One Giant Leap for Community Circus
Today, after we had finished teaching aerial acrobatics in a local primary school, Rhys and I sat down and discussed the next steps in our grand plan for Community Circus. Rhys asked me if I am now ready to launch my first experimental courses in Contemporary Circus Video Production in January next year. I explained that at last I am ready for this next step.
Resources are a bit limited at the moment. I have so far purchased one Panasonic HDC-SD100 AVCHD full HD camera; chosen because it uses SDHC cards, and has full manual control via practical external controls. I have also just purchased the Zoom H4n professional broadcast quality audio recorder. The OpenShot video editor is now sufficiently advanced in its development that I will be able to have children and teenagers using it to easily produce professional quality videos of their artistic creations in aerial acrobatics. We still need a suitable portable PC to install Ubuntu, OpenShot and a few other bits of necessary video production software on. But we have several ideas on how to acquire that. We also need to get the audio/video equipment added to our insurance before I can risk letting the kids loose with it. I will be a bit poor till after Xmas because I have poured all of my circus income for this month back into this Contemporary Circus Video Production Project to start the ball rolling for our community circus to develop the ability to produce professional Creative Commons Licensed video productions.
Purchasing the Zoom H4n means that I can now ensure that any further audio equipment and microphones etc acquired will be fully professional items which will connect to the H4n via XLR etc inputs. This will future-proof our audio production resources.
The Next Step
My intention is to enable our Community Circus to be able to produce professional arts videos for many years to come, and publish them as Creative Commons videos in line with the new trend for community publications begun by the Blender Foundation.
I had originally thought to base our resources around the Sony HVR-Z7E (as shown in the side panel). The initial investment for a system using just one camera and the necessary accessories would cost in the region of £7,000 - £10,000. This to me seemed a sum possible to raise.
However the more I studied this option, the more I realised that in a few years time this system would become as dated as the professional DVCAM cameras produced 5 years ago are now.
So I started looking at the next generation of digital video for Digital Cinema. I joined with TJ from the Ubuntu Kernel Team, and a fellow developer on the OpenShot project, and we started work on the next generation of professional video editing, broadcasting and live stage projection production. We begun the En Rapport Project. We started by looking at the next generation codecs used in Digital Cinema and high end professional digital still cameras. The RAW formats! We collected as much data and examples we could on the Redcode RAW format used by the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company for their Red One Camera, and begun reverse engineering it so we could decode and encode it.
As I studied the Red camera range, I realised that their claims that they were "future proof", making "obsolescence Obsolete" were valid. A system based on the Red One camera could be built with a reasonably small initial investment, and this would future-proof the resources for our Community Circus Company.
I looked at the minimum requirements for a Red One system.
We would need a few extra bits such as lighting and insurance. So I am now searching for funding opportunities to obtain about £30,000 for the initial investment, and will afterwards look for further funding opportunities to build upon the basic kit later.
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