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Credit: Wytse Vellinga

Dutch broadcaster Omrop Fryslân has trained all of its reporters to go out into the field and produce content that can be reused for TV, radio and online without the need for laptops and lugging around six or seven bags.

To make this possible, mobile journalist Wytse Vellinga has developed an internal handbook over the last five years which guides his colleagues step-by-step through making content go as far as possible.

"The first thing they have to do is unlearn their former workflow. There is a lot of stuff they are used to doing with a normal camera, laptop or radio recorder that doesn’t really work on an iPhone - that tends to be the first problem," explained Vellinga.

A VJ camera and high-end radio devices are not essentials anymore for field reporting, he said, adding that with just a handful of equipment and a few apps, reporters can capture quality footage.

The essential inventory

Vellinga recommends the following equipment to get you started:

  • iPhone (preferably X but some reporters use iPhone 6)
  • Tripod
  • Shoulderpod mount
  • Shure MV88 (for atmospheric sound)
  • Sennheiser hand mic (for interviews)
  • iRig Mic HD2 (also for interviews, but has a headphone jack)

And the core apps:

  • Ferrite
  • Filmic Pro
  • LumaFusion

"Keep it simple and keep the number of apps as low as possible," he advised, adding that too much equipment may turn off people who are not so tech-savvy.

Recording for radio

Reporters can record their radio and podcast interviews through the app Ferrite and edit them there.

They send the file through their File Transfer Protocol clients, who have an app called DS File.

To prevent transfer overload during busy periods, reporters can send their files back to the studio via Dropbox or WeTransfer, or in the event of low data connection, WhatsApp.

Recording for TV and radio

If they only get one interview, reporters have to do radio and TV interviews at the same time.

In this case, they film the TV interview through Filmic Pro and rip the audio to Ferrite for radio.

Reporters often make the mistake of not filming at the correct specifications for TV output, which are 50 fps and 1080p.

They then edit interview in LumaFusion to at least a rough cut standard, which would be finished in the studio. Preferably, it would be a complete edit for TV, apart from titles.

Repurposing for online

Next, these clips can live on the website and on social media.

Vellinga said LumaFusion is a handy way to quality screenshots of the video for online pictures, even better than the standard produced by VJ camera screenshots.

If they have time, they also have to edit a separate video for online.

From one social media platform to another, they would crop the story vertically for Instagram Stories and order the clips differently for YouTube or Facebook.

"For TV it’s very much classic, telling the story with a voiceover and talking heads. For online, we try not to use voiceovers - or maybe just less of them - let the subjects speak for themselves and try to get a more personal angle in the story," Vellinga said.

Useful tips for creating a mojo workflow

iPhone models

Vellinga said his newsroom operates with iOS because the apps work best there but difficulties arise when freelancers use android as this can break-up the workflow and cause confusion in the steps.

Reporters with older iPhone models can cause some discrepancies with the quality of content, as Vellinga points out the iPhone X has two lenses for example but iPhone six only has one.

Hot and cold conditions

With constant use, particularly older models of iPhone can overheat and become slow to process. Vellinga said there is no cure, it is just advisable to turn your phone off in between use. But in the Netherlands, the cold can also be a problem.

"We also deal with winter where the devices get cold, the batteries go flat quickly. I advise them to keep phones in pockets as long as possible, to get the body heat on the devices," he said.

Zooming

"Reporters tend to want to pan, tilt and zoom because that’s what they saw their cameraman do in the old days," said Vellinga.

"They want to reproduce that, but you can’t do that without losing quality with a mobile phone, you have to film in a different way."

One-man band

Reporters need to get used to the fact they are in the field on their own and therefore must master all their devices and apps.

"Mobile journalists have to tackle all difficulties they run into by themselves and not all journalists are used to that," he said.

"A minor problem can make people completely lost. For example, in Filmic Pro, the footage is stored internally and not exported to camera roll and when they can't find their material, they panic."

This is why Vellinga created the handbook that became a go-to resource for reporters who are stuck.

"However, you have to have one or two people who do know everything, can solve problems and have a lookout for the next best thing in the mojo world," Vellinga concluded.

Want to learn more mobile journalism tips, tricks, and techniques? Join our course with Caroline Scott to learn how to produce and distribute content from the palm of your hand.

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