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Celebrating 100 episodes of Rubber Duck Theater

Producer Cindy Bissell during a production of an episode of Rubber Duck Theater.

 

GRAFTON: Grafton Community Television celebrates another cable access milestone during August. GCTV producer Cindy Bissell, along with program hosts husband Richard Bissell and son Aaron Bissell have reached the 100th episode of their cable access show “Rubber Duck Theater.”

“Rubber Duck Theater” debuted on August 1st, 2011. Cindy, Richard and Aaron Bissell are certified access producers for Grafton Community Television. The program featuring the Bissells with recurring guest Nicholas Nicklebee, is primarily billed as a half hour movie review show, but it includes a variety of topics including family travels and themed conventions. The Bissell family reached episode #50 in January, 2014 and episode #75 in November 6, 2015.

The 100th episode features a one hour special that will run on Grafton Community Television during the month of September. The show airs on Grafton Community Television’s Charter Channel 191 / Verizon Channel 34 on the following weekly schedule: Tuesdays at 11:00 PM, Friday at 10:00 PM, Saturday at 10:00 PM and Sunday at 7:00 PM. The program will also be available at the GCTV VOD link: http://graftontv.org/current/VoD.html.

Past episodes of “Rubber Duck Theater” can also be found at https://vimeo.com/rubberducktheater and at http://www.rubberducktheater.com/

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Rubber Duck Website

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After Blip.tv gave most of it’s members the boot (see previous post), we had to find a new host for Rubber Duck Theater. We set up an account on YouTube, but YouTube is over-the-top with their copy write filters and either places ads on videos or blocks them entirely even for videos that don’t actually break any copy write laws. When you do movie reviews, you are allowed to use small snipits of movies. You can challenge YouTube, but that’s a nuisance. We did manage to upload 42 of our 45 episodes so far, but still not the best solution.

We then tried Vimeo. Their free account was useless because there was only enough space for a couple of videos, even though our online episodes are only between 300-400MB each. So we paid $60 for their “Plus” account, but this account only allows users to upload 5GB per week. A time consuming task uploading 45 episodes. But we are up to episode #31 as of today, and so far no copy write issues like YouTube. Vimeo also has a pro account, but it’s more than we want to spend for our public access non-profit videos.

Then we thought why not host the videos ourselves and not deal with these video sharing sites? We already have several hosting accounts for various projects. But this can really put a strain on hosting bandwidth. Our best solution so far is to host the actual videos on Amazon’s servers. Amazon offers lots of server space and very it’s very inexpensive. So, we’ve uploaded our episodes to an Amazon Web Service (AWS) “S3” account and linked the videos to this blog powered by WordPress on a 1and1.com hosting account. It’s nice to have full control over our content and no annoying ads to deal with.

Our Community TV station is also working on videos on demand, so we hope to have our show at graftontv.org as well. Still more work to do on this site and also need to update our Facebook account, which is all linked to blip.tv. So, that is where we are at now.

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Public Access TV

In 1984, a piece of legislation called the Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act became law. This Legislation requires U.S. cable television companies to fund local organizations to provide training and access to media technology and cable distribution on the local cable systems. Public access TV is an excellent example of democracy and a vehicle for free speech for all citizens. Any member of a community may take advantage of public access TV.

Here in Grafton, MA, we have many resources available free of charge, including a TV studio, trainings, and all the equipment needed so that anyone can produce a TV show, either live or pre-recorded. Grafton Community Television manages three channels, 11, 12 and 13. Channel 11 is for general interest (public access) programming, Channel 12 is for local government programming, and Channel 13 features school programming and high school sports events. Three channels are fairly common on public access television and is called “PEG access”, short for Public, Educational, and Governmental.

Aaron is very interested in film making and spends much of his free time making movies, including filming, acting, and editing his own movies for youtube. He would like to eventually work in the film industry. Last summer he took the GCTV Kids Summer Video Class and he really enjoyed the class.

A couple of times a year the station also offers adults a producers class. Aaron wanted to take this class too, but since he is under 18, he needed an adult to be responsible for him and he also had to get special permission from the Grafton Cable Television Oversight Committee, as well as several references. Permission for Aaron to take the class was granted and last fall Aaron and I took the course together. We both had a great time and we learned so much about television producing. Now, Aaron has is own TV show on Grafton Public Access and I think he is the youngest producer with a regular programing slot. His show is called “Dark Nights of Grafton” and it airs 3 times a week:

Tuesdays at 10:30pm
Thursdays at 11:00pm
and Saturday night at Midnight

Programming schedule

The same show airs 3 times a week for 2 weeks, so he has to have a new video every two weeks. Since he is such a prolific film maker, this is not a problem. He just dropped off episode #17 at the studio yesterday. Some of his earlier episodes are online at: lightscameraaaron.com

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