One of the projects that was brewing on my mind since I learned that I’ll be promoted to manage our Cebu office is multi-media digital coverage. I got the idea from Natashya Gutierrez of Rappler during their #MoveDumaguete event. (It was unforgettable for me since I met Maria Ressa in person afterwards. Awe.some.)
Natashya showed how she can single-handedly cover a news event with only her iPhone, a tripod, laptop, and a wifi connection. She just needs to film a presscon or an interview using her iPhone. Then hook up her iPhone to her laptop, connect to the net, upload the video and then type out a brief story. Within minutes, she’s posted her news video on the Rappler website with Rappler’s social media team rabidly tweeting the heck out of it.
Basically, Natashya’s broken the news online while reporters from the traditional media outlets, particularly the TV crews with their humungous cameras, are still on their way back to the studio to edit their footages and their reporters readying their scripts for stand-uppers or VOs (voice overs).
Digital media coverage means lesser warm bodies needed for coverage, and faster dissemination of news to the audience.
That got me thinking hard. A hundred bulbs were lighting up like crazy in my head.
Since we at Philippine Information Agency are already multi-media reporters, sort of (not by choice but by circumstance) a digital media coverage like what Rappler’s reporters are doing should come naturally for us, right?
So I pulled some heavy strings and asked the chief of PTV Visayas, Alex Rey Pal, to show us the ropes in producing digital cutspots – or brief news videos – that we can post online. Turns out, Sir Alex is the McGyver Pinoy version. He taught us not only the basics in digital news video production (from taking footages to scriptwriting to doing the VOs), but also how to DIY it in view of limited resources.
A couple of rubber bands and binder clips. Who knew how far it can get you?
We already have a tripod at work, along with boxes of binder clips and rubber bands. Now, we only need an iPhone! (Sir Alex uses an iPhone for his cutspots that he sends to PTV for airing.) No fancy videocams needed.
Sir Alex taught us what we needed to know to make this work, like how to take the film shots properly since the same rules apply whether it’s digital or not. Like continuity of direction, being conscious of The Axis, angles, framing/composition, etc.
Since we don’t have an iPhone yet, we are using instead my personal iPad, which works perfectly fine as well.
From the iPad, I transfer the video files to my personal (again) MacBook via the Photo Transfer App. Then Ver, our resident AV tech wizard, edits the videos on iMovie. The reporter then writes up the script, a copy of which is given to Ver to guide him in his editing. Afterwards, using the earphone w/ a built-in mic, the reporter and Ver coops up in a closed room where they can do the voice over.
Then Ver scrubs, polishes, stitches the videos and audio together (all the magic happens in iMovie) until it becomes shiny enough to be posted online.
To date, we’ve released 7 episodes under our special project we dubbed iCebu. You can check them out on our YouTube channel here.
I can’t end this post without wishing out loud: we need an iPhone and a Macbook at the office. The ones we’re using are my own personal gadgets. You see, I’ve been using my personal Mac at work for a long time now. I don’t have an official computer at work. So we mostly have to put off working on the cutspots if I need to use the Macbook to finish office reports.
You might be wondering why it has to be an iPhone and a Macbook, considering their price. Well, that’s because we’ve discovered the seamless integration between these two Apple products. No more file conversions needed. And editing movies on iMovie is like slicing butter with a hot knife. It’s so darn easy and fast. We can all thank Steve Jobs for that!