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New Shows, Productions Highlight TV 36 Fall Season

By Ifung Lu
Associate News Editor

The Student Cable Group began its new broadcast season with an expanded lineup of shows.

MIT Cable Channel 36 now boasts a new television news magazine series called Up the Infinite Corridor, and features musical programs highlighting Logarhythms performances, according to SCG President Phillip W. Tracadas '95.

The new programs complement programs that are already running, including the live call-in show about Star Trek, Stayed Tuned, and live broadcasts of the LEGO Robot Design (6.270) contest at the end of Independent Activities Period and the Introduction to Design (2.70) contest in the spring.

SCG will continue to televise public affairs programs and live and taped events of interest, Tracadas said. The group is trying to obtain equipment to automate tape switching during broadcasts, as well as to display text on the screen during off-hours.

"We're going to try to have 24 hours of broadcasting," Tracadas said.

Two new series have already been produced. Up the Infinite Corridor, which airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., is a student interest program that focuses on political, administrative, and student activities.

The show, brainchild of Jang D. Kim '96, debuted on Sept. 13 with a segment documenting the different aspects of life during Residence and Orientation Week. The program featured video interviews with students as well as commentary by Kim.

The next segment, which is currently under production, will focus on varsity sports, and footage will include this Saturday's football game.

Channel 36 will also broadcast a series of taped and live performances showcasing the all-male a capella ensemble the Logarhythms. Full-length concerts taped from last year will be rebroadcast on Oct. 12-14 in preparation for the live performance broadcast on Oct. 15. The concerts will be broadcast from a four-channel source that will allow for clear sound reproduction, Tracadas said.

The cable group plans to air Quantum Geek later this term. Although it is currently being written, this parody of the hit drama Quantum Leap, will poke fun at different stereotypes on campus.

According to SCG Vice-President of Facilities Eric L. McDonald G, who is writing the comedy, an MIT student will leap into the bodies of various people on campus, creating awkward and often comical situations.

"ARA personnel, campus policemen, and professors of freshman classes are prime targets," McDonald said.

Quantum Geek will air at the end of the semester.

Students can produce shows

All the SCG programs aired on Channel 36 are written and produced by students. McDonald emphasized that the SCG is a non-profit, student-run organization that, in addition to providing Channel 36 to over 4,000 outlets via MIT Cable, focuses on providing interested people with the technology and training to produce and televise their own shows.

"We are an information hub. We coordinate writers to actors to directors and cameras," McDonald said.

Motivated students with the desire to produce a television program can obtain access to video cameras and video cassette recorders in 3/4 inch, Hi8, and VHS formats. Broadcast quality lighting, a new digital editing system, and a switcher system that allow for special effects to seamlessly integrate different sources are also available for program production, McDonald said.

Creating your own show "can be as easy as checking out a camera and taping people, or it can get as complex as doing actual stage, setup, and lighting," Tracadas said.

"It all depends on the scope of the project," McDonald added.

Some ideas that both McDonald and Tracadas would like to see take form include an MIT version of American Gladiators and a version of Cops featuring the Campus Police.

Though the production of a show involves a lot of work, the rewards are great, McDonald said. "If there's one person watching our shows, it's worth the effort."

Tracadas emphasized that the quality of what is seen on Channel 36 is mainly dependent on SCG membership. Because SCG is not affiliated with a communications department, students produce the programs for their own enjoyment.

"I think that the shows we do are better than some at communications schools because of the enthusiasm of students doing it," Tracadas said.