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Lizzie Finnegan
Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 12, 2014 at 5:13:51 pm

Hi everyone! My school is setting up a New Media Lab for students and faculty to work on a wide variety of projects, some involving media production, some involving things like TEI and text-markup, some interactive media, game design, geo-spatial mapping projects, etc. I was asked to come up with a list of software and equipment, but I don't really know what to recommend! We need things that will be good for faculty research/projects but will also be easy to use for beginning student.

I think we will be going with Creative Cloud (we discussed the whole debate but the administration prefers to go this way), but I know there is additional software that would be helpful for what we need. For example, is there anything to replace Flash for doing interactive web-installed animation? Our students won't be learning to code, or at least not well enough to write the programs themselves, but we would like them to be able to do some of those interactive digital poetics projects of the kind you could do with Flash if there are any possibilities.

We also need to get a few simple video cameras and audio recorders---probably DSLRs that can work with external audio, and Zoom recorders and mics, but I don't know which models to recommend for beginning students. These will mostly be English majors who are minoring in New Media or simply taking some Media Studies/New Media courses; we don't have a Media Studies program per se. So really we need some solid, easy-to-use workhorses.

So, I would be hugely grateful for any recommendations for either software or video/audio equipment!

Cheers,
Lizzie


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Tim Wilson
ADMIN NOTE: Re: Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:15:09 pm

As you've noted, Lizzie mentions their plans to use Creative Cloud.

HOWEVER, I know that this forum has more teachers in it than the Premiere/AE forums, as well as a wide range of experience with student-appropriate cameras. As a result, I moved her post here from the original forum she posted it in. It seemed like this was the right place to get the answers that would not just for Lizzie, but would move things along for the widest group of other teachers and students as well.

Please contact me directly if you have any thoughts on this. Otherwise, please keep comments here focused on the actual topic. With apologies for the intrusion.

Tim Wilson, Creative COW


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Craig Seeman
Re: ADMIN NOTE: Re: Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:21:07 pm

[Tim Wilson] "It seemed like this was the right place to get the answers that would not just for Lizzie, but would move things along for the widest group of other teachers and students as well. "

Tangentially, that says a lot about what this forum really offers. ;)



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Craig Seeman
Re: Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:40:42 pm
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:41:38 pm

[Lizzie Finnegan] "We also need to get a few simple video cameras and audio recorders---probably DSLRs that can work with external audio, and Zoom recorders and mics, but I don't know which models to recommend for beginning students."

Maybe my own bias but I'm not sure DSLR video is "beginner" unless they're up on things like depth of field and willing to learn about syncing sound. I assuming you'd be sticking with just the kit lenses unless you have a budget and inclination to go in that direction. Of course maybe these students have photography classes.

I think maybe Canon XA10 or Panasonic HMC40 would be better entry level professional video cameras.
Otherwise if you really want DSLR type cameras you could go with Panasonic GH3 (actually mirrorless micro 4/3) since they seem to be more "video friendly" than Canon or Nikon (Just my humble opinion). The Zoom H1 might OK for your purposes if you're not looking for a recorder with XLR inputs.

[Lizzie Finnegan] "is there anything to replace Flash for doing interactive web-installed animation? Our students won't be learning to code, or at least not well enough to write the programs themselves, but we would like them to be able to do some of those interactive digital poetics projects of the kind you could do with Flash if there are any possibilities. "

HTML5. Not as flexible as Flash as of yet. That would be Adobe Edge Animate. I'm not sure how much easier that is than Flash though.
http://html.adobe.com/edge/animate/



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Lizzie Finnegan
Re: Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 13, 2014 at 12:40:21 am

Thank you so much for these suggestions, Craig! This is a big help. And I take your point about DSLRs. I used to teach in a Media Studies dept at a different school, so I think I am forgetting that the students I have now are not going to be coming in with much if any experience unless they've taken a photography class. They are really starting from scratch, and the classes won't be hardcore production courses, so I don't want them to be overwhelmed.


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Andre van Berlo
Re: Recommendations for software and hardware for Digital Humanities/New Media Lab
on Mar 13, 2014 at 11:06:18 am

I agree with craig here that dslr's are not necessarily the best place to start. When it comes to using a green screen i get better results from my panasonic HD-HS60 than from my panasonic GH3(I use a painted wall).

Should you go with a dslr, then m43's system and in particular gh3 and soon gh4 are unbeatable in their price range. In fact, there is a lot of good stuff made on the GH2 and GH1 too and they can be picked up on ebay.

Problem with DSLR's is that each camera will need a lens and that adds up quickly. When it comes to syncing sound I get pretty good results just from syncing sound with software like fcpx. I think adobe has plural eyes or something like that? But you can always use mic input on the camera itself.

Another point: Usually dedicated video cameras have in camera stabilisation(at least the consumer cams), that can be very handy sometimes. Unless you're always shooting on a tripod dslr footage can be quite shaky. There are rigs for that of course but rigs cost money too :-)


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