Mobile Devices Allow Reporters to Create Photos and Videos – and Do So on Deadline

By Chris Adams

USA Today’s Jasper Colt, a multimedia producer, offers practical tips for taking and editing photos and videos, with the help of a few easy-to-use apps.

All across the media landscape, reporters – even from traditional print outlets – are being issued iPhones and given a simple command: Bring back photos and video along with your next story.

Jasper Colt of USA Today offers some practical tips on how to do so.

Portraits: Getting a simple head shot of a story subject isn’t as simple as it looks. If you’re facing that task, Colt suggests getting close to your subject in a room with soft but bright lighting – such as from a window; zoom with your feet, not the device; and make sure you have a clean background with depth.

Audio: A key tip is to get an external microphone that you plug into your iPhone; otherwise, the built-in microphone will capture all the background noise from the room. One inexpensive workaround: Use the microphone built in to earbuds.

Video: Almost always shoot horizontally, and find support – a tripod, table or wall. And if you are planning to produce a video story, collect plenty of B-roll – those shots of the setting, or of the subject walking down the street. No need to capture minutes-long clips of the subject in action, but do get a variety of short clips. Colt suggests iMovie as a simple editing program.

And start your story strong: “If you don’t give the viewer something really interesting in the first five seconds, they’re going to go watch another video,” Colt says.