Virtually the Governing Council

This morning’s RAU governing council meeting was a little different from usual.

The chair, the Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE, was unable to attend and presided over the meeting from the comfort of his own home. He was able to do so using standard video conferencing equipment and some support from fellow council members.

Governors at the meeting with the Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE shown on the front screen

Governors at the meeting with the Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE shown on the front screen

The meeting went extremely well with only one minor instance of video freeze and audio lag. Luckily the lunch time sandwiches weren’t virtual!

The equipment used was:

  • Short Throw Projector
  • Portable Projector Screen
  • Laptop
  • Logitech Conferencing Kit (Webcam & Microphone/Speaker console)
  • GoToMeeting conferencing software

Many thanks to Leigh Miller, one of our Service Desk Analysts, who set the kit up for us.

We’ve got the kit!

Earlier this week Helen Hyde from Hyde media joined us on campus to help us test out our new media kit. The kit has been purchased primarily to help us create video content for the catalyst programme. We are taking a mobile journalism (#mojo) approach and using phones for all filming.

Helen demonstrates our tripod and rig

Helen demonstrates our tripod and rig

Helen’s top  set up suggestions were:

  • Use a tripod for the majority of filming, gimbals are for movement and emotion
  • When you put your tripod up start from the bottom first
  • Keep your lapel mic facing down – this avoids capturing all minor sounds
  • Get your phone set up right: make sure it isn’t on silent, don’t lock in portrait mode and do put it in airplane mode
  • Make sure your phone lens it at the top when recording
  • Lighting uses a triangle – the camera, the person being filmed and the light

Our new kit comprises of:

  • Neewer Metal Smartphone Video Rig
  • RØDE SC6L 3.5 mm iOS Interface – Black
  • Neewer Professional Camera Bag Loop Backpack
  • Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod with Hybrid Head, Black
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Headphones
  • LaCie Copilot 2000GB Portable External Hard Drive and Backup On Set Solution (BOSS)
  • RØDE VMML Me-L Directional Microphone for iOS Devices – Black RØDE Camera and Audio VideoMic with Rycote Lyre Mount Rode VideoMicro Compact On Camera
  • Microphone
  • BOYA BY-M1 3.5mm Lavalier Condenser Microphone
  • Anker PowerCore 20100 Power bank
  • Aputure AL-M9 Amaran Lighting Up Pint-Sized LED Fill Light Mini Video Light
  • Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod with Handgrip for Compact System Cameras
  • Zhiyun Smooth-Q 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone
  • Neewer Smartphone Rig Filmmaker Grip Tripod Mount with Cold Shoe Mount
  • Neewer Handheld Stabilizer Multi-use Ergonomic Hand Shape Grip
  • Neewer 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector
  • Neewer Background Support System with Three 6x 9ft/1.8×2.8M Backdrop Lighting Kit
Microphone set up

Microphone set up

We will be using new kit over the next few months and experimenting with editing and multimedia techniques.

Making MoJo Movies

In order to develop really great blended learning courses for the Catalyst Programme we will be relying heavily on a variety of multimedia content. Creation and use of relevant, good quality video resources is probably top of our list. However within our Learning Tech team we have varying levels of ability when it comes to video filming and editing skills so it makes sense to get some support from the experts.

Using a hand held rig

Using a hand held rig

Yesterday we had a visit from Cassius Rayner, award winning film maker and media training expert. Cassius spent the day showing us how to use our phones like pros (we are pretty much an all iphone house) and master the art of mobile film making and mojo.

It was a really fun day and we are far from experts but there were some very clear tips that we will be sharing with our wider academic community.

Cassius Rayner setting up a tripo

Cassius Rayner setting up a tripod

General phone filming tips

  1. Always film in landscape – 16×9 is the standard option here.
  2. Don’t zoom on a phone – zooming is a lie, you are just reducing the quality of your video. If you want to be nearer get up and walk, or if your phone has a second telephoto lens use it!
  3. Newer iphones have 2 lenses (tele and wide angle) – if you want to zoom this is one option but be careful about getting in too close and your picture distorting.
  4. Iphones need lots of light so if you can pick light locations. If not there are some features (the AE/AF lock) which can help.
  5. Using a hand held rig can be a huge help in stabalising your phone and connecting it to other kit (like a tripod).
  6. Add a grid to your camera (Settings > Camera > grid) so you can line things up. Use the rule of thirds for interviews (interviewee eyes should be at the intersection of the first square.
  7. When you film an interview always film a cut away shot (like footage of their hands), you never know when you might need it. Extra cutaway shots can also include recorded interviewer questions, nodding, someone thinking, walking etc.
  8. Get good at gliding along as you film people walking. Bend your knees and walk whilst keeping the upper part of your body stable.
  9. Buy some core kit. You can bring in extra light using a reflector. A gimbal is great for counteracting shaky hands. A back screen will allow you to film great interviews with no distracting background and a microphone is essential in noisy areas as a the smart phone mics are normally not great.
  10. Keep your phone charged up and ready to go. Filming will drain your battery. Take a portable charger.
A hand held rig with mic and flash

A hand held rig with mic and flash

Just before lunch we had a break from the hands-on work and were visited by Ben McCammick-Copley, media production manager from UCEM. Ben spent time talking to our academics about the video opportunities that are out there and will support their modules.

Interview filming - photo courtesy of Madeline Paterson

Interview filming – photo courtesy of Madeline Paterson

Filmic pro filming tips

In the afternoon we spent time using the Filmic pro app. which gives you lots more control over your phone camera than your standard set up.

  1. The usual number of frames is 24 frames per second for film and 25 frames per second for video.
  2. Set your white balance – you can use auto but also do manually. Click to lock.
  3. Set your presets in advance. We went for 16.9, HD 2K, filmic pro for standard filming, and also created a slo-mo setting.
  4. Don’t save your videos to the photo gallery as this will cause loss of quality – load them directly on to your computer for editing.
  5. If you want to learn about more ways to use FilmicPro, you will find detailed tutorials on the Filmic pro website.

We ended the day by creating our own little promo and editing it on iMovie.

I think we are feeling a lot more confident about our filming ability, now we just need something to film!

Aurelie works the slider

Aurelie works the slider