Tech survey? What tech survey?

My colleagues and I had a little fun with a company-wide tech survey.


Five things series … Editing video on your iPad

Colleague Eva-Marie Ayala and I had some fun with the iPhone and Fort Worth’s new parking meters on Monday. In the process, I learned five key things about editing in the iMovie iOS app.

1. Move clips from iPhone to iPad: After shooting the video, I used Apple’s camera connection kit to import the clips to my iPad. (Editing on the iPhone’s small screen is not a fun experience.) Unfortunately, you can’t import just any video format, so if you shot video using something other than an iPhone, you’ll just have to see if the iPad will accept it. You’ll know it worked if the Photo app opens.

2. Keep your expectations low: I edited the clips in the iMovie app and overall it worked OK. The biggest drawback: The app version does not allow you to separate audio and video tracks, so B roll is not an option.

3. Use WiFi to export full-res video: I exported the video at full resolution to YouTube (It took only a few minutes.) and was happy with the quality. Uploading the HD file to Vimeo took about 15 minutes on WiFi (for a 44-second video), and I saw little difference in the quality.

4. Export to your Mac if necessary: I ended up exporting the clips to iPhoto via the sync cable so I could handle B roll in Final Cut Pro, thus ruining the entire iPad-only experiment (oh well).

VIDEO: Fort Worth parking meters, on YouTube

5. The iPad works for breaking news: Trying to shoot and edit the entire project on mobile devices wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped. But if you’re not as addicted to FCP as I am, and especially if you’re handling breaking news, the setup will work just fine.

Just know going in that your post-production options are limited, unless you want to move to a laptop.

An intrepid journalist builds a bridge over those pesky tools

People come up with all kinds of reasons not to change. It’s only human to want to spend time where we’re comfortable, even if we have to dig a hole and cover ourselves with leaves to avoid reality.

The "intrepid" Gordon Dickson

In legacy print newsrooms, it seems that the latest pushback against change goes something like this: We’re “spending more time on the medium, the technology, than the content.” That line, from an LA Times report on Digital First Media CEO John Paton, was attributed to “a 32-year New Haven (Conn.) Register employee.” But I’ve heard it on many occasions.

I understand the sentiment. I know that those who say it are sincere in their fears that the quality of our journalism will suffer as we try to do more with less.  Continue reading

A 21st century journalist is fun, flexible and technically savvy

We are in the midst of dissecting the results of a newsroom-wide survey of technical skills, which is leading to some interesting discussions about priorities. It seemed like a good time to share this job description for a 21st century journalist, which was the result of a brainstorming session by a Digital Strategy Committee at the Star-Telegram. (Note: This has NOT been officially adopted at our newspaper.)

And, yes, this is much easier said than done.  Continue reading

Steve Wilson’s accessories to improve your iPhone video

Colleague Steve Wilson, whose work with the iPhone video camera was referenced in a previous post, shares his list of accessories:

Mini video kit for iPhone

“I have a little mini video kit for my iPhone that I now carry with me that reporters might find useful.

It all fits in a small bag that I keep in my desk.

The “How to Make the Nellie Cruz cutout” was shot with my iPhone using this mini tripod.

In the “Cookie Challenge” video, I used my iPhone on the same mini tripod head, but mounted on a full-sized tripod. I also used the Lavalier microphone for the sound.”  Continue reading

30 days to the digital transition: The miracle smartphone

In my last post, I posited that Twitter might be the shortcut to the digital transition that we’ve been searching for.

Now, I’d like to make the case that the new generation of smartphones, especially the iPhone 4 and 4s, may be the only hardware we need for field reporting.

AME/Metro Lee Williams checks out the high-tech iPhone tripod solution on the left (the Joby GorillaMobile) and the low-tech version made with clips and a card on the right. Photo and Rube Goldberg tripod by David Kent.

In my six years working for the Star-Telegram’s digital operations, I have learned to use at least nine cameras and/or camcorders, plus three digital voice recorders. And Windows computers. And Apple computers. And iPads. And Android tablets. And so on.

And I’ve put many of my eager colleagues through that hell along the way.

But in midsummer 2011, I bought an iPhone 4. And I realized that I was holding a simple yet high-quality device that would allow us finally to spend more time creating content than we do learning technology.

With the iPhone 4 and its newer sibling, the 4s, journalists can shoot good-enough video and photos, can record decent audio, can access high-quality productivity apps, can stream live video, can keep in touch with the office through video chat, IMs or text, and can even attach a Bluetooth keyboard and write an entire story in a pinch.

Continue reading

Sarah Huffstetler learns digital journalism in a week

The Star-Telegram’s AME/Design won a fellowship to the Knight Digital Media Center’s January Digital Storytelling Workshop. I collected some of her tips, via Twitter, and her final video.

Below are her posts through Day 3, via Storify. More tips, from Day 4.

  1. @shuffstetler: for visuals, being there is 97%
    Tue, Jan 10 2012 17:22:30
  2. Mobile: Being there is 51%. Technique is 46%. Gear is 2%. #fwstnext #kdmcinfo
    Tue, Jan 10 2012 17:16:55
  3. Love your experiments as if you would an ugly child. This is how you learn, and ultimately get better.#fwstnext #kdmcinfo
    Tue, Jan 10 2012 15:08:16
  4. Video tip: No matter what the subject is, you need a tight, medium, wide shot. #fwstnext #kdmcinfo