Today SmartphoneCreativity.com takes a closer look at how one pioneering BBC journalist is producing creative and shareable smartphone social media video packages, and shows you how you can quickly and easily create your own.
As a commentator for BBC 5 live Conor McNamara is one of the most recognisable voices in British radio. For many he also has one of radio’s most enviable jobs, visiting sports stadia across the globe to cover football, golf and more.
The end of the English Premier League season may be one of the busiest times of his year, but Conor is also busy pushing boundaries in mobile journalism, compiling and sharing a variety of ingenious content via his smartphone.
A quick browse of Conor’s Twitter feed reveals fascinating photography, Vines and videos taken from post-match press conferences, pitch-side or from the privileged view of his commentary position:
— Conor McNamara (@ConorMcNamaraIE) May 9, 2015
However, one form of content from Conor that really leaps out is his 20 Second Match Report (for hashtag fans, that’s #20SecMatchReport on Twitter). Building on Twitter’s native integrated video embedding, these reports play out directly within Twitter users’ timelines and, as you’ll see just below, embed very well into webpages.
More than simply a reporter’s piece to camera, Conor uses the full video window to share final score, match statistics, images from the game and his own post-match reflections. There’s a lot of information here, but it really works:
— Conor McNamara (@ConorMcNamaraIE) May 24, 2015
Conor assures me that this his workflow to create this is all in-iPhone, no laptop required. So I set to work out how he does it – and I think I can get pretty close using the iOS app PicFrame and its video capabilities.
The PicFrame app is an App Store favourite which lets you quickly and easily combine several photos into a multi-framed single image. It’s very configurable, if a little fiddly sometimes, but importantly also lets you embed videos, with options to play multiple clips simultaneously or in a pre-defined order.
Here’s one I made earlier — I’m calling it a ’30-Second How-To’ (yes, that’s #30secHowTo), and while this example is a little too busy to be ideal, it’s a format I’m sure I’ll experiment with and refine further here.
— SmartphoneCreativity (@smartphonecre8) May 26, 2015
In Conor’s films his still images employ the infamous ‘Ken Burns effect‘ to add movement. While I can’t see a way to achieve this natively within PicFrame, iMovie for iOS does let you create compositions which sweep and zoom across still images: simply drop stills onto an iMovie timeline and it will automatically add movement which you can tweak and render out to a new video clip ready to import into PicFrame.
Sure, this movement does add another few steps to the overall workflow but it can help to create a detailed and well-produced social media video package.
Finally, I rather like the idea of a countdown timer on the video, adding more movement and a sense of drama. You can find a countdown timer like the one Conor uses on YouTube or, if you’ve time on your hands, you could make your own with some static stills and iMovie.
Of course, there will be many ways to achieve this style of film. If you know of other smartphone apps or workflows which easily combine multiple video/image assets into a single video package – for Android and Windows Phone as well as iOS – then please do share in the comments below!