Of all the sets used for local productions here at UNC-TV, the most fascinating will always be that of The Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill. It is chock full of interesting knickknacks from previous seasons and all sorts of woodworking bric-a-brac. For instance, here’s a shot of a wooden boot on a stool. Nothing more, nothing less … just a wooden boot. A pretty cool sight nonetheless.
The volunteer experience at UNC-TV is pretty sweet. You get to meet some of the folks who make the original programming here at the station and you may even get a behind the scenes glimpse of how said productions are put together. Sometimes you get to meet other volunteers and talk to folks who help make these programs possible (in short – “viewers like you”). And you get to wear one of these stylish and sporty lanyards, which are de rigueur among the vol set here. They hold your name so that others can greet you properly and basically just make any volunteer ensemble.
The shot above is a close up of a basket of these lavender beauties. Sign up to volunteer at UNC-TV and maybe you’ll be wearing one of them in your future.
Below is a picture of one of the many sets constructed for local programs here at UNC-TV. You may recognize it as the Carolina Outdoor Journal set (and if you don’t recognize it, the décor might give it away).
Carolina Outdoor Journal airs on UNC-TV as well as the North Carolina Channel and UNC-EX, the Explorer Channel.
Do you know what this is? Seriously, I’m asking because I wasn’t sure. It’s been out back behind our station for years, possibly decades, and I’ve always regarded it as a piece of equipment that serves a function yet what function that was escaped me.
It looks like a huge satellite dish and that’s what it is essentially. I asked one our veteran engineers for the scoop and here’s what he said:
It is used to bring feeds from non-PBS satellite. We have a 6.1 M antenna and a 5.5 M antenna that are the primary receiving antennas for non-PBS feeds. The “backyard” 3.7 M antenna is supplemental and has a limited view of satellite arc but it has been used in the past especially during election coverage.
So there you have it. Still slightly more tech-speak than I’m used to or capable of understanding (trust me – UNC-TV engineers are working on a completely different level than those of us who work in programming) but I get the basics. We have towers and dishes and all sorts of sending and receiving apparatus around here (after all it is a television station) so you can be certain any piece of equipment with which you are unfamiliar does indeed serve a vital purpose.
I was rummaging through our storage bay recently when I spotted these two signs marked for surplus. (Surplus, as I understand it, is another larger off-site storage where the stuff we haven’t been using here at the station gets categorized as “probably never gonna re-use ever again.”) The signs were created, I’d guess, as part of a program or series we recorded some time back but I’ve no idea where or when. There is a Tarheel Educators (plural) listed in our programming database but it has not been broadcast within the last few decades and I don’t recall it personally. The circus sign is more mysterious – possibly a children’s program from long before my tenure here at UNC-TV? I can’t say for certain. But these little signs sure have piqued my interest.
UNC-TV creates hundreds of hours of original programming a year and much of it needs to be edited into the final product you would see on your television. That equates to thousands of hours of raw footage and B roll that must be seen in order to create that final product.
Nowadays, most of the material is digital and can be viewed from an office PC, laptop or similar device. In years past, it might be on any manner of videotape that could require a special tape deck or playback machine to watch. Thus screening rooms were set up where producers, directors, talent and other personnel could view raw footage or the perhaps a final edited product.
FYI: since the advent of digital, these screening rooms are virtually unused and most have been converted into audio booths or coopted as storage space or something else entirely. What’s in this one? Can’t tell you – the door is locked.
Here’s a shot of one of our remote production trucks as it waits its next assignment. UNC-TV sends crews to every end of North Carolina to record interviews, concerts, press conferences and uncountable hours of footage every year for use in the numerous original programming we produce here in our RTP facilities.
If you see one of these UNC-TV vehicles on the roadways around our fair state, feel free to give ’em an encouraging wave.