Peter Freele and Jonathan SinasacPeter Freele and Jonathan Sinasac staff a backstage video production station during the University's 99th Convocation.

Digital technologies redefining media production

The quality of video the Centre for Teaching and Learning can produce during an event like Convocation is a “game-changer,” says Peter Freele. The investment in a digital high-definition system is proving its value in sharing the University of Windsor with the world.

“We know that we need to get our message out to people, and how it is packaged has an impact on how it is perceived,” the producer said last week as he put the finishing touches on recordings for telecast on Cogeco Cable, starting today. “Our new equipment gives us a chance to shine for the university.”

He regards the Convocation—which ran in six sessions June 12 to 14—as a “stress test” for the system. This spring’s production added two remote control cameras to the previous four-camera set-up, three with operators and one fixed on the platform from a high angle.

“You’ll see angles you have never seen,” Freele enthuses. “We were able to catch things we were missing before, the little moments that last just a second.”

He says the footage is fabulous, not just in terms of the sharp resolution of detail, but the depth of the colour. That professional quality will open opportunities to promote the University.

“We can film a seven-camera shoot almost anywhere with relative ease,” says Freele. “We’re not compromising anything now.”

While Freele extolls the large scale of the productions, his colleague Jonathan Sinasac, a communications engineer, is as excited by the way the technology makes many things smaller.

“For the Fall 2012 Convocation, we used a remote truck provided by Cogeco Cable, but by the spring, our entire set-up is a couple of laptops running half a rack and six cameras,” he says.

Sinasac points out that each camera system requires just 30 watts to operate: “The power in a car battery could run the whole set-up for an entire production.”

And because the zoom of the digital cameras is superior to the previous systems, the production can place any individual at the centre of the show.

“We are able to take a large event and still make it feel personal and intimate,” says Sinasac. “Each grad may be on the stage just for one minute, but for that minute, they are the star.”

Cogeco Cable will air the Convocation videos on its community channel 11:

  • Session 1, Education, at 7 p.m. on June 24 and 1:30 p.m. June 29;
  • Session 2, Engineering, Science and Inter-Faculty Programs, at 8:30 p.m. on June 24 and 3 p.m. June 30;
  • Session 3, Arts and Social Sciences honours, at 9 p.m. on June 25 and 4:30 p.m. June 30;
  • Session 4, Human Kinetics, Arts and Social Sciences, at 7 p.m. on June 27 and 7 p.m. July 1;
  • Session 5, Business and Nursing, at 8:30 p.m. on June 27 and 8:30 p.m. July 1;
  • Session 6, Law, at 7:30 p.m. on June 28 and 7 p.m. July 3.