As the Wall Street Journal continues to experiment in online video and mobile journalism, Parminder Bahra, executive producer EMEA, shared some tips and tools at the Association of Online Publisher's 'Driving Value through Video' Forum yesterday.
Bahra told attendees how video was playing an increasingly prominent role in WSJ.com's digital journalism.
"One of the things we had to figure out was how to turn 1,800 reporters and editors into video reporters," Bahra told the auditorium.
Thankfully, he said, the barriers to entry in producing videos is much lower than in the past and the tools for creating video reports have been put in the hands of reporters.
The Wall Street Journal uses microvideo platform Tout to let users film 45-second reports from their smartphone and publish almost immediately to their WorldStream blog.
Reporters can shoot their story from the scene and it is they who "decide what's shot, how it's shot and send it in directly", said Bahra, before editors review the content for potential use elsewhere on the site.
"If I had a mission statement for video it would be just one word," said Bahra. "Experiment".
Experimenting within mobile journalism has massively expanded WSJ.com's video output, and Bahra pointed out some of the apps that are regularly used by reporters.
The full Filmic Pro app is currently in development for iOS 7, causing much consternation from fans and users on the app's Facebook page, but a classic version of the app is still available to download.
The 'classic' might not have quite as many features as the 'pro', but adjustable resolution, frame rate, depth of field adapter, gps tagging, shooting guides, and encoding variations are all included to make professional-looking footage on the cheap.
For instances when a number of journalists are reporting on the same scene – whether that's a simple demo of the abuse a CAT phone can withstand, as in the video Bahra showed the forum, or something more complex like a protest – the Wall Street journal use Vyclone.
The software uses GPS data to identify users who are filming in the same vicinity and time stamp data in the footage itself, Vyclone stitches the videos together at random, keeping the audio from one of them.
Vyclone has a three-minute limit on clips but, following the Wall Street Journal model, reports need not be much longer.
Time-lapse footage has become a strong story-telling mechanism for videographers, signifying the passing of time, illustrating significant differences in scenery, documenting travel from a car window, and so on.
The upgrade to 'pro' gives significant improvements, the most useful is that it lets users record and render in higher definition, stop and restart filming at different times, set soundtracks or use filters, including tilt-shift.
Slow motion is an equally well used effect that can add professionalism when applied correctly. The £2.49 upgrade to pro removes the watermark and allows easier sharing of finished films.
Once the different elements and pieces of footage have been shot, Cute Cut provides a platform for editing and finishing the video.
As well as a drag-and drop-function for splicing different shots together, Cute Cut also gives users the ability to integrate photos or text, add music or record a voice over and record footage straight into the editor from other apps.
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