...Over at the high school, exciting things are happening, groundbreaking stuff involving the latest technology. Every school has its strengths, a signature program it’s known for, and at Steele High School, it’s the top-notch media program. Every year for the last decade or so, the television classes at Steele High School have been winning awards, and that’s thanks in part to the latest equipment from NewTek.
“Last year, in the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s student production awards, they gave out eight awards in our three-state region and we won five of the eight,” media teacher Mark Lowrie tells me, standing in front of a Plexiglas trophy case with six shelves crammed full of trophies. The wall behind the trophy case is also filled with framed honors, so many awards there’s no room to hang anymore. Every ambitious student at Steele High School wants to be part of the school’s media program, but not everybody gets in. For the twenty seniors lucky enough to be chosen for the media program, producing the daily newscast at Steele is far more than just a class they attend every day.
“It’s a two-year program,” Lowrie says. “Students audition as sophomores, and once they gain entrance into the class, they’re here for parts of every day their junior and senior years. Junior year is like Minor League baseball. The students learn to run the equipment, edit, shoot and write. Then, senior year is the Major Leagues. We’re producing 130 to 140 live news shows a year, an original show almost every day. We get an eleven-minute window, some days a little bit longer. When the bell rings, we are on live.”
....Technical Director, Jaida Perez punches through a complex series of video effects, sitting at Steele High School’s TriCaster. At some point during the year, all twenty of the students in the production class will get their turn in front of the TriCaster. Not surprisingly, Technical Director is one of the student’s favorite crew positions. “We got our first TriCaster in 2013, and it was a game-changer for us,” Mark Lowrie says. “The idea of being able to do a double-box in our shows, having animated graphics come in, incorporating digital video was awesome. We’ve gone from VHS tapes to Mini-DV tape, to no tape at all. The day we got out TriCaster was like Christmas morning.”....[continue reading]