BCTV Logo -- Click to enlarge

BCTV Cable Channel 2
Belfast -- Searsport

Belfast Community TV’s mission is to reflect and strengthen the unique spirit and character of Belfast, Maine in order to enrich the lives of residents and visitors in the Midcoast region by fostering communication, free speech, artistic expression as well as creating opportunities through television and other electronic media.

The Waldo County Pie & Story Festival, the New Vaudeville Revue at the Colonial Theater, the Waldo County Fiddle Contest, the Mid-Coast Summer Video Guide, and the documentary, The Last Year of Peirce School, are some of the all new, locally produced television shows that will soon be seen in prime-time on the brand new Belfast Community TV on cable channel 2, also known as BCTV2.

Program Director, Ned Lightner, is seen here setting up the station equipment in the unused attic space of the Belfast Boathouse. The City of Belfast will allow the station to incubate in the attic for two years to help the fledgling station get on its feet.

Belfast Community TV on cable channel 2 is available free to all cable subscribers and will be overseeing and operated by the local non-profit organization the Belfast Institute of Lifelong Learning (B.I.L.L.) to provide a non-commercial, locally produced television station to cable viewers in the Belfast area.

BCTV2 will also start each morning with a family-friendly, convenient, colorful and animated community bulletin board that will also display the time and give a constant spoken local weather report through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

There will also be competitions and awards for locally produced video, photography and poetry. Details on these competitions will be announced.

Channel 2 was originally part of the franchise contract Adelphia Cable had made with the city of Belfast that was mandated by congress to be sure that the public had access to cable media. As times and media technology have changed, the franchise agreements are changing as well.

Although Adelphia provided the initial funds for the necessary equipment, cable channel 2 will not be generally funded by the Adelphia franchise agreement, or by Belfast taxpayers. The new station, which has little overhead, will be completely self-funding through volunteers, grants and local business underwriters.

Community members will get a chance to see the new animated bulletin board and a sampling of upcoming shows at a free presentation on April 20 in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library starting at 5 p.m.

For More information on the station and its programming call Ned Lightner, during business hours, at 338-6161. For information on the bulletin board and becoming an underwriter for the station call Susan Guthrie at 338-6140, during business hours.

To submit a show you will need to fill out a copy of our two page "BCTV Request for Cablecast Form"

You can receive this by e-mailing us at: belfastcommunitytv@verizon.net and we will e-mail you a copy to print out.

You may also request a copy of the "BCTV General Guidelines" which is ten pages and is also our operations guide.

Both documents may also be received by sending a Self Addressed Stamped Envelop to: BCTV2, P.O. Box 1075, Belfast ME 04915.

We want you to know that we are an inclusive group and as long as you follow our loose and soon to be finalized guidelines, you will be able to put shows you make on the Belfast Cable Channel 2, which is currently black, or rather, grey and fuzzy. We hope to be up and running by May 1!

Jennifer Armstrong leads the fun in the 2005 Waldo County Pie & Story video produced by Insight Productions for the Belfast Institute of Lifelong Learning. Featured performers include Gussy Vaughn, of Belfast, and Michael Cooney, of Friendship. Plus the Pie & Story Band performs.

When selecting the setting for an interview try to choose a location that gives a sense of where you are. Don't hesitate to rearrange the background to eliminate distracting elements. Avoid having it appear as if a background element is growing out of the subject's head. The subject should be the brightest part of the picture, so avoid bright windows and lights in the background. If this is unavoidable, you will have to utilize the camcorder's backlight control or manual iris adjustment.

Before recording listen to the sound. Sometimes turning off a blower, closing a door or turning off a radio can make a big difference in the recording. Also set your audio level on your camcorder (if you have manual adjustment) by having the talent converse rather than saying "testing 1,2,3". Record a little "room tone". This comes in handy when you want to lift "ahs and you knows" from an interview you are editing.

When positioning your subject especially if it is a two person interview, have the main subject face somewhat toward the camera, so you don't end up with profile or "ear shots". Get the "talent" to stand closer to one another than they would in non-TV situations. Space between people seems to be accentuated in video.

Whenever possible, use a tripod. It is very difficult to hand hold a camcorder steadily enough so that false motion does not call attention to itself. If you must hand hold the camera, get in close to the subject and use whatever you can to brace yourself and shoot wide, and fill the frame with your subject. This minimizes any camera unsteadiness.

Do not rely on automatic focus as it is easily fooled by glass, water surfaces, brightly lit background walls, and objects that are momentarily closer to the camcorder. Instead use the manual focus setting and whenever possible before
recording each shot, zoom all the way in (extreme close-up), adjust the focus, then zoom back out. By performing this "hyper-focus", the subject will remain in focus at both tight and wide zoom settings. Automatic focus may be appropriate however on occasions when the action is so fast and furious that you cannot focus manually quickly enough.

Keep live zooms, pans, and tilts to a minimum especially, if you are not practiced enough to do them smoothly. Never let the camera call attention to itself. No "zip" motions -- let any motion whether a pan, zoom, or tilt be at least 3 seconds in length following which the camera is steady again for at least 3 seconds. Avoid, especially, "broken" zooms where you zoom in or out, stop, zoom some more, stop, zoom some more, etc.

Compose your video frame by mentally dividing the frame into thirds. A good rule of thumb is to place the subject's eyes one-third of the way down from the top of the screen. If the subject is facing left or right, give him/her some extra nose or lead room. Keep in mind that many televisions overscan and may not show as much of the scene as you see in your viewfinder or monitor. Leave about a 20% safe area around your subject. Avoid cutting off the subject at the ankles, knees, waist, chin, etc.

If you will be later editing the tape, shoot some extra footage of the overall scene (establishing shots), reverse angles of the interviewer nodding or an over the shoulder shot so you can't tell what the interviewee is saying. These shots can be insert edited to cover jump cuts, poor pans/zooms, and to use as bridges from one scene to the next. If you must pause recording in an interview situation, you can avoid"jump cuts" by zooming or changing the camera angle, then resuming recording.

Tips were developed by Bill Severance and Ned Lightner

In order to make certain that the programs shown on our channel do not create problems for viewers, and do not drive viewers away from our channel, BCTV requires that shows meet basic standards. We are making an effort to use non-technical terms, but if anything is unclear, please let us know and we will try to clarify.
We utilize an automated playback system, so in some ways it is more important to provide a decent sound and picture signal to us than to a broadcast station which usually has a master control operator who is able to make subtle adjustments to sound and picture.

Some Definitions:
Cablecast: BCTV programs are transmitted via cable to viewers homes, so they are not broadcast or aired, though we will understand what you mean when you use those terms
Media: In the larger sense it means forms of mass communication, but for the purposes of this posting, it is the format that the programming is provided to us. Rather than saying video tapes or DVD, we simply will say media

Sound Standards
: We cablecast a mono signal, and stereo or surround sound signals will be combined to create a mono signal. Since we can’t adjust the volume on videos, you should have even and not too, loud or quiet a signal. We don’t want viewers to have to turn their TV up or down whenever they turn to us . We also ask that you listen to your program and make sure there are no weird buzzes and background hums to drive the viewers nuts. If you can’t hear the person clearly who is speaking or the mix is poor, it probably will annoy viewers, however we will not keep your program from airing, we may however not provide multiple plays.

Video Standards: We are a standard definition, NTSC facility, which is “ordinary American television”. We are able to show S-VHS, and VHS tapes. We also can play several formats of DVDs, including DVD-R and DVD+R. Our simple playback system however is only able to play a DVD, so if there are various chapters that must be accessed, our system can’t handle it. Basically when you load your DVD in a playback deck and hit play, the program should start playing. We also suggest that you do not use adhesive lables to label DVDs. Either write directly on the DVD or use inkjet printable DVDs

Programming requirements: We use a basic timing device to automatically play your program. You will need to provide us with accurate timing information. The interval from the beginning or “head” of the tape or DVD to when the program begins is known as the preroll time: We suggest 10 seconds, and a black screen is better than a slate or countdown. We also need to know how long the actual program is to the second, not including the pre-roll. We prefer that you have at least 30 seconds of signal at the end of a program. Usually one puts contact and or copyright information as the last image. We require that programs at a minimum have presenter contact information at the end of a program, but we encourage you to also have that information at the beginning of your program as well.

Providing us with programming: Let us know at least a week and preferably a month ahead of time, that you will provide us with a program. Advance notice allows us to properly schedule your program
. If you leave us contact information, we will try to contact you with show times. Once we provide you with the show times, we invite you to create a promotional announcement to air on our bulletin board, which may be emailed to us.
You can either bring your program media to the station or mail it to us. The media should be in a case and both the case and media should be clearly labeled with the following information.
Contact number and/or email:
Program Title:
Program Length:
Pre-roll time:
You will need to provide us with a self-addressed and postage paid envelope, if you would like us to mail the program back to you once it has aired. Otherwise you will have to arrange to pick up the program within 90 days.