The lesson for today: Check your tools before you use them. Then, check them again. Perhaps even a third time. It will save you a big headache, trust me.
I still hold out as part of the old messaging phone generation. That being said, I am learning how to use smartphone video to create short pieces of journalism. The main tool is Videolicious, a video creation app that allows you to bring in B-roll, interviews and effects all in an efficient way.
To get around not having a smartphone, I borrowed a friend's retired iPhone and downloaded up the app. After a quick trial run, I hit the streets to interview Marquette University students about the low participation for the Campus Climate Survey. I did interviews and gathered transitions, thinking I was set.
Then it came time to edit. Due to another reporting obligation for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, the final video did receive attention until later that night. That is when the realization set in – the microphone does not work.
My mistake. The deadline for the piece is looming the next morning and I have nothing. A person can fix bad video if there is good audio. If there is bad audio, that is a problem. If there is no audio, that is a huge problem.
Doing the best I could, I grabbed my regular camera and found a few more people who were willing to talk about the survey. I recorded them on the camera, uploaded the files onto my computer, transferred them to the iPhone, then edited the pieces together in Videolicious for the final piece.
The lesson here is to make sure all your tools work. Do not go out in the field unless you know, not think, that your tools can handle the assignment. That is, unless your idea of fun is a frantic realization with a quick approaching deadline.
A chance to see the world from the perspective of a 6-foot-2, aspiring human rights journalist. Will include lessons learned and reflections.