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Multicam is back in action

Courtesy of Alexis Diaz
Student Javier Basilio manages the technical aspects, Chris Salinas directs, and Rebekah Gonzalez handles audio during the live sports production.

When the North Lake Blazers take the court, a dedicated crew of student broadcasters from a Radio & TV Broadcasting class enters game mode.

After a hiatus due to staffing constraints during the college reorganization, the multicam course at Dallas College North Lake Campus was revived this semester based on industry recommendations to provide critical hands-on training in live remote productions.

Student Javier Basilio said this differs a lot from the other classes he has taken to complete his Video Technology degree. Usually in other classes they have time to plan and edit all the mistakes before they turn in the assignment. “But this is not the case for multicam,” he said. “Everything is live, whatever mistake or error I make, the people at home watching the livestream can see it too.”

Under the guidance of Professor Greg Ruuska, a seasoned director with experience on live Dallas Cowboys broadcasts, this team transforms the gym into a professional-grade television studio for every basketball game.

For Ruuska, executing these ambitious live productions is a student achievement worth celebrating. “Our broadcasts are real – not hypothetical class projects. With no second chances allowed, going live on time at a professional level is a great accomplishment.”

“The level of production is extremely impressive, especially for a student-run broadcast,” Jim McCurdy, Dallas College’s Athletics Web Content Coordinator, said. “The quality surpasses what you’d see on ESPN+ or many networks.”

“Our standards target the professional level,” Ruuska said.

On game days, the scene resembles a highly choreographed professional workflow with up to 20 students collaborating. They meticulously follow detailed schedules – rigging cameras, lighting, and control rooms well before tip-off. After capturing the final buzzer, the extensive strike and load-out process begins.

“It’s an incredible logistical operation to witness,” North Lake’s athletics director Greg Sommers said. “The professional, organized crew is mindful of not disrupting our pre-game preparations. Yet they seamlessly convert our facility into a broadcast studio.”

While video technology students operate cameras, graphics, replay, and direction, their efforts elevate the live announcing and viewer experience to a polished national broadcast caliber.

The impact has transformed how North Lake’s teams are promoted. “These broadcasts provide invaluable positive exposure for our athletics and career-prepping video tech program,” Sommers said. “Dallas College is wise to invest in developing both disciplines.”

Basilio said the most rewarding part I have gotten from the multicam class has been being able to produce something he has always wanted to do. “The experience I get from working on these games is going to benefit me in the future,” he said.

This immersive training reflects North Lake’s comprehensive approach to preparing graduates for media careers.

The program deploys an innovative “Production Portal” system, allowing upper-level students to fill crew roles and gain repetitions to master each specialized position.

Existing credentialing, such as the Audio Visual Specialist Certificate and AAS in Video Technology, will soon expand with a new Advanced Technical Certificate in Film and Video Production launching in the fall of 2024.

“Students interested in this field need to enroll and leverage Professor Ruuska’s phenomenal mentorship,” McCurdy. “Hands-on learning opportunities of this caliber are invaluable.”

The program’s rigorous curricula are shaped by industry partners and advisory boards, which aim to connect academic study with real-world experience. A legacy of alum successes showcases effective career preparation.

“The broadcasts have been critical for promoting our championship program and boosting recruitment exposure,” Sommers said. “We’re extremely appreciative of the incredible work by the campus’ video technology department.”

From the control room to the center court, North Lake is raising the bar through excellence in academics and athletics.

The next generation of broadcasters and Blazers deliver professional-level performances, primed for national stages.

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