I think people have always known video projects are great for the classroom – they support multimodal learning, promote teamwork, and allow you to sneak creative skills into other areas of the curriculum, all while giving students a voice. It’s just that many schools have struggled to find the space (and budget) for their own recording space, and don’t know what kind of kit they’ll need to start making video projects or a collaborative student news team. If this has been the problem for you, say hello to TriCaster 40.
What is TriCaster 40?
NewTek’s TriCaster solutions are used by broadcast professionals everywhere to create news bulletins, webcasts and feeds of footage to be shown at events. They let students share content three ways – by creating streaming TV, airing broadcast-quality video and sharing to the web and mobile devices. TriCaster 40 is a stripped down version of this, including only the features that you and your students need to film things like sports events, school plays and classroom projects, then share them online in realtime. Your students still get to learn the basics of a professional creative workflow, but you can focus on teaching skills, rather than wasting lesson time explaining repeatedly how the unit works.
What does TriCaster 40 let you do?
You can connect cameras, computer screens and iOS devices like iPad to TriCaster, which will then record whatever is being captured by the camera or shown on the screen. Students can work together to plan and create the content they’ll need, then hook it all up to TriCaster and cut between the different feeds to create their broadcast. They can add titles and graphics to give their work a more professional look, or even use the built-in 3D virtual studio to put backdrops behind presenters, so it looks like they’re being filmed in a news studio rather than a broom cupboard.
All of this can be done in realtime (so students get instant feedback on their work to keep them engaged) and using just the one box (meaning the workflow is incredibly simple). The final edit can be saved to internal memory or streamed live online.
What kind of projects can it create?
As well as recording lectures and making sure your school’s sporting triumphs are seen by all, you can encourage students to use their video skills across the curriculum by reporting on historical events, creating their own weather forecasts in Geography or recording breakthrough science experiments. The portability of TriCaster 40 also means it’s easy to get out in the community and get involved in local events, creating live online news bulletins or recording content for an editing team to shape into a short documentary.
The film crew
Whether you’re working in the classroom or out at an event, we’d recommend splitting students into groups and giving each member a different role. Here are a few suggestions – why not get students to take turns as each, so they get to practise different key skills with each project?
Three camera operators
A great job for creative students who want to polish their technical skills.
They’ll need… Cameras (we’d recommend something like the user-friendly Sony MC2000E, or one of their NXCAM range, which now have a 10% education discount), tripods and talkback mics so they can speak with the director and vision mixer.
Makes sure everyone is mic-ed up and the sound levels are properly balanced between inputs. TriCaster has its own audio mixer that they can control via a free iPad app.
They’ll need… A mixing desk will let youdo mixdowns or plug outputs directly into the TriCaster to use the onboard mixer, and a range of mics – wireless clip-on ones work best for recording lone speakers, or a boom operator could use a shotgun microphone to record interviews.
The charming host (or teacher) delivering the content, as well as the opportunity for script writers.
They’ll need… A microphone and a text prompter (again, there’s an iPad app and camera mount for this).
Get a team to create graphics, titles and backdrops to add live to your production. NewTek’s Live Text controller is perfect for this.
They’ll need… Some software to create effects in (Adobe’s After Effects or Photoshop, for example), access to TriCaster or a control surface. You can also add a green screen kit if you want to create your own chromakey backdrops. All of which you can get from Jigsaw24!
Works with the camera ops and graphics artist to ensure everything is evenly lit, so that it looks professional.
They’ll need… Some lights and reflectors – we’d recommend a three-point lighting system, depending on your room.
Manning TriCaster itself, the vision mixer’s job is to cut between different feeds to make sure all the key information is captured.
They’ll need… TriCaster 40 (complete with control surface if you need room for more than one student) and a talkback mic so they can give instructions to the camera operators.
In charge of running the production, this is a great way to give students some extra responsibility during the shoot.
They’ll need… A talkback mic so they can issue instructions to the rest of the crew, a gallery output for multi-view monitoring and impressive organisational skills!
…and then action!
The presenter presents, the camera operators operate and the vision mixer cuts between the different feeds, while others monitor shot lists, cue up prompts and make sure everything is properly lit and audible. Students can stream the video live to other groups (or your intranet site) over the web, and record it on TriCaster’s memory at the same time so it’s saved for assessment or revision.
The best thing about the setup you need for this (apart from the fact that you can move it anywhere) is that it’s completely modular. If your media department have analogue cameras, you can use them with TriCaster 40. If you already have an iPad, you can cross that off the list.
If you have a specific project in mind, you can build a whole solution around TriCaster that’s tailored specifically to your needs. Give us a call to find out more.