Petersburg High School is getting automated, unmanned cameras for the gymnasium to stream and record events. As Angela Denning reports, viewing sports will require a paid subscription but other events will not.
The school district has purchased two unmanned cameras that will be installed in the school gymnasium. The cameras are Pixellot cameras, which are from Israel, but have a United States data base. The system is supported by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Having unmanned cameras solves the problem of needing to find volunteers.
“Trying to find people to run the cameras at games, that has been the biggest challenge,” said Jaime Cabral, Activities Director for the Petersburg School District.
Cabral spoke about the cameras at the last school board meeting saying they each have multiple functions.
“It’s unreal technology how it pans and follows all the events,” he said.
One camera automatically follows the action while another focuses on the score board.
“It has another camera that interlays our score board into the bottom left hand side of our stream,” Cabral said.
The two cameras are costing the school district $6,000 for the first five years. The school district plans to fund raise to pay for it. Cabral says they also plan to sell advertisements on the stream.
“Every now and then if there’s a break, there’s going to be advertisements for local businesses, so we’re kind of working on a price range of how that will go,” Cabral said. “We’re trying to turn them into packages as well for advertising in the gymnasium.”
To watch the games, the program requires subscriptions from viewers. Users can watch any events that are being streamed from schools in the country that use Pixellot. All of Alaska’s state events are streamed through the system through the Alaska School Activities Association.
Cabral says the subscription is ten dollars a month or 65 for a year. About twenty dollars of a yearly subscription goes back to school districts themselves.
“So, that subscription you pay to watch, you know, a couple volleyball games, basketball games, wrestling, that subscription still goes for every single state event that happens too,” Cabral said.
The subscriptions are for athletic events only so other events like Petersburg’s Veterans Day ceremony, music concerts, and graduation can be streamed by anyone for free.
Cabral says more and more schools in Alaska are planning to get the cameras, including in Southeast’s region five. Craig is already using the system and the Anchorage School District is as well.
The streamed videos will also be archived on the network and can be re-watched later on. Cabral says the cameras can also be used for security.
“It’s a pretty cool system and it takes up minimal space,” Cabral said. “The idea of where we’re going to have it is underneath the radio booth and we can see every angle because it will pan itself because of the multiple cameras and the way they work.”
The school district hopes to have the cameras installed and ready for use by November 15.