WNMU replaces outdated control room

By Joe Rubingh

WNMU-TV’s production room has been converted to digital equipment and a new portable audio/video unit was purchased with the help from a competitive grant

The transition cost was $3.8 million. $633,000 grant was given from the Rural Utilities Services through the U.S. Agriculture Department. Money was also contributed from NMU and donors.

WNMU saved some money by having all the equipment installed in-house by Grant Guston, chief engineer at Public Radio 90.

The new equipment includes a Ross Carbonite switcher, which mixes all the video sources and creates digital effects.

A new sound board that offers 5.1 surround sound and Pro Tools software was purchased, as well as new monitors.

“Going from analog to digital, most importantly, gives us the ability to shoot in high definition as well as widescreen,” said Eric Smith, the general manager of WNMU.

The portable audio/video unit is a portable control room that is used for graduation commencement and home sports games. One of the key features of this portable equipment is its ability to show replays during breaks in action.

Smith is glad to see NMU up to speed with modern production technology.

“Everything we used had to be ripped out and replaced,” Smith said. “If an NMU graduate told his employer the equipment that was used to train him, he would be laughed at.”

According to Smith, many students are intimidated by all the knobs and switches, but they eventually become comfortable with it.

Studio TV Production, BC 272 taught by Mike Lakenen, is one of the ways students get involved in using the new equipment. Students also get a chance to use the new equipment through Public Eye News, which is completely ran by students.

Katrina Lamansky is on her second year as a producer of Public Eye News. She picks what news is to be covered on the show, what order it goes in and gives commands from the control room while running the show.

“This new equipment is what you will actually see in the real world,” Lamansky said. “They use some of the same equipment at Lambeau Field.”

The Communication and Performance Studies and WNMU are trying to work together in order to allow more students to be trained with the state-of-the-art equipment.

“Turning the classroom into a production facility, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” Smith said.