When Bennett Blaustein retired after a 30-year career in television and video production and moved to Point Roberts, he saw a way to put his skills to work for the community.
“One of the things I noticed is that people had cable service from Canada, and others had satellite dishes, but there was nothing covering Point Roberts locally,” he said. “There was no public access television and no way for people to share videos unless someone put them online. I wanted to create a single environment for those videos to go out.”
Blaustein created Point Roberts TV, accessible at pointroberts.tv, taking advantage of YouTube’s recently opened live-streaming opportunities to cover local events in real-time. Those videos then join videos Blaustein collects from YouTube or creates himself on the Point Roberts TV playlist, which can be experienced as a continuous looping video through the website or selected individually through a YouTube link.
Most recently, Blaustein added U.S. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s visit to the Point on August 17.
“It’s an easy way to get events out to the community, especially valuable for people who can’t attend meetings or other events,” Blaustein said. “I can see doing candidates nights and the Fourth of July parade. I can also see creating promotional pieces for charities and organizations on the Point.”
Blaustein uses software to create what is “basically a TV studio in a laptop,” he said, with the ability to add special effects and graphics to what is being filmed. He uses his iPhone, an iPad and other external cameras to communicate wirelessly with his computer.
“I’ve tested it with five cameras, more than most TV stations use in their news broadcasts,” he said.
The system will work anywhere Blaustein has wireless access, and he has tested it at the golf course clubhouse and the community center. Blaustein said he is hoping volunteers will come on board to allow him to set up and strike for an event more quickly, and to be camera operators. “For example, I could be inside the community center and someone with a camera could be outside,” he said. He would like to have other community members involved with content creation. “If someone comes to me with a good idea I’m more than willing to talk to them about shooting and editing it,” he said.
In addition to watching Point Roberts TV content and the Point Roberts related videos Blaustein embeds on the site, pointroberts.tv is also the place to contact Blaustein for those who would like to learn about volunteering.