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That’s a hedge, not a green screen: teaching television production al fresco

Nathan Snyder next to studio set-up including camera, tripod, mouse, and screen.
Nathan Snyder in his “home” studio. Photo provided by Greg Snow

Nathan Snyder went the extra mile when he moved his television and audio classes online after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Snyder, a lecturer and director of university television in the Department of Communication and Media, set up an outdoor studio on his home patio. It included a broadcast television camera, a wireless mouse, a keyboard microphone and large screens that let him see his students in a way that approximates the classroom experience.

“Television production students normally work in teams in studios filled with equipment,” said Snyder. “The challenge has been keeping everyone connected, seeing each others’ faces in real time.”

His students live across the country, from California to Georgia.

Snyder recorded his lectures and posted them on Blackboard for his students. He teaches five classes, two labs and works with seven independent study students. He estimates he’s been spending between six and seven hours a day on Zoom. Students have been impressed with the image and sound quality of his classes.

No surprise.

“This is what we do, after all,” said Snyder.