HHS sports to be available online

The information technology and audio/visual class at Hartselle High School will be piloting a program to broadcast HHS events via the Internet.

Library media specialist David Robinson teaches the class and proposed the idea of broadcasting school functions online. He and his class will film and broadcast certain sporting events, productions and graduation through the National Federation of High Schools Network with PlayOn! Sports.

This is the second year HHS has offered this class to students. Currently five people are enrolled in the class, but other volunteers will be aiding in the broadcasts.

PlayOn! Sports provided HHS with free broadcasting software, support and storage space for archiving in exchange for half of the subscription proceeds.

Subscriptions for live events will be available from one day passes for $9.95 to year-long subscriptions for $75. Each subscription allows up to three viewers to log in at a time, allowing multiple people to share a single subscription.

All non-sporting events are free to watch live or anytime later. All sporting events will become free 72-hours after they are broadcast.

Subscriptions for live broadcasts can be purchased online at nfhsnetwork.com, and users can choose to support Hartselle High School. All users must set up a free account to access the broadcasts.

The broadcast team has a schedule of events that will be covered this year on the HHS website under the athletics tab. Their schedule includes certain varsity boys and girls basketball games, certain varsity baseball and softball games, the Spring choral concert, senior awards day and graduation.

The broadcasts will be student-run as much as possible, according to Robinson.

“We will have students setting up equipment, running cameras, breaking down equipment, editing clips and making highlight reels,” Robinson said. “They will always have teacher supervision, but they will be the ones doing the majority of the work. There might be times that none of the students can make it to an away game, but for the most part it will be completely student-run.”

The class has been practicing their videography techniques by studying how professionals film major sporting events and filming basketball practices. They have been working with different editing software to gain video compilation skills for post-production.

Andrew Jackson, a senior in the class, said his job will mostly including editing and processing video.

“I didn’t have any experience with film or editing video before I started this class last year,” Jackson said. “Now I feel prepared to process the video and compile highlights. I have been practicing with the software, and I should be able to do most all of my work during our seventh period class.”

Robinson said several coaches have shown interest in the program.

“Several coaches are excited about the filming and have asked if they have can their own personal videographer to become part of their team,” Robinson said. “They want their practices and games filmed as well as special events and the celebrations after a big win so they can make their own videos documenting the season. This could be an opportunity for those who are interested in sports, but may not necessarily want to commit to playing for whatever reason. They will be really included in the team without having to run sprints.”

Robinson said he hopes this venture will be an opportunity for new skill development. He said this education could possibly get someone a management scholarship to college.

“One coach was telling me about a former student of his who received a scholarship for his film and management skills,” Robinson said. “I was approached by Huntington last year about a scholarship opportunity to anyone who could run sound for their choral and band departments, but I never could find anyone to do it for them. There are scholarship opportunities out there besides academics and athletics that this program will help them be qualified for in the future.”

The class does not currently own any of the equipment they are using. Three cameras and other equipment has been borrowed from other classes or groups at school or donated from individuals. The group has an old switchboard purchased off eBay to control the broadcast feed, two tripods from various sources and an old portable DVD player to view the feeds from Robinson’s personal equipment. Robison said the first profits would go to buying more equipment for the broadcasts.

Robinson said the class has several long-term goals he would like to see them achieve. They have 24 broadcasts scheduled for this school year, but he hopes to eventually double that number to include more sports and activities.

The class is assigning each sport the task of finding a student to do play-by-play for the audio and live Twitter updates. So far, baseball is the only sport with a potential volunteer for both of those. If there is not a student volunteer, the class plans to broadcast feed from the on-camera open-air microphone.

The team hopes to be able to provide a multiple camera feed when possible. Robinson said this would be determined by the equipment and volunteers they have available because they already have the knowledge to make it happen.

The software provided by PlayOn! Sports includes apps that keep up with statistics and offer sharing on Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as the broadcast website. The class will also be capable of providing specific statistics on-air including timeouts, fouls, a game clock, rosters and scores.

Robinson said he feels this is a great opportunity for Hartselle.

“This project hopes to be self-sustaining,” Robinson said. “Everything we are doing is absolutely free, and it’s providing a great opportunity for fans and the community to stay connected, but more importantly it is an opportunity for the students to gain vital skills for those interested in media.”

Their first official broadcast was the band’s Christmas concert Thur., Dec. 4. Their next broadcast will be the varsity boys and girls home basketball game against Austin Tues., Dec. 9 beginning at 6 p.m.

Audio/ visual student Alex Selby practices working the switcher board before the class starts broadcasting several HHS events. | Joy Haynes
Audio/ visual student Alex Selby practices working the switcher board before the class starts broadcasting several HHS events. | Joy Haynes
Audio/ visual student Brett Hale practices filming basketball before the class starts broadcasting several HHS events. | Joy Haynes
Audio/ visual student Brett Hale practices filming basketball before the class starts broadcasting several HHS events. | Joy Haynes

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