e see it almost every day on TV when viewers send cell phone video. They shoot great video of a chase, a reunion or some breaking news – but because of the way the phone was held more than half the screen has no video when it shows up on TV. The reason is simple. The camera was held in a vertical position so it ends up with “wings” when you put it on the air. Remember those days when we transitioned to HD?
Let’s be honest. Even those of us in TV – including photogs – sometimes forget to turn the device horizontal. If you’ve ever used Periscope, users who watch live often have to remind the Periscoper to turn the camera on its side.
We need to be proactive in reminding and helping users how to shoot better videos. And we need to show our users (and even members of our staff) why. This graphic from OS X Daily sums it up.
Here are some suggested action steps:
- Whenever you use smartphone video, remind users the best way to shoot it. And if it was properly shot by the user then give kudos on the air to the user.
- Whenever you post video online, add a sentence to the end of the video caption reminding folks to always shoot in the horizontal mode.
- Create a page/section on your app and website showing the best way to shoot videos. You can go beyond how to hold the phone/camera and add tips and tricks from your photogs that users can follow for shooting breaking news and even family videos. When the holidays approach you might add content and suggestions on shooting the best Christmas videos or photos of the family at Thanksgiving. This could also be great content for your Facebook page. You could even do an online chat about best ways to shoot videos – you’d be surprised at the response you’ll get.
- On your website where users get information on your apps and how to submit video, add a reminder to shoot in the horizontal mode.
- Consider making one of your on-air digital promos a “how to shoot videos” spot.
At the end of the day, getting user video in the right perspective will help your product. Creating a conversation with your users and viewers will help increase your engagement.