As social distancing continues to impact our lives, broadcasters the world over are radically changing their working practices.
In late May, the BBC Academy’s Marc Settle explained how to turn a mobile phone into a complete newsgathering solution during an RTS Thames Valley webinar, “Get your mojo working!”
Opening with an online audience poll, Settle asked how many of his audience were using Android or Apple iOS mobile. Two thirds said iOS, one third Android. “This is the complete inverse of the general population. Out there in the real world it’s predominantly Android, but in media environments it’s much more iOS,” he said.
“There’s a lot of uniformity on iOS that isn’t on Android, so when I say something will work on iOS then it’s almost guaranteed that it will, but the same isn’t true of Android as it’s much more fragmented due to the different manufacturer implementations and version types of Android.”
Mobile phones are designed predominantly for the consumer market, so they don’t have some of the features we take for granted on professional broadcast kit such as removable batteries or extra memory storage. Settle said: “You can never have enough memory space or battery capacity. Filming is one of the most battery-draining things you can do, so always make sure you have your batteries charged or take a battery pack with you. ABC – Always Be Charged.”
Settle provided other tips, including keeping the lens clean and using a tripod to steady your camera. If you don’t have one, rest it on a solid surface such as a wall or railing.
Sound is often forgotten and it can be difficult to maintain high quality. Settle provided demonstrations of the differences between using external and built-in microphones. Both quality and clarity are greatly improved when lapel mics with windshields are used.
He reviewed some of the leading apps available to edit video and audio, as well as teleprompters, and automated subtitle and graphics generators: “You can stay simple and use the apps already installed on your iPhone or you can have many different apps. Or, as I recommend, just have a few apps, learn how to use them and get good at those.”