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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Trend: User-Created: Uth TV

Teens watch a lot of TV, but they don’t usually get to make TV shows. “Your typical teen can’t walk into UPN and say ‘I wanna do a TV show,’” says Carl Rosendahl, CEO of Uth TV, a burgeoning broadcast outlet for teens and youth. “You need adults in the mix to make those deals happen, to get distribution. But the difference between us and other adults is we let the youth produce the content.”

Rosendahl, a veteran filmmaker and video production specialist, started Uth TV to give teens and youth a chance to get on the air. He recognizes that they need to be heard, but he’s not about to tell them how they should voice their opinions. Instead, he lets teens tell their own tales. Uth TV debuted on UPN in the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2005 with two TV shows, “Elements” and “Speak On It.” Both were produced — from filming to broadcast — by a team of teens using Power Mac G5s and Final Cut Pro at studios in San Mateo and Oakland, California.

“It’s completely run and produced by youth,” says Eric Eng, a producer for “Elements.” “They’re our shows. We came up with the ideas, created their styles and made them our own. Uth TV is really an outlet for youth to show off their talents.” The producers, editors and directors at Uth TV have used those talents to fuse raw video footage, music, digital stills and voice tracks into energetic, sometimes frantic, creations.

In 1980, Rosendahl founded Pacific Data Images (PDI), a movie effects shop and film production company. During the next 20 years, Rosendahl and his company produced more than 700 commercials and crafted visual effects for more than 70 films. PDI later teamed up with DreamWorks SKG to make the animated smash hits “Antz” and “Shrek.”

After years in production, Rosendahl was ready to explore new horizons. “I really wanted to get back into the content side in a really meaningful way, do something with a little bit of social relevance,” he says. “I was looking at a lot of things that teens are creating and I was really impressed with the quality and the voice. But with teens, I really believe that they don’t have enough of an opportunity to get their work seen. The outlet channels are just too few and far between. It’s important to create those channels, to give them a voice that can be heard by a mass audience.”

Rosendahl set up a studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He equipped it with Power Mac G5s loaded with Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects. “Most of the students I talked to were fluent with Final Cut Pro,” he says. “We looked at all the non-linear video editing solutions and Final Cut was simply the best. It’s almost the de facto standard for video editing now. The responsiveness in playback is really nice and the whole general pipeline between applications like Final Cut Pro, Motion and Adobe After Effects works very well.”

With a top-notch studio set up, Rosendahl gathered his production crews from local high schools and video workshops, hired a producer to guide his new editors and turned his team loose.

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