In Our New Home: A Studio for CCTV

August 8, 2011 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Baltimore

Visitors to Hopkins Children’s new Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center will have a first-hand view of the pediatric hospital’s new TV studio. Through a glass partition off a main corridor, they’ll be able to watch shows taking place within, perhaps an interview with a visiting celebrity or a patient-directed talent show. With live feeds to major play and assembly areas in the new hospital, including its auditorium and two-story playroom, CCTV (Children’s Center TV) will at last have its own and modern venue for entertaining and engaging patients. Hopkins Children’s CCTV has developed over the years to provide activities and companionship for hospitalized children. Produced by the Department of Child Life, CCTV features the videography of Child Life Video Producer Carlos Harris and on air talent of Child Life’s special events coordinator, Annie Woods Beatson, who together with Child Life colleagues lead patients in the weekly and ever popular Hospital Bingo, host a cooking show and introduce Clown TV. Although Harris and his video equipment can travel throughout the hospital and tape shows for pediatric patients, most filming takes place today in either the playroom for school-age children or another for adolescents. Both are already replete with tables, chairs and activity equipment, including a pool table in the teen room. Visiting guests, such as members of the Johns Hopkins lacrosse team or Baltimore Orioles or Ravens, must crowd into the already crowded playrooms and sometimes perch on its pint-sized furniture.

“We have a bit more room in a makeshift studio in a storage room of the hospital’s basement,” says Harris. “But who wants to go there? And it’s certainly off-base for most of our sick kids.”

Located in the new hospital’s second floor lobby, by the walkway to the parking garage, the CCTV studio will provide patients with opportunities to produce and direct their own TV shows for fellow patients in a clean and controlled environment.

“Our studio will provide a professional setting,” says Harris. “For the first time we’ll have an editing suite, studio lighting, backdrops and seating arrangements that can be rearranged to suit the occasion. The studio’s central location should make it easier to get folks to stop by and say hello to our kids over the TV.”

Broadcast today over in-room TV systems, and in the future over the new building’s interactive TigrNet system, CCTV programming not only provides diversions from what Beatson calls the “boredom and abnormality of being in a hospital,” but camaraderie and relief from a sense of isolation.

“It is amazing how many of our patients, confined as they are to their beds or units, don’t realize that there are so many others undergoing care here,” says Beatson. “CCTV helps them see that they are far from being alone, which helps create a sense of community.”

She tells the story of a production of Clown TV, a routine show that features the antics of Hopkins Children’s Big Apple Circus Clown Care performers. The day’s topic was fire safety. A patient in the pediatric burn care unit phoned in the advice that when on fire, don’t run, as movement fans the flames.

“Another child, on the same floor, then called in,” says Beatson, “and told the clowns, ‘I wish I’d known that a week ago.’ All at once, she was not alone, either in the hospital or with her injuries.”


For more information on CCTV, contact the Department of Child Life, 410-516-6276.