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Richard Gent | Thursday November 05, 2015

Categories: Community Q&A, Hardware, Admin, Staffroom, Equipment

I wonder if you could ask the community for advice on basic equipment for setting up a Media department in terms of hardware. I am currently running CIE AS and A2 and hoping to move to AQA GCSE in the near future as well. At present, I have a homemade green screen and a Sony camcorder. That is it. I have a very limited budget. Thanks, Holly

If she is swapping to AQA, the brief gives the option of doing a magazine and a website so she would need very little equipment for this. Just Publisher and a website builder. Kerry Hudson

I would recommend that she uses her budget to get a decent DSLR camera that also shoots video. I use two Nikon D3200 cameras between two GCSE classes, two AS and two A2 classes. There are the obvious issues of waiting lists for the cameras, but I use booking forms. I would also suggest that she buys a couple of memory card readers and an external hard drive so that the card can be uploaded and wiped pretty quickly, ready for the next student to use it. Jane Edwards

I know what it is like to set a department up on no budget! Do you have access to computers or laptops? Internet? If so, a cheap way of using Adobe on a short term basis is to sign up for the free 30 day trial, when your students are ready to actually produce their coursework and they have online access to the necessary software such as Photoshop and Premiere etc but only for 30 days. But that is software, not hardware. I have run Media, both GCSE and A Level with 2 JVC camcorders, and students use their phones too. The biggest issue is really with the computers you have and the software as not all phones are compatible. If you have PCs, Moviemaker is alright, especially for GCSE, although if you can enable Adobe Premiere the flexibility is better. I would also suggest a cheap microphone to use with the camcorder. I got mine on Amazon for under £10. Also a tripod, also Amazon. Flip Cameras (simple cameras which flip up to film) and attach directly...

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