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Del Oro hits the big screen

Students learn the ins and outs of donated scoreboard
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Del Oro High School went big time this year with a football stadium big screen scoreboard. According to assistant principal Jeff Tooker, the JumboTron-type screen was donated by an anonymous school family and was installed and running just in time for the 2008 football season. The cost of the 8 ½-foot by 14-foot scoreboard was $40,000. But it wasn’t an instant touchdown for Del Oro technology wizard Justin Cutts and his students who had to learn all the ins and outs of big screen operation. “It’s an all-new medium for us,” said Cutts who teaches multi-media classes. Cutts said the new scoreboard was barely up and running for the first football scrimmage and he and his students received very little training or customer service from the company that made it. “It’s been a huge learning experience. There is no manual that tells you how to do it. Aside from learning how to operate it, you’re learning a whole new vocabulary,” he said. Cutts is thrilled with how his students performed during the learning curve. He said they went from designing graphics on a Macintosh computer, where everything looked great but didn’t translate well to the big screen, to now having a huge bank of computer graphics that can be used next year. Cutts said that by the last game of the season his students were conducting live interviews on the sidelines and with fans. They had game preview information, the starting lineup and farewells they’d videotaped from graduating football players. Cutts and his students use a TriCaster, purchased with grant money, to simultaneously film with three cameras. The TriCaster is portable and allows the students to produce “network-style television.” They use the TriCaster to switch camera views while they are live. Afterwards, a master can be created and hours of editing time are eliminated. Junior Lauren Dillier, 16, is the technical director this year and acted as switcher and was responsible for instant replays. She hunkered down in the press booth bouncing her focus between the game, TriCaster and scoreboard. “It’s a huge learning process, we’re slowly learning how to do everything,” she said. During the football season, Holly Ellis, a sophomore, who created many of the graphics, and junior Jordi Oseto, who helped in many areas, assisted Dillier. Skylar Noble, a junior, and Tyler Grimes, a senior, were the cameramen while Cindy Pavusko was the sideline reporter. Cutts said that his students would be using the TriCaster and JumboTron screen during track meets this spring and at graduation. They plan to pre-film seniors giving their farewells and show them on the big screen. They also plan to have the camera on students as they receive their diplomas. They’ll also have speakers and crowd shots showing on the JumboTron. Aside from technical difficulties and student learners, Cutts said they were somewhat disappointed with the big-screen picture quality, which suffered from being routed to so many places before appearing on the big screen. Next year, he hopes to have a transmitter in the press box and a receiver on the scoreboard that will eliminate many of the clarity-reducing routing issues. He expects that out of the 50 students who will learn the system during this school year that he will get a crew for next year of five to seven students who can teach