TCU Completes HD Studio, Begins Work on HD Control Room

At Texas Christian University (TCU), professors in the sports broadcasting department have a unique challenge – their labs are televised. TCU students regularly produce programming for the campus cable station, as well as The Mtn. – Mountain West Sports Network, which can be seen on cable systems nationwide. To ensure that students are producing the highest quality programming, TCU has partnered with Burst Video for two projects: a six-month renovation that last year migrated the broadcast studio from SD to HD, and a new HD control room that will be constructed inside the rebuilt football stadium, scheduled to be ready for fall 2011.

“There aren’t too many colleges in the country that have their labs televised,” explains Chuck Lamendola, Sports Broadcasting Program Director at TCU. “The thing that we always strive for is to provide our students with opportunities to get their hands on equipment that they’re going to see when they leave the educational environment, even if it isn’t always cheap.”

To that end, in both the studio and stadium renovations, TCU chose high-end equipment for the students to work with, including Sony cameras, Chyron character generators, and a 6-channel EVS system.

“Economically, that’s the biggest problem we have,” Lamendola says. “The cost to keep that equipment at that high level is expensive. The challenge is to find pieces of equipment that give students opportunities to learn, but also allow students to learn fast enough that they can do the job on a level high enough for anybody in the country to see. You can’t have a student trying to figure out how to use a switcher on the air.”

Last year, TCU spent six months working with Burst on a new studio, mostly for use by the communications school. That studio, and its control room, was redesigned in high definition with Sony PMW-EX3 cameras, a Sony MFS-2000 switcher, and FWD S47H1 display monitors. This spring, the sports broadcasting department will produce a baseball coach’s show and reality TV show from that new studio, but most of the sports programming will originate from the to-be-constructed HD control room inside the new football stadium.

Next fall, a new football stadium will be erected on campus, complete with an HD video board.

“We’re going to have to upgrade our sports broadcasting facility to accommodate that new board, so we’re on the starting line of that project,” Lamendola explains. “We have a proposal for what will go into that room and we’re trying to make it as professional as possible.”

TCU’s sports broadcasting department produces programming for The Mtn. television network, and with next year’s HD upgrade, will be able to deliver all of its programming in HD. The sports broadcasting department also feeds the video boards in all of TCU’s sports venues from a single control room.