RCTV Highlights from October 2020 – October 2021
Year in Review Video
Highlights from RCTV Staff
We are continuing to improve the RCTV website and post more content. A PayPal button was added to the website for membership dues or donations. We also have changed the layout of our youtube channel to make it easier to find the latest programming.
Board member Kathi Crook and Executive Director Philip Rushworth represented RCTV during cable tv negotiations between the town of Reading and Verizon. This five-year contract was signed in July of 2021. Benefits for RCTV in this new contract include five percent of gross revenues, a capital grant, and one HD channel (coming soon).
RCTV @ RMHS
Anna Cuevas, Video Production Teacher RMHS
COVID 19 brought a lot of new challenges to our Video Production classes at RMHS, specifically with producing videos while remote. This resulted in a shift to more history and theory-based classes, including Television History from 1930-2020, Representation in Television, Analyzing Film, Color Theory, and more.
The Spring 2021 semester brought students back into the classroom part-time, which allowed for us to create video projects again while still keeping some of the history and theory brought in at the beginning of COVID. This school year, we are back full time and ability to create video projects fully in person, while of course keeping some of the history and theory. Completed projects this semester include Inside RMHS News Segments, Recreating a TV Scene, and Horror Films.
Government Meeting Coverage
Rob Moore, Production Coordinator
Since last October, we have covered many meetings in town that have been in person and over zoom and sometimes both. During the pandemic, many boards met more often than usual since they could more easily meet over zoom and discuss import town business, particularly the Board of Health, who were meeting almost every week during the height of the pandemic.
Slowly but surely, some meetings have gone back to being in person, like the School Committee and the Select Board. Many members of the public still chose to attend via zoom, so many of the in-person meetings have been hybrid to accommodate citizens who are not ready to head back to town hall just yet. Overall it was a busy meeting year, especially with the addition of several new meetings covered during the pandemic, such as The Historic District Commission, The Permanent Building Committee, and the Parking Advisory and Recommendation Commission to name a few.
Programming & RCTV Interns
Angela Merrill, Deputy Executive Director
I have worked with our in-house interns Luke Backer, Logan Clark, and Hayden Clark to digitize our DVD archives, as well as working with them to record public events such as Porchfest, Arts Reading on the common, Town Forest Celebration Day, and others. I also brought in 3 additional volunteer interns, Blake Thomas, Owen Gaffen, and Ben Goldlust who are working hard on filming public events, editing, and day-to-day tasks.
72 Hour Film Festival & Workshops
The Reading Post
RCTV and The Reading Post continue to partner to provide timely information to the Reading community. RCTV’s streaming of government meetings and The Reading Post’s reporting of those government meetings have been a vital part of communication to residents during covid.
We were able to run our 72 Hour Film Fest and held a virtual viewing for the submitted films. Our summer program saw remarkable numbers and gave us great hope for the return of our popular Screen Play workshop for the summer of 2022. After school classes have also made their return to the studio adding some fun energy back to the studio on Main Street.
Luke Schneider, Director of Operations
The last year has been very interesting! October 2020 was still pre-vaccine and in the midst of the pandemic, and we’re just slowly (hopefully) coming out of it now.
Our focus included outfitting the high school with new equipment, wiring up new live sports and meeting rooms, upgrading camera and workflow systems for 4K, and continuing our massive cloud data backup project. All the while we were covering live meetings, which changed rapidly from in-person in early 2020, to all remote in mid-2020, to hybrid remote and in-person now.
We’ve also been preparing for our new HD broadcast channel on Verizon – compiling footage we’ve been capturing in HD since approximately 2009 when we got our first HD camera. We may not have had an HD channel, but our workflow and archives have been HD for over a decade. Some classics such as Reading @ Large are getting a super high-tech AI upscale treatment, taking them from 480i SD all the way to 1080p HD. With our ongoing upgrade to a 4K workflow, we’ll be ready for that eventuality too!
Live meetings have been very challenging over the past year, most boards have shifted from an all-remote to a hybrid format which requires cameras in the meeting room as well as a connection to the virtual meeting for broadcast. The network we’ve been building since 2017 allows us to integrate all of these feeds very easily.
Supply chain issues have made timely hardware upgrades somewhat of an issue. We have some 4K cameras on backorder, and trying to find in-stock network equipment right now is very frustrating. Helpfully, it turns out the meeting coverage, network, hardware and workflow improvements we’ve been making over the past few years were great preparation for supply chain issues and general pandemic craziness!
I expect the next year to be very busy, with town government as well as other events coming back from their pandemic slowdowns and hiatuses. I’m very glad our robust fiber network stretches to just about every corner of the town and allows us to ingest live feeds from all over without much effort.
Plans in motion for the next year include Real-time digital scoreboard integration for sports coverage, wireless uplink points for true town-wide live broadcast capabilities, investigating HDR mastering processes for our 4K workflow, 4K display and projector upgrades for the studio, and general computer and editing station updates.