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Top apps for journalists shooting video on mobile

Top apps for journalists shooting video on mobile

Jessica Weiss | December 02, 2013

Whether reporting breaking news, conducting interviews in remote locations or going undercover, shooting video on a mobile device is an increasingly important skill for today’s digital journalist. Mobile devices are convenient and portable, and they often produce surprisingly high-quality video.

For Nepalese multimedia journalist Rajneesh Bhandari, mobile means the ability to shoot and produce quick, cheap videos when compared to those shot with full-frame high definition cameras. He uses an iPad and iPhone.

“Mobile is a great tool for quick video shooting, editing and filing an assignment,” Bhandari told IJNet. “They are handy and you don't have to carry a lot of things (like big lenses or equipment); just a mobile, a light tripod and maybe a pin [lavalier] mic.”

Plus, mobile devices are useful when Bhandari’s reporting from hard-to-reach places, such as Nepal’s mountain villages. Among his favorite remote videos shot on mobile is the infamous live video conference held by a British climber on Mount Everest in May.

Bhandari says most mobile devices can be used to “do it all” - including uploading video to social media or sending to the news bureau. For slow internet connections, he says video compression software can help with fast uploading to the 3G network. He has trained journalism students in Pokhara, Nepal how to shoot, edit and upload with a mini iPad, as well as trained youth to use an iPod/iPhone for video.

“Certainly, we cannot compare quality with DSLRs or other expensive cameras,” Bhandari said, “but with more new apps coming all the time, mobile devices are becoming a more engaging [way] to shoot pictures and videos.”

Here are some useful tools for shooting video on smartphones, compiled from Bhandari's favorites, plus mobile reporting guides from journalism.co.uk, UC Berkeley School of Journalism and media trainer Robb Montgomery:

Apps for Shooting and Editing Video on Mobile

  • Videolicious (free version available) lets users select clips and photos for their video reports while recording a voice-over. Read IJNet's recent post on Videolicious here. An online demonstration is available here.

  • FilmicPro ($4.99) is a video recording app that adds to the iPhone's video capabilities. It gives the user manual control over image resolution and frame rate, an audio meter to monitor sound, GPS tagging and a white-balance function. Read a full review here

  • Videon ($2.99) provides zoom, pause, filters, effects and editor features.

  • iMovie ($4.99) let users shoot in HD; choose from unique themes with matching titles, transitions, and music; enhance movies with slow motion, and offers picture-in-picture and split-screen effects. There's a full review for journalists here.

  • Voddio (free version available) offers editing and shooting tools specifically for mobile journalists and storytellers. Training resources are available here.

  • VideoPro Camera ($4.99) lets users lock their focus, exposure and white balance as well as monitor audio through their headphones.

  • Splice (free version available) lets users splice together HD photos and videos; add music from an iPhone/iPod library; lets the user add sound effects, transitions and borders; let users trim video and audio and add their own narration.

  • Cute CUT (free version available) allows multi-layer timeline editing; allows the user to include six types of media; and has drawing tools for creating professional effects.

Note: As the iPhone still provides the largest selection of apps and accessories to produce video and other multimedia reportage, most of the apps on this list are compatible only with Apple devices. If you use an Android device, media trainer Robb Montgomergy provides resources on using Android, including for livestreaming video and producing video sequences and interviews.

Jessica Weiss, a former IJNet managing editor, is a Buenos Aires-based freelancer.

Image: Rajneesh Bhandari working in Nepal.

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