When the renovation of Franklin Hall was in its early stages, contractors planned to cover up the windows in the broadcast studio on the main floor, thinking it would be preferable to have a darkened room lit from the interior.
Jay Kincaid, director of facilities and technology in The Media School, thought otherwise. The windows overlook one of the most beloved areas of campus, including the Student Building, Dunns Woods and the Old Crescent. Kincaid saw the possibility of an iconic backdrop, rather than a set of opaque panes.
Kincaid works on a freelance basis for CBS in New York. There, he had seen a polarizing filter technology called RoscoVIEW, which allows video engineers to control the amount of outside light seen in the studio. The filters worked well for CBS’ golf broadcasts, and Kincaid thought they could function just as well in what is now the Ken and Audrey Beckley Studio in Franklin Hall.
RoscoVIEW consists of matching filters on the windows and cameras. When the studio cameras shoot in the direction of the windows, video engineers can rotate the lens filters to change how much daylight is seen behind the set. So regardless of weather conditions, instead of an overexposed or underexposed shot, a crisp view of campus will be visible behind presenters or performers.
Scott Myrick, assistant director of facilities and technology, said he has enjoyed showing off the technology to visitors. He demonstrates simply by holding up a filter, then directing the viewer to look through the filter to the windows. By rotating the filter, he shows how lightness or darkness changes. The light coming through the window changes according to the rotation of the filter.
“It’s a simple concept, but it changed how we thought we would use this space,” he said.
In addition the filters for five cameras, RoscoVIEW equipment also includes adaptors to attach the filters to the lenses, and cables that connect the filters to the control room, where filters are rotated electronically.
If you’re interested in more details about the technology, here’s how the RoscoVIEW website describes it:
“Technically, (exposure control) is achieved using cross-polarization. The window panels and the camera filter are both one f-stop Rosco linear polarizers. By rotating the camera filter, the degree of cross-polarization on the RoscoVIEW window filter is changed, resulting in 100 percent control of exterior brightness as seen through the camera.”