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Columbia College Chicago
CCC Journalism Equipment Guide

CCC Journalism Equipment Guide

@CCCJournalism Equipment Guide

 

REQUIREMENTS

All journalism students must purchase a flash drive (4GB minimum) for storing personal files. Students may not store any projects or files on department computers.

Students in Digital Storytelling 1 and 2 and Digital Journalism MUST have an external hard drive to use with Final Cut Pro X. The drives should meet the following minimum specifications:

USB 2 and FireWire 800 ports (for PC)

250GB

7200 RPM

Drives should be formatted MacOS Extended (Journaled) for use with department computers.

We strongly recommend that incoming undergraduate students purchase a DSLR camera for multimedia (photos and video). Although we allow students to use certain smartphones for multimedia, a DSLR is a better investment and will produce higher quality media. Students who invest in a DSLR will be more competitive for freelance and internships while studying at Columbia. Graduate students must purchase a DSLR. For reviews and comparisons of the Nikon and Canon cameras, please go here.

APPROVED SMARTPHONES FOR MULTIMEDIA:
iPhone 4S, 5, 5S or 5C
Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4
Nexus 4

If you plan to use your smartphone for multimedia, you will need to purchase a mount to attach the phone to a tripod. Please make sure the mount you buy fits your phone. You may not use your phone without the mount. The Journalism Department will have a limited number of universal mounts for sale for $10. Please come to the main office to purchase.

If you do not plan to record separate audio with your Zoom when using your phone for video, you will need to attach a microphone to the phone. The phone itself does not record adequate quality audio for multimedia projects. You can use the H1 Zoom or attach a microphone to the smartphone. Please consider purchasing a windshield.

For mobile photo and video with your iPhone, you might consider a Phocus kit. You can attach telephoto lenses and more importantly purchase and attach a shotgun microphone. The case attaches to a tripod so if you purchase one of the kits, you would not to buy a tripod mount. This is available for iPhone/iPod 4/4s and iPhone/iPod Touch 5/5S.

PLEASE NOTE: YOU MAY ONLY USE ONE OF THE PHONES LISTED ABOVE. IF YOUR SMARTPHONE IS NOT ON THIS LIST, YOU MUST PURCHASE THE iPOD TOUCH OR DSLR. NO EXCEPTIONS.

 
 
REPORTING AND WRITING 1 and COLLEGE NEWSPAPER WORKSHOP
 
All students enrolled in REPORTING AND WRITING 1 or COLLEGE NEWSPAPER WORKSHOP must purchase an H1 Zoom audio recorder. You also must purchase stereo headphones (NOT earbuds). These can be purchased online or at RadioShack, Target or other retailers for under $20. 
 
REPORTING AND WRITING 2
 
All students enrolled in REPORTING AND WRITING 2 must provide their own digital equipment and tripod from the approved list. Choose from the following:
 
iPod Touch (5th Generation)* OR
 
smartphone from the approved list* OR
DSLR such as the Nikon D3300 or Canon Rebel T5i. Note: You may not use a point-and-shoot camera for video.
 
* Students using a smartphone or iPod Touch for video must purchase a tripod mount and a microphone that attached to the smartphone.

DIGITAL STORYTELLING

Students enrolled in DIGITAL STORYTELLING 1 and 2 must provide their own digital equipment and tripod from the approved list. Choose from the following:

iPod Touch (5th Generation)* OR

smartphone from the approved list* OR

DSLR such as the Nikon D3300 or Canon Rebel T5i AND

H1 Zoom recorder AND

external hard.

In addition, students enrolled in Digital Storytelling may wish to purchase a lapel microphone. We recommend the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier. Some devices require an adapter. For example, this is the adapter that you would need to attach the Audio-Technica lav microphone to the iPhone 4S.

This is an attachable microphone for students using their smartphones to shoot video.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

All graduate students must purchase the following equipment:

a DSLR such as the Nikon D3300 or Canon Rebel T5i

tripod

H1 Zoom with accessory kit

external hard drive

In addition, students enrolled in Digital Journalism may wish to purchase a lapel microphone. We recommend the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier. Some devices require an adapter. For example, this is the adapter that you would need to attach the Audio-Technica lav microphone to the iPhone 4S.

For other courses, please refer to the syllabus. It is your responsibility to keep and maintain equipment after you've completed RW1 and RW2.

 

LAPTOP COMPUTER

The Journalism Department has classrooms and labs equipped with the latest Apple computers and software. You are not required to have a personal computer, but it may make your life easier if you decide to work on your projects or assignments when our labs are not open. Having a laptop also will allow you to produce freelance journalism. For basic word processing and some limited multimedia, you can use either a PC or Mac, although most journalists in the field use Mac computers, particularly to produce multimedia. For students interested in broadcast or digital journalism, we recommend the AppleMacBook Pro. While more expensive, Mac laptops are sold with the basic software and tools needed to edit photos and create video projects. We recommend the MacBook Pro over the Air because it's a better computer for the value, with a larger hard drive, a faster processor and more data ports. The Air is a streamlined version of the Pro. But it's not the computer for a student journalist to grow into as a professional. In other words, it is too streamlined for journalistic work. (It lacks a CD/DVD drive, for example). The Pro has the features that a journalist needs, particularly when it comes to multimedia. We recommend the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro for these reasons.

You can use open-source (free) software on either a PC or a Mac to produce multimedia journalism.

Some open source recommendations:

AUDIO—Audacity

(Make sure you follow the instructions to download the LAME plug-in to be able to export MP3 files).

Download the software here.

Audacity Tutorial

WORD PROCESSING—Open Office

Download the software here.

VIDEO— Avidemux

Download the software here.

Avidemux Tutorial

PHOTO— Gimp

Download the software here.

GIMP Tutorial

CONVERTER--MPEG Streamclip

Download the software here.

MPEG Tutorial

Students in RW1 and RW2 will learn and use Audacity and the iLife suite of software, including iMovie and iPhoto. This software is free with purchase of a Mac computer.

Students in Digital Storytelling will learn and use Audacity, Photoshop, MPEG Streamclip and Final Cut X. For student discounts on this software, visit Columbia’s Apple store. 

 

MOBILE PHONES AND HANDHELD DEVICES

Journalists are increasingly using mobile technology to produce stories inexpensively and quickly from the field, delivering news directly to their readers and viewers through social media, mobile apps and websites. Mobile journalism is journalism produced through a mobile device such as an iPhone or Droid. Students who are interested in producing multimedia with a device without purchasing a smartphone or signing a carrier contract might consider the Apple iPod Touch 4th or 5th Generation. This is the preferred video camera that we recommend.

Although this list is constantly evolving, here is a selection of recommended mobile journalism apps for producing multimedia:

SoundCloud (iPhone/Android)

ProCamera (iPhone)

FilmMicPro (iPhone)

iRig Recorder  (iPhone/Android)
Camera Zoom FX (Android)

 
ONLINE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING

Columbia College Chicago provides free training through Lynda.com, which has more than 60,000 tutorials available for students to access for free. Video tutorials include Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, Final CutPro, Audacity and podcasting, iPhone and iPod Touch and WordPress.  To access the site, go to oasis.colum.edu and log in with your Oasis ID and password. Click on the Training Tab and then on the Lynda.com link. For additional instruction, you might also search YouTube.com for tutorials.

 

PURCHASING

Students may use financial aid to purchase required or recommended equipment. Please make sure that you budget properly for it when applying for financial aid. Students may use their Campus Card to purchase equipment available at the Columbia College Bookstore. For other purchases, students may use their refund check.

Students and faculty shouly consider a FREE membership through B&H for purchasing equipment. B&H sells new and used equipment at competitive prices. For more information, please sign-up here.

For questions about any of the equipment on this guide, please contact Prof. Jackie Spinner at jspinner@colum.edu.