Ideal DV Production Studio - Suggestions please!!! at

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Old December 13th, 2004, 02:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1
Ideal DV Production Studio - Suggestions please!!!

The principal at my school asked me to write up a three tier proposal for a new Digital Video Studio at our high school. Three tier meaning, best product, good product, ok product. For instance the cameras: XL2, Optura, or XR80.

Anyway, this isn't just an editing studio. They want to be able to do the following: Broadcast the morning announcements though the tv system, have the journalism class do fake news reports, let the acting class film monologues for their portfolio, etc. We're talking big time.

So here is what I am thinking I will need: (please post any more equipment suggestions too) as well as what you think might be worth buying.
  • DV Cameras (this I am ok on)
  • Tripods/dollies (something to move around a little)
  • Teleprompter
  • Studio Lights (nothing too high powered...something with barn doors)
  • DV Mixer (something like this:
  • Backdrops (I was hoping to get a nice green screen too)
  • Mics (a system that can easily switch between lavalier and hand held mic)
  • Some kind of news desk?
  • Really long FireWire cables so I can hook all this up
  • Like I said, anything else anyone can think of...
Just some background on this idea. It is supposed to be housed in its own room. It should be able to be run by about 1-3 people. Also, it will be set up on G5 towers so mac compatibilty is essential. So if you know of a product that does just what I need, great, let me know. If you know of a cheap solution, also great. If you know of a shoestring budget style way to get the same result, I would love to hear that too.

Thanks everyone. Hopefully next year I can post what comes of all this planning.
Julian Carter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
I ran a video production club during my high school so here are some observations from my experience:

1- Video mixers range so much in price. A Panasonic MX50 is a good mixer and is considerably cheaper than everything else, IF you can still find one. Videonics MX1 is ok (cheap analog mixer... the panasonic is superior, no lag on cuts and dissolves, better build), edirol/roland mixers are ok (no cuts, can only do dissolves well; 2 S-video ins/outs). Haven't tried the newer videonics stuff.

Analog mixers are cheaper but I don't think anyone makes them anymore.

2- A lot of stuff gets lost, damaged, or stolen. A 2-input video mixer and camcorder get stolen, lots of little items get lost (adapters especially), and a tripod get broken when it fell over (it was a cheap plastic one we borrowed). You should take this into consideration.

Adapters you should get extras for. might be ok if shipping doesn't kill you and you live in the states. Local electronics stores may be good too (REAL electronic stores, not radio shack/best buy).

3- Tripods: Cheap consumer tripods are annoying since they're hard to do camera moves on (i.e. pans). I don't have any good recommendations for tripods I've used. I have used some Manfrotto tripods (friction head) and they get crappy after they've been used for a few years. The head jiggles, which is really annoying for live work as you need a little time to let the tripod "settle" (sorry not describing this well).

Dolly: wheelchair + camera stabilizer? That's probably the only thing worth getting. You probably don't need a dolly.

4- Lights: Safety issue?
Some schools are really paranoid about safety and if the administration starts thinking about that stuff you're in trouble.

5- Time/initiative/commitment/trying to do too much:
Originally my predecessors had the school setup so that we could put broadcast announcements on TVs throughout the school. It just never happened.

6- The most important thing is to get students to learn and be creative. You don't need professional gear, just gear that works and is easy to use.

7- Analog-digital passthrough in one camera is very useful. You may need to grab stuff from VHS or hi.

8- Multi-camera shoots: They're a lot more effort that may not be worth it. During high school, we did productions of live events and sold the videos after so multi-camera was worth doing. For a news thing one camera could/would be good enough.

If you do have to do multi-camera stuff, get all the same camera with manual white balance. Consumer cameras are all over the place in terms of color, especially if they only have auto white balance. They won't match well.

You can use co-axial cable for cabling, with RCA adapters. S-video cable (I believe you can make your own S-video --> 2Xco-ax or 2XRCA adapters or buy one) is better (no chroma crawl)... but the extra quality may not be needed. I'd probably go for it though if you can get the cabling cheap.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 14th, 2004, 12:34 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Too bad about the necessity to make it mac operable. A Video Toaster would make your life so much easier, mixing the control room equipment into one single package.

Having redesigned and rebuilt a college studio and managed the equipment for the Cinema classes, I can tell you that it is impossible to design your studio without some sort of budget. Otherwise it is just a lot of hard work to do it correctly and no expectation that the end result will be an operating studio.

Get a budget number first and then you can make intelligent decisions about the equipment.
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
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