How smartphones can be an easy and cost-effective way to get content…

As many of us media professionals know, the best videographer can use the lowest end of cameras and still put out a good product.  Whereas a beginner may or may not catch on to that “Big! Fancy! Camera!” and all its features.  And quite honestly, your traditional professional camcorder isn’t really needed. Depending on what you are doing of course.  

Most of us reading this post already own a smartphone and carry it with us on a daily basis.  So why not consider it part of our media toolbox?  Sure, for interviews, news reports, live-streaming, church services, or any situation where you’re going to zoom in at some points in your shoot, you will need that “Big! Fancy! Camera!”  But for b-roll, not so much.  Even on a multi-cam shoot, you can simply use your phone, especially if you own a product like the SlingStudio console.  

Here’s how you can set this up!  With the SlingStudio console, you can download their SlingStudio Capture App on your phone.  Once downloaded, it will prompt you to hook up to the SlingStudio’s Wi-Fi signal, and now you or a community member are a part of the action, in as little as a few minutes.

And maybe for an additional $119, you can get the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Smartphone Gimbal to keep your shots smooth and steady.  I got one for my station and it works great for what we need it for.  If you watch this episode of The GCAM Minute, you might notice that there are shots that are impossible to get with a larger camera.  

More than 80% of all of the shots in the six and a half minutes worth of video were all done with my iPhone and a gimbal.  It’s convenient for me, it’s courteous to the workers working, and arguably saves time.

And if that isn’t enough evidence that smartphones can be used for a video project, just ask the A/V Production class I co-teach at Granby Junior/Senior High School.  This is where the saying “use what you got” comes to play.  The whole class was taught on Zoom.  Students could not use my station’s equipment.  My fellow co-teacher, Molly Hurd and I had to come up with a way to teach this class, with only smartphones.

It was a success in my book.  With the use of WeVideo on the student’s school-issued Chromebooks, students were able to take footage from their smartphones and create truly amazing video projects.  In my eyes, these projects were beyond expectations for a beginner course.  They have proven the usefulness, flexibility, and creativity that a smartphone offers when it comes to video production.

So, the real question is, are smartphones a true replacement in the Media Industry in the future?  Absolutely not! However, in the present, it’s a pretty useful tool to have and can be easily whipped out of your pocket when needed.  It’s a great beginner tool for those starting out.  It could be a community engagement tool at a sports game or any other event for that matter.  And most importantly, it can be incorporated into a Video Production Curriculum.  Incredible how such a small device can do great things in media.

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