18 December 2015

How To Start A Film Program in your Library or School

If you're looking into creating an in-house video operation for your business, group or organization, keep in mind that the very most important thing in this process isn't so much what you have, but it's more about what you do with it, and that's going to get described in detail as well.

First, to cut to the beginnings, you need equipment. Not necessarily a ton of equipment, but the right tools will help you to produce quality products on your own, without the assistance of a film professional other than the training and guidelines provided.

1.  You need a camera. 

The best thing on the market right now is the t3i or a t4i from Canon. That's what I recommend. You can find them on Ebay from a reliable seller in the range of about $300-$400. The t4i shoots in 1080p HD which is industry standard. It's also primarily a photography camera, but it works even better as a film camera. Even though there are pricier models, with the right lenses people can see something filmed on a T4i or a T3i and think that it's film-quality professional, or produced on much more expensive equipment. Even though they retain the low pricetag, the used market will eventually become inflated so obtaining these now is probably a good idea.

2.  The camera needs lenses. 

Don't go nuts on expensive lenses. Try to actually stick to the stock version of the lens, keeping other lenses (telephotos and macros) for special projects.

Mid-Range Lens
A good mid-range lens is the one that comes with the camera. These can also be cheap and made out of plastic and yet still work really well. Typical numbers for these are "18-55mm Ii F/3.5-5.6" - those are the numbers you can expect from a "mid-range" lens. At the time of this blog post, you can probably obtain one for about $75.

Telephoto LensA telephoto lens numbers are" 85mm - F/1.8" - there are some online which run for less that $100 at the moment. They're good for faraway stuff.

3.  Your footage needs storage. 

The footage that you take will be saved onto a memory chip known as an SD card. These are the size of a guitar pick, roughly, and they can store up to 64GB of footage, or even more. These cards are the go-between for your footage and your editing software. The process of moving that footage is something which is described in detail later.

SD Cards
Go for the 32GB or 64GB cards, as while they are pricy, it's difficult to run out of space with cards of that size. 16GB cards tend to run out quickly and it's easy to fill one of those up in a single day.

Portable External Hard Drives
It's highly recommended to keep your footage on a portable external hard drive, for a few reasons. One, it keeps the hard drive on the actual computer from getting clogged with video files. The files themselves need to be stored externally. Two, it keeps the materials able to be placed in a more secure location when necessary.

A good portable hard drive is the WD 3TB External, which runs for about $100. Those will last a very long time. As a professional video solo company, it takes me 6 months to fill one of those up.

Best practices in moving footage will be discussed in depth later as we move from equipment into skills and techniques.

4.  You need a computer to work on.

If you're an institution trying to produce films in-house, it's probably better to get a desktop because they are immensely less likely to disappear or get broken. A higher functioning iMac is probably the best bet. You can expect to invest $1500 into this machine. Considering that's equivocal to the prices for the earliest macintoshes which have far less performance value nowadays, that's not bad.

Considering that if the computer is well taken care of, there shouldn't be a need to replace it, potentially ever. It'll never run out of space, if you follow the File/Folder Guidelines; it won't be outdated if it's able to perform as a filmmaking tool because the internet is not going to change significantly for a long time, at this point. Communications technology is going to remain relatively unchanged for a number of years now that we have reached parity with our senses, and the devices have balanced themselves out into a select group of items that we now consider commonplace.

5.  That computer needs software.

The good news is that the industry standard tool, Final Cut Pro, costs about $250 at the moment. You'll also need another program called "Compressor" in addition to that, and you have the option to pay into Adobe Creative Suite, which can run you about $30/mo (which includes all their software, and could also extend into additional educational programs).

Camera: $400
Lenses: $100
Computer: $1500
Software: $300, +$30/mo
Storage Devices: $100 every 6mo.

So the operating budget in terms of material cost is approximately $2500.

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