Okay, if you a regular reader of these pages or a follower of my occasional Twitter (@OUSocSciCymru) you’ll know that I have over the past couple of weeks been working on a video production. Now, I should say right at the outset, that the easiest way to get a video made is to pay a professional to do it for you. But, where’s the fun in that? Besides I haven’t got the budget, so embracing the D-I-Y ethic seems the best option.
Besides, how hard can it be to make a video? It’s just a matter of pointing a camera and clicking record, isn’t it? In fact, these days who needs a camera, you can just record some footage on your phone and then edit it in i-Movie or Windows Film Maker, right? Well, yes, but then again, probably no.
What kind of kit you use does depend on what you are trying to achieve. If you are a student trying to use video as part of an assignment, you might well use your phone as a camera. After all, nobody’s going to be overly worried that the footage is a little shaky (adds authenticity, apparently), or that the sound is a bit tinny and difficult to hear. And, for sure, nobody is going to insist every scene is ‘properly lit’, for which read expensively/professionally lit.
But if, like me, you are an academic in an organisation with an almost fetishistic obsession with quality you are going to need to think a little more technically if your mini masterpiece is ever going to see the light of day. Immediately, enthusiastic amateurs are up against that old perception thing. You know, people have already labelled you as one thing, but you are determined to be something else.
Here’s the camera I use. Not professional, but at the higher end of the prosumer end. It’s a Sony NXR-70E for those of you who care about such things.
A good camera, actually even a bad one, needs good sound. So, if you are on a tight budget ( and who isn’t these days? Thanks Mr Osborne), spending a decent amount on a mic is worth it. But, the thing that really ruins your movie is something over which you have the least control – light. This is especially true, I’ve found, if you are filming outside.
In my opinion, video offers a great resource for educators and students. Making videos, much like writing blogs, makes you think carefully about how to get your message across. In the next few weeks I’m hoping to provide some insight to all the mistakes I’ve been making, so that you won’t have to. But, if you are using video as part of your teaching I really would love you to make contact and swap stories.