TNDV upgrades production quality for university graduation ceremonies

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mobile production is most often associated with the world of sports and large entertainment events, but a growing contingent of non-broadcast organizations are looking to outside production teams to increase quality and expand audience reach.

TNDV recently brought its mobile production expertise to the campuses of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, achieving these goals and more for their spring graduation ceremonies. TNDV transitioned both commencement productions to HD for the first time, vastly improving image magnification quality for the large attending crowds. The company also streamed the live ceremonies worldwide to ensure families, friends and alumni could tune in from anywhere.

According to Nic Dugger, owner and president of TNDV, an increasing number of his clients across education, government and corporate verticals are recognizing the quick return on investment that comes with upgrading the production quality and taking the event to an external audience.

“Universities like Vanderbilt and University of Virginia realize that commencement is the most crucial day to a student’s life,” said Dugger. “Graduation day sets the mood and tone to the student’s relationship with that university forever, and potentially influences future donations and ongoing involvement. They want every student’s family to be able to experience the event with them, whether onsite or online, with the visual and audio quality required for total immersion. It takes a professional mobile production crew and technology infrastructure to make that happen, especially when you are serving two very different audiences.”

TNDV built a true mobile production facility for each event, staffed with producers, directors, and a complement of switcher, graphics and playback operators. The staff positioned multiple Hitachi HD5000 cameras around the venues, feeding back to its Inspiration truck. On board, the signals were sweetened with graphics and audio, and routed to large LED screens on either side of the stage. Throughout the productions, TNDV staff monitored multiviewer feeds both on board and outside the truck, the latter of which lent a professional production atmosphere for attendees.

The team also positioned an array of audience microphones throughout the crowd to capture the energy of the event for online audiences. This replicated the in-person experience for those who couldn’t make the ceremonies. Additionally, all camera feeds from the ceremonies, as well as special events surrounding the commencements, were recorded to Aja KiPro banks for future university use.

For Dugger, the tricky nature of producing graduation ceremonies is that unlike a live performance, the emphasis is not on a single artist or small group of performers. Everyone involved is on equal footing, from guest speakers to the entire student body.

“The challenge across both the image magnification and live stream is to make sure that every student gets the recognition they deserve,” he said. “Every student’s name needs to be seen and heard clearly. Taking the leap to HD production makes that experience far more immersive, and ultimately more memorable. And these productions were truly what you would see for a full-blown live broadcast.”

ABOUT TNDV: Television

Formed in 2004, TNDV: Television represents the culmination of many years of broadcast and live production for Nic Dugger, owner and president; and his staff of full time engineers. TNDV produces events from small single-camera productions all the way up to multi-million dollar international TV events, and takes pride in building custom solutions for challenging productions of any size, in any situation. Recent productions include the live concert productions at the NCAA Final Four, the 2013 Re/Max Long Drive Challenge on ESPN, and the inaugural season of Sing for Your Supper on PBS. Please call 615-585-6528 or visit www.tndv.com for more information.