Academic Standard

P:BRFamiliesBrother Rice Media Lab.pdf

The Standard: Brother Rice Adding a New Production Studio

By: Mitch Strahlman ’14

The broadcast journalism class was introduced to students at Brother Rice during the 2013-2014 school year.  The brainchild of Mr. Barkowski and Mrs. Van Assen, they asked Ms. Pacetti if she would be willing to take on teaching this new class.  With the help of senior Eddie Seitz, who already had a background in video production, Ms. Pacetti and the class of 12 students began to create newscasts and feature productions that would gain student and outside interest.  Because of the need for computer access and filming space, the class needed to be held somewhere other than a regular Brother Rice classroom.  Thanks to librarian Mrs. Buciak, the broadcast journalism class was able to set up shop in the library and use an adjacent room which is tucked behind the east side of the library.  This filming room became the headquarters for the new class because it is home to a “green screen” donated by junior Marcus Aubin and a 27” iMac donated by alum Martin Murray ‘75.  Although this room worked well enough for the small class of 12, Ms. Pacetti knew that next year’s class of 28 would need to find a bigger, more permanent home.  She browsed the school for a better venue and came across the ideal site for the new production studio.

Ms. Pacetti realized that room 100 was the only classroom in the school that would really work as a production studio. “There are only four windows in the room as opposed to the eight in the rest of the classrooms,” explained Pacetti.  “When we create videos, we need to make the room as dark as possible then use our own lighting.”  Room 100, currently being used as a math classroom, was originally renovated because of the generosity of the Odelson Family.  Ms. Pacetti asked Brother Rice President Dr. Kevin Burns if it would be possible to repurpose this room, creating a classroom that could turn into a production set. He thought it was a great idea and suggested she contact Mr. Burt Odelson, the Chairman of the Brother Rice Board of Directors, to make sure he was comfortable with the repurposing of the room.  Not only did Mr. Odelson approve of the idea, he wanted to be “on board” with the creation of the production studio.  Mr. Barkowski then contacted architect Mr. Paul Aubin, father of Marcus Aubin, who generously created a virtual prototype of the forthcoming renovation.

The new production studio will include iMac computers with professional editing capabilities, a sliding green screen to create different set layouts, a custom designed anchor desk, and folding roll-away training tables and stacking chairs that can be moved to create an open set area. It will be available to the broadcast journalism, yearbook/journalism, and marketing classes not only during class time, but also before and after school so students can work on their projects.  The broadcast journalism class is already working to expand and enhance their High School Cube broadcasts and intend to create more broadcasting opportunities next school year.  Mr. Barkowski has big plans for the marketing class, and Mrs. England is also in the process of adding a video component to the yearbook.

Overall, the new production studio has a chance to turn Brother Rice in a new and positive direction.  The studio may attract the interest of alumni, prospective students, and someday even professional sponsors of student-created videos.  In this day and age where technology is so prominent, the studio could become an ideal way to consistently and easily broadcast current events at Brother Rice.  The renovation will start this summer and is expected to be finished before the 2014-2015 school year starts.

Broadcast Classroom Rendering

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