Berkley School District

Berkley Schools


Berkley Schools Building
The UltraNEXUS provided a flawless workflow and an immediate return on investment for the Berkley School District
This schools’ communications supervisor now has a 24 hour daily dialog with the community through their education access channel.
Katie Simopoulos, video technical assistant
Video Technical Assistant Katie Simopoulos appreciates that the industry standard MPEG-2 files that students create can be programmed directly for playback, saying “It’s just that easy.”

Just two years ago, the Berkley School District was getting no return on the time, effort, and money being placed into the schools’ cable channel. The channel was then made up of a revolving message board displaying upcoming school events on slides.

“We did a survey to find whether or not it was even worth it to spend any money and time overhauling the station or if it was just time to say goodbye to this part of our communications,” said Shira Good, the Berkley School District’s communications supervisor. “The survey determined that although no one was watching the station, people would love to watch it if it provided video and more dynamic messaging that showcased the schools’ events.”

Determining that new capabilities would greatly benefit the school and community, Good upgraded to the all-in-one UltraNEXUS™ digital broadcast server.

“With LEIGHTRONIX, the upgrade wasn’t that expensive,” she said. “The low cost allowed us to upgrade other things like cameras, we did a studio on wheels, and moved everything to SD cards.”

After the new and improved channel was up and running, the initial response from the community was a bit alarming, Good said.

“People started to call in and say, ‘where is the cable station, it’s gone,’” she said. “What they came to find out was that it wasn’t gone, it was that they didn’t recognize the channel because it was so professional looking. So we put a little bug in the corner so that people knew they were watching WBSD, and not a national news channel like CNN. The quality of equipment went up and right then the quality of our programming went up.”

Student volunteers at the Berkley School District television station
The UltraNEXUS provided the district with an all-digital workflow, allowing student volunteers to see events on air the next day, providing instant gratification for their time and effort.
UltraNEXUS at the Berkley School District television station
The UltraNEXUS provides the opportunity for viewers to see events and meeting coverage within 24 hours.

The WebNEXUS™ online interface included with the UltraNEXUS allowed for improvements in video slide creation for the district also.

“We are able to get things done so quickly,” Good said. “We can add a title and graphics and have them look phenomenal without any effort.”

Katie Simopoulos, the district’s video technical assistant, added that the easy-to-use digital messaging capabilities of the UltraNEXUS have greatly improved the channel’s look.

“I love that you can switch to the Virtual Channel and it looks so professional,” said Katie Simopoulos, the video technical assistant. “Then with TOTAL INFO® people are able to get the same information they would get through a professional news channel.”

Even more impressive than the positive response from the community was the easy workflow of the UltraNEXUS.

“There was almost an uneasy feeling for the first couple of weeks. I kept thinking, this is too easy,” Good said. “It was simply the way the UltraNEXUS operated but I kept wondering what I was missing or what I wasn’t doing right because everything was going really well, and the workflow was so smooth.”

The smooth workflow provided by the UltraNEXUS allows the small staff at the district cable station to get programs on the air for residents to view the day after an event.

“It’s just been easier to put everything up. It’s been easier to upload programs, it’s been faster, and our turnaround time has been quicker, which our community really appreciates,” Good said. “Our students who help with production also appreciate this because they get the instant gratification of seeing their efforts on air.”

The workflow, being all digital, has allowed the school to broadcast programming without any quality loss.

“We are even able to shoot on SD cards now,” Good said. “Going from digital, to digital, to digital, to digital with LEIGHTRONIX, there is absolutely no quality loss.”

Before the communications upgrade, the department had to rely on the district’s internal storage network for archiving all of the channel’s digital media files. The UltraNEXUS has provided them with an economical way to archive all media without ever having to worry about crashing the shared storage network.

“Being able to take an enormous video file and throw it right onto the UltraNEXUS is really huge for our district servers because it takes the entire process off of them,” Good said. “So now we have a system. What we shoot for an entire school year goes onto the UltraNEXUS, we store it there for the year, then at summer break we dump the year’s media onto a two terabyte external drive. It provides a clean slate for the next year’s programming and an easy way to archive an entire year’s worth of work.”

Good has no problem storing content on the UltraNEXUS because of LEIGHTRONIX’s reputation for reliable products and outstanding customer support. It’s also one of the reasons the UltraNEXUS has such a value to it.

“The guarantee that came along with it and the five year warranty means that for five years, we don’t even have to think about having a hardware problem,” Good said. “No matter what, it’s going to be repaired and that made it an easy investment to make.”

The reputation of LEIGHTRONIX also made investing in the UltraNEXUS an easy one as well.

“There is a reputation with the company and there is a quality with the company,” Good said. “So I knew that our investment was safe and we saw direct results from the investment.”

For the Berkley School District, the return on investment was community involvement within the local school district.

“The UltraNEXUS works out to be cents a day that we literally get a continuous 24 hour dialog with our community,” Good said. “How else would you accomplish getting into virtually every home in your district and saying whatever you want to say to them, however you want to say it? It’s some of the cheapest marketing that I do all year.”

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