Dartmouth High students learning the art of live production

Sep 12, 2018

Every morning this week, Tori Santos and Reilly Leconte started off their school days at Dartmouth High School in front of television cameras at the DHSTVMedia lab. The seniors are the first co-hosts of the school’s revamped, and now live-shot, morning show.

Called The Tribe, the morning show kicked off in the spring of 2016 in testing, and became a weekly fixture of Dartmouth High students’ Friday mornings during the last school year.

With a new period schedule at the high school, media production teacher Robert Perrotti was able to secure an entire class period dedicated to producing the show on a new daily schedule. Previously, students in a variety of his media studies classes worked on the show.  

“Because we have a specific class, now the students can legitimately create a daily program because we have this specific class,” Perrotti said. “It’s cool because they learn how it’s really done, how the news is really broadcast, which is also live. They learn the techniques of queueing the talent, switching live, any video we run in is run live.”

From Mondays through Thursdays, students working in teams create short, 2-3 minute Tribe episodes, which includes a weather report, daily announcements, and the lunch menu. Friday’s program is a bit longer and includes pre-recorded segments like weekly sports highlights and interviews with high school staff, administration, and students.

That’s not the only big change to the show. It is also now being produced live in one take. It’s been a big change for students, like Leconte, who took the class last year and was used to producing the show in takes.

“A big emphasis Mr. Perrotti tried to drive home with us is if you make a mistake, you have to move on,” Leconte said. “If you stutter a little bit, you can’t just be like, okay, we have to try it again. Not every take is going to be perfect, but it’s going to be authentic.”

She co-hosted the show with Santos, who is brand new to the class. A chance scheduling conflict led her to enroll as she heard great things from her classmates.

“I’ve never been in a class like this before, so trying to learn what cameras to look at, how to put the mic on, and all the other things like that is interesting to say the least,” Santos said. “And knowing that you’re going to be going on YouTube where everyone can see you is certainly an ‘Oh, I shouldn’t mess up, great I just messed up’ sort of feeling,”

Currently, the show is being shot live, and uploaded to YouTube with little editing. Perrotti said a new encoder, which will allow shows to be broadcast from the studio straight to YouTube Live, has been ordered, but school officials are still planning out the implementation of live broadcasting.

The DHSTVMedia lab is also set to get a new studio camera, paid for with a Dartmouth Education Foundation grant, and had a new podcast studio installed over the summer.

Dartmouth High senior Alan Suares has already tested it out with a new podcast he launched, called The Gathering. He recently wrapped up his second episode by interviewing associate principal Rachel Chavier.

“I have some equipment at home but this is even better,” he said.

Visit the DHSTVMedia YouTube page, YouTube.com/DHSTVMedia, to watch the programs and podcasts.