Camera purchase soon to be required for production students
The Canon Vixia HF R200, the department’s suggested student camera. Amazon.com
The Communication Department at Kean will advise students registered for video production courses to buy their own cameras starting this summer.
A letter will be sent to students suggesting that they purchase a Canon Vixia HF R200—a camcorder that costs about $300—for use in their video production classes. This course is required for communication majors with options in journalism, film and media.
Budget cuts and broken cameras prompted the gradual change in policy, which began last semester when camera rentals were not directly available to students.
Students were once permitted to sign out cameras from the distribution center and take them off campus overnight or for the weekend. But cameras were being kept past their due dates and were breaking and depleting. With a limited budget to replace them, the department has decided to urge students to buy their own.
Dr. Christopher Lynch, chair of the department, said the decision was made not only due to budget cuts, but because production courses do not require a textbook.
"The goal is for everyone to have their own camera," Lynch said.
This semester, media professors like Larry Tung, creator of the previous rental system, are providing eight cameras to students for use during class time only. There are two non-HD cameras available for rental outside of class for special projects.
Professor Tung, while acknowledging that an ideal education is one that is free, said the decision is necessary because the department's budget is too low to keep up with equipment demands. When cameras were being returned broken or with missing pieces, it was difficult to trace the root of the problem. Students were also not returning cameras on time.
After the Communication Department merged with the department of Film and Media in 2008, the shared budget provided the program with less money to replace broken or lost equipment.
"We need to work within our limit," Tung said. "I hope students can understand that. It's not to punish them."
Tung also said that it will benefit students in the long run to have their own cameras because they will take better care of them and have unlimited access.
"It's good for students to use them all the time to practice their craft," he said.
Tung also said that the declining price of cameras influenced the faculty's decision.
"Two years ago we never would have proposed this," he said.
The department has been shifting its focus to replacing other old and outdated technology. Their recent priority is to replace aging computers with new Mac computers for the labs. The computers cost about $1,500 each, plus $1,000 for software, Tung said.
There is some disagreement among professors about whether to still offer limited use of the remaining eight cameras come summer semester. A final decision has yet to be made.
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