Iowa high school launches live sports coverage

Webster City High School in Webster City, IA, is using a Broadcast PixGranite 1000 Video Control Center to produce live coverage of its varsity athletics from its new competition gymnasium. The school covered all six of its home girl’s volleyball matches in late 2012, and is currently shooting home boys and girls basketball and wrestling contests.

Live sports coverage is a new challenge for student video production at the school, which has been focused primarily on a weekly newscast. Now in its 14th year, WCTV is a 10 to 15 minute newscast produced by students that is distributed on an internal cable system and a local community access channel, as well as iTunes and other Internet sites.

When it came time to replace the program’s GlobeCaster switcher and other core SD production equipment, Webster City decided to make the transition to full HD production. Webster City Community Schools officials decided to expand the video production program by integrating video cameras into the new gym, providing students with the opportunity to produce live sports coverage.

The first phase of the process included the purchase of the Granite system, three Canon HD studio cameras, and other equipment for the 2010 school year, which was purchased from and integrated by Alpha Video in Edina, MN. The second phase added cameras to the gym and connected the control room to the new facility via fiber in time for the 2012 volleyball season. Murphy said the system will also be used to produce commencement, concert and special event coverage as well.

Anchored by the Granite, the control room is about 1100 ft away from the gym, located next to the school’s 400sq-ft studio. The gym is equipped with three ceiling-mounted Panasonic HD cameras and four wall-mounted cameras. All cameras are controlled robotically by students in the control room. The permanently installed cameras and fiber infrastructure that connect to the control room saves hours of set-up and strike time for every event.