Webster City HS Upgrades Broadcast Studio to HD

Webster City, IA had a population of 8,070 in 2010 and is the county seat for Hamilton County. The high school has about 640 students enrolled in grades 9-12. As in most high schools, the students take great pride in their sport teams and athletic facilities. Unlike most high schools, they also take great pride in their broadcast program.

Since 1999, the students have written, produced, directed and staffed a weekly program that reports on the news at the high school from an on-site TV production studio.

“The WCTV weekly program runs 10-15 minutes and is distributed in the school, broadcasted on the local cable channel, streamed to our website and podcasted," said Mark Murphy, Director of Technology for Webster City Community School District. "The students work very hard at producing a high-quality, informative and entertaining program. We’ve had a number of graduates from this program move onto taking jobs in the broadcast industry.”

In 2010, the high school received approval to begin construction on a new gymnasium and athletic facility which would open in the fall of 2012. Included in the cost of the gymnasium was a new high resolution Daktronics scoreboard. To take full advantage of the new scoreboard, Murphy and his team knew they needed to convert the existing broadcast studio to high definition.

“The construction of the new gym gave us a good reason to upgrade the broadcast studio to high definition video," explained Murphy. "We had been using the broadcast studio equipment since 1999 and everything was starting to show its age. In the summer of 2011, we contracted with Alpha Video in Edina, MN to design and install the new equipment and systems for the studio. Alpha Video recommended that we upgrade to a Broadcast Pix 1000 video control center, a Black Magic VideoHub router and three AJA HD/SD video converters. That was phase one.”

Once phase one was completed, Murphy was finally able to move on to phase two, the installation of HD cameras and video replay system for the new gym. Alpha Video installed three Panasonic HD PTZ AW-HE120L cameras and four Panasonic HD PTZ AW-HE50S cameras to cover the entire venue. The most important new equipment installed was a NewTek 3Play 330 slow motion and instant replay system. The NewTek system was added to the broadcast studio so that an operator in the studio can send replays in HD to the new scoreboard.

“With the HD systems installed by Alpha Video, we will now be able to provide a collegiate-level game-day fan experience for all of those sports in our high school gym," said Murphy. "Imagine watching a high school basket ball game and immediately seeing a slow-motion instant replay of the winning shot. It’s pretty amazing!”