Tales of A Cellphonographer

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Can I Do This?

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First Things First

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#NoVerticalVideo: A PSA

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What Do I Need?

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great hook

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lighting

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sound

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On Location

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Now What? Wrapping Up

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Further Resources

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CAN I DO THIS?! (YES.) Do you have what it takes to be a cell phone videographer?

First things first, do you have a smartphone? Yes? Great! You’re qualified!

You have a powerful tool for content creation right in your hands and it’s about time that you took advantage of it. Have you ever been at a conference or event and said, “Wow! That’s a great thought. I’d better take this down”? I know I have, and I’ve pulled out my phone to capture many of those moments. When the event was done, I ended up with a phone full of photos and video clips and thought, "What now?” Compiling those photos and video clips into one video can be a really great way of bringing your target audience into your experience. Think of the connections you could make if people could see your world and your work through your eyes.

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First Things First THE ESSENTIALS

Plan what you’re going to say. Practice until it sounds natural. Don’t rush into anything, remember that since you are filming yourself, there’s no need to rush or be nervous! Wear bright, solid colors if you can. Avoid tight, complex patterns (think gingham or herringbone). Try not to wear jewelry that is loud or distracting, Focus on your face— it’s the star of the show, not your (admittedly super fly) gear. :)

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Before you even THINK about making a video, you need to watch this video, produced by the award-winning news team at NBC12 in Richmond, Virginia. Don’t worry. I’ll wait. When you’re making a video, any video, remember that Horizontal is Better! Horizontal video fits the shape of computer monitors and television screens and movie theaters so no matter where your video ends up, (shoot for the stars, y’all!) it’s going to look its absolute best. Don’t end up going the wrong direction. Be #TeamHorizonal

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WHAT DO I NEED? To create a great video, you need three important elements: • a great hook • good lighting • good sound Your hook is the reason that you’re making THE HOOK the video and the reason that people watch it. Ask yourself these questions as you’re planning your grand video debut:

• • • • • •

What are you going to say and how are you going to say it? What do you want people to do after watching your video? How do you want people to feel? Should your video have a serious tone? Could you be more effective if you use humor? Who is your audience and what do they want to see and what will they respond to?

It’s only when you know the answers to these questions that you can expect to convey your message to others and you’ll have a hook that will reel in the people you want!

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In order to have a great video you need great lighting. I know you’ve watched a video before LIGHTING that is dark and grainy and you think it might be hilarious but you can’t tell because honestly, YOU CAN’T SEE ANYTHING. Come on, you know what I mean! And how did you feel when you were watching that video? Kinda annoyed, right? Well, don’t let that be you! Don’t be scared, good lighting can be found anywhere! Find a brightly lit area and pull out a mirror. How do you look? Do you notice any shadows being cast across your face? Do the wall color and light source flatter your skin tone? Remember that our eyes have a far greater ability to adjust to differences in light sources and and to the contrast of shadow and the light. So if it doesn’t look good to your human eye, your camera’s eye will fare no better! If you still find yourself struggling to find your perfect light, remember this: the best light is around us all of the time…it’s the sun. The sun provides perfectly balanced natural light and has the advantage of revealing everything as it actually is. Though the sun is best, any brightly lit space will do for you. If it looks shadowy to your eye, it will look the same on camera. So, go find yourself some great light—and ROLL ‘EM!

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NOT THAT‌

Avoid backlighting. The camera will compensate for the bright background by making you darker — AKA a silhouette.

TRY THIS!

A well lit scene was achieved with just a swivel of a chair. The light source is now in front of me!

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SOUND

If you don’t frequent your local arthouse theatre, chances are that you haven’t seen a

silent film in a really long time. Clean sound is arguably more important to the viewer than the picture. If you’re anything like me, you keep a television on in your house, whether you’re actively watching or not. You might wonder about, doing chores or cooking, taking only occasional glances at the screen. But if the sound were to drop out, BOOM! You’re taken out of the TV watching experience entirely. There’s great news for all of you cellphonographer’s out there: your “camera” is equipped with a pretty great microphone. That shouldn’t be a surprise, really, after all, phones are made for talking! In order to get the very best sound, hold your camera close to your audio source. If you’re recording an event, try to get close to the speakers without compromising your perfect shot. If you are shooting yourself, holding your camera a comfortable arm’s length away from your face will ensure that the mic is able to pick up your voice, strongly and clearly.

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Location, Location, Location! You want perfect light and sound? Your car — Nice, natural light and you’re in a sound-dampened environment! Bonus! An exterior office — just remember to keep that window in front of you, not behind! An interior office — make sure it’s brightly lit and has neutral colored walls. If you look at the wall and say, “Does this make me look green?” then the answer is, “Yes, yes it does.” Outside — You know how much that I like this idea. Pay attention to your surroundings; don’t shoot right next to the highway and avoid bright sunlight; squinting is not cute.

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NOW WHAT? Your video is done. You’ve shot it, the sound is perfect, your eyes are sparkling in your perfect light. But now what do you do? You could always upload your video to your preferred location (I recommend managing large files, like videos, in Dropbox or Google Drive) and then upload it directly to Youtube, email it, drag it to hang out on your desktop— whatever. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, you could edit it. Yes, right there on your phone. There are so many great video-editing apps for phones nowadays: iMovie — The crown jewel of iOS video editors. iOS, $4.99 Videoshop — Fun. Add music, voiceovers and effects easily. iOS, $1.99 VidTrim — Trim single clips, add music and effects. Upgrade to Pro to remove the watermark. Android, Free/$2.49 VideoShow— No transitions but you have a lot of freedom to arrange titles and add specific music. Android, Free Movie Edit Touch — Full-featured. Add music, titles and transitions. Free trial available. Windows 8, $2.99 source: Stuff.tv

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Not quite ready to edit on your cell? You can edit that great video on your computer, too! Whether you have a Mac or a PC, there are a number of easy-to-use editors available to you. In fact, some of the best are already right under your nose! iMovie — If you’re already using iMovie on your cell phone, this is your best bet! Mac OS X Windows Movie Maker — If you want an easy tool that’s already on your computer, look no further. Windows Lightworks — More robust than Windows Movie Maker, Lightworks allows the more tech-savvy to pull off more advanced effects. Windows Avidemux— Not the prettiest of the bunch but it will get the job done! Great for those who want as simple an experience as possible. Windows/Mac/Linux

source: Digital Trends

If you’re wondering how to get your video from your cell to your computer, there’s email, of course, but cloud file storage options like Google Drive and Dropbox are your best options. When you upload your video to cloud storage, you can access it anywhere that you can connect to the internet! Log into your account on your computer , download your video and you’re good to go.

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Before You Go… Just Checking in.

No vertical video, #TeamHorizontal Who’s your audience? Go back and re-watch your video. Look at it from the outside in. Would this video speak to you? How’s your light? Check your sound- Remember the camera picks up everything! Editing- Phone or computer? Experiment with both. Don’t forget the Resources‘Cause learning is the best!

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RESOURCES Want to know more? Well, I can hardly blame you! How to Shoot Good iPhone Video: This video demos an iPhone but the tips translate to most smartphones! Watch it here. How to Take Better Pictures and Videos on Your Cell: The title pretty much says it all. Touches on still photos, lighting, audio, and technique! Watch it here. The Single Most Important Tip for Recording Video on iPhone: If you don’t remember anything else, please remember this. #NoVerticalVideo Read it here. If you’re really going for it… Pocket Filmmaker: How to Light Smartphone Videos Like A Pro: If you really want to go FULL SPIELBERG, read this now. You can do it. Read it here. Getting Great Video From a Mobile Phone: FULL SPIELBERG. ALL THE WAY. Read it here. Want to take a Project to the Studio? Self-Produce That Video: Guide to getting in the studio. Read it here.

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