General advice for procurement
Filmmaking technology is evolving rapidly, but the principles of film education – and how to plan for it ­– remain broadly the same.

Points to consider

  • Don’t ‘overspecify’: make sure the equipment is suitable for your needs.
  • Allow for the cost of consumables (eg batteries, bulbs for projectors and lighting, modelling clay for animation), repairs and replacements.
  • Include costs for licensing if you will be showing films to the public.
  • Include costs for staff training. Compare the relative training cost implications of different hardware and software solutions.
  • Don’t spend all the budget at the start: allow for upgrading hardware and software in subsequent years.
  • Consult your network manager/ICT supplier early in the planning process to discuss hardware and software compatibility, bandwidth and storage.
  • Consider where you need specialist professional advice: eg if you are setting up specialist spaces such as studios or cinema auditoriums, you will probably need to employ a professional; but some equipment suppliers will provide advice for free.
  • Try to get free independent advice, eg from local filmmakers or cultural organisations, rather than relying exclusively on professionals and equipment suppliers.
  • Contact other schools who have set up film education provision: find out what equipment they use, what they think of it, and any problems or issues they have encountered.
  • Ensure that all equipment is compatible, eg will the editing software work with the video that the cameras record? Do you need extra conversion software?
  • For a refurbishment or new build project, ringfence the funding for hardware and software, but buy it as late as possible to avoid it being obsolete.
  • Ensure that your provision meets access requirements for all potential users.
  • Undertake a health and safety audit/risk assessment.
  • Consult with the local community and look for opportunities for community links and uses.
  • Consider ‘joining up’ funding – eg can you get funding from other sources if you provide community access to some of the facilities?

Where to buy equipment

There may be advantages to using centralised procurement, managed services, or purchasing as a cluster. Some hardware and software manufacturers sell through specialist education suppliers. Online retailers can be cheaper for some equipment, but you should check that they are genuine suppliers selling UK stock (some sell ‘grey imports’ – foreign models without UK guarantees). If you aren’t familiar with the retailer, research their reputation for customer service online and check that they have a UK postal address.

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