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How to create better video content with your smartphone #mojofest

The 2019 #mojofest, the annual mobile content creation conference, took place in Galway, Ireland, recently. Experts met at the National University of Ireland for three days of events for journalists, social media managers, public relations and marketing experts from all over the world.  The event was designed to share information about the best way to create video content with a smartphone.

Keynote speakers included Emmy-winning filmmaker Waad Alkateab who has documented life in Syria with just her phone and a DSLR camera. Smartphone photography expert Philip Bloom and Dima Khatib, MD at Al Jazeera, also presented. There were workshops from world experts, including teaching mobile journalism, audio, 360 filming, using a smartphone for breaking news, livestreaming and underwater photography.

Here’s some of the key take-away learning points for me…

  • Audio is crucial. The golden rule is to get as close as possible to the sound source.
  • Any mic is better than the one that comes with your smartphone – including using the Apple headphones as a mic.
  • Use a mic windshield even if you think you don’t need it – even indoors.
  • Use your clip-on lapel mic correctly. Loop the cord around so that it doesn’t pull as your interviewee moves. Position 8 to 10 inches from mouth in centre of body and make sure it’s not touching clothing.
  • If you use a hand-held mic touch it on your chin for correct positioning.
  • People get bored easily on YouTube. So much stuff could be better if it were shorter and more brutally edited.
  • Whether you position the interviewee looking off camera as in traditional news or looking straight down the lens is a matter of personal choice.
  • Vlogs should average about 11 minutes, news pieces about 90 seconds.
  • Create content with the hashtag #behindthescenes. It is great for creating interaction and reaction
  • Watch out for the app TicToc. One presenter’s 11 year old wanted to get online and it was TicToc they wanted to sign up to – not Facebook, not Instagram or Twitter. Watch this space.
  • Lumifusion is one of the best editing packages around for mobile journalism. Adobe Rush is pretty good too.
  • The future will be about private groups and influencing through those – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc and nano and micro- influencers rather than influencers with millions of followers. Think niche for a future trend.
  • Don’t cross post on social media as all the platforms are totally different and require bespoke content.
  • FilmicPro is one of the best apps to make video with.
  • Add captions. Most people watch video with sound down as they scroll through their feed.
  • 360 video is a big deal and we’re going to see a lot more of it. It’s great for travel vlogs and for showing you and your interviewee.
  • Make your viewer feel and make them think and you’ll have great content.
  • Film lots and lots of B-roll.
  • Film close, medium and wide shots. Film an establishing shot that sets the scene for your film.
  • Just to say it again – film close up shots. Beginners often don’t like to get in close but you need these for a good film.
  • You need around 20-30 shots for an 80-second film.
  • Stabilise the phone with your body or a wall when filming with your smartphone.
  • Plan you story ahead and film shots in order – it makes for easier editing if you start with establishing shot for example.
  • The story is the most important thing. More important than kit, editing skills, anything… although sound is important too as it brings emotion to the film.