Wednesday, June 27, 2012

VPT's Looking Even Brighter

VPT Engineering and Production staff have just finished the complete rebuild of the lighting system in the Colchester studios of Vermont's statewide public television network. Working with local electrical contractors, they replaced equipment that dated back to the day VPT began in 1967.

Starting in February, the original power sockets in the ceilings of Studios A and B were replaced with modern sockets. Then, the patch circuit breaker panels in each studio were removed and replaced with newer types that don't depend on inserting and removing plugs. Lights can be controlled from a computerized system now.

The final step was installing new energy-efficient lights tailored for areas in the studios like the Vermont This Week set, the VPT Cooks kitchen, the interview and fundraising sets and the green screen area.

The new lights are a mix of LED key and back lights, and fluorescent fill lights that emit the same amount of light as the old ones but use only 20% of the electricity. Another way of saying it is that the old lights gave off 80% of the power they drew in heat and 20% in light. The new ones use 80% of power as light and 20% heat. The studios are both brighter and cooler now.

Matching State of Vermont and federal funds covered the $324,000 job, which is one of the final steps in VPT's multi-year digital transition project. Vermont's Congressional delegation, and state administrative and legislative leaders have supported the project all the way.

Pictured under the new lights on an interview set with VPT's president John King are staff who worked on the rebuild. Left to right are production manager Mike Dunn, videographer-editor Jim Ray, chief technical officer Joe Tymecki, videographer-editor Nate Huffman, president John King and media specialist-maintenance technician David Rice. On the desk on the left is a 120-watt LED key light and on the right a fluorescent fill light.

Studio maintenance technician Phil Kinerson, not available for the group photo but pictured top right, was a key member of the project group.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vermont Sidewalks

Compared with the other 49, Vermont is a healthy state. Vermonters live longer, have a lower infant mortality rate, and are more likely to have health insurance than most other Americans.

It is even (compared with the other 49) a thin state, with only (if "only" is the right word) 58.5 percent of the people (and 26.7 percent of the children) overweight, and 23.9 percent obese.

But when it comes to health and fitness, "compared with the other 49" sets a low bar. Compared with the rest of the prosperous world, Americans in all states are more likely to be overweight.

Furthermore, Vermont's earns its (relatively) good rating on keeping its weight down largely because the folks in Chittenden County are thinner, with "only" 20.3 percent of adults considered overweight (this from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention in 2009). Rural Vermont is fatter. In six counties, more than 25 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Orleans County tops the list at 28.8 percent.