MANATEE -- Southeast High School's TV production program received national recognition and a hefty prize Monday.
The SETV program was a top 10 finalist in the NewTek national video competition, selected from more than 500 high school and college submissions.
A representative from NewTek, a Texas-based hardware and software company, presented the school with a TriCaster 40 multi-camera, live video studio production system.
"It's basically a television studio in a box," said Mike Sanders, Southeast High TV production instructor.
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The equipment will allow students to easily switch from camera to camera and mix audio. The system also connects to WiFi.
"One student can do this
by themselves," Sanders said. "In the industry, this type of technology is getting rid of an awful lot of people who want to work in television, which is a bad thing. But it is also a good thing because the students are getting experience at the high school level and will have full studio and small studio experience."
The equipment is valued at $6,000. The school already has an 8-year-old NewTek production system. Sanders said the upgrade is more than welcomed.
To be considered for the prize, schools had to submit a 500-word essay and three-minute video on how upgraded technology would benefit their education in television production and enhance sports broadcasting.
Sanders said it now takes students three hours to set up for a live football game broadcast.
"We call it the train," Sanders said. "They are rolling carts and boxes and all kinds of equipment out to the football field. Our video shows the difficulty of doing this time and time again."
The proof of the struggle was enough for the school to receive a top 10 prize.
The competition was ultimately won by Centennial High School of Peoria, Ariz., which received the grand prize of NewTek's Smart Car high-definition mobile production vehicle fitted with $50,000 worth of equipment.
SETV broadcasts between 35 and 40 events every year on the Internet, including sporting events and award ceremonies. Sanders said the new equipment will allow students to travel around the county to broadcast even more events live at an even higher quality.
"It exemplifies what a great program they have and the hard work the students have done to be recognized with this honor," said Doug Wagner, Manatee County School District director of adult career and technical education. "The great thing about this equipment is that all student for years to come will be able to utilize it."
The school production team plans to broadcast the state SkillsUSA competition opening and closing ceremonies live from Pensacola using the new equipment. The students also plan to broadcast local parades this year live.
"This will make us more flexible," Sanders said. "This piece of equipment will expand the quality of our program even more. We want our students to have as many real-world experiences as possible."
A collection of video clips and shows made by the Southeast High School TV production team can be found at highschoolcube.com and selecting Southeast High School from the drop-down menu.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.