Starting a High School TV Show - Have No Clue

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by haze, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. haze macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    Ok, so the plan is to start a Digital Video Production class next year. I have never done anything with video, I teach primarily Adobe CS3. However, since I am the only technology teacher at the school, it falls upon me to figure it out.

    We have 36 iMacs (20 last generation 17" and 16 1st generation aluminum 20"). I am in the process of updating the RAM to 3GB and 4GB.

    Would we be better off getting a site license for Final Cut Pro ($4,999) and have students use it on the iMacs. Are the iMacs viable for this? I don't know about processing and storage (remember I am a complete nob to video). Or should we get (2) Mac Pros and (2) copies of Final Cut?

    Any suggestions on cameras? I was looking at the Panasonic AG-HMC70U or Panasonic AG-HMC15. Tapeless seems the wave of the future and with the budget cut for next year and beyond, tapes might be luxury we can't afford. I am trying to get this program started with the little slice of funds we have before everything gets cut.

    Any other info/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Before you buy anything find a consultant in your area and work w/them on a solution that fits your current needs and budget and also positions you for room to grow in the future. I'd also suggest you make any purchases through a local Value Added Reseller. This may cost a little more up front, but when things go wrong, and they will, you'll have someone to call to fix it who is familiar w/you and your equipment.

  3. tcgjeukens macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    IJsselstein, the Netherlands

    Your setup will start with an picture of your target audience.
    Do not start with technology as that changes too fast.

    A good start is to consult a Video practitioner on possible workflows.
    There are many variants. Do select one (1) workflow as a basis for your course.
    Do check this forum on threads on tape versus tapeless and HDV versus AVCHD. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Make sure you address those in your courses.

    Tapeless and AVCHD will appeal to general consumer public as marketing is pushing those technologies. Pro's still use a lot of Tape and lesser compresses codecs.

    Referring to your words "tapes might be luxury we can't afford". Tapes are only a very very small part of the cost. Tapeless is often combined with AVCHD. You will need plenty of CPU power (and cost) for processing and you will need additional HDD capacity for archiving.

    Good luck with defining your school programme.

  4. haze thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    I agree working with a consultant on workflow would be a good idea in normal circumstances. However, we are in budget meltdown and they said if I want to start the program I have to spend this left over CTE money, like right now. I have to put my request in Monday after school. After that, bye bye funds.
  5. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    What is your budget and are you looking to start a video production class or a high school TV show? What is the format of the class/show going to be? How many students will be involved? You also need to take into consideration that besides cameras you'll need extra batteries, tripods, microphones, carrying cases, etc.,. The iMacs should be fine and if you go w/AVCHD cameras instead of HDV cameras you'll need to buy bigger, faster HDDs which obviously means more money.

  6. haze thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    I am probably looking at ~$8,000, maybe less to get it off the ground. It is going to be a foundation. That is a small fortune for a public high school in California. Obviously we won't be having a full production studio, but with public education you have to start somewhere and build from there.

    In addition to Final Cut, I am thinking 1 good camera, tripod, and a couple of mics. Students will have to use own cameras for shooting outside of school. Final Cut is overkill at first, but to get the funding we have to show an eventual connection to industry certification, which Apple provides.
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Not sure how expensive you mean by 'good camera', but if funds allow a second camera would be a worthwhile investment.

    kinda depends on how many students you'll have too I guess, but imo filming sequences from tow angles offers a lot more flexibility to the final cut, (and saves a lot of time).

    Just my 2 cents.
  8. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    I have a lab of Macs running FCP, and spent some serious dough on it.

    As a first year teacher you will be one step ahead of your students, and maybe even occasionally one step behind them. Knowing that, you need to realize FCP is CAREER. Is training for you going to be offered? It had better be... FCP is no CS3. With no video experience the odds of you learning this on your own to the degree needed to write the curriculum and then instruct are pretty much zero. Also, the packages are IMMENSE, and take a lot of power to not so much use, but rather to render.
    What you have WILL work. iMacs are fine, and RAM is key.
    I would suggest Final Cut Express.
    Decide what you REALLY need to do and then check out the differences between Express and Pro. I think you'll find that 79 bucks EDU price will work in so many ways!
    Storage is a huge issue if you LET it be. I have a fiber solution, but that's big bucks. I HIGHLY suggest 1TB drives like MyBook linked to each computer.
    Go with one of the new Sony HD models... they run about 800-1000 bucks EDU and are phenomenal.

    Don't sink resources into a huge project until youe see it's viable and shows measurable results.
    Good luck
  9. haze thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    I have approval for the 5 day training "Final Cut Pro 200." 5 days, 8 hours, $1499. I should learn a lot.

    I was checking out Panasonics on B&H Photo. They seem to have a lot of positive reviews, but so do Sony and Canon. I think another teacher had recommended Panasonic because he was using them.

    There seems to be a lot of debate on tapeless vs miniDV. I have read about proponents on each side, but also some issues with tapeless on Apples. Any suggestions?
  10. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
    The AG-HMC70U does not even have a lens ring! It's not a great camera.

    THe hmc-150 is much better, but it's not a shoulder mount. It's pretty much the same quality camera as the high end HPX-170 and HVX-200A.
    But it records in AVCHD instead of DVCPRO HD.
  11. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    As one who took film in High School, just a few thoughts.

    First, I think a serious look at the curriculum you trying to teach, what concepts are you specifically wanting to cover, just a general overview, or more serious in depth practices?

    From there it's really looking at how you are running your program? Is your class going to run along with Channel 1 (a secondary news source based out of New York I believe, although I don't know if all high schools nationally accept this program). Are you looking at a daily show, weekly or otherwise?

    Heres a rundown of the programs I had;

    (Junior High) MTV "Mustang Tv"
    -iMac G3 iMovie
    -Power Mac G3 Final Cut Pro 3
    Canon GL1/GL2

    This was a growing program and we added equipment as we could for a daily news cast.

    (High School) GTV "Granger Tv"
    5 iBooks (iMovie)
    eMac G4 Final Cut Pro 4
    Light Canon MiniDV Cameras (2/3)

    *Dated I know. Currently in my own independent studio I use PowerMac G4/MacBook Pro, PowerMac G4 and soon a Mac Pro, Video hasn't suffered greatly with the intel transition, and have very good life spans, your computers should be good for at least three years.

    With your current setup I feel you are very well of, I'd suggest creating project groups assigning them to a computer at least the newer macs, and the other macs could be on a "use as needed basis".

    iMovie is great for entry editing and getting a few basics down, although it's a complete language change when you get into Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro. Both are excellent programs with a good learning curve, you can grow and advance in the program, although you won't be an expert without fully getting into it with multiple projects.

    I personally prefer MiniDV based programs for this, (Maybe let the students provide their own tapes). If your students go tapeless you run the risk of things getting deleted or lost as storage is going to be shared by multiple students, tapes would eliminate a good share of that, providing your students with the source material if they ever need to go back and fix things, or do a complete re-edit.

    I'd really just suggest getting the program running and let it grow with you, start with what you have, invest in software and equipment (Camera's, Lights, Tripods, Mic's, Gels/Films) and other set-stage needs.

    If you're looking to spent your funds before they get cut, look at a consultant, but I'd advise towards camera's and other studio equipment. I think Final Cut Express is a great entry program and much more affordable for schools ($179 vs. $699 with education discount) providing all the tools you need to get the basics down and still have room to play.
  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Video production is a very hands on thing so, IMO and w/o knowing more about what you specifically plan to do w/the class, I think going w/quantity over quality is the better road to take. Students in small groups each getting to use iMovie will learn a lot more than students waiting around for their turn to use the one or two machines w/FCP on them.

    For cameras I'd take a look at the Canon HV30s which are around $600 from legit stores. B&H even sells a HV30 kit for just over $1k that includes a tripod, case, extra batteries, 3 tapes, HDMI cable, memory card (for still images), wide angle adapter, basic lens filters, external mic and a lens cloth. Buying 4 of those kits makes more sense than buying one $4k camera, IMO. Students don't have to share a single camera, if a camera gets damaged you have a back up, you can have multiple camera shoots (good for school sporting events), etc.,.

    For reasons stated by other posters I'd recommend tape instead of tapeless as well as taking a look at iMovie or FCE as opposed to FCP (or maybe just getting one or two copies of FCP to be used for 'advanced' projects). If you use iMovie or FCE though your storage needs will increase because those programs transcode HDV, as well as AVCHD footage, into the Apple Intermediate Codec which is around 40gigs per hour. Where as FCP can edit HDV footage natively (about 13gigs per hour) but AVCHD footage has to get transcoded just like it does in iMovie or FCE.

  13. haze thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2007
    The general thought of the course is to have it include a club within the class since there will be so much outside activities. There would be club officers (President, VP/Equipment Manager, Secretary/Publicist, Treasurer/Business Manager). They would also make up the board that would meet with me. I want it to be student driven.

    Then the class would be broken up into 2-3 production teams with 10-13 students. They would rotate responsibility for the weekly/bi-monthly Web based TV show (long term goal, will take awhile to figure it all out). In addition, I was thinking students would have 1 personal/team project to complete per semester (PSA, documentary, etc.).

    Going forward, I would modify my Multimedia Design course to include a quarter of video where student's make a basic PSA/documentary. This will be a introduction for the Video course.

    Like a lot of high tech/costly plans at a high school, you start small and grow into what I am talking about above.

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