Essential Items Film Production Students May Wish to Own


Here is a list of items you may wish to purchase for yourself. Equivalent or better equipment is provided by the Film Program for assigned projects, but many students desire to own some of these items for themselves so that they can utilized them whenever and for whatever they please.

A Computer

The Film Program at the School of Visual Arts & Design offers state-of-the-art iMac editing workstations to students enrolled in production classes, but many students prefer to edit in the comfort of their own homes. If you decide to buy your own computer to setup as a video editing workstation, we recommend that you conform to our production environment as much as possible. This will ensure easy integration with our equipment and workflows. The Film Program’s editing workstations predominately run on Mac OS X. Apple Macintosh computers are more expensive than most PC computers but they tend to have a more stable operation, perform consistently better (especially overtime), and are much easier to maintain than their Microsoft Windows alternatives. They are also less prone to contract malicious software such as viruses, worms, and trojans.

Apple MacBook Pro

We strongly recommend that you invest in a portable notebook computer, as your college life tends to be on the go and being able to take your work with you, wherever you may be, is a real benefit and time saver.

Apple Macbook Pro

We always recommend that you select a computer with the fastest processor and the largest amount of memory and storage space that you can afford, as the benefit of the additional expense results in time savings and a long usable life span. However, a fully spec’d out, top-of-the-line MacBook can get quite expensive. Here are our recommended minimum specifications for an Apple MacBook Pro notebook that can be utilized for HD and 2K video editing:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina Display (You can get a 13″ but the loss of screen real estate will make video editing difficult and there are no advanced graphic card options.)
  • 2.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz (We strongly recommend the fastest CPU you can afford.)
  • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM (We strongly recommend 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM if you can afford it.)
  • 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage (We recommend purchasing the fastest and largest storage drive you can afford.)
  • Intel Iris Pro Graphics (DEFAULT) (We strongly recommend purchasing a Macbook Pro with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics card upgrade as it significantly increases real-time editing performance with most contemporary non-linear video editing software. Adobe Premiere Pro’s Mercury Playback Engine, for example, works very well with this card.)

Students can purchase an Apple MacBook Pro with an academic discount by visiting the UCF Technology Product Center.

Editing Software

There are many video editing software options on the market and over time you will certainly find a preference that you prefer for many different reasons. The Film Program offers Adobe Premiere Pro as its primary non-linear editing software on all of its video editing workstations. It is a powerful video tool that is very capable of handling even the most rigorist of needs while still remaining to be an intuitive and easy to use program. Its Dynamic Link integration with Photoshop, After Effects, Encore, and more has made previously complex workflows and exchanges and breeze to navigate. There are still legacy installations of Final Cut Studio (FCP 7) installed on most workstations as well.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud Tools & Services provide creative students access to an entire suite of powerful software and space for hosting websites, cloud storage, and other services. Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Media Encoder, Audition, Speed Grade, Encore and more for less than one dollar a day.


Students can sign up for an annual plan for an academic discounted price of $29.99 a month by visiting Adobe Creative Cloud.

Check out a whole host of free and affordable production software for your computer or mobile device listed here.

A Camera

The Film Program offers a variety of camera systems for production students to use at different stages of their time here at the School of Visual Arts & Design. If a student wishes to have their own camera, there are many options on the market and it can be quite difficult to determine which one to buy. We strongly recommend that you take the time to research what is involved in supporting and operating a particular camera system. This involves more than just physical accessories like lenses and batteries, but also understanding unique workflow needs such as media transcoding, storage, software and any required additional computer hardware as well.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera

A small, powerful high definition video camera that offers many recording features and a wide dynamic range typically only found in much more expensive models. This is the sub $2,000 dollar camera body to buy and it is just under a grand. A true Super 16 digital film camera that’s small enough to take anywhere. The BMDPCC can use a variety of interchangeable lenses which have to be purchased separately. This camera is capable of recording audio with its onboard mic, but it is highly recommended that you use a double-system method (using an external sound recorder) when shooting scenes with sync sound (dialogue).

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Students can purchase a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera from select local retailers and from online retailers like B&H.

Canon EOS 60D DSLR

A prosumer level digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera that is capable of capturing 20MP still images as well as high definition video. The brilliance of a DSLR video camera system is that they operate very much like traditional film camera bodies, providing manual image controls that were normally only available to ultra expensive high end video cameras. With their interchangeable lenses, selectable sensitivity, color tunable white balance, and its large APS-C sized imaging sensor (generates shallow, cinematic depth of field) these cameras can be difficult to use compared to a traditional video camcorder, but they are a very powerful creative tool in the hands of a sensible and knowledgable operator. This camera is capable of recording audio with its onboard mic, but it is highly recommended that you use a double-system method (using an external sound recorder) when shooting scenes with sync sound (.i.e. dialogue).


Students can purchase a Canon EOS 70D from a local retailer or from online retailers like B&H.

Canon XA10 Camcorder

This is a prosumer level high definition electronic news gathering (ENG) and cinema style video camcorder. It offers cinema frame rates and exposure modes as well as a two professional quality XLR sound inputs for use with external microphones. This is a very powerful camera for its price and is the perfect tool for shoots that do not offer many breaks in recordings such as long interviews, reality TV style shoots, or live events. An ideal system for those that would rather work with single system recording. If this camcorder tickles your fancy, make sure you purchase the NTSC and not the PAL version.

Canon XA10

Students can purchase a Canon XA10 from a local retailer or from online retailers like B&H.

A Sound Recorder

There are many reasons to have your own, portable sound recorder. The primary reason being able to to use a double-system method of recording image and sound. Separating the sound away from the camera affords to opportunity for someone to pay equal attention to the quality of the audio recording as there is being given to the quality of the image. It also allows for the sound mixer to locate him- or herself to a position better suited for what they are doing.

Zoom H5 Memory Field Recorder

This is the follow up to the highly successful Zoom H4n Memory Field Recorder. It offers up to 6 channels of mic or line level recording (with an adapter). With updated preamps and vastly improved interface, this is the inexpensive sound recorder to own.



Students can purchase a Zoom H6 from a local retailer or from online retailers like B&H.