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UNT students produce sitcom using Hitachi cameras

Radio-TV-film students at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, TX, are using four of the department’s six Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV studio production cameras to produce three half-hour episodes of an original sitcom, “Peppuccinos.”

The sitcom — created and produced by Noah Sargent while an undergraduate senior in the spring of 2012 — takes place in a shop that offers coffee on one side and pizza on the other, hence the name “Peppuccinos.”

Sargent and fellow radio-TV-film students volunteered their time to tackle every aspect of the demanding multi-camera production — including scriptwriting, manning cameras, technical directing, lighting design, audio recording and music composition. They also had help from UNT theater students, who lent their acting talents to bring the project to life while cameras rolled before a small studio audience.

All six Hitachi cameras were purchased through Hitachi dealer Burst Communications in Houston. The cameras are outfitted with Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units (CCUs) and RU-1000VR remote control panels.

This student-driven sitcom production maximized UNT’s video facility resources, especially Studio A, where the “Peppuccinos” set and risers for up to 35 audience members were constructed. The larger of two UNT studios, Studio A has an adjacent control room that houses a Ross Vision-M 1.5-M/E multiformat switcher, Compix Synergy 2 dual-channel HD graphics system, Blackmagic Design Videohub router and a 360 Systems HD Max server.

The three “Peppuccinos” episodes were staged and recorded in one weekend, and that video is being edited by students using Apple Final Cut Pro. When finished, the shows will air on North Texas Television, a local origination channel devoted to UNT programming that is offered by the local Charter cable system, as well as on UNT’s website.