Friday, July 6, 2012

University of Portsmouth Broadcast Students Break New Ground Using Audience Software

Students from the University of Portsmouth located in Hampshire, England, have broken new ground by being the first undergraduates in the country to produce and air four hours of live television coverage. The record performance required professional skills and endurance and was produced using two NewTek TriCaster production units, and Audience as the broadcast platform.

The 46 students and four staff from the School of Creative Technologies BSc Television and Broadcasting course ran a four-hour magazine style show which aired on the BBC Big Screen in the city Guildhall Square and was streamed live across campus and on the internet. Their mission was to promote and celebrate the work of fellow students in the University’s faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.

Course tutor Charlie Watts said, “As far as we know, this has never been done or even attempted in higher education in this country before now. I'm ecstatic with the end result. We have been building up to this moment for five years, and I'm so proud of the students that we actually pulled it off and broadcast consecutive programmes over the four hours. This year has seen us launch the CCi TV website that streams the TV channel content 24/7, and also provides video on demand displaying over three years of work.”

The broadcast transmission was broken into sections with Watts, TV manager Lou Appleby and Principal lecturer Gary Bown overseeing the students' showcase programmes, which included work from Art, Design and Media students and the BA Fashion and Textile Design with Enterprise students' fashion show broadcast live to the BBC Big Screen.

Gary Bown said, “The final year show is a great opportunity for all levels of the TV and broadcast course to work together, and students of all levels did a fantastic job of producing and transmitting the show. Knowing we were being shown live in the city Guildhall Square added a little to the pressure, but we specialize in working without a safety net, and we also have 100% trust in our Audience broadcast server. It’s reassuring to know that we are connecting to another Audience system when we collaborate with the BBC, and both servers performed flawlessly and helped make the whole show look great!”.

The School of Creative Technologies BSc Television and Broadcasting course of Portsmouth University purchased their first Audience broadcast server system in March 2007 to broadcast a 24/7 TV channel and to televise the yearly graduation ceremony. The original idea was for the parents of foreign students to have the opportunity to see their child's graduation day from abroad.

The course in TV and Broadcasting is academic but vocational in nature. The main goal is to be able to give students firsthand experience in live broadcasting, a crucial component to their studies.

Watts remarked, “This live show will be hard to top for a while. The BBC trusted us implicitly to broadcast acceptable and professional content, and we owe a big thank you to Portsmouth City Council for their continued support of our presence on the Big Screen, and for the investment they have made to make it such a major asset to the city. We know other universities around the country cannot believe our students produce live programmes every week, and now they will have to try and comprehend how we have managed to produce four hours of live TV from two separate locations while also transmitting all around campus and to the web. The fact that we could even attempt such a thing was all thanks to the NewTek TriCasters, and the Audience platform supplied by Capital Networks. This kit delivers time and time again.”