SAN LORENZO, CALIF.
—The Bay Area
Digital Arts Academy is a pioneering
media arts-focused high school located
in San Lorenzo, across the East Bay from
San Francisco. Its mission is to open up
opportunities to young people who may
otherwise never have access to television
and digital media education opportunities.
We’ve been producing a weekly news
show, “Rebelvision,” for some 15 years.
However, early on, we relied on some incredibly
crude tools such as cardboard
“control surfaces” on desks to simulate a
switcher or mixer. Our live practice took
place with borrowed equipment at a nearby
That’s changed with funding finally being
made available to allow us to build an
actual television production and broadcast
EXCELS AS LEARNING TOOL
At the heart of this studio is a Snell
Kahuna Flare 2 M/E production switcher
which provides our students with an excellent
tool for producing live television
programming. The Kahuna Flare provides
a really comprehensive set of production
tools, but at the same time isn’t so large
that it overwhelms the students. It also met
our budget without compromising quality
Our studio is part of an expansion,
funded through a state Career Technical
Education Facilities grant, with additional
resources provided by a bond measure.
This funding has also allowed us to add a
central asset store constructed around a
Harmonic MediaGrid server with 36 Final
Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere edit seats networked
The studio, which has a green screen
area, is big enough to accommodate motor
vehicles, and our studio cameras are fitted
with prompters for the full news experience.
It was also important for to us to have
a professional setup in order to encourage
local production companies to use the studio
facility too. While this brings in some income,
it mainly allows students to get experience
assisting with genuine, professional
television production projects.
Our students’ familiarity with the studio
allows them to make a real contribution to
the on-going productions. They also gain
a huge amount of experience from being
around a professional crew and seeing
how a video production unfolds in the real
A TRUE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Our studio is big, as we want it to feel
like an authentic working environment for
our students. By equipping it with today’s
technology such as the Kahuna Flare, we
can do so much more with and for the
students. Kids today have grown up with
video, so we can extend that familiarity to
the subtleties of storytelling and creating
real television programs.
BADA helps keep kids engaged and learning.
They also gain more
experience in practical
video, so they are better
prepared when they graduate.
Our students could
be dropped onto any set
in America, in any seat, and
instantly recognize the
technology. That’s true empowerment,
and we feel
that this is what these kids
Lance McVay is director
of the Bay Area Digital
Arts Academy. He may
be contacted at email@example.com.
For additional information,
contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or