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    #11
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    High School. To me this means that your expectations of their ability can be somewhat higher than reality. I started teaching 17-23 year old in college, so one would think a little more capable in level than High School, but no. My 12 years doing this made me re-think many times. Quality is NOT important for the first stage. Simplicity is. Capture is the starting point and getting the right framing, angles and telling the story is the critical thing. DSLRs and cameras that can swap lenses are too far, too soon. I did this - buying a small number of nice cameras and modest lenses and getting them back broken, or with scratched glass or broken flaps etc. We tried making them sign for them with the parents having to agree to fund repairs and replacements. Didn't work. We got loads of out of focus, wobbly cam footage that failed before even going into the editors. We swapped to HD handicams. flip out viewfinders, pretty nice audio, easy to hold, full auto, and loads of batteries. We kept the nice cameras for year two, once they had made progress capturing usable images. We discovered that many students were still producing base quality products in their second year, only a few having the ability to move up to manual operation, with more sophisticated kit. We used this split approach for media, but also for our audio courses - nobody got to use the delicate and sophisticated kit till they had proven themselves.

    I fear that your expectations may be just too high. They will, if they behave like mine, bring back cameras with water inside, front elements scratched, viewfinders broken, and McDonalds grease everywhere. Sensors will have fingerprints and stuff like sand inside - we have the sea close by, and they change lenses in the wind, and the rubbish goes inside. Start with cheap kit, cheap tripods, no decent external mics etc etc. Buy enough of this kit to have spares - you will need them. Keep just a few quality systems for the best students. I also discovered that I'd run the programme and one group would produce excellent results. The next course though would be inept, and breakages and costs went up. Often with no budget for repair and replacement. If you've been asked to do the course, are you aware of the students attitudes and abilities? I wasn't, and it was a shock to see expensive shotguns in expensive housings being whacked into door frames, or leant up against walls because they were heavy, and then knocked over. Crazy stuff I hope you don't experience!


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    #12
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    Really depends on the people...that's not going to happen with everyone.


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    #13
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    No - there will be plenty of exceptions, but the distance from the learners is the critical one. Every wonderful project, reviewed a few years later is never as good as I thought it was. Even worse is that out off 30 students, maybe two or three really have the aptitude. Most colleges have an equipment graveyard, schools - at least here - are even worse.


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    #14
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    I think the people that WANT to be there and learn is whom you probably would like to teach.

    Anyone that's forced to take 'just another course' and has no interest in the subject (photography/video) will probably provide you the results you're reporting (with the few exceptions).


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    #15
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    I agree with Paulears, I did a little teaching at a 2 yr video program at our local Community college, most of the kids did not progress to a production level beyond hand held palm cameras that could take advantage of the Panasonic 150s. They will to shoot with their cell phones if you let them. They need to get the basics learned first, shot composition, frame lead/head room, exposure, white balance and using a tripod. They need to be instructed to use their cameras in manual mode versus auto mode.

    But they do try and that is important, that's why we are there to help them learn.


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    #16
    Canon DSLR Moderator M. Gilden's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice everyone!
    It is a private school, and it is an elective class specifically for a student production they are planning for the later in the year. The only students taking the class are there because they want to be responsible for making the final production happen. We started with more kids, but already 4 weeks in and the numbers have dropped to only the "serious" ones, mostly.
    I've been experimenting with my own lenses for now, the school already bought cameras and audio gear. I set up a simple rail system with a follow focus gear and had them stage an over-the-shoulder dialog shot in the classroom to see how it would go.
    With the help of an external monitor, they managed to have one student running the camera and framing while another pulled focus with the help of a monitor and sideways mounted gear. It seemed to go well enough that I *THINK* they can pull this off, however changing lenses in the field is something I am definitely concerned about. But again, I'm not there for the production, I'm just supposed to give them the stepping stones to figure out what they need to do for it. After that it isn't really my problem, and the students involved know that if they break something, it's on them and their production will be ruined. The students in other parts of the production (dance, acting, set design, etc) are relying on them as well as the parent body, so that's enough to make them responsible I think. So far at least some of the students have really stepped up and have been asked by the administration to be responsible for things like putting the equipment back into a locked closet at the end of class and making sure batteries are charged, etc, for me when we start. In fact, last class I came in, one girl was already setting up the lights for the class without any instruction from my part, because that is how we left it last time, complete with charged batteries and plugs were needed, and a big TV for me to connect to over HDMI and show the rest of the class what the camera sees.
    I think these kids are motivated and probably less careless than the ones mentioned earlier here. Or at least, I'd like to think so.

    Anyway, I could always just recommend the school just buy an 18-105 f/4 E-mount lens and be done with it. Fits the budget, can autofocus, has OIS, not very exciting or particularly sharp though. Should be sharp enough for HD video methinks. But they want more students to have jobs on the camera, so separating the focus puller job is something they want to do.

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    #17
    Senior Member Cary Knoop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Gilden View Post
    can autofocus
    For video, I would teach them not to use autofocus.


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