Tape goes West at UWE

Three years ago a convoy of white vans arrived at the Faculty of Arts at the University of West of England in Bristol. An hour later its entire stock of SVHS camcorders, linear editing decks and analog tape were history.
In came Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro and Panasonic digital camcorders. Now 20 professional tapeless HD camcorders have taken up residence, joining 80 other standard and high definition digital models.
Mark Barton, senior film instructor at UWE, explains the ethos:
"We're dynamic, we're creative, we're positive. The university wants to give the students the best, most realistic production experience it can. We keep upgrading our technology and we keep attracting great students."
Delivering applied higher degrees is UWE's raison d'etre and the faculty is well positioned to teach real, relevant skills and theory. A glance at the staff list at the University of West of England shows a connection between the world of production and education: Liz Banks is billed as a Senior Lecturer, but she's also been behind BBC documentary series, short films and dramas. Charlotte Crofts' short film Bluebell has been shown at film festivals from Pinewood to Palm Springs.
But the students' main contact time is with the instructors. "The instructors are all jobbing professionals with a real insight into modern media practice. Among us are videographers, journalists, photographers, designers and technicians so the students are learning from practitioners." Notes Barton.
UWE's media facilities are extensive, including banks of non-linear editing stations. "It may sound like some kind of highly tuned media organisation, but in the real world there is no such thing. The instructors like glitches. The fact is that Final Cut converts the media into big ProRes files and slows the editing process down. The fact is that getting Final Cut Express files into Final Cut Pro requires a workaround. And recording two mono feeds via XLR connectors is not what some camcorders are designed to do - so how do we get around it? These issues get the students thinking in a way today's professionals do."
The faculty recently adopted the HMC-81 camcorder. It is a robust shoulder-mount design with manual features, solid state recording, progressive and interlaced modes and can capture in a range of standard and high definition modes. "Mastering the HMC-81 prepares the students for professional production." Remarked Mark Barton.
The HMC-81 camera is a great learning tool with advanced recording functions including pre-record, interval recording, shot marker and metadata capture. Other professional features include waveform monitor display, focus assists such as focus bar display and enlarged display, white balance, mode display, zebra display, colour bar, tally lamps, slow smooth zoom and soft landing, slow shutter and synchro-scan shutter functions, and three programmable user buttons. "The HMC-81 is a professional camera that will push the students." Said Jill Keane, Business Development Manager of Holdan, the UK Panasonic distributor.
However, today's economy dictates that cost is a big consideration. Holdan's Keane continues: "The camcorder may be good value but the college looked beyond the initial outlay. For them there were considerable savings on tape. But the savings don't stop there - with no moving parts or tape mechanism, we would expect the cameras to go on for years with only a need for basic maintenance."
Well equipped they may be, but if the students need inspiration, they are in the right place: UWE is in the fortunate position of being in a hotbed of creative talent. Bristol is a media stronghold, home to the BBC, ITV, Aardman Animations, Endemol, Icon Films and E3 Media. It was only natural then UWE should be a centre of excellence in media education.
The students have a growing list of credits behind them. In recent years UWE students have produced award-winning work. This includes the Kodak prize for creative filmmaking twice in the last three years, having work screened at prestigious festivals such as the Sheffield and London Documentary Festivals, and a UWE student winning the Channel 4 Talent award for most promising newcomer in the Longer Documentary category.
Post-graduation the faculty has some notable success stories behind them, including alumni that have produced commercials for Ikea, been the props master on Alien vs Predator and even set up a new TV channel in South America.
"We're energetic and forward-thinking. To make the most of the new Pansonic camcorders we have plans for a sophisticated ingest system and are considering developing a new TV studio. This is an exciting place to study." Enthuses Mark Barton.

Tags: panasonic | fcp | final cut pro | univercity of west of england | uwe | hmc-81 camcorder | holdan | iss050 | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Holdan and Panasonic at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and Panasonic at BVE North 2011

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Panasonic at BVE 2012

    Panasonic at BVE 2012

  • Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

    Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

  • Panasonic at IBC2011

    Panasonic at IBC2011

  • Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Belfast TOUR

    Belfast TOUR

  • KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

  • Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

    Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

    Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

  • Chyron at BVE 2012

    Chyron at BVE 2012

  • Editors Keys at ProVideo2011

    Editors Keys at ProVideo2011

  • Doremi at IBC2011

    Doremi at IBC2011

  • Guided tour of the Holdan Stand at BVE 2016

    Guided tour of the Holdan Stand at BVE 2016

  • Datavideo on the Holdan stand at BVE 2013

    Datavideo on the Holdan stand at BVE 2013

  • Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

  • Holdan and Teradek at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and Teradek at BVE North 2011

  • Filming kit review from NAB

    Filming kit review from NAB

  • Official TOUR Video 2013

    Official TOUR Video 2013

  • TV ONE at BVE 2012

    TV ONE at BVE 2012

  • Teradek at BVE 2012

    Teradek at BVE 2012

  • Datavideo at IBC2011

    Datavideo at IBC2011

Related Shows
  • Holdan at BVE 2016

    Holdan at BVE 2016

Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve
Anthony Newton Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton Click to read or download PDF
Making a Difference in Wireless Transmission
Lukasz Malankowski

We are very proud to say that we are the only company that provides a highly specific service, and that is the hire of wireless video transmission solutions operating in the licence exempt spectrum.

There are other companies that provide licensed equipment and offer a diverse range of wireless solutions based on different modulations, but our products, coupled with the offerings of others rather than competing with them produce a wireless workflow that is greater than their separate capabilities.

Tags: iss138 | boxx | production | wireless | 4k | Lukasz Malankowski
Contributing Author Lukasz Malankowski Click to read or download PDF
The World of 12G 4K/UHD Processing
Varun Patel Technology moves fast and when it comes to audio and video broadcasting, there is always room for improvements in audio and video quality and ease of production. One of the main goals of broadcasters and content providers today is to create an immersive experience for the viewers, giving them the feeling of being part of the viewed content. The 4K/UHD buzz has been in the consumer world for some time but what does that actually mean for the content producer?
Tags: iss138 | lynx technik | ott | greenmachine | yellobrik | conversion | Varun Patel
Contributing Author Varun Patel Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures. No More Comfort Zone - Get a Placement
Michelle Brown I have often heard that any chance of getting work in the television industry is based quite heavily on who you know, and whilst that might indeed be true, I’ve also come to the realisation that it may also depends on what opportunities you seize and how far out of your comfort zone you might be prepared to push yourself.
Tags: iss138 | portsmouth uni | creative careers | placement | Michelle Brown
Contributing Author Michelle Brown Click to read or download PDF
News Out Of The Cloud - Technology At The Front Line Of Journalism
Stuart Almond Throughout history, journalists have always had to seek and adapt to new technologies to deliver news in a format and at a speed that consumers demanded. Today, recent technological changes in the media environment have led to another inflection point. If modern media outlets want to empower journalists to remain agile and turn news stories around quickly and efficiently, they have to start embracing new, innovative technologies, like cloud-based media solutions.
Tags: iss138 | sony | ofcom | cloud-based media | intelligent | Stuart Almond
Contributing Author Stuart Almond Click to read or download PDF