Ambitious and passionate about their subjects, students in media, film and TV production know what they want from their courses. This definitely includes access to the right equipment. In a recent poll of over 80 students, we asked why their institutions’ investment in media equipment is so important. Students’ three top answers were:
1) It’s essential for student employability
2) It supports the best learning outcomes
3) It enables us to have the very best creative output
These students are very much focused on how to make the best start in their future media careers as well as having massive enthusiasm for the creative scope of their subjects. Many students stressed the importance of having access to ‘industry standard’ equipment. Competence in certain kit and software is considered essential for developing the best employment prospects for entering the media industries – so resources have to be industry standard. If they’re not, this must be a key consideration for institutions when planning future investments.
Staff’s view: student retention or employability
We asked the same question to university and college staff (i.e. faculty and technicians) and saw some variation from their students’ top answers. For staff, the leading reason given for investing in the right kit and facilities was student retention. Future employability ran a close second.
Faculty and technicians understand the role equipment plays in student retention. They see first-hand how students feel both better motivated and better equipped when having access to good facilities and resources. According to students, the reason for this was that they felt good equipment supported their learning outcomes better and encouraged them to be more engaged, producing better creative results.
Dream shopping lists
There are lots of ideas on what universities and colleges should be buying next. Top of many student and staff wish lists are:
1) Digital motion picture cameras (Arri Alexa cameras most frequently mentioned – perhaps unsurprisingly!)
2) Virtual reality equipment
Students are also keen on seeing more investment in camera stabilisers (fig rigs often mentioned), green screens and in their institution’s audio technology. Staff want live stream systems and updated editing capability.
Technicians and faculty emphasised the importance of continued investment in resources to keep pace with industry, to deliver the best creative results and, for some, to accommodate growing student numbers. They also need more efficient lighting and require upgrades to high definition resolution (HDR) monitors.
Many are aiming higher still, with calls for new studios, buildings and infrastructure. It’s all very much needed to enable students to satisfy their creative urges, but most of all, to secure their places in industry.
Fortunately, for users of the connect2 equipment booking and management system, their media resources are showcased online to students, enabling them to understand the full range of resources available and improving their access. So all equipment investments have the best chance of paying off. For staff, it supports understanding of all usage, giving insight into what should be purchased next to meet demand.