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College in New York Streams Live Concerts

SUNY Potsdam now streams live concerts.

From left, Crane student video assistants Bridgid Bergin, Sean Lucas and Andres Vahos pose near the new equipment, with music technology coordinator Joshua Emanuel. SUNY Potsdam is now the first campus in the State University of New York system to offer comprehensive ongoing videostreaming of concerts and performances—live from The Crane School of Music stage to the world.

Thanks to a generous gift, Crane can now broadcast performances by major ensembles, faculty recitals, guest artist concerts and more, live on the College’s website.

“We haven’t even begun to discover the potential of this gift,” Crane School of Music Dean Dr. Michael Sitton said. “For our students, family members and friends from other places who are unable to attend performances can now experience concerts from home; a current student’s parent reported to me with delight that her son’s grandmother was able to see and hear his first performance with one of our ensembles, something she could not have experienced otherwise. Our alumni, donors and friends from across the globe are now able to connect with the artistry and music making at Crane in a new way. Prospective students can see our conductors and artist faculty, hearing what’s in store for them at Crane. Some students will obtain hands-on experience learning to work with state-of-the art video and audio equipment, under faculty supervision, and many other educational and outreach possibilities remain to be explored. We are deeply grateful to Gail and Dick Stradling for this gift, whose immense benefits will reach far into the future and around the world.”

Joshua Emanuel knows firsthand just how transformative the technology will be for the Crane community. After graduating from SUNY Potsdam in 2011 with his bachelor’s degree in music education and percussion studies, with a minor in jazz, he went on to earn his master’s degree in music technology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. After working as a music teacher for a year, he took a position as a visiting instructor and music technology coordinator at his alma mater this year, while Dr. Peter McCoy is on sabbatical. Now, he’s in charge of the video broadcast equipment for the 2013-14 academic year, and with training three student assistants from Crane to film concerts throughout the year.

“When I was a student, my family could only visit once or twice a year because they were a six-hour drive away. They would have been watching all the time to see my performances throughout the year. I think for our students, this will really build excitement for concerts,” Emanuel said.

Backstage in Hosmer Hall and Snell Theater, now you can find control panels where Emanuel and the student assistants can control the cameras aimed at each stage. Each venue has four cameras—three pointed at the stage from the audience’s perspective, facing toward center stage, stage left and stage right. Hosmer’s fourth camera is pointed toward the conductor’s podium, while Snell’s final camera is portable so that it can be moved on stage or in the pit, depending on where the performance is being conducted. From their perch backstage, operators can pan, zoom and switch views for the online viewers.

The audio feed comes from Crane’s existing audio livestream equipment, which has been used to concert sound online for the past several years. The sound is balanced and recorded by Crane audio engineers and trained students.