New Media Services equipment: rent a camera or use your phone

Posted on: April 13, 2015 | By: Patrick Lathan | Filed under: Tech Tips
The Zoom iQ5 plugs in via your iDevice’s Lightning connector. Image via

The Zoom iQ5 plugs in via your iDevice’s Lightning connector. Image via

Media Services has introduced a few new items to its inventory this year, with a focus on enabling students to get more functionality out of devices that they already own. As high-quality cameras have become common on devices like smartphones and laptops, there’s less need for separate camcorders and microphones. Of course, smartphone recordings aren’t perfect for every situation, so we’ll also talk about a few devices dedicated to recording high-quality video.

Augment your device

Media Services has recognized that people are coming to campus with more technology, and they’re adding more accessories that’ll work with a variety of popular devices.  The shift of people bringing their own technology has been coming for a few years according to Kelly Reimer, director of Teaching and Learning Technologies. “Checkout items that were popular just a few years ago are now technologies that our community comes to campus with already,” says Reimer. “We want to offer equipment that enables students to produce content for academic assignments and projects, supports faculty in their teaching and creation of instructional materials, and provides opportunities for hands-on learning and creativity.”

To this end, Media Services has acquired items like small bendable tripods for use with phones—great for steady recording where a larger tripod would be impractical—and the Zoom iQ5 condenser mic for use with iPhones/iPads, which makes it easy to record high-quality directional audio while staying portable. Media Services welcomes any suggestions about new equipment to be added to their inventory.

Separate camera

If you need high-quality 1080p video, try a Zoom Q4. They’re tiny handheld video recorders with built-in mics which are simple to use and come with a full suite of accessories (like mounts and tripods). They are perfect for recording performances or recitals.

The Zoom Q4, with microphone and flip-out viewing screen. Image from

The Zoom Q4, with microphone and flip-out viewing screen. Image from

For those who require more durability, there are GoPros available. GoPros are small, sturdy cameras without screens—they do have some shooting features, such as time-lapse capability, but their main advantage is the ability to be mounted to things and used to film in situations that are too rough for other recorders. Media Services also offers Steadicam handheld mounts for smooth filming with either GoPros or idevices.

If you need to shoot near-professional video and a Zoom Q4 just won’t cut it, there are also some large Canon XA20 cameras. To create the perfect environment for filming, there are lighting kits and gel packs (for softening/coloring the light). The XA20s are serious business, though—if you want to check one out or one of the GoPros, you’ll need to go on Moodle and self-enroll in “Media Services Equipment Training,” select the kind of equipment you’ll be using, and complete a simple training exercise. You’ll also need to sign a user agreement to make sure that you understand that you’re responsible for the equipment.

MORE: New cameras in Media Services gives community chance to experiment with video

Of course, this is just a small fraction of the gadgets and tools that Media Services has to offer: make sure to check out their page for the full list of items available. What would you like to see in Media Services? Let us know in the comments.

Patrick Lathan

Patrick is a second-year Computer Science major, currently working as an Elite student with the Teaching and Learning Technologies department.

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