State of the Art

The Moore Athletic Center and surrounding area are a work in progress. That's easy to see when passing by Doak Campbell Stadium. But there also will be exciting changes for departments that play a major role in FSU's athletic success. Such is the case for Seminole Productions, which provides virtually every video service in the athletic area. It's a high-tech world and FSU will soon feature a system matched only by a few universities in the country.

It's a high-tech, gizmo-charged world, even when it comes to collegiate athletics. Florida State will soon have a state-of-the-art production system at its finger tips, one matched by only a few universities in the country.

No wonder Mark Rodin, general manager of Seminole Productions and 15-year athletic department employee, can barely contain his excitement. A department that spent time in the basement of the communications department in its early days will be center stage in the renovated Moore Athletic Center next year.

"When it gets done, it will be quite impressive," Rodin said. "You can now send a video signal a mile away and make it look broadcast quality. The technology is wonderful."

Rodin has cared and nurtured Seminole Productions since 1988, when his department -- it was actually Rodin and a part-time assistant -- produced a television series called "Seminole Uprising." Since then, Rodin's staff, which has grown to three full-time employees in addition to an army of student assistants, provides virtually every video service in the athletic area.

And it's only going to get better.

Currently tucked away on the ninth floor of the University Center, Seminole Productions will be housed on the second floor of the athletic center. The department's 6,000-square feet facility will feature two control rooms, a 200-seat auditorium, a studio to produce the Bobby Bowden Show and others, 29 edit rooms and plenty of office space. Rodin also is receiving around $150,000 in equipment upgrades.

Improvements in technology change by the minute.

"Five years ago, we never had any of the ability that we have now," said Rodin, whose department at the moment has about 1,500-square feet of wiggle room.

"When we got into this game, we had a nice setup. But as things change and evolve and everything goes to a digital world. ... we've had this system for three years but three years in production is a lifetime. Everything has switched. The ability of what we are going to be able to offer will be tremendous due to the flexibility it will afford us. It's exciting."

At the moment, technicians are also preparing the fiber optic wiring that will enable Rodin's staff to transmit information from just about anywhere on campus into his control rooms. Rodin also will be able to run the video boards at Doak Campbell Stadium, Dick Howser Stadium and the Leon-County Civic Center during hoop season from one central control room. To build control rooms for the venues would cost $300,000 each.

In the production arena, that ability is akin to throwing a touchdown pass in football, hitting a grand slam in baseball and nailing a trey in basketball. The only universities that features comparable technology for athletics are Michigan State, Nebraska, LSU and BYU.

FSU will soon join that elite group.

Now, when a television station from California telephones Rodin and asks, say for an uplink to an interview with coach Bowden, Rodin will be able to comply. He will simply send a camera crew to Bowdin's office, plug into a jack housing the newly installed fiber optics, send the signal back to WFSU and, bingo, Bowden's wit and charm is being seen on the West Coast.

Jeez, the technology era has jumped from Fred Flinstone to the The Jetson's.

"It's really amazing what has happened in the world of technology in a short period of time," Rodin said. And that's great news for Seminole Productions, which has produced over 200 Seminole Uprising shows (sports highlights) since 1987 and over 135 Mike Martin Shows since 1991.

Additionally, utilization of Seminole Productions services does more than just provide great video productions. Seminole Productions provides an opportunity for students of television design, production, performance, and broadcasting to participate in actual, professional television activities.

Next year at this time, Robin and crew will be in their new digs with a new world at their finger tips.

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