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Moving A Community Media TV Studio & Center

….is hard. It takes a bunch of pre-planning, planning, re-planning and then adjusting the plan for the things that weren’t planned for. It also take tons of organization and talented team members working to get everything unhinged, unhooked, unplugged and wrapped up. (Luckily we’ve got such a team.)

Also.. it takes tape…. and boxes…. a bunch of boxes.

Pictures of the process:

Main studio.

Empty console from Training Studio.

New computers for Media Lab!

It's all coming with us.

Public Equipment's Michael showing proper taping technique.

Exec. Asst. Alease vs. the stack of boxes.

The faux dogwood tree that haunts us.

A word about the faux dogwood tree: It’s a sad thing. For a couple of months, it lived by the Tape-drop off windows. After it became apparent that it was on its last faux limb, Operations Manager Leslie Hayes gave the a.o.k. to send it to the garbage. It was tagged for disposal. Months later, we found it in the Main Studio. Again, it was taken out of the Main Studio and tagged for disposal. Somehow it escaped its fate once again and found a home in the Mini Studio. We’re keeping our eye on it and making sure that it doesn’t find its way to our interim media center at 242 3rd Street in Gowanus/South Slope. If it does…. well, we’ll declare the faux dogwood tree to be a ghost.

We’ll keep posting pics of our process. To learn more about our move to the interim space at 242 3rd Street, visit

Field Trip! Field Trip! Field Trip!

Nothing gets BRIC’s community media staff up and running in the morning like a bunch of fourth graders streaming into the BCAT Media Center to learn about the magic of television production!

A class of lucky 4th Graders from PS 203 joined our Brooklyn Center for Media Education crew to learn about the inner workings of television and got to experience the magical powers of green screen…

We've got a plethora of directors asking you to stand-by.

Watching the action from inside the control room.

Controlling cameras and the studio floor is fun!

Everyone gets a chance to direct!

At first glance, we just have a couple of students hanging out in front of a green curtain.

But on closer inspection, they're on the beach! The beach!

If you’re interested in bringing a group of youths to BRIC’s BCAT Media Center or would like them to take a workshop with our Brooklyn Center for Media Education, please contact Lisa Whitmer, Education Manager at 718-683-5658. For more information, visit

BCAT TV Network Community Producer Profile: Ralph Favilla

Ralph Favilla, producer "The Sound of Brooklyn"

In November, the Alliance for Community Media-North East Region announced the winners of its annual Video Festival. The yearly competition draws thousands of submissions from community producers creating video productions in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.  Two BCAT TV Network Community Producers, Rich Greco and Ralph Favilla, received awards for their programs: Greco’s AMOSTV received first place in the Arts & Theater (Including Comedy & Drama) category and Favilla’s The Sound of Brooklyn received first place in the Music & Performance category.  Each program has appeared as part of the Brooklyn Free Speech TV line-up on the BCAT TV Network.

To watch past productions of Mr. Favilla’s The Sound of Brooklyn, visit his Vimeo page.

How would your describe your show to someone who’s never seen The Sound of Brooklyn?

The show is intended to present an in-depth look at musicians in Brooklyn who compose and perform their own music. It features both a musical performance and an interview with the performer.  The host is not a constant, but is chosen based on who I think will work best with the performer.   The show relies more heavily on content then sound bites, lightning speed editing, fluff and filler.

Why do you make The Sound of Brooklyn? (Or, what makes you get out of bed, say to yourself, “I’m going to make a television show about the musical talents in the borough, darn it!,” and then actually follow through with the idea?)

I got interested in video through my friend Louise Tiranoff, who coached, advised and guided me through several projects we independently produced prior to my involvement with BCAT [TV Network].  I submitted a few of these pieces to BCAT [TV Network] and it was exciting to see them on the air.  Then I thought it might be fun to learn how to produce a show in the studio, so I took the studio production course at Brooklyn Center for Media Education.

I am a part-time musician – I play guitar and sing — and have lots of musician friends.  I thought it would be great to get them, as well as other unheard of Brooklyn residents, on TV and give them exposure that they otherwise might not have a chance to get.  Brooklyn has always produced a great deal of home-grown talent, but recently talent from all over the world is settling here because it is suddenly the place to be.  Brooklyn, which always was a world famous place with lots of character and characters, as borough president Marty Markowitz likes to say, all of a sudden has developed a new image of hip new music, art and fashion.

The idea for the show was easy.  The follow through part was difficult.  I did not feel I knew enough and had enough experience to produce a show on my own.  But then I helped out a fellow producer, Elma Belnavis, on her show and it gave me more confidence and helped me get ideas on how to put together a show of my own. Using my experience in music, I got the audio for the band set up and then worked the mixing board for the shoot.  I told Elma I wanted to edit the show, and that is how I got started.  But I still lacked confidence to go it alone.  I then worked on a show with fellow producer Joyce Clarke.  I liked her and was impressed with her abilities.  When I asked her if she would help me produce a show and she agreed, I was on my way.  But even though I was doing a BCAT TV Network studio show, I still relied on Louise for both pre and post production advice.

Tell me a little bit about the production process of creating your program—I know that Bernice Brooks serves as your host; do you collaborate often with her? How did you gain access to Ayako Shirasaki? What about other musical talents you feature?

As I worked on a few projects before doing the show, I learned a few things about the process of how to plan and assemble a video.  Because I had this experience, I wasn’t able to put together a “live” show the way most BCAT [Media Center Certified] producers do and how I was taught to produce a show in class.  My show relies heavily on scripting and editing.  Louise always tried to drill into my head the importance of pre-planning, writing a script and being prepared.  But even with all that, I’ve learned that you have to be able to adapt to different circumstances, improvise, and make changes on the spot.

So after I decided on a performer, I got familiar with their music.  I usually then met with them and learned more about their lives and their music. We discussed topics for the interview and also reviewed the songs and music they had composed. We then decided which ones to use.  I then wrote a mock script to develop the direction I wanted the interview to go.  Then I would go over it with the host.

After the shows were shot, I did intense editing.  I always shot more than would fit in the 28 minutes the show is allotted.  So I would try to squeeze in as much as I could and make every second count.  At the same time, I tried not to overdo it with too much clutter and I made sure that the show was paced in a way to keep the viewer interested.

For the show I produced featuring Ayako Shirasaki, I right away thought to ask Bernice “Boom Boom” Brooks.  When I first saw Bernice, she was playing drums in a trio with Ayako and a female bass player.  They were the back-up band for a tap dance show.  I knew Ayako, but I didn’t know Boom Boom at the time.  But I was very impressed and entertained by her drumming and stage presence.  I ran into her a few months later at BCAT [Media Center] and told her that I saw her perform once.   And that is how we met.  I thought Booom Boom would be a perfect host for this show since she is a jazz musician, familiar with the music, and she is very entertaining.

Louise’s brother is a tap dancer, so I’ve been to quite a few tap shows.  On many occasions, Ayako played piano accompaniment for them.  I would listen to her play and just sit there in awe.  I do not understand the intricacies of jazz, but when I heard some of the things she would play on songs that were familiar to me, I was like- how does she figure this stuff out, on the spot no less-as much of the things she played were improvised and were played off of what the dancers were doing.  So when I learned Ayako had moved to Brooklyn, I told her she was now eligible to be on my show and if she would be interested in doing it.  I was very excited to get such a talent to say yes.  Ayako has won numerous awards and has international credentials.

For my first show, I got my friend Nelson F. Ferrer to perform and another good friend, Barney McMahon, to be the host.  I told them I needed some guinea pigs and that they had to be patient with me as I learned how to work inside the studio.  Thank goodness I had Joyce on my team!  She got me through it and did not try to impose herself on me – she insisted that I was the director and that I should call the shots.  I must say, all the help and support I got from my fellow producers was awesome.  The show came out pretty good for a first show – it had a few rough edges in the intro and with the interview that I probably could have fixed if I had more studio time.  The three hours you get goes real fast, because setting up the lighting, audio, the set, and so on takes a lot of time, especially when you have never done it for real before.

My next studio shoot had Barney back as the host and featured another friend who I played with in a band many years ago, Joe Ardigo, who writes a lot of his songs about Brooklyn.  I thought he was a perfect guest for the Sound of Brooklyn.  This show looked a little better with some experience under my belt.  We had more time to do the interview, which allowed Barney to be more himself.  One of the cameras was not operational so we were forced to improvise and do the shoot with only two cameras

One of my camera persons for that show, Maricella, asked me if I would feature on my next show a band that she knew called Navegante and said that she would like to host the show.  I checked out their music and liked it, so I told her OK.  They play Latin-flavored electronic funk/dance club music.  Their frontman, Jean Shepherd, was formerly with the band Radio Mundial.  One of his songs was covered by Carlos Santana.   We filmed the show at one of their performances, which was not easy.  In spite of many problems we had to deal with, we made the best of it and got a very good show out it.  They had their own special effects lighting so the show had an outrageous look, nothing like we could have ever gotten in the studio.

My next show featured Ayako.  She wanted to do it in the Brooklyn jazz club where she was currently performing because they had a top quality piano. The club is called Puppets Jazz Bar, located at 481 5th Avenue in Park Slope Brooklyn. Jamie Aff, the owner, was kind enough to allow us to videotape in his club, which features jazz artists who are home grown as well as internationally known.  So we taped the performance in the club and the interview at another date at Ayako’s home.

For my last two shows, which I had to shoot outside the studio, I put together a non-BCAT [Media Center Certified Producer] crew; Louise on the main camera work, me, at times, on the second camera and a few other people, including my son, helping out with the camera, audio, or wherever else needed.  As usual, Louise reviewed and commented on my work at various stages throughout the process.  I have been fortunate in many endeavors, such as video, music, and other areas of my life, to find myself amongst some very talented people.   They help me look good!  And I do my best to make them look good as well.

When did you become a Certified Producer? How long have you been submitting programs to the BCAT TV Network? How long have you been creating video productions?

The first course I took at [Brooklyn Center for Media Education], in 2004, was for remote shoots.  I never did anything with it.   I went back maybe two years later for the studio course.  But it took me about a year after I took the course before I did anything with that one too.  Finally, after many years, as I explained before, I got the courage to try to do my own show.

I started out doing various personal video projects with my friend Louise, like films for and about my family, in 2003.   We entered two or three contests but the kind of films that got recognition were “artistic” things like a guy standing in front of a mirror brushing his teeth!  We did, though, win a third prize in the 2007 First Saturday Brooklyn Museum Visitor Video Contest for our piece called “Off the Wall”, for which I wrote the song that accompanies the video.  Nelson F. Ferrer, my first guest on “The Sound of Brooklyn,” performed the song. I also co-produced a half hour documentary performance video about an annual show I have helped organize for the past 17 years at the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club.  It is held on the first Saturday of each New Year and features my band, “The Resstock Review”, as well as several other bands native to Brooklyn.

What do you like most about public access television?
For personal reasons, I think public television is great because it provides people such as me the facilities to do something they would never otherwise have the opportunity to do.  But more importantly, I think it is great because it helps give performers, such as Ayako and the other guests on shows such as mine, wide exposure they might not have gotten anywhere else. It is so hard to break into broadcast TV on the major networks  and the shows they broadcast are pretty much the same old stuff-very formulaic and not very conducive to anything overly creative.

Potpourri:  Tell us something that’s interesting about you or “The Sound of Brooklyn“….
I guess the most interesting thing about the Sound of Brooklyn is that it is now history.  I hung up my video career after the Ayako episode.  I hope the show might be an inspiration to some other producers.  At least I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to.  I remember when I first walked into BCAT [Media Center] there were plaques for outstanding programming lining the walls.  I said to myself that I would like to someday get one of those for myself.  I never thought that it would actually ever happen, but it did!

Class Schedule Announce for Community Media Education! Nov. 2010- Mar. 2011

BRIC’s Brooklyn Center for Media Education (BCME) at the BCAT Media Center provides Brooklyn residents with access to a variety of free or low-cost, high quality classes and workshops that enable our community members to produce content for television as well as learn more about the ever-changing landscape of technology today.  All classes are hands-on and taught by experienced professionals. Upon completion of our basic production classes, students become Certified Community Producers, which allows them to use our production facility and equipment free-of-charge to create their own Brooklyn Free Speech TV programs on BRIC’s BCAT TV Network.

We’ve got a TON of class scheduled for the next six months. Take a look and see if there’s something that catches your eye!

Reviews are in: Basic Studio Television Production is great!

We just wrapped another session of our Basic Studio Television Production class. And… per usual… the students enjoyed the experience. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“The experience was good for me. Miss Brooks (Boom Boom) was on time, funny, she presented the course in a way that made it easy for you to understand. So for me it was great after watching TV and now doing the class, it gives you a different eye now when you watch TV.”

“I watch TV differently now.”

“[The Instructor] is the best- very knowledgeable, fun to have around and works very seriously.”

“I felt welcomed. The class is wonderful. Thank you for the resources.”

“Very good introduction to an actual working studio. Felt the excitement of working in a studio. Good value for the price!”

“It’s a good introduction to the basics of television production.”

“A fast, fun-paced environment with a litany of information.”

“The overall experience was great. There are quite a few things to learn, but in time any skill can be mastered. The staff and facilities are great!”

If you’re a Brooklyn resident that wants to learn more about the process of television production, consider signing up for the Brooklyn Center for Media Education’s Basic Television Production class. It’s a 4-week class that meets twice a week and once you’ve completed it, you’ll be a certified producer (meaning you can use our facility and equipment for free so you can make your own program). The best part? It’s only $98. That’s so cheap when you realize the amount of knowledge and experience you’ll gain after completing this class. To learn more visit or call 718-935-1122 x221.

Or come to our next Orientation on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:00pm. It’s free and is the first step towards becoming a certified producer.

Brooklyn Center for Media Education Brochures Take Brooklyn

Feel free to wig out over our latest BCME class offerings.

The newest Brooklyn Center for Media Education (BCME) brochures have hit the streets of Brooklyn! Keep your eyes peeled for our latest listings of low-cost and free classes offered by BCME at the BCAT Media Center in your favorite coffee shops, retail stores, nail salons, delis, restaurants, yoga studios…. if its got a spot for brochures, ours is there. (Thanks Work Ethic NYC!)

Join us for today’s Orientation at 647 Fulton Street, (entrance at 57 Rockwell), at 6pm so you can register for any of our great classes.

Download your own brochure:

Or, take a gander at what we’ve got coming up:

Basic Television Studio

24 hours
Cost: $98| Pre-Requisite: Orientation

You’ll learn to use studio cameras, microphones, and all the basic equipment needed to produce your own TV studio show. Successful completion leads to becoming a BCAT Media Center Certified Producer, which gives you free access to use our studios to produce your own Brooklyn Free Speech TV show.

  • Mondays & Wednesday, June 28th – July 26th, 2-5pm
  • Mondays & Wednesday, June 28th – July 26th, 6-9pm
  • Monday & Wednesday, August 9th – September 1st, 2-5pm
  • Monday & Wednesday, August 9th – September 1st, 6-9pm
  • Monday & Wednesday, September 13th – October 6th, 2-5pm
  • Monday & Wednesday, September 13th – October 6th, 6-9pm

Basic Field Production and Non-Linear Editing

30 hours
Cost: $98| Pre-Requisite: Orientation

Note: If you do not feel comfortable using a computer, or do not know the basic functionality of a PC (such as creating files and saving them in a folder, using a keyboard and mouse to navigate programs in a PC), please consider taking our Computer Basics class before signing up for this course.

In one half of the class you’ll learn to operate a digital video camera, tripod, sound equipment and portable light kit to record your footage. The other half of the class covers the basics of non-linear editing with Avid Xpress Pro. Successful completion leads to becoming a BCAT Media Center Certified Producer, which gives you free access to use our video equipment and editing facilities to produce your Brooklyn Free Speech TV show.

  • Tuesday & Thursday, July 20th – August 19th, 2-5pm
  • Tuesday & Thursday, July 20th – August 19th, 6-9pm
  • Saturdays, July 24th – August 21st, 10:30am-4:30pm
  • Tuesday & Thursday, September 14th – October 14th, 2-5pm
  • Tuesday & Thursday, September 14th – October 14th, 6-9pm
  • Saturdays, September 18th – October 16th, 10:30am – 4:30pm

Videoblogging 101: Your Video on the Internet

2 hours
Cost: $10 |Pre-Requisite: Orientation

Note: If you do not feel comfortable using a computer, or do not know the basic functionality of a PC (such as creating files and saving them in a folder, using a keyboard and mouse to navigate programs in a PC), please consider taking our Computer Basics class before signing up for this course.

If you want the world to see your video, you need to put it on the web. This hands-on class will take you through the steps needed to make a web page that showcases videos you have created. We will show you how to set up a blog, how to upload your footage and other benefits of having your video on the Internet.

  • Wednesday, June 16th, 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, July 7th 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, August 18th, 6-8pm
  • Wednesday, October 20th, 6-8pm

Computer Basics

5 hours
Cost: $20| Pre-Requisite: Orientation

This hands-on class is perfect for individuals who have very little or no prior experience using a computer. On the first day, you’ll learn how to use a mouse and keyboard so you can perform basic functions on a PC, use software programs found on most computers (like Microsoft Word and Paint), create files and put them in folders, and very simple steps to input and process information. On the second day, you’ll get to practice what you’ve learned in a 2-hour lab session. Please note: this class is not a requirement for Basic Studio Production, Basic Field/NLE or any other class offered by BCME.  (Excel, PhotoShop and other advanced software programs are NOT covered in this class.)

  • Tuesday, July 13, 6-9pm & Thursday, July 15, 6-8pm
  • Tuesday, October 5, 6-9pm & Thursday, October 7, 6-8pm

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