VMA television studios to broadcast in high definition

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • September 3, 2015

1441258904 dsc 0608.jpg
The VMA studios updated to HD recently.
The VMA studios updated to HD recently.

Emerson’s two television studios now have the technology to broadcast in high definition (HD), according to Brooke Knight, chair of the visual and media arts department.

Until the studios were updated in a $1.6 million renovation this summer, they only had the ability to broadcast in standard definition (SD), which has a lower pixel density than HD, showing less detail and clarity. Knight said that most professional studios today broadcast in HD.

“We’ve been operating from standard definition long after the switch to high definition happened,” Knight said.

Knight said, however, that there aren’t many differences in the technical process of broadcasting in standard and high definition.

“When students leave our program [after working in standard definition] and go to work in the professional world, they’re familiar with the workflow,” Knight said.

The update included getting new broadcasting equipment, cameras, and wiring in the studios, which are located in the Tufte Performance and Production Center. Knight said that this new technology not only allows them to broadcast with a higher resolution now, but that it gives the department the ability to upgrade again in the future. The department can switch to Ultra High Definition—the predicted next standard resolution for the professional field — with minor changes.

Along with the new technology, Knight said the department is working on connecting Emerson classes with programs at Boston public television network WGBH. The department has also hired Bavand Karim, an assistant professor who solely teaches courses in the television studios.

Karim teaches Introduction to Studio Television Production, but said he is looking to teach the course at intermediate and advanced levels in the future. He said he wants to spearhead new co-curriculars with students, like comedy and musical broadcasts.

“It all depends on what the students want,” Karim said. “But we have the incredible flexibility to meet whatever the students need.”