WE ARE SPECIFYING a suite of creative media production tools that will help university students produce broadcast quality content while on remote assignments. For the past six years, I have used an iPad Mini with cellular connectivity and a suite of production apps, a Zoom H6 field recorder, a Samsung Galaxy handset or an iPhone with several Android apps, Google Drive, Spreaker Studio, a battery pack, and assorted cables. It will cost €1105 to secure the iPad Mini and the Zoom H6 for student use.
I've been using my own iPad Mini 4 and my Zoom H6 while training students. In several cases, students have taken those assets with them to complete project work for their creative multimedia degrees. I want to ensure both pieces of equipment become integral assets of the Clonmel Digital Campus inventory.
iPad Mini 6
Moving up to an iPad Mini 6 will significantly enhance our production values. Its A15 Bionic chip is faster which means apps such as Otter.ai, Headliner, and Voice Record Pro will render products faster. The iPad Mini 6 can use the Apple Pencil which should accelerate some of the audio and video editing on the tablet. This means students will be able to produce audiograms much faster than with the iPad Mini 4. The most immediate benefit accrued from the iPad Mini 6 comes from its higher resolution camera. We will be able to move into the production of live video during on-air radio shows because of the better optics of the on-board camera.
Zoom H6 Bundle
We have depended on the versatile Zoom H6 field recorder to flawlessly capture audio on film sets, lecture halls, vox pops, and from digital audio channels through apps and audio cables from digital playback sources. We use standard 3.5 mm cables between audio sources and the H6 XY module on the Zoom H6.
While the Technological University of the Shannon provides the iPad Mini and the Zoom H6 field recorder, creative students bring their own handsets with apps that help create the syndicated audio and video products. We expect our creative media students will bring a capable handset when completing an assortment of field recording exercises. Most of the Clonmel Digital students learn to use gain controls in their audio recording apps. The standard voice recording app often falls short of expectations so those with iPhones often gravitate towards Voice Record Pro. When supporting local radio, students use the TippFM app or the TuneIn app on their handsets to listen to the broadcast while simultaneously recording the broadcast on the Zoom H6 field recorder. We have been doing this for more than 10 years and recently we've discovered a workflow that generates transcripts in real time.
If we port the live audio into Microsoft Teams, a transcript appears in real time. The university is an Office 365 campus so Teams transcription is a bundled service. We can download and republish the transcript produced by Microsoft Cognitive Services as a news clip. We also use Otter.ai as our transcription service because Otter generates accurate transcripts from imported audio or video content. I pay for access to Otter.ai and hope to establish a line of reimbursement for this process.
Students learn to juggle all of these processes during live broadcast sessions. This sophisticated workflow if possible largely because we use different devices simultaneously as opposed to trying to multitask on one operating system.
Like every other university lecturer, I compete for funding alongside equally compelling priorities. I know several students who would benefit immensely if I could secure both an iPad Mini 6 and a Zoom H6 field recorder for use during active learning sessions. Those students would be learning how to collaboratively produce commercial by-products in real time with seasoned professionals. It's time to retire my personal equipment from active use by university students.
- The iPad Mini 6 64 GB with wifi and cellular connectivity costs €739 at Compub.
- The Zoom H6 bundle costs €366 from Thomann Muskhaus.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]