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WAB Broadcast Crew Goes Mobile

March, 2013
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Western Academy of Beijing became the first international school in Asia to have its own travelling broadcast team!

In early February, WAB’s Tiger Sports Network (TSN) team travelled from Beijing to South Korea to cover the Super 12 APAC Boys Basketball Tournament, live streaming the entire tournament to over 40 countries around the world.

Students and staff power the Tiger Sports Network via an afterschool activity group in conjunction with WABX (WAB’s extracurricular activities program). For two years, the team has regularly contributed to WAB’s high-quality streaming of live content on campus. Students are involved with the program as early as Grade 5, live streaming their grade level events around the world. Now, TSN has taken it a step further to bring their capabilities to other schools. The team that made the trip to Korea, consisting of students Nick Arbenz, Ken Bostwick, Brin Huyett, Johnson Ma, Antonin Sebban, Kenneth Tagscherer, teachers Greg MacIsaac and Ray Willis, and Video Broadcast Coordinator Terry Fan, took their combined skills, enthusiasm, and a ton of energy to the tournament, and in so doing helped WAB become the first international school in Asia (and only the second school worldwide) to have a travelling broadcast team. A success by all accounts, the TSN crew delivered action-packed content from the tournament via 27,000 Internet streams to people’s homes and workplaces on five separate continents.

Greg MacIsaac, a teacher and head of video at WAB, recalls the broadcast team had its origins years ago when the school realized the potential in its new outdoor video scoreboard on Tiger Field (WAB’s sports field). It was then that we “decided to make our entire campus the studio,” says MacIsaac. “We purchased a Tricaster broadcasting unit from a company called NewTek (www.tricaster.com.cn). They set up training sessions for us, and we invited some teachers and students to join in! We then did product tests, wired the campus, and mounted fixed cameras on our field poles, in our gyms, and in our theaters so that any broadcast could be done with multiple cameras.”

MacIsaac notes that WAB “decided early on that we wanted it to be a learning experience for our students and staff, and even parents!” And, thanks in large part to Nokia, who donated a substantial amount to the broadcasting project to help it get off the ground, WAB’s broadcasting capabilities started to grow. Today MacIaac’s responsibilities in broadcasting are mainly with the video side of things: cameras and sound, and in student and staff training. “I have three student training programs including Elementary, Middle, and High School students,” he says. “Following the training period, the students are then certified as cameramen, Tricaster operators, directors, and slow-motion operators.” Giving students yet another way to connect, inspire and challenge themselves, WAB started a ‘Commentators’ program in 2012, headed by Ray Willis. Now, with the team going mobile thanks to support from Harrison Chang at NewTek, the program has become the next best thing to a professional broadcasting operation.

Ray Willis speaks for everyone at WAB when he says he hopes to see “TSN continue to evolve and enhance not only the WABX program, but to open a window to the world so they can see some of the incredible things we do at WAB.” This is sure to be the case, and word is travelling quickly. Having accolades from the schools participating, and from the audience watching from all over the world, Martin Halpin has already fielded interest from three large international schools looking to replicate WAB’s mobile broadcasting setup, and from other APAC schools that want to have the TSN crew come to their events. 


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