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A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers

From the 23 teachers who attended this workshop in July 2019, we have included Solutions Journalism Story Ideas, other Story Ideas for a whole range of topics and Tech Examples of something they learned, many of these for data visualization, plus some resources anyone can use in the future for these topics.

Building a Photo Studio or Something Close

Photo Studio Setup

As we spent our week together learning about about some amazing stuff, I spent a lot of time asking questions and trying my best to listen to others.

I am was lucky enough this summer to be awarded a grant to set up a photography/video studio. Throughout the week I spent time asking everyone about their experiences doing such things and here is what I came up with.

I just placed an order for the following equipment and much more, but I wanted to highlight a few of the things that learned along the way that might help the rest of you.

Video was the biggest struggle for me, because I have never done anything close to professional and I am tired of bad sound, shaky videos and low resolution. After a week of talking with educators I sought out professional help and went to some of my former students who now do this for a living. If you want to check out some of their work go here:

Miles had a few suggestions to help us get started without breaking the bank and staying versatile.

Purchase a couple of Sony A6500 cameras: They have great autofocus and low light shooting capabilities and you can also use them for amazing pictures.
28mm Fixed Lens for interviews and studio work a zoom for the games and other stuff
Do not buy a video camera.
Blackmagic Design Video Assist HDMI/6G-SDI Recorder, Get and external Screen and recorder to allow for longer recordings. Most DSLR Cameras shutdown after 30 minutes, but not with an attached recorder.
Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 This little toy will make your video look professional, no more shaky footage or pans that are too fast. We ordered two. I cannot wait to play with them.

That was it. Yes, I bought some more stuff, but the essentials are listed above. He said with this equipment we can start shooting great videos. I also hired him to come train my students. I am a big fan of bringing in people who are smarter than me.

Now for the Photo part of the studio:

Get Paper rolls and find a way to not pay shipping. Done. I shopped local and they were a few more dollars, but not as much as shipping. Also amazon sells a few of the colors and they are PRIME. Thanks Dan.

Full Frame Cameras will take better studio shots and we will love them when shooting swimming and in the gym. Something about low light. I understand aperture, but I have never understood the benefit of full frame. I am not sure I do now, but I know the advantages and that is a start.

Now to get that new camera in my hands and start playing. We ordered two Nikon 7500s.

Flashes do not always give you the same light, purchase nice ones and you will be happier.

ProMaster Unplugged TTL400 Monolight 2-Light Kit Studio Strobes (6789) This kit was suggested by my local Photo Pro and a photographer friend because they are self adjusting. What that means I am not really sure, but he said they will adjust to the room and the kids will take great pictures on auto, at least until they learn how to use them.

Phottix makes great umbrellas, soft boxes, etc. I got to use some in the shop and they are easy to set up and just an all around better quality.

Buy Great C stands. It will make your life easier in the long run.

Is that it? No, not even close, but that is a good start. Throughout all of this I found out the best method was just to talk to real people who have used the equipment. My online research only added to my anxiety about buying the wrong thing and wasting the entire grant.

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