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VCU TV Station Goes High-Def

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Fans of local public television's Community Idea Stations can now get a clearer picture of life at Virginia Commonwealth University thanks to new programming produced by students using the latest in high-definition technology.

The shows are the first fruits of VCU-TV/HD, VCU's new high-definition program where students get $10 an hour to produce three half-hour shows a month, while getting hands-on experience with the next generation of video technology. Shows air on WCVW on alternate Mondays at 9 p.m.

"The resolution is deeper. In a standard video you do a close-up on someone's face, you don't get anything, but with high-def you get every pore on their face," says Kuni Ohi, a VCU senior working for the station.

Janet Campbell, WCVW's programming director, says that while the station is excited to be working with VCU, it won't have the technology to broadcast the shows in the new format until the spring.

Even so, the program's executive producer, Daniel Brazda, says the program remains unique for other reasons. Brazda spent the last six years as creative director for Fox/UPN in Los Angeles — standard bearers for mainstream programming — but his goals for the studio are anything but standard. Brazda encourages students to use more cinematic filming techniques.

"Multiple cameras are used much more in TV production as a necessity to cover more angles quickly, because of the fast turnaround time usually required to crank out episodes," Brazda says. Instead, his students use a single camera forcing them to focus on lighting and camera movement.

Ohi is working on a series of shows highlighting local filmmakers called Cinaphile. Other programs focus on similarly local topics: local punk rock bands, the MCV trauma center and Bottoms Up Pizza, for example. The goal, says Ohi, is to create high-quality programming with a long shelf life. S

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