Lights, Camera, Action: Producing Mobile Video Content

B2B journalism can be difficult to make interesting for readers. The goal is to help them in some aspect of their business, requiring a more functional approach to technical subjects.

Smartphone video
Photo Credit: Janitors via Compfight cc

The idea of producing video content may seem daunting, conjuring images of big, expensive camera equipment and video editing software. But freelancer Amy Fischbach discussed the ins and outs of producing video with your smartphone or tablet during the 2015 ASBPE national conference at New York University.

In addition to bringing life to online stories, video content can be a great way to drive traffic to your website, according to Fischbach. It can also add a new dimension to industry and trade show coverage, providing readers not able to attend a peek at what they missed, with expert analysis and insight.

Recording an interview can also make for better notes for the writer later. “You have your shorthand, but you may not remember essential details when it comes to writing,” said Fischbach of handwritten notes. Having that safety net ensures the writer never misses any of those details, she said.

Those looking to produce high-quality videos only need four things, according to Fischbach:

  1. A smartphone or tablet device with video recording capabilities
  2. A tripod or monopod
  3. An external microphone to enhance audio quality
  4. An external battery/portable charger so you can charge your device anywhere.

Fischbach particularly stressed the importance of a microphone, sharing one of her first video experiences at a utility service center. She went out and bought a camera beforehand, but the outdoor shoot was windy, resulting in heavily distorted audio from the camera’s internal mic. “People are ok with shaky video, but if there’s no sound when you’re watching a movie, you’re going to rewind,” she said.

The most important preparation step is to figure out your “vision” ahead of time and write out a basic script of talking points or interview questions. “What do you really want to get out of these videos and what do you think your website visitors would want?” said Fischbach.

Using different types of shots can help keep the video fast-paced and interesting, from wide panoramic views to close-up interview segments. Fischbach also encouraged experimenting with different formats, from “selfie mode” to slow-motion or hyperlapsed (sped-up) videos.

When it comes to editing and sharing the final video, everything can be done through an app called YouTube Capture. Once clips are imported, users can drag to shorten or lengthen them, add or reorder clips, and even insert music (from several pre-selected tracks or any music already stored on the device). At this stage of the process, said Fischbach, a tablet might be a better choice. “You can edit on your phone, but it’s kind of a small screen,” she said.

Using these tips, B2B journalists can hit the trade show floor tomorrow and start producing meaningful content for their readers.

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