Texas Christian University Taps Sony for HD Upgrade

TCU’s broadcast journalism program focuses producing high-quality news programming in the studio and in the field.
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Texas Christian University’s (TCU) communications school recently upgraded its broadcast studio equipment with Sony HD equipment.

The studio was equipped with two Sony PMW-EX3 cameras, chosen for their convenient remote controls, interchangeable lens options and multi-camera operation capabilities. The control room was built around the Sony MFS-2000 switcher and Sony FWD-S47H1 display monitors. To ease its transition from SD to HD broadcasting, TCU installed an MFS-2000 switcher because of its compact size and ability to operate in both formats. Sony worked with system integrator Denver-based Burst Video to redesign and install new cameras and control room equipment.

TCU’s broadcast journalism program focuses producing high-quality news programming in the studio and in the field. BURST and TCU deployed user-friendly technologies from Sony Electronics to help the students spend more time on content development and less time learning complex menus. “With the Sony gear installed, students are building a good foundation with the equipment that they will encounter when they graduate from TCU and get out into the workforce,” said Chuck LaMendola, Studio Supervisor, TCU College of Communications.

The goals of the installation were to give broadcast journalism students the ability to produce their own mini-newscasts for the Web and to demonstrate the varied results of different gear and techniques allowing the students to hone their on-camera performance, news writing and technical production skills. In addition to main goals of the broadcast journalism program, Sony equipment is also being used to transport select footage from the sports fields into the studios via fiber cables.

One immediate challenge that Burst faced was deploying a digital production system on TCU’s existing analog infrastructure. The solution needed to be flexible since Burst knew at the beginning of the project that they would be connecting The TCU Schieffer School Convergence Lab on one floor to the two other broadcast studios on a different floor, including the student studio that feeds 41 TCU sporting events to the Mountain Network every year.

Burst also worked closely with the facility’s general contractor, who didn’t have much broadcast facility experience, so they also were looked to as a guide for tips on power distribution and cable tray paths.

The entire upgrade took less than six months from the initial design to deployment. Starting this month, TCU will tear down its existing football stadium and, with help from Burst, will rebuild a new high tech sports stadium, including HD scoreboards. The School’s Sony SD cameras that are currently used to feed the scoreboard will be replaced with HD cameras for next season.