Interactive Communications has the important task of being a multimedia production team on the Oregon State University campus, which includes the production of video content ranging from short documentary to the university’s institutional commercial. We often get questions from our university partners from all corners of campus. Can you make a video for us? Is it possible to get such and such footage from such and such project? Can you teach our student worker how to use a camera? And the age old question…
What camera should I get?
Sure. You can go to Google, type in the same question and you’ll get an immense amount of information with a tremendous amount of varied opinions. The question our office can answer quite knowledgeably is what camera will work for higher education. Our office has been producing video content in-house for the university for over five years and we’ve learned a bit about bringing creative in-house to higher ed. Some of our work is award-winning, some ambitious and some just plain silly. All-in-all, we have a good idea of what campus communicators need and more importantly, what does and doesn’t work.
When a department approaches us with this question, their needs are simple: A camera that can shoot video, but also take photos. The good news is that pretty much every camera produced today can do this. The bad news is that every camera produced today can do this. To narrow the field, we often ask ourselves: Is it practical? Is it timely? Is it holistic?
- Practical: The camera has to be something people will actually use and practical to use
- Our campus communicators are already tasked to be multimedia multi-tools, we don’t need to send them to film school. However, nor should we neglect the basics.
- No one should need to lug around a 50lb camera bag, plus tripod. Our campus communicators aren’t film crews and neither are we. If it doesn’t fit in the workflow, then it’s not practical.
- Timely: There must be bandwidth to dedicate time, energy and passion to producing content.
- This is a huge barrier to many departments on campus because of the multitude of tasks that are required of our campus communicators. Again, it has to be practical.
- Holistic: We need more than “just a camera”. Additional gear that will support the sustainability and practical use of the camera are imperative.
- Tripod, microphone, memory cards, batteries, lenses and anything else that might be necessary depending on application.
The bulk of this discussion has been very much a gear/equipment-centric discussion. However, we cannot stress enough how the camera is not indicative of the end result. Rather, the team behind the camera has everything to do with the caliber and quality of the produced video or photos. It’s extremely important to recognize how the camera will be used and to what means.
Next week, we’ll look at a couple different camera packages that will follow these guidelines and hopefully help those in higher ed to find the best solution for a camera package. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send a message or leave a comment.