iPhoneography: How and Why To Use iPhones For Broadcast Journalism

Use an iPod touch to shoot and edit your news packages.

Broadcast news is always about being fast and cheap. So if you need to cover breaking news in a hurry, or just produce newspackages on a tight budget, you should consider the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for your entire production studio.

That’s right. Your ENTIRE studio. That’s because these devices shoot 1080p video, AND edit that video with titles and mixed soundtracks, and can upload stories to your website.

This is a great alternative to the now-defunct Flip video cameras that only shoot video.

My students use them to shoot b-roll when our pro cameras are over-booked, or if they see something newsworthy when they’re out and about. I also use them to produce small stories as supplements to regular assignments, or to practice when school’s not in session.

Pros:

1. Cost. An ipod Touch will set you back about $199. The iMovie editing app costs $4.99

2. Availability. Many students already own their own iPhone, iPad or Touch device, so you won’t have to buy a class set.

3. Your staff can cover many different stories at the same time since they won’t have to wait for a class camera to become available.

4. Mobile devices are small and inconspicuous–a great way to avoid drawing attention to yourself and affecting the events around you.

5. It’s in your pocket, ready to record news at a moment’s notice.

6.  These devices do a lot more than just record and edit video.  Students can use them to research on the internet, take notes, or anything else your apps can do.

Cons:

1. They lack the full feature set of pro cameras. There is no true manual focus or optical zoom on the video camera, and you’re locked into factory settings for white balance, shutter speed, etc.

2. Although amazing, the editing apps have their limits on what they can do. Forget about keyframe animation, color correction and custom titles.

Although they lack the granularity and control of high-end cameras and desktop editing apps, this solution can be a great tool for creating quick, solid newspackages ready for the web, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Michael Hernandez is an Apple Distinguished Educator who teaches film and broadcast journalism at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA.  Follow him on Twitter: @cinehead

Michael Hernandez

Michael has taught Film/Video Production and Broadcast Journalism since 1999, and advises the Pacemaker-winning Mustang Morning News. He regularly presents seminars on journalism, video and technology-related topics, and is a former JEA National Broadcast Adviser of the Year. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cinehead

mhernandez has 52 posts and counting.See all posts by mhernandez

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