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mobile journalism

20+ Mobile Storytelling Apps, Tools + Tips From Top Experts

We're constantly sharing our own top apps, tips and tools, but with the international mobile journalism conference (MoJoCon) just around the corner, we’re sharing top apps, tools and tips from 11 of our favorite mobile journalists. Here are the best!


Andy-01.png

Andy Butler

@mobiography

Favorite App

"Snapseed is my go-to photo editing app,” Andy said. His favorite features include tune image, tonal contrast for improved clarity and the vintage filter.

Top Tip

“Editing is to enhance a photo, not hide flaws in a bad one.”


Bernhard Lill

@dermedientyp

Favorite Apps

JamSnap for iOS and Foundbite for Android. Both JamSnap and Foundbite allow you to add sounds to still photos to capture and share a moment.


Björn Staschen

@BjoernSta

Favorite Apps

Björn recommends either FilmicPro or CinemaFV5 for shooting videos, and either Pinnacle, PowerDirector or KineMaster for editing. He also likes Hyperlapse for timelapse videos.


Judd Slivka

@juddslivka

Favorite App

ChartMakerPro allows you to input data to generate pie charts, line graphs, scatter plots and more to print, save to camera roll and share.

Top Tips

Be sure to hold your phone horizontally when you’re shooting videos—and put your phone in airplane mode to avoid interruptions.


Marc Blank-Settle

@MarcSettle

Favorite Apps

FilmicPro to shoot video, Ferrite to collect and edit audio, and ProCamera8 to take photos.

Top Tools

Marc recommends buying an external mic. “iRig and Røde make decent mics,” he said, but “it all depends what sound you want to capture and how much you want to spend!” He also recommends buying something to stabilize your device, like a tripod or monopod.

Top Tip

Practice!

Neal Augenstein

@AugensteinWTOP

Favorite Apps

For audio editing, Neal recommends Ferrite, a multitrack recorder that displays tracks very similarly to Adobe Audition. He also suggests Clips for video editing.

Top Tools

Neal’s most important accessory is a $3 windscreen for your microphone.


Nick Garnett

@nicholasgarnett

Favorite Apps

Ferrite for recording and editing audio, and either Pinnacle or iMovie for video editing.

Top Tips

“Sort out your sound,” Nick said. “Get a cheap personal mic and use a second (old) iPhone to record it on,” so your source can put the second phone in their pocket during the interview. Then, sync the high-quality audio with the video. That’s the $40 solution, Nick said, but another option is to get the Røde VideoMic Me, a mini shotgun mic.


Philip Bromwell

@philipbromwell

Favorite Apps

FilmicPro for filming video, Camera+ for taking photos, iMovie for editing videos and Adobe Voice for social video. Adobe Voice allows you to make simple animated videos with narration and music.

He also likes PicPlayPost for combining videos and stills into a collage, Diptic for adding text to photo collages, Gravie for adding text and graphics to video and Replay for unique video filters and effects.

Although Philip recommends a lot of apps, he said all apps should be used to polish your work—doing simple things (like taking good photos and videos from the start) is also key.

Top Tips

Having a good smartphone and a good eye are key. Philip also recommends taking a lot of photos, getting plenty of video close ups and a variety of shots, and be willing to practice. “[Another newbie mistake is] forgetting that social video has to work on social,” Philip said.


Sandra Sperber

@sperbers

Favorite Apps

FilmicPro for shooting video, iMovie for editing video, Video Compressor to save space on your device and WeTransfer to share up to 10 GB of photos and videos to friends’ emails (no sign-up required). “iMovie is a good tool for basic editing,” Sandra said. “It lacks a few functions, like audio transmissions but it’s great for a quick rough cut.”

Top Tips

Sandra’s top tip is to keep it simple. “For beginners, the variety of apps and gadgets can be confusing. Don’t spend too much time on picking your tools,” Sandra said. She suggests experimenting with your phone’s basic camera app, and then add a selfie stick or tripod and a mic, even if it’s just your iPhone headset. “You’ll be surprised what’s possible with a simple set up, and then dig deeper into the App Store.”


SmartFilming

@smartfilming

Favorite Apps

FilmicPro for filming videos, but if your Android device won’t run Filmic, try Cinema FV-5. He also recommends iMovie for iPad, because of the ability to “expand audio” to help with audio transitions. For video editing, he recommends KineMaster (for Android). “It’s even more powerful than iMovie, but just as easy to use.” He also uses FeemWifi for file transfers and Storymaker as a learning tool.

Top Tip

“Don’t let anybody tell you that you need an iPhone. Android and Windows phones work as well.”


Wytse Vellinga

@wytseVellinga

Favorite Apps

Wytse uses Ferrite for audio recording and editing. He’s also a fan of Storehouse for video and photo collages, albums and stories.  In addition to FilmicPro, Wytse also uses MoviePro for filming videos and Proshot for taking photos. “Proshot has everything a professional photographer could ask for in the controls department.” Wytse also likes VideoScribe, a whiteboard video animation app, for explaining complicated procedures and numbers.

Top Tips

“Analyze Hollywood movies and fiction TV shows,” Wytse said. “The editing techniques are basically the same as in a good TV report.” He also recommends shooting a lot of material, and thinking in sequences. “And make a storyboard in your head. It makes editing a lot more fun.”



Sarah-circle-01.png

About The Author

Hey, I'm Sarah!

I love teaching small businesses and solopreneurs to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for?

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.


Five Tips to Tackle Video When Your Blog is No Longer Enough

video, smartphone video, videography, audience engagement, smartphone, audio quality, video quality

Imagine a room of 15 college students. One pair of students is playing a card game while another pair takes turns reading “The Cat in the Hat” to each other. It may sound like recess, but this particular scene from my mobile journalism class is anything but a break.

On the fringes of each pair are 11 students with iPads on tripods learning to shoot video sequences of their classmates. I’ve just shown them a series of powerful videos, and told them that whether they plan to be journalists or strategic communicators, video will be a big part of their careers. Oh, and whoever can put together a perfect sequence of “The Cat in the Hat” or Slap Jack gets extra credit.

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Did you know that more video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks have created in the past 60 years? According to YouTube’s VP of Global Content, Robert Kyncl, video will soon be 90 percent of all Internet traffic.

Video content improves your chances of appearing on the front page of Google by a factor of 53, according to Cisco. Video search results also have a 41 percent better click through rate than text, and videos are shared 1200 percent more than links and text combined.

Perhaps your company blog is in place—maybe, it’s even thriving! But with those numbers, it’s going to be hard to ignore blogging’s little brother much longer.

“Today, subtly branded video is popping up everywhere—on Facebook, on Vine and even in GIF form—meaning that short, attention-grabbing clips and videos won't be reserved to YouTube in 2015,” says Irfan Ahmad of Digital Information World.

In September 2014, Facebook began offering a “call to action” tool that invites your audience to visit your website, view more of your videos, or make a purchase.

Outside of social media, even good ol’ fashioned press releases that contain video receive 20 percent more attention, according to PR Newswire.

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So, if you’re planning to follow the trend and tackle video, here are some tips to do it right.

  1. Keep it short. According to Wistia, videos shorter and one minute lose only 1/3 of its audience by the end of the video, whereas a four-minute video loses twice that.
  2. Follow the 10-second rule. Your audience makes up its mind whether or not to watch your video within the first 10 seconds. It’s important that you have an attention-grabbing intro so you don’t lose them before it’s even begun.
  3. Audio still comes first. People are more likely to click away from bad audio than bad video. At least with good audio paired with bad video, they are able to imagine a lot of what they should be seeing. But…
  4. Avoid shaky shots. Unless you’re going for that “this-just-in” breaking news look, or you’re parodying The Blair Witch Project, leave the shaky shots for the amateurs.
  5. Get a variety of shots. Even if you keep the video short, no one wants to see talking heads for an entire minute!

With video’s well-deserved spot as a top trend for 2015, it’s time you take advantage of the medium as another accessible way to engage with your audience.

Top 5 video tips > Keep it short. Follow the 10-second rule. Audio still comes first. Avoid shaky shots. Get a variety of shots.

Get Your Dual Cam MoJo On!

video, smartphone, smartphone video, videography, audience engagement

Check out the videos we helped create for PureFit Meals, a healthy meal delivery service. These videos, shared on social media, tripled engagement among the PureFit audience. Here's the kit we used:

  • iPad (primary camera for wide shot and audio)
  • Filmic Pro app
  • iRig Pre
  • Lavalier Microphone
  • Canon G12 (secondary camera for close-up shot)
  • Pinnacle Studio app