holds monthly competitions, of which the class has received first place in September and October.
Swartz said newer technology is a way for students to prepare for college if they choose to go into media.
Swartz said this is the first year she’s had students really looking into college media technology programs.
“In the last month or so I’ve had a lot of student inquire about the programs,” she said. “It’s nice to have that advantage, not a lot of students have that. It’s good to see all the student interest, but we can’t let everyone in.”
Swartz said the class is limited to 16-20 students each semester.
Aaron said the new studio puts the school up to the caliber of larger schools in the area.
“We’re stepping up with the big dogs,” he said. “There are larger schools that already have this. So we’re catching up with them and jumping on the learning curve.”
Aaron said the new studio allows the students to learn like professionals.
“We have really nice cameras and mics,” he said. “So instead of using old school stuff we got a whole new plate of technology. It’s just awesome. There is so much potential for us now, we can do anything it seems like.”