Lydia Jayaputra—Copy Editor
Dordt University, we have an upgrade.
On the second floor of the B.J. Haan Auditorium, a video production suite nicknamed “Mission Control” has replaced the conference room.
The recent addition facilitates the livestreaming of events in the auditorium. While Media Network Director Rich Lodewyk previously directed the broadcasting of these concerts and chapels, Director of Production Arts Alex Priore has taken responsibility for B.J. Haan-related events. Since the fall of 2021, Lodewyk shifted his duties to concentrate on the livestreaming of sports.
“The demands for athletics are only going up, enrollment is continuing to grow, and more programs are being added for the arts,” said Aaron Baart, Dean of Chapel. “Grandma and grandpa… shouldn’t have to choose between whether they want to watch one kid play a basketball game or another kid play the cello, and so we wanted to develop our broadcasting so that it would be able to [do both].”
Last year, Lodewyk and the Dordt Media Network drove their truck to the B.J. Haan, laid down cables, and set up cameras before every chapel and concert. Now, Mission Control functions to eliminate these tasks.
Similar to the livestream truck, Mission Control’s directing booth allows a director to communicate with camera operators and cut between camera angles on the livestream.
In addition, the room features a soundboard, graphics computers for presenting sermon slides and other graphics, five cameras controlled within the livestream room, and three other cameras.
At the front of the room, three TV monitors display aspects of the livestream and each position, including a white balance operator, faces the TVs as they work.
“It took our livestream capabilities from good to excellent,” Priore said.
Still, Mission Control has presented challenges for the Production Arts team.
“[New equipment] comes with a pretty steep learning curve,” Priore said. “Everyone has to learn how to best use the equipment and how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. But every single time, we’ve been able to resolve any issue we’ve come across.”
Priore expressed confidence in her and her team’s capabilities and believes they will use the room to its fullest potential.
Planting for the Future, the university’s recent $90 million capital campaign, financially supported the Mission Control room.
Regarding the campaign, Dordt has allocated nearly $3 million of the $70 million currently raised to technology upgrades within the B.J. Haan.
“The heart behind is it that we have these really incredible departments that are putting on concerts and worship nights and the goal is to take the level of excellence in production for them to the next level. It’s just exciting,” Priore said.