Neal Augenstein

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Another Voddio workaround….

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm

VeriCorder’s Voddio – my audio and video multi-track editing application of choice – has been severely affected by iOS 7 Touch User Interface.

Recently, I and several Voddio users,  including BBC’s Nick Garnett and WTOP’s Ari Ashe experienced  problems in the Editing screen of the application, trying to move selections along and around the timeline.

After sending a video of my frustrating user experience to VeriCorder’s Kirk Symons, he was able to explain what the problem was, and how to deal with it.

Essentially, I was working too fast for Voddio, and confusing it.

“When you are tapping and sliding all at once, the UI is not being able to determine which Touch action you are trying to do,” Symons wrote in an email.

The solution: when touching the clip you want to move, hold it until a blue flash appears.

The blue flash “is the feedback to show that the UI has indicated that it recognized your intention to Move the clip,” says Symons.

Symons acknowledges the user interface determination was faster in the older iOS 6, but VeriCorder and other companies are dealing with the dramatic changes Apple imposed with iOS 7.

I’m pleased that VeriCorder’s top guns were willing to exchange emails and get on the phone to explain the workaround, but that shouldn’t have been necessary. I’m not sure why the company hasn’t tweeted the fix or included it on their website.

I do know customers who have purchased Voddio for #iphonereporting trust that it will work dependably. I hope VeriCorder will live up to that trust.

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#iphonereporting for public relations and public information pros

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Harnessing the power of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and even some of the new Droid phones isn’t just for reporters.

Marc Silverstein of On The Marc Media is one of the public relations pros who ‘gets’ #iphonereporting.  He understands the benefit to his clients when their message comes across loud and clear.

Here are some tips and strategies for PR and PIO professionals:

Let me know if you have any questions.

Adding Google Glass to #iphonereporting

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm

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Today was my first attempt at combining Google Glass with #iphonereporting.

WTOP purchased Glass a month ago, and I’ve been experimenting with it in the newsroom.

To be honest, I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the audio that’s recorded in videos shot with Glass.

While the video images are nice, my narrations have been distorted, and audio of anyone I’m holding a conversation with is almost inaudible.

To conduct an interview, it was clear I would have to record the audio on another device and sync it with the video.

This first video contains audio recorded on Glass. It’s tinny, distorted, and wind-affected.

This second video contains audio recorded on iPhone in VoiceMemo, and synced in post-production. In my opinion, it’s superior to audio recorded on Glass.

First impression: This is an awful lot of work to complete a basic reporter task. Even if something is technologically possible, if you end up doing MORE work than before, it’s hardly worth it.

I’m hoping Glass developers have improvements in audio hardware, software, and user experience on their radar.

#iphonereporting goes to Africa, via Voice of America

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Laurel Bowman of Voice of America TV was kind enough to do a nice feature on my #iphonereporting. It includes a bunch of tips and strategies. We did the interview in the Glass Enclosed Nerve Center at WTOP. Take a peek!

Let me know if you have any questions!

iOS 7: How it’s affecting #iphonereporting

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Any operating system update invariably results in changes: some for the good, some bad, some totally unexpected.

I’ll keep adding to this list, so if you post or see any tweets about how iOS 7 affects #iphonereporting, send them to @AugensteinWTOP,

 

Voddio bug with iOS 7: The problem and the fix

In Uncategorized on September 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm

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The new multi-tasking protocols in iOS 7 will inadvertently STOP RECORDING AUDIO if the screensaver kicks in, or if the Screen Lock button is pressed.

Here’s the fix:

Change the Auto-Lock timer to “Never” before starting a recording session.

You can make this switch in Settings, in the General category.

The down side: the “Never” setting chews up battery life.

Vericorder is aware of the bug, and apparently working on a fix.

As Voddio is my go-to field recording and editing app, I hope they find the fix quickly.

Thought you’d want to know….

iOS 7 update: How to turn your iPhone into a microphone

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Just say no to old-fashioned phone interviews.

With a few simple steps, a reporter or newsmaker can record near-studio-quality audio on an iPhone, using the built-in Voice Memos app.

The interface for iOS 7 is different than previous versions, but the principles remain the same.

In iOS 7, you can now email up to 15 minutes of audio – a big improvement over previous versions.

If the file is too large to email, Voice Memos allows basic trimming, in the Edit function.

iOS 7 has a very nice new Edit feature – the option to Save As New Recording, or Trim Original.

 

Pro tips on shooting video

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

It’s easy to shoot video with an iPhone. It’s not easy to do it well.

The built-in camera on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch allows you to shoot High Definition video, but the challenge is knowing what to shoot, how to frame your subjects, and how to edit the images to tell your story in the most effective way.

One of the things I’ve learned since I started #iphonereporting is that shooting video isn’t ‘one size fits all.’

In some cases you’ll want to…

  1. Capture breaking news as its happening, and share it immediately.
  2. Do a quick edit to string-together a few video sequences.
  3. Create a polished movie.

iphonelandscape

How should I hold the iPhone?

Hold the phone horizontally, in the landscape orientation.

Photojournalist Van Applegate with WJLA, in Washington, D.C., says since a television screen is wider than it is tall, the camera should be held the same way.

“We’re often hampered in TV news by the layperson getting great video at the scene, shooting video vertically. This limits the quality, and our ability to enhance” the smartphone images, Applegate says.

Should I use the built-in camera app or a more sophisticated movie app?

I generally shoot video with the Apple native camera app, because in a breaking news situation I don’t want to be struggling to find and launch an app, even if it offers features the built-in app doesn’t have.

Glen Mulcahy, Innovation Lead with RTE Ireland, says while the convenience of the native Apple app is great, his favorite video app is FiLMiCPro ($4.99).

“The extra features like higher bitrate, audio monitoring, with on-screen LEDs and image stabilization are really a fantastic improvement on the native cam.

Mulcahy, who publishes a VJ Technology Blog, has been training journalists to use HDV Camcorders, HD capable DSLRs, and more recently smartphones to make multi-media content for 8 years – he shot this iPhone workflow tutorial with FiLMiCPro.

How should I frame the shots and how long should they be?

“Start wide, establishing the scene, then try to go tight,” says Applegate. “Most people just want to see what’s going on as if they were there, so I find a wide pan to be effective.”

Mulcahy tells his students to “look for the most interesting parts of the action and then capture those as the detail/close up shots.”

Without enforcing a specific order in which shots should be gathered, he suggests students “get 1 wide shot, 2 mids, and then 3 close ups.”

As for how long each shot should be, Mulcahy says “The general rule is either a minimum of 10 seconds or as long as the action requires, particularly if something is entering or leaving the scene.”

What are guidelines for editing video on a mobile device?

Since Applegate – whose Twitter handle is @VBagate – needs to devote his time and attention to shooting and editing video using his traditional TV camera, the content he shares on social media is usually unedited.

Applegate shoots his iPhone video using the free Tout “quick cast” software, which provides a speedy upload of a video segment that can be shared easily on social media.

Vine, which is free, provides an easy-to-use method of shooting up to 6 seconds of video, and quickly sharing through social media. I prefer the newer free Instagram video feature, which allows up to 15 seconds of video, and basic editing.

When editing a more involved project, Mulcahy’s strategy is simple: use your best shot first.

“The audience’s attention span is short. If you want their attention, you need to “hook” them at the start,” says Mulcahy. “This often means using a strong picture and ideally a strong natural audio track to set up the story.”

On the subject of audio, while I normally use the built-in microphone for #iphonereporting, it doesn’t work well for video.

The reason? To properly frame an interview subject requires several feet of distance between reporter and interviewee.

I recommend using a standard field microphone, like a Shure SM63 or Shure SM58, with a Vericorder XLR adapter cable, which allows the microphone to be much closer to the speaker’s mouth.

What video editing app do you recommend?

Mulcahy favors iMovie ($4,99) on iPhone and Pinnacle Studio ($12.99) on iPad.

I prefer Voddio (Free, with $9.99 in-app share upgrade)

The multi-track video and editing app works especially well on iPad, but even on iPhone the interface is clean and dependable, once you learn the swipes and gestures.

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So, there you go – a few basics on shooting video. Let me know if you have any questions.

Mobile, yes. Video, no.

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2013 at 12:36 am

Mobile is the future.

Everyone loves video.

Yet, video isn’t the answer on mobile.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

The problem with video: it’s not easily consumed on a tiny screen, and smartphone users aren’t willing to just sit and stare.

A recent marketing study by Experian shows users spend less than 1% of their time watching video.

And who can blame them? There are so many other tasks smartphone users want to try to fit in while grabbing a cup of coffee, waiting for a bus, or stopped at a traffic light.

Sure, there’s time to consume a 6-second Vine, or even a 15-second Instagram video, but a person rushing to check email, post on social media, and surf the web doesn’t have the inclination to concentrate on something that requires two senses, as watching and listening to a video does.

I contend a well-produced audio feature, is far better content for a smartphone or tablet.

ultimatetweet

A few months ago, I detailed the Ultimate Tweet, which lets a user simultaneously listen to an audio feature while viewing a photo montage.

My premise – when producing content for mobile, audio is better than video – does have some potential drawbacks:

  1. It’s more time-consuming to edit, write, voice, mix a longform audio feature than to shoot a Vine or Instagram video.
  2. Audio production is becoming a lost art, as fewer would-be journalists choose radio, in large part because of low salaries.
  3. The perception video is a better storytelling method than audio.

Granted, I enjoy consuming video on my iPhone as much as the next person, and there are times ‘moving pictures’ are the best way to tell a story.

My suggestion:  consider how users will receive your content, and choose the best tools for telling the story creatively.

5 must-have apps for #iphonereporting

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Having the right tool is important for any job — especially if most of your work is done on mobile devices.

One benefit of #iphonereporting: experimenting with apps is far cheaper than purchasing hardware, as you explore ways of doing your job faster and better.

Here are my current 5 must-have apps

1. Voddio
Multi-track recorder/editor for audio and video. Workflow designed by a journalist, Voddio facilitates down-and-dirty or intricate field reports.
Cost: Free with $9.99 sharing unlock

2. SoundCloud
In-app recorder and ability to upload larger audio files, including fully-produced reports produced with other editing apps.
Cost: Free

3. Twitter
In addition to 140 characters of text, Twitter’s mobile app supports quick sharing of links, including SoundCloud and YouTube URLs and photos.
Cost: Free

4. Camera+
In a breaking news situation, a reporter doesn’t have time to fumble for an app with which to snap a photograph. After taking a picture with iPhone’s built-in camera, Camera+’s presets offer several exposure tweaks before quick transmission.
Cost: $1.99

5. YouTube
Most video editing applications support one-touch uploads to YouTube, and easy sharing on all social media.
Cost: Free