Social Summer School: Mobile Media


We’re breaking the classroom "No Phones" policy this week with a Social Summer School lesson in mastering mobile media.

Lesson of the Week: Mobile Media

The shift to consumption and production of content via mobile isn’t showing any signs of slowing, and there’s nothing more frustrating than going through photos or video you gathered and realizing it’s unusable - the lighting is too bright, the audio is, well, inaudible, leaving you no choice but to start all over. Couple this with the increasing popularity of live streaming means there’s no time like the present to make sure your mobile media skills are at their peak (Check out our Social Live Video Cheat Sheet for help picking the perfect live streaming platform). So before you head out into the field, review the Tier One study guide to be a mobile media master!

Morning Announcement: The majority of these tips translate on iPhone or Android, but we use iPhones for our mobile media!

Ensuring the Perfect Lighting

We don’t always have control over the lighting where we need to shoot (no, there isn’t a lot you can do about that awful fluorescent lighting), but you can tweak it with just a tap! With the camera screen open, press and hold on different places on the screen. The camera will pick up (and lock on) the light source wherever you hold - an especially great tip if you’re shooting near windows.

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A+ tip: Never shoot with the light source coming from behind whatever or whomever you’re shooting - your subject will be completely dark! Move around to find the perfect lighting to make your content shine.

Keeping Focused

Try this simple trick to shake that shaky hand: use both hands and stabilize your arms on something before shooting. Whether it be a physical object like a table or ledge, or locking your arms into your sides, taking this extra step will help you avoid blurry shots every time. Tapping the screen also focuses the camera on whatever object is closest to you; another great way to make sure your shot is crystal clear.

A+ tip: Always, always, always shoot video with your camera horizontal. If you take vertical video and share it on certain platforms, it will insert those large black bars to make up for the extra space on the sides and your video content will appear smaller.

Also, when shooting video, it’s important to give yourself “handles,” or about 10 extra seconds on either end of the video to work with for editing purposes. More is always better when it comes to shooting video!

Capturing Crisp, Clear Audio

Capturing audio can be a tricky task because you typically only have one opportunity to nail it. To ensure you’re getting great audio, it’s time to get ready for your close up! Get as close as you can to the source of the sound or the person speaking and do a short test to make adjustments before you start. If you’re filming an interview, try to stay no more than 1-2 steps away from your subject. And if you really want to ensure the audio, there are plenty of options for small, mobile microphones that plug right into your phone.

A+ tip: If you’re shooting outdoors, be especially cautious when recording audio. If there’s any chance of wind during your shot, shield the microphone with your hand (on the opposite side of the sound source, of course).

Extra Cr(EDIT):

There are seemingly infinite editing tools available with a quick search of the App Store, but we definitely play favorites:

For photos: Afterlight is a great and very in depth tool that provides plenty of basic photo editing options (from cropping to brightening to adding filters) to give your photo that extra “oomph” it needs.

For video: The iMovie app makes video editing fast and simple. Upload straight from your camera roll, crop clips, add sound, then save it or share it straight to social and you have content that no one would guess you made on your phone.

Pop Quiz! 

What direction should you hold your camera when shooting video?

A. Horizontal

B. The opposite of vertical

C. Sideways

D. Seriously, horizontal



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