Montclair State University just officially opened the new School of Business and Center for Environmental Life Sciences this semester, but the institution isn’t slowing down when it comes to modernizing the campus with new technology and facilities. Next on the list to be updated is the School of Communication and Media, expecting a new building to be finished in late 2016. Yet, the School is already debuting a new piece of equipment before the unveiling of the building next year: a Montclair State flash cam.
Creating a flash cam studio on campus will allow individuals to come to the university and remotely stream to any connecting network. The result is that any individual in front of the flash cam at Montclair State can also appear live on any news show, whether that program is aired from a station based in New York or elsewhere, without making the trip to the city to be filmed at the actual network’s studios.
“It’s all done via fiber,” explained Nick Tzanis, the Director of Broadcast and Media Operations for the School. “[The data] leaves the campus, goes out to the street, jumps across the river to New York and from there, CNN, CNBC, ABC, wherever, calls up that circuit and connects to it.”
The fiber technology used in the flash cam produces a much higher audio quality than regular streaming because the signal is HD, Tzanis said.
Although the flash cam will be a new technology for Montclair State, it is not at all new in the industry. The introduction of the flash cam, then, is one of the ways that the School is bringing their currently existing facilities and equipment up to professional standards in preparation for the upcoming School of Communication and Media building.
The flash cam will do more than just bring the department to professional standards, however. “The most important [reason for implementing this technology] is that it exposes our faculty to the media world,” Tzanis said. “We have amazing faculty members throughout the campus, whether it’s [in] business, science and certainly the School of Communication. Depending on the story of the day, [networks] may want one of our faculty members to speak on the subject. If we’re dealing with politics, we’ve got some really great faculty members who really know politics, especially when it comes to New Jersey. With Chris Christie running for the presidency, they want to talk to our faculty and get their opinion and their thoughts.”
The flash cam will make it possible for professors and faculty to appear on the air as pundits, commentators, etc. without missing class. “Instead of wasting three hours of their time getting them in a car to go into the city, do the live hit and [take] another hour to come back, [individuals] can walk across campus in five minutes, get on the air and they’re done in 12 minutes,” Tzanis said. “The important thing is that we get their name out and the Montclair State University name out.”
The flash cam will also be able to generate revenue for the university through renting the studio space out to locals who are not affiliated with Montclair State. Individuals in the Montclair area who want to film live shots for networks from a place closer to home will be able to rent the facility for a fee. Those funds will then go back into the School of Communication and Media to purchase more equipment for the program and its students, who are expected to play a large role in learning to operate the machinery for flash cam live broadcasts.
“My hope is that, when we start getting booked, that it will be students running the flash cam, so that they can get used to the [equipment] and taking direction from another facility,” Tzanis said. “It’s part of the learning experience.”
Other new technologies yet to come to the School which Tzanis detailed include a 175-seat theater, another broadcasting studio, bringing the total number to three—two HD studios and one new 4K studio—a collaborative newsroom, a small 25-seat theater, a new film studio that will allow for more varied lighting options and a sound effects studio.