The Current Logo

The Materials

Written by Jonathan Bartels
June 07, 2010

In my personal opinion, there is nothing better than a Mac when it comes to working with video. But Apple products were hard to come by in our PC-dominated district. Once the principal was onboard with the idea of the project, he called in the district technology director to help work out some of the logistics. Being in a small county suddenly played to my advantage, and I was asked questions that I never expected to hear: “What do you need to do this? If you had your realistic dream setup, what would it be?” 

“Four Macs, Blue Snowball microphones, and a hard drive camcorder.”

“Done.” As a bonus, they even tossed in two copies of Final Cut Studio, a delightfully complicated software toolset. 

I also needed a converter to run the lines from the computer into standard AV lines so it could be plugged into our school’s networked television system for broadcast.

In addition to the technology, I wanted a set and some lighting. It is amazing how easily a set can be made by simply building a wooden frame and tacking on some cheap, white bed sheets. The lighting was a little more complicated and took some time to figure out.

The early lighting setup was comprised of a series of leaning floor
lamps. It was time-consuming and challenging to get the lighting to
behave in the way we wanted, especially since it was decided that using
rear projection onto our background would be a fun element. As a result,
many of the early videos were very dark.

Image originally uploaded on Mon, 2010-06-07 06:05

Eventually, we used four simple clamp lights found at the hardware store
and covered them with kitchen wax paper and mounted up to a simple
wooden frame. 

Image originally uploaded on Mon, 2010-06-07 06:07

To make our daily setup even easier, we creating a lighting rig by mounting some of the extra wood from our background build to the backside of the overhead projector cart we were using as a computer stand.

In hindsight, we could have done this project on a much tighter budget by using existing computers in the school and free Microsoft MovieMaker. We also could have used a simple $20 webcam/mic combo, but some production value would have been sacrificed. And why go small scale when you have the opportunity to go big?

Related posts