By Cathleen Twardzik
Somerville Community Access TV (SCATV) will hold an open house on June 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will provide all individuals with a chance to view SCATV’s new HDTV studio equipment, all of which showcases its incredible picture quality. All Somerville residents are invited to partake.
If you join SCATV at the open house your first year of membership will be free of charge. Somerville residents will have the opportunity to learn how to use the new equipment, as well as to produce their own TV shows.
“SCATV wanted to be up-to-date with the equipment it offers to Somerville residents, and so we had to go high definition. Our field cameras have been HD for several years, but the studio was not. Going HD requires a total transformation, all the old equipment had to go. As part of the city’s franchise agreement with the cable providers in Somerville, we receive funding from the cable companies for equipment and facilities. We are using that money to do the studio renovation,” said Wendy Blom, Executive Director of SCATV.
It was the right time to go to HD because, “Many other access stations in Massachusetts have already gone to HD, and others are in the process of doing it. I knew that it was time for SCATV to take the plunge,” said Blom.
At present, SCATV is on Channel 3 in standard definition. However, upon getting an HD channel, they will start “cablecasting in HD right away.” It was essential to switch at this point in time because an astronomical number of viewers have “migrated” to HD in their homes, and many of them do not view analog channels at all anymore. “We are feeling more and more invisible to the average viewer,” she said.
Approximately three years ago, SCATV purchased an HD field camera. The cameras at SCATV are Sony HXC-D70K, which shoot 1080p high definition.
Funding for the HD equipment was provided by Comcast and RCN, both of which “contribute capital funds,” which are included in their franchise agreement with the City of Somerville. Tax dollars and city funds were not used for the studio.
The mission of SCATV is “to be a leading public access media center that enables a vibrant and diverse community to express its creativity, explain its ideas, share its cultures and foster the individual’s right to freedom of speech. SCATV supports and creates community-driven media through education, production resources and distribution on cable television and the Web.”
“In 2011 we started up an Internet radio station, Boston Free Radio. The station is all volunteer run from a studio in our building. We have a wonderful variety of programs on the station 24 hours a day at www.bostonfreerado.com. Anyone interested in becoming a DJ should call SCATV to sign up for the next orientation for new DJs, which will be held in mid-June,” said Blom.
“We offer a wide range of classes each quarter. In the summer, we are offering three one-session classes on to use the teleprompter in the studio, how to work with green-screen chromakey technology, and how to shoot and edit with your cell phone or iPad. More in-depth summer workshops are ‘Acting for the Camera,’ and ‘Super 8 Filmmaking,’” she said.
This fall, SCATV will begin a Somerville news program, which will air on a weekly basis and will launch on Channel 3.
It will cost $40 per year for Somerville residents to join SCATV. That will allow people to take a video production class to learn how to operate all of the needed equipment.
View their new website at www.SCATVsomerville.org. For more information, interested individuals may call SCATV at (617) 628-8826.