Broadcast Journalism Facilities
The broadcast students work from a dedicated newsroom and broadcast facilities in the Bute building situated in the administrative heart of the Welsh capital, Cathays Park.
This building houses comprehensive radio and television studios used by the Centre for Journalism Studies for its training.
The 'newsroom' is the main teaching room for the practical components of the Broadcast Diploma. It is also used for part of the week for practical teaching within other areas of the department.
The core of the newsroom is our multi-terminal iNews newsroom computer system. The newsroom is equipped with a network of 27 PCs, and three of the computers run our recently installed Radioman system from Jutel. The three Radioman PCs have runorder creation tools and the audio editor Quick Edit Pro. All the PCs have access to research CD ROMs, library catalogues and the Internet. From each of the computers a student has access to their own computer space and a suite of Microsoft networked software for their use. In addition to the normal office software they have access to Photoshop and Dreamweaver.
Main Radio Studio
All of the newsroom computers run iNews software and are networked to our iNews newsroom server controlled by the School. INews is linked via BBC Wales into the BBC rip and read and limited GNS wire service. iNews is also linked to the text output from our Reuters satellite receiver. The iNews system is available in all of the radio and television studio areas and links directly into the television studio for auto-cue and gallery machine control. The vast bulk of the students' production work is done using this system.
The broadcast course is a tapeless operation. Each of the PCs runs Cool Edit Pro, so at any PC in the newsroom a student can record material from their location recorder onto the network. At any of the computers in the newsroom audio clips, packages and features can be produced. Each student works with headphones retaining the normal working newsroom environment. A student can sit at any terminal in the newsroom and gain access to their own material and also provide completed material for the rest of the news operation.
All of the computers have software dedicated to web page production. Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. The School has a number of Digital still cameras with software available on most of the computers in the newsroom to load images.
The newsroom is also equipped with DAB digital radio receiver and mini disc recorder, wide screen television with teletext and a VHS machine, a Sky Digital satellite dish with open access card and a small reference library. Large screen video projection from a computer in the room is available when required by the teaching staff. Output from Cool edit can be played loud into the speakers at the front of the room when needed. Students have access to three telephone lines in the newsroom and studio areas. The output from the Radio and Television studio can be played into the newsroom. At the top of the stairs at the back of the newsroom there is another smaller newsroom or production office for separate groups to be working independently on other programming output.
National and local daily papers are available from our library on the first floor of the Bute Building.
Radio Production Facilities
These consist of:
14 Minidisc recorders a mixture of the Denon R70 with portable reporter pack and Beyer M58 microphone and the Sharp SR50 with a different portable reporter pack and Audio Technica AT804 microphone. We have just taken delivery of 10 Nagra handheld solid-state flash card audio recorders to supplement the Minidisc machines. Students are expected to be familiar with all types of machines.
The Television Gallery
We have just installed in the newsroom and the studio areas the Radioman system from Jutel. This is used to record everything we do in the studio complex and to play pre-recorded material out when on-air. All audio files through the Radioman system are recorded on a Radioman server located in the television machine room.
The Broadcast Radio area has comprehensive facilities comprising of 43 sq. m of Radio studio, control room and two news booth areas each equipped to broadcast standard. Two purpose designed rooms are set aside for the studio. The smaller is a presentation studio equipped with an acoustic table three microphones and presenter headphones, full talkback facilities. The studio control functions as the heart of the station. It has a Clyde Electronics Prima Series 24 channel stereo input on-air mixing console with a Radioman computer running on-air software and with a dedicated on-air keyboard. Another computer in the room runs Cool edit and iNews so that the studio can be run self-op or technical operator driven with a position for a programme producer along side the TO for longer programmes.
The studio also has a Minidisc recorder, cassette recorder, CD player, a telephone balancing unit connected to a line input on the mixer for telephone interviews and a selection of microphones and full broadcast monitoring and talkback facilities.
The complex also has two news booths one with an MBI 12 Channel on-air mixer, Radioman on-air application exactly mirroring the main studio, telephone balancing unit and a selection of microphones and full broadcast monitoring and talkback facilities.
The second booth is another place to record your voice and is equipped with a small audio mixer, Minidisc recorder, microphone and a PC running Radioman with runorder creation tools and the audio editor Quick Edit Pro exactly like the newsroom. The PC will also run Cool edit Pro and has full broadcast monitoring and metering. This Booth is setup to provide an area for recording links directly into Radioman and or Cooledit so that studio quality material can be recorded for package and feature making. This booth also has a Glensound contribution ISDN mixer.
Full communications are established between each of the areas so that the radio facilities will operate like a functional radio station. Radio controlled clocks exist in each of the studio areas.
Our philosophy for the mixture of software in the newsroom is so that students are able maximise their ability to operate a variety of audio editors. All location material is loaded into Cooledit as wave files cut and shaped and then producers pick up completed pieces using the Radioman producer terminals in the newsroom. They then save the files as Mpeg 2 files into the Radioman server as they are creating their runorders for playout in the studio or booth.
Television Production Facilities
Shooting the story
The Centre has a fully equipped television studio of 45 sq. m consisting of two Sony DXC327 cameras with auto-cue, lighting, monitoring and communications to a level which allows the full crewing of the studio. The studio gallery is based around a Cox T8 mixer with full monitoring and metering of all sources. A Deko 100 graphics computer complements the gallery facilities. A producer's PC running iNews sits in the gallery. The PC is connected over the University network to a machine control terminal in the gallery which during bulletin production communicates with the Deko 100 graphics software running on another PC and the Avid Airplay system up in the non-linear edit suite. Both the devices provide full video automation for playback of completed news packages, underlay and the production of name supers and general graphics.
The television facilities are setup to allow presentation from the studio or the newsroom. It is possible to achieve presenter - reporter two ways or guest interviews from the studio to the newsroom or vice versa. We also have full video, audio and communications link to the roof of the Bute so that presentation or two ways can be done between the studio, newsroom and roof as required. This is practical solution to provide the students with a simulated satellite truck feed.
The gallery is supported by 35 sq. m of ancillary areas:
- One fully equipped machine room with Pro Beta and DVCam video tape recorders and a freeview off-air receiver. From the machine room VTR's can be assigned through a routing switcher to any of the edit or gallery areas. We have a Reuters satellite dish on the roof receiving Reuters worldwide distributed pictures with text into the machine room.
- An Avid NewsCutter - a non-linear video editing device able to cut broadcast quality pictures ready direct for transmission. The Apple computer running Newscutter has also Avid AirPlay software on the system. This is designed to play out packages already prepared on the NewsCutter into the gallery. Airplay is full automated through iNews into a machine control terminal in the gallery. Each of the edit suites has an iNews terminal available for the reporter to write their links and scripts.
- Two linear video edit suites. Both linear suits edit up to Pro Beta as their recording format. Each edit suite is linked via individual vision mixers and the routing switcher to all available sources in the system and with full communications between each area. A voice-over booth equipped with microphone and monitoring can be used to voice over pictures in any of the areas.
- An Avid on-line Media Composer is also connected to the studio complex.
We have two Sony DVCam DSR 250 camcorders, two UVW100 Beta camcorders and 6 Sony PD150 DVCam cameras available for location shooting. The location kits are complete with tripods, gun and tie clip microphones. We also have two radio microphones available to share amongst the kits.
As well as the studio and gallery areas we have four Avid DV Express editors running version 3 software on desk-top computers. All the editors have local DVcam recorders for loading material into the editor. Each video editor is setup to record a voice over from either its own microphone or from a shared Coles lip microphone.
The School has three technicians who are available to provide technical backup and routine maintenance.
We are constantly aware of new technological changes taking place in the industry and where reasonably possible we expose our students to the necessary tools of Broadcast Journalism. We are at present investigating the installation of a video server so that some of the non-linear video editing can be linked together. The server would then be used to provide a playout system into the gallery. This would allow us to practice more long form output in television like the rolling news services that are so familiar to us now.