Putting together Digital Media/broadcasting class for school... piecing together system
[Admin note: I moved this post to the FCPX forum because I know that so many educators are here, as well as people experienced with streaming and other things Greg is asking about. Tim W.]
Like the title says. It's a small private school with a modest budget. Looking to do daily stream to all classrooms of school news / pledge of allegiance type material, and produce segments for website relating to special events. It's a class, so looking to teach camera basics, lighting, basic color theory, etc.
Similar in concept to this site I came across:
Not sure I'd need their service or similar vs just putting up the vids on our school site and hosting via Amazon unless I'm missing something about the process of the daily stream to classes.
Looking to do low budget greenscreen single camera shoot, capture remote events, and want quick and easy editing for students.
I'm fairly familiar with Adobe CS products, but open to other suggestions for software.
I'm used to using DSLR for vid work, and thinking of proposing relatively inexpensive DSLR that's decent enough without being a catastrophe if student breaks it. Teachers could then check it out to bring to get snaps of sports events, etc... and since we'd have lighting and camera, we could save on yearbook shoot. Budget somewhat flexible on all aspects if there's a strong reason to go one way or another.
I've got a week or so to put together a general proposal, so looking at this point to get a basic gameplan before digging into the specifics.
My 2 cents.
I think DSLRs are a BAD idea. Too fiddly and too lousy at audio.
You can probably get 3 cheap standard box camcorders for the price of a DSLR and they'll be much more useful. Buy them with CHEAP wired or very cheap wireless microphones for student "interviews" Quality isn't important. Getting the largest number of kids participating on-camera IS.
Not sure the age or economic status of the class, but some might already be carrying camera phones, makes sure you can incorporate and manage footage from those.
As to classroon broadcat, quite a few schools have simple RF wiring for video feeds into the classroom TV sets already in place.
If so use that - not feeds to the computers. It's simpler and more easy to control.
If you have to do web access - particularly unsecured web access that carries content featuring students on-camera be VERY mindful of parental permissions issues. It's a delicate privilege to be allowed in schools to videotape subjects that are under age. Because of that, putting them on a closed circuit system exclusively inside the school is a simple thing. Putting the same content out on the internet opens up vastly more issues that the parents involved have an absolute right to weigh in on.
My 2 cents.
Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.
Good stuff. Thx.
Have to look into RF feed to classes. It's over a dozen rooms, so using whatever is in place likely wins in the end. It wasn't built as a school. School is leasing church property and they've never done any kind of cc "broadcast" before that I'm aware of.
Definitely mindful of student privacy issues. Waivers are in place, but well aware of varied attitudes on the subject. (I'm one of those over-protective parents myself)
Don't mind going the camcorder route, just though the dslr might also be useful to loan out for teachers to get shots of sporting events, do our yearbook photos, etc. I can likely get more budget if I show them how to save it elsewhere. Would prefer to be able to do 2 camera shoot. Don't think they'll spring for 2 decent DSLR's. They're checking a connection at local news channel currently to see if they can get some gear donated.
Whatever we go with, I won't be covering events after school, so it needs to be simple enough to hand it off to someone, have them collect the footage and submit it.
I've got chinese kino's at home, but they still get hot enough to cause harm and/or fire, and we're talking kids who will likely trip over them, so I'm thinking one of those spiral bulb diffuser 5 point kits. Might not be the ideal amount of light, but should help with the heat in a crowded classroom, and nothing is directly exposed, so the kids won't burn themselves. Something like 5 of these and a boom for the hairlight:
I'm also thinking I should insist on heavy-duty stands and some sort of sandbag or other stabilizing solution to ward off the inevitable.
Looking into audio solutions currently... likely get boom and external recorder to sync in post.
I'm working on a fairly pimped octo-macpro at home, so maybe spoiled. I think they're trying right now to see if they have access to a decent enough computer through barter or other means, but in either case, I should have a base spec in mind and some guidelines.
Don't need to get too heavy with the software, but want to at least be able to do newscast style overlays, PIP, crawlers, etc. Looking into Adobe Creative cloud as that may keep the cost down and I'm already familiar with Illustrator, After Effects, Photoshop, so I can give the kids a bit broader look at digital media creation in general vs just producing the same segment over and over.
All ears, though.
Keep it coming.
update: did some checking, and there's tons of cat5 running through the ceiling, so I suppose I might be able to tap into that and straight to the projectors somehow if it beats using the ethernet connections and running through the computers.
[Greg Sage] "I might be able to tap into that and straight to the projectors"
If you're sending a video feed over cat5, and if my memory serves me, you'll need some expensive equipment to (a) scale, (b) transmit, (c) receive, (d) scale. Might be easier to upload to youtube (setting proper permissions of course) and let the teachers click through on their smart boards.
Are you going to be editing alone? Or will students help? I teach college Avid, Premiere, and (some) FCPX- and if I were teaching younger kids I'd go FCPX without question because it's so easy and intuitive, whereas I've used AVID for about 20 years, taught it for 10 and it continues to frustrate the newcomer. Likewise, while easier, Premiere is still hard for the non-user.
But FCPX? With its easy to use effects, titles, music, photos and its built in, makes me understand why Apple made it-- for kids (Middle, HS & College) now, who will be the "Pros" in the near future.
However, if editing alone and you have CS6 or CC, they are perfect as they can handle almost any media you can throw at 'em. And if you use Photoshop or After Effects-- it's a no brainer.
For "streaming" to the classes, if they have decent WIFI, rather than dealing with "wiring" the classes, why not use something like UStream? At my College, we have several "live" events and the students shoot them in our TV studio and "broadcast" it live on to our cable network AND to UStream. So kids all around the building and campus can watch- easily, simply, without wires.
The idea is to teach them and have them produce everything moving forward with guidance as needed.
I've used FCP half a dozen times or so. Not really sure what the difference with FCPX is, but will look into it. The school doesn't have any of the video equipment or software yet. Realistically, it's likely going to be easier to pitch the monthly on Adobe CC than anything with a hefty tag up-front.
I like the idea that we'd have pro tools the kids can grow into over time, but know there are multiple approaches here.
No wifi in classes. They're all connected via ethernet, then connected to projectors on smartboard systems. If the cat5 running through the ceiling is useful, perhaps I could bypass everything but the projectors... dunno. I'll look at what inputs they have today.
Director said something about wanting to minimize issues where teacher isn't logged in soon enough, so that class misses the broadcast, etc. Whatever minimizes steps on the teachers' end is ideal... and of course whatever minimizes tech issues in general.
Or, of course, if they are on macs they could use iMovie, or Windows movie maker (I've never used it). But what I've seen from kids now, versus in the past, is that so long as they understand the idea of editing- IN/OUT, putting together a scene-- learning any individual software package is fairly simple.
It's amazing to watch (having come from the steenbeck days) a kid sit down at a brand new program and immediately know how to cut. And considering that they've had access to more films and visual media at their age than any generation previous, many already know must of the editing "creative" rules (180 degree line is the most obvious)-- though they don't realize it.
Years ago I would teach AVID over 6 meetings, now by the second, many are cutting shots together. Still, my point is whatever you may have already on the computers- is probably good enough for your needs. (Though obviously, if it's not an issue, and you have the time to teach them, learning one of the professional programs is best.)
For the classes, someone else will have to help you as I have no real knowledge of networks. But if all the classes are already networked together via ethernet, it sounds easy, eh? (Which means it's probably impossible).
Good Luck. Your kids are very lucky to have you.
I taught High School Information Technology and Media for 3 years. I have curriculum, lesson plans, curriculum maps, documentation artifacts, budgets, grant requests, classroom rules. Whatever you want, but here's the catch: It's all stored on google drive, so I can share it with you if you want it. my gmail is email@example.com
You might also want to investigate Perkins. http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/CTE/perkins.html They have lots of money, especially for brand new programs, which they will fund 3 years of staff salaries (not a typical thing for a grant).
Equipment is difficult to wade through, so here's a brief lessons learned. Creating a program means you will need 3 levels of course work: intro, middle, advanced. For my intro students, they used cheap panasonic camcorders and reasonably cheap tripods, all available light.Then they edited on FCPX and Premiere CS6. The kids hated Premiere. And actually, it was much faster for them on FCPX. One lesson called Pass the Salt was camera coverage lesson and the kids shot the same 15 second, 2-actor, dialogue from several angles: WS, MS, CU-1, CU-2, OTS-1, OTS-2, and then cut it together. It took 2 weeks in Premiere. 1 day in X. No kidding.
The middle class was mostly story oriented and since they knew their workflow, they had to form teams and make movies. That was a fun class.
The advanced class we used really fancy tripods and Canon XA10, very nice cameras, with shotgun mics. Then we busted out light meters and a 3-lamp Arri kit. I also used Mathematics standards from Common Core to teach asymptotes, an easy thing with lighting.
I had two dSLRs, which were mostly for yearbook photography, and although the computers had photoshop, the kids used iPhoto, because, they're kids. We got into some photoshop in photography class, using scale and layout and such, one unit was special effects, where they would climb a blade of grass, and so on.
Edit: Premiere was on windows 7 64-bit, and X was on the cheapest iMacs.
Well, it's a small k-12 school, and there's only a handfull of high schoolers, and one classroom each of the middle school grades.
Basically, it looks like there's going to be two classes: One for high school, and one for middle school. I'm thinking at this point 9 students each class and split into 3 teams of 3 to rotate between talent, shooting, editing, etc. It'll be a popular class with a waiting list, so I'm thinking there might be room for one other middle school class doing photoshop, photography, or something otherwise related.
As for the software, been hearing FCPX from a few sources.
As I said, small program, so there will be one room, one set of gear. Basically want very sturdy stands, and maximum safety. Still up in the air about the rest.
I may take you up on the peek at the curriculum. When I meet with the director next week, I'm going to tell her I can have a turnkey setup for her by the end of the first semsester that includes a full manual for both curriculum and gear. I won't be there long-term, and looking to make it as easy as possible to replace myself when I go... including getting the new recruit up to snuff on the particulars of the gear used.
Perkins thing is interesting. Not my department, but I can pass it on.
As for the cat5, looking like hassles all the way around. Some wired, some not, etc.
Not sure if some parents might object to the stuff being on YT even if it is possible to make it private, so thinking about dumbing down to compressed SD and getting Amazon server account.