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Thread: Recommend a stash for a new media department

  1. #1

    Default Recommend a stash for a new media department

    Hi all, I'm not the most knowledgable about hardware so IK'm after some advice. Our school has a rather behind-the-times media department. Whilst we do have a Mac suite, it never works and no-one knows how to get them working (IT are PC guys, not mac guys). All we have are some basic Flips for te kids to do their coursework with. Over the last few days, i've taken in my interchangeable lens camera and done some small group work on camera functions and played a few games like, 'throttle-your-own-ghost' which they loved. As the ehad wants to mvoe towards teaching media at A-Level, and I'm fed up of the lack of proper working equipment, I want to give him a proposal of a new set of cameras - so, help me with my shopping list please!
    Firstly, the cameras need to be robust.
    Secondly, they need to be cheap.
    Thirdly, they need to be idiot proof... sorry I mean amateur friendly.
    Fourthly, Manual controls for them to learn the functions.
    Fifthly... fithly... fively... #5, pixel count doesn't matter.
    #6, video capacity
    Finally, second hand options are fine.

    I'm thinking; 5x Canon SX220 (powerzoom, manual, HD video, cheap, great images - I used to have one), a couple of actual DSLRs such as the old XT Rebel along with the two kit lenses and flash gun, and some tripods. The only problem with the Rebels is they don't shoot video and actually, I'd like at least one DSLR that I can mount an external mic too for more professional video recording.
    So, what can you help me with on my shopping list? I need a more appropriate DLSR, even a 4/3 would be fine and actually, they tend to have video function more readily than SLRs do. But I need plenty of options for the hotshoe so that I can buy some things in for the students to get involved in photography. The only condition is they've got to be on the affordable end.
    There is no budget really, if it's too much, it's too much. If not, I'm looking forward to surrounding myself in new cameras!

    PS - I'm an English teacher and there isn't actually a 'Media Department', it falls under our remit so I'm no specialist - but a hobbyist myself. I'm certainly not trained in this field.

  2. #2


    Great response, lots to think about there.
    We have two technicians, but they are always extremely busy. The media classes use a Mac suite - 30 computers with dual boot. Unfortunately, the macs can't save to our servers - I don't know if the Techs can sort this out. It means that they have to work on the same computer each time to access any saved work when in IOS and we don't have editing suites on the Windows side, which does have access to the centralised folders.
    My head of media has said that the examiner's (WJEC) advice to all schools is to for the students to show greater familiarity with the industry and not just text books. I'm hoping the clever kit will give them a greater understanding of composition and the way photos are taken - but also I'll be running a media production club so the students can just enjoy making media as a passtime. For most students, the compact Canon with priority modes will suffice. More advanced students might get more out of having a proper DSLR so that they can better evaluate short comings and improvements in their own work.
    But we only have flip cameras in the school at the moment, so its hard to foresee if the students will get the most out of more advanced equipment.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    The big thing I learned is that quality is rarely important - and very little we ever produced was actually much cop. In fact, I can't think of one really good product we generated. Plenty of A/Distinction grades, but no real link to quality video or audio whatsoever!
    Oh yes, completely agree. This is the reason for recommending to my HoD that we only need compacts with manual controls. But they are better than flips because actually, they give the students a lot more to talk about in their evaluations - they can discuss camera functions which should lead to a real consideration of framing and backgrounds. The flips encourage them to just snap whatever the hell is in front of them.
    These comments on workflow are interesting, I'm going to have to pay attention to how the students are going to access their work when the macs have the editing suites but can't get to the centrally stored (and thus safe) files.

    But, we do have two 1000+ professional cameras that record to tape... and no way of getting that tape into the digital editing suites. They are completely redundant and gathering dust! So anything really is going to be an improvement over a choice between those or the flips.

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