Singular for Schools Free Graphics Program Builds Next-Gen Professionals

Creating the next generation of sports-production professionals is critical to the industry, and the Singular browser-based broadcast-graphics platform is doing its part by being free to schools, both public and private, from elementary to higher education.

Students at Westboro Elementary in Canada uses Singular to add graphics to live video newscast-style announcements.

According to Mike Ward, head of marketing for Singular, the nature of the platform enables the effort: it doesn’t require dedicated or specialist hardware or indeed anything that an average school wouldn’t already have.

“Because it has a full authoring environment,” he says, it can be used by design students while, as a digital platform, it can also give programmers and coders an opportunity to dig deep into APIs and SDKs, which we provide open access to. As a live-graphic-overlay platform, it also fits perfectly into any schools wanting to train students about live production, including producers, directors, and, of course, graphics ops.”

Singular allows the user to add live graphic overlays to their content using only a web browser. It has a full authoring environment for building custom overlays and also features dozens of prebuilt overlays that users can download and use for free. Schools can quickly and easily learn how to use Singular from any computer with an internet connection, and they can design, build, operate, and stream graphics from their web browser. At its core, Singular is an HTML rendering platform that can be used for any kind of visualization.

The other motivation, Ward says, is that, because Singular can work in traditional HD SDI workflows as well as NDI and IP/streaming workflows, it provides a broader opportunity for learning both traditional, modern, and future production workflows and techniques.

“Our own experiences in finding and hiring new talent in our industry show us that, without investment and support in this area, there is a lack of skills being taught and opportunities for people to learn,” he adds. “We also know that modern and future talent need a wider skillset than before because people are creating and consuming content in totally new and different ways.”

Singular is built to service traditional HD SDI workflows, next-gen workflows using NDI and IP/streaming, and client- or device-side rendering. This sees the graphics rendered by the user’s device, which opens up interactivity, localization, and personalization options. Furthermore, Singular is also ready for emerging workflows with On Demand Overlays.

“Put simply,” says Ward, “any content published with Singular overlays can have those graphic overlays remain ‘live,’ meaning they can be updated at any time, even after the video has been published. Not only does that mean that you can correct any mistakes, but it also means that, if you update the look and feel of your on-air graphics, you can apply that new look to all your archive content that used Singular as well. This can also enable commercial teams to sell sponsorship not just of future content but also of archive content that we all know, in many cases, has a long tail.”

According to Frances Page, head of Singular for Schools, Singular, use at schools has ranged from simple title graphics for live streams of Halloween costume parades to adding interactive features to vocational training.

“The schools can extend the quality of their reach,” she notes, “so families on the other side of the world can watch their grandkids perform in a speech competition.

“One innovative elementary school in Alberta, Canada,” she continues, “has a broadcast club, which meets at recess to create a daily news show featuring things such as birthday announcements, weather, and the lunch menu. The fourth and fifth graders run the show with the younger ones as the news anchors. They also plan to use Singular for science projects, such as streaming eggs hatching.”

So far, schools from Malaysia to Miami, Wales to New Zealand, have signed up.

Says Singular CEO Andrew Heimbold, “We want to support the next generation of digital-content creators by making sure they have full access to our platform to help them maximize their content and perhaps even introduce them to a future career path.”