New equipment gives communication studio a fresh look


Brandon Gargano

Brand new ready-to-use equipment has been installed in the Communication Studio.

The Communication Studio, Audio Lab & TV Studio Control Room was renovated with new TV equipment this summer. The major video equipment installed were digital file recorders, a character generating machine, an audio board and audio monitors. Other equipment installed was a shading station to balance cameras, an intercom communication system and a lighting board that will be installed later this fall semester.

Audio equipment will be installed later this fall with a brand new, multi-track recording studio. The audio studio will be equipped with high quality software, a mixer board, compressors, preamplifiers, microphones, monitor speakers and a drum kit.

The studio’s appearance was also redesigned with modern furniture and flooring.

Ken Bronowski, studio manager and lecturer, said the studio workflow layout is more functional and modern.

“Visibility from one workstation to the next is much better in the new open-concept design. Communications within the control room and out into the studio area will be far more efficient,” Bronowski said. “The physical spaces are far more like the spaces where students will do their work on the job.”

Jake Giles, studio engineer, described the new features of the equipment. The equipment will allow camera feeds to be isolated, and various feeds from any computer can be connected in the room and distribute content over a server to the editing suites. He said this speeds up production.

“We gained a huge amount of space back, and the entire room is more open because the modern equipment is sleeker and more ergonomic,” Giles said. “We did a complete overhaul of the room, from new paint on the walls, to brand new flooring, to new desk furniture, to chairs and the equipment itself. It’s not just new equipment. It’s really a whole new control room.”

Giles said the studio received new equipment because it was time to upgrade.

“Our studio had been built around standard definition and that meant a lot of the studio racks, the equipment and the general housing was larger, older technology,” Giles said. “As time went on, we continued to replace with newer parts but there was still a lot of older pieces that either needed to be updated or removed entirely.”

The improvements began when Bronowski and Thomas Roach, head of the communication and creative arts department, identified specific elements that needed upgrading. Bronowski explained that the first phase of the process began two years ago, when the cameras and digital recorders were updated.

Bronowski said the process involved the expertise of various people from Procurement and Auxiliary Services, Space Management and Planning, Finance and Administration, as well as Chancellor Thomas L. Keon, Dean Ronald Corthell, Roach and Mary Beth O’Connor, associate professor.

According to Bronowski, the students are the big winners and the new equipment is superior to the equipment in many commercial broadcast television stations.

“Students will be well prepared to hit the ground running in production internships and in the job market after graduation,” Bronowski said. “Familiarity and preparedness with equipment use and environment is an important key to employment in the production industry, and we offer that in every production area.”

Giles agrees it’s important for students to be exposed to modern equipment.

“This is a great improvement and will take us to another level. We’ve always taught students the skills needed to survive in any format because television production is not necessarily about the latest and greatest equipment, but because technology is always changing,” Giles said.

Giles believes an updated studio will help studio users produce better quality programs and potentially open up the opportunity for the studio to be used for outside projects from other areas of the university as well as for students in production classes to work in the studio.

Giles also said the equipment will be used for the Calumet Roundtable, a television program televised on Lakeshore Public Television later this year.

Bronowski and Giles shared that this is just the start of upgrades. Giles said the lighting for the studio will be upgraded and a new lighting board will be installed this year. In the next year or two, they might entirely switch the lighting to an LED lighting grid.

Bronowski said the future of the studio is to be rebuilt and relocated next summer. Giles said the new studio will give students the opportunity to produce their own albums, bring in bands and create music in a way that could not be done at PNW.

“We’re striving to update our equipment and facilities to let our students have exposure to the best possible education they can get,” Giles said.