Media4ed.net
 

Media 4 education is an interactive information resource designed specifically for people who use multimedia within education, whether you actually teach or lecture in media studies or Creative Arts or simply want to use multimedia more effectively within the educational environment.

Media4ed.net is run by dedicated media Industry Professionals, highly experienced within their own fields, who can provide you with the best professional advice available on how to improve, use and teach multimedia within education.

The use of multimedia within education is currently under going something of an explosion!  Media4ed.net is here to offer you the resource to push the boundaries forward, ask questions of professionals and give you the opportunities to get the best from your efforts to educate.

 

Click titles to see the full text of these recent articles:-

Finding my faculties!

I recently meet a professional friend for lunch who last year gained a post as lecturer in the Engineering Faculty at my local University. I’ve had involvement myself with the Creative Arts faculty at the University helping out with sessions for the media practice department involving mostly Media Studies graduates, post and Masters.

My friend now lecturers in the Music Technology Department, although the course should really be called “Audio Recording Technology” simply because of the wide range of subject matter and equipment covered. They are learning not just about recording music, but about all audio recording genres, even putting together Radio Plays, working from script to finished piece including having to gather and record all their sound effects as well……………………………

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Telling a good story

I visited a local University and I took a full days ‘Visiting Professional’ session for 3rd years, entitled a ‘Master class on location recording’ (their title not mine!).  A chance not only to learn at bit more about film/program making, but also find out a little more about the industry from someone who works in it, before they start to look for a job next summer. I had just nine attend from a course of 72!!! And one guy was an hour and a half late and just walked as if it didn’t matter!

The problem?  It was deemed a technical session and not promoted by the academic staff, so therefore the students felt no need to attend. The attitude is that the only time they need……………………………

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Exams - Are they worth it????

I made a poor start with the head of Media Studies at my local school. The school has Technology and Media Arts Special status and it was my first meeting with him and he obviously wanted to impress. I can’t remember the exact figures he gave me, but some of his very first words to me were his proud boast that last year they’d achieved an above average exam score. He was a little taken aback by my lack of response.

Every year seems to set another record of ‘A’s and ‘A*’s in exams, but how much worth does an exam result have when so many other students (degree or A level), have the same seemingly impressive results? What makes your students stand apart from……………………………

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TW LP4S location Portable Mixer

I was looking for a second hand SQN when I came across the TW-LP4S from Hungary. It seemed too good to be true, a mixer with all these facilities for less than the price of a second hand SQN, so I took a risk!

The mixer arrived last Friday and I had a busy weekend with very little time to play with it before a job using it on the Monday.

Now, I have to say that everything I say below must be qualified! I constantly had to remind myself how little I’d just paid for it!!!! So below is my little review.

twlp4sfrontwithcase

First impressions:

On the Sunday night I frantically sorted out all my kit for the following morning trying to make sure everything worked for……………………………

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Sound on a DSLR

mke400topd7000First thing to establish about recording movies on your DSLR, as you may have experienced, is that the internal microphone is next to unless and the recorded sound can only be really used as a guide track. This isn’t to say that the mic is awful quality or the recording system itself isn’t up to scratch, but the fact that the omnidirectional mic is built into the camera body, picking up every hand movement, the focus servo and your heavy breathing!!!!

So the first choice to make is which camera top mic to go for and what sort of situation it can be used in. Pictured is my brilliant new D7000 (more later!) and my Sennhieser MKE400 microphone - this is……………………………

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The rise and rise of the DSLR

The DSLR in the last six months has begun to make huge changes in the way we shoot video. The film like quality of the resulting video, the huge jump in quality SLR lens give over video camcorders, it all makes the format perfect for shooting artist material.

Have a look at the Canon promotional Video by Vincent LaForet below to see what can be achieved.

1080p

Click the HD icon to see a higher definition picture - do pause the other one first!  Remember what you're seeing is, even in the higher quality version, only a compressed version of the 1080 line original.

They are many striking examples of the artistic medium given life by the digital SLR, but if you browse the net……………………………

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LED lighting

Health and safety are obviously major considerations in the practice of media within education, be it trying to get some naive student to simply think about where they’re going to set up a tripod (i.e. not in the road) or perhaps to consider the risk level of a particular location we’ve chosen to shoot in (swimming pool??).

Of all the Health and safety considerations the equipment that causes the most concern and risk must be lighting.  240v, live cables trailing everywhere to trip over, those cables attached to heavy lights high on stands to tip over and finally that’s not taking into account a few thousand kilowatts of heat to burn hands and set things on fire!

Taking into account these concerns……………………………

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Creating Character Creates Confidence

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's 'Alice In Wonderland'

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's 'Alice In Wonderland'

YouTube is full of fantastic amateur films, where people invent stories or portray outlandish spoofs of seminal TV or cinema moments. What it reveals is that digital technology is extremely democratic, and that playing a ‘character’ is hugely liberating.

Having run numerous camera and drama workshops for students and adults, I know that using digital technology creatively, can unlock certain individuals and reveal a confidence that was previously lacking. So how can we use audio-visual equipment not only to create and share information, but also to build confidence and communication skills?

Perhaps the answer lies in ‘character’, in not having to be oneself. From the moment we master language, we make……………………………

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What your eyes hear!

Our eyes, as our main sense, very much dictate how we hear things.  They do say that it’s only when you remove the pictures, i.e. Radio, that the real pictures actually become better!

What we see in front of us on the screen will dictate what we expect to hear.  Over the years I’ve worked in numerous areas of broadcasting, one job I do for a long time was sound dubbing for the Nature History Unit in Bristol.  Most footage is shot on either a very long lens or in tiny macro and is actually mute - i.e. there was no recorded ‘live’ sound.  Everything you see was dubbed on using sound effects, live spot effects (me) and wild track atmosphere……………………………

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To record in Stereo or Mono - that is the question?

builtinmicMost domestic and semi-professional video cameras have a stereo ‘internal’ microphone set into the front of the camera.  We’ve all seen the ‘home’ videos were you can hear the person with the camera breathing heavily rather than what’s on the pictures.

Well you’ll be surprised to know that professional cameras don’t have this microphone!  Although they have the capability to record in stereo (they have two audio tracks), the microphone attached the front (which can be unattached or replaced) is a single mono microphone, which is much more directional than the stereo version.

Unless you are recording a TV drama or film, professionally you would not tend to record in stereo on location.  The use of stereo on location recordings complicate the……………………………

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Documentaries - Can You Solve The Chicken & Egg Situation?

Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr

Documentaries come under the category of ‘factual’ programmes, and as the title suggests, the content should be based on facts, an objective and balanced presentation of an issue or event. Documentaries by their very nature rely on capturing ‘spontaneous’ material, and this often means that the content cannot be scripted prior to filming. So how can we help students prepare effectively for making a documentary film? It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.

Which comes first – script or filming? The answer of course, is neither. What should come first is research. Knowing the subject matter and the story you want to tell can only be achieved through thorough research.

Thankfully, there are numerous ways in which research can……………………………

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Basic Microphone Patterns

A microphone is a very basic mechanical/electrical device.  Simply put, sound waves, rather like waves onto a beach, hit a diaphragm, which produces an electrical voltage down a wire – simple as that!!!


It is just a simple volume driven instrument and next to the complexity of your ears it’s practically a prehistoric device!!! However scientists have managed to develop this little diaphragm to give us certain pick patterns to work with, this means making them directional.



If we look at a representation of a basic Omni-directional microphone pick up pattern it will give us an idea of how these patterns work.

If you walked around the circle drawn around the microphone head talking, it would pick your voice up at……………………………

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Audio file formats - recording and storing

compact_discCD (Compact Disc), our first mass digital format, arrived with us over 25 years ago. It gave us clean digital sound in a way we hadn’t experienced before. There have been new HD audio disc formats introduced over the years (SACD), but CD was so well established they’ve become rare items.

In 1993, with the computer revolution well underway, MP3 was introduced to enable music to be stored relatively easily on a hard disc. A 3-minute CD track represented a raw ‘PCM’ file of about 60mB, whereas a MP3 file was only 3-5mB, allowing over 10 times the media to be stored.

So how does MP3 achieve this? As well as applying a mathematical formula to the raw PCM data to reduce its size, it applies……………………………

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