How to: Shooting with Wind

by Kaitlyn Mitchell and James Payne

At Stringr, we always encourage you to utilize the natural sound (also known as nat sound) of the setting you are in. But sometimes that lovely nat sound can include high speed winds that make your Man-On-Street interviews unintelligible.

We’ve outlined the top techniques for coping with wind while shooting below:

  1. Avoid It: If you have an external microphone, position it to face away from the direction of the wind. If you’re shooting with just a smartphone, try to block wind with your back/body. This also applies if you’re doing a SOT interview.

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2. Put something on the mic: There are several options when deciding what to cover your mic with:

A windscreen is just an inexpensive black foam microphone cover; however, they aren’t great for shooting in actual wind. Windscreens are better for breathing sounds or soft air movement, (i.e. you’d be better off using these in the great indoors).WSA deadcat is great at killing wind sound, because it is big and fluffy (and aptly named, as it rather resembles a dead kitty cat’s tail). These often slip over the original windscreen. The wind gets absorbed into all of the fluffiness and dampens that horrible sound.

deadcatvmp_01

3. Edit it out: Usually we recommend that you submit your raw footage to Stringr; however, if you do have experience using editing programs or apps, this can be an effective way to remove the wind sound from your MOS interview. If you like editing on your smartphone, try apps like MoviePro or FilMic. For traditional video editing, Adobe Premiere is a fantastic desktop program, albeit it takes a considerable amount of time to learn how to use and is pricey.

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But even if your video clips do contain wind, don’t stress! Wind is natural sound, after all; and nat sound is always preferred over hearing the latest Justin Bieber track blasting on your car stereo in the background of your footage.

Just belieb in the power of your raw footage (see what we did there?)… As always, string on, Stringrs!

 

 

 

Interview Etiquette: Making the Fourth Wall Disappear

This week on the Stringr blog, we have tips on interview etiquette. If you don’t know the industry term “MOS,” read up — with the increase in protests around the world, we’ll be making footage requests asking for man-on-the-street interviews more often!

THE STRINGR BLOG

by Kaitlyn Mitchell
Here at Stringr’s SoHo office, we’re thrilled to see Stringrs eagerly accept our footage requests at every hour of the unrelenting news cycle; though of course we don’t subscribe to the “if it bleeds, it leads” ethos espoused by the 2014 thriller film Nightcrawler.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler;Image: The Independent UK

As a member of the curation team, I often watch Stringrs approach scenes with emergency medical personnel, the police department, and/or the fire department present. Last week, our in-house video producer James gave fantastic technical pointers on sit-down and Man on the Street, called MOS, interviews in his How-To  series. Now that we’ve covered the basics of framing an interview properly, it’s worth going over interview etiquette.

Last week, there was a residential building fire in Ridgewood, Queens that I covered for Stringr. I noticed that there was at least one professional…

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Stringr Interviews: John Joeb on Natural Lighting

by Kaitlyn Mitchell

Stringr John Joeb shoots real estate marketing videos by day for his production company ClearlyFine, but enjoys the extra cash he can get by being an active Stringr in his free time. Joeb quit the hospitality industry in 2013 in order to pursue his dream of being a full-time filmmaker. He answered an ad for a real estate videographer, and got the job thanks to his associates’ degree in filmmaking. Nowadays, Joeb’s day job involves using drones and glide cams to capture professional footage of beautiful properties in Florida, skills that easily translate to being a great Stringr. Here are his tips for using natural lighting.

Last week, Target announced that it would close 13 stores nationwide, including Joeb’s local store in Florida. Joeb shot fantastic b-roll footage of the store exterior and interior for Stringr.

John Joeb stands in as an interview subject in his Target footage for Stringr.

John Joeb stands in as an interview subject in his Target footage for Stringr.

Stringr: Walk us through the process of the shots you captured at Target.

Joeb: I approached a couple of people and they weren’t willing to talk on camera. So I thought, I need an interview, and I myself shop at this Target, so I’ll just do it. I knew that I wanted to do a rack focus, and that’s where the subject is really crisp, and the background is blurry. I knew the Target logo would be recognizable. I put something on the ground, to mark where I was going to stand, and I recorded for a few moments. Then I went back and looked at the shot, to make sure that I had the focus and the lighting right. I knew the lighting was better near the store, but I liked the dramatic lighting of the logo versus the natural lighting that I had above me. I just used the lighting from the parking lot, and I made sure the shot looked good.

A still of a mailman wading through floodwaters to do his job, from footage Joeb captured for Stringr when Tampa had severe flooding in August.

A diligent mailman wading through floodwaters to do his job: a still from footage Joeb captured for Stringr when Tampa had severe flooding in August 2015. 

Stringr: What are your lighting recommendations for outdoor shoots?

Joeb: Even for the photography that I do, I love natural lighting. The flash, you can tell and it just doesn’t look right.

Stringr: What types of external lighting devices do you use, if ever?

Joeb: In a controlled lighting situation, I use five or six lights, to make sure that everything is lit evenly. I prefer LED versus anything else, because of the heat. I don’t want my talent to sweat during real estate shoots.

Stringr: What are your tips for shooting at night?

You’ve got to know your surroundings. Number one, make sure you have no noise by adjusting the ISO and aperture. I don’t always follow the general rules that we learned in film school, but I just make sure that the shot looks good to me. I say, follow the light. If you know your camera and you know your craft, you can make it work.

Still of a shot of Jeob's Target footage.

Still of a shot of Jeob’s Target footage.

Stringr: How do you plan a shoot?

Joeb: While I was driving to the Target store, I was thinking about the layout of the parking lot, what light sources were around, my kit, how busy it would be. I just wanted to make sure that everything was lit evenly. When I arrive, I look at the scene, get my camera out, and look for something that works.

A still from drone footage captured by Joeb for his production company, ClearlyFine.

A still from drone footage captured by Joeb for his production company, ClearlyFine.

Smartphone Camera Comparison: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Vs. Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Time for your upgrade, and not sure which smartphone to purchase? Read our comparison of iPhone vs. Samsung phone cameras before you buy.

THE STRINGR BLOG

Here at Stringr, we receive a lot of footage from both iPhone and Android users. We often get asked which smartphone is better for shooting video.  While we won’t tell you what phone to buy, we will show you which phone captures better video.  In this test, we have a side-by-side camera comparison between the Iphone6+ and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.  Here is a breakdown of each phones camera specs.

The iPhone 6+ has a 8MP camera and shoots 1080p video at 30 or 60fps. It has an aperture of f2.2 with a focal length equal to 29mm. The camera can also shoot slow motion at 240fps at 720p.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a 16MP camera and shoots 4K video at 30fps. It has an aperture of f1.9 with a focal length equal to 28mm. The camera also shoots slow motion at 120fps at 720p.

When it…

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How-To: Shoot Evergreen Footage

Evergreen footage is a great way for Stringrs to make extra cash when breaking news is slow. Check out our brief video guide for making your footage stand out to our customers.

THE STRINGR BLOG

Stringr is a video marketplace and we accept all kinds of footage. Whether you are responding to a footage request or  just shooting independently.

If you choose to shoot non requested footage, it is always great to capture what the industry calls “evergreen” footage. Also known as beauty shots. These shots can be used over and over again.

The footage is typically a visually pleasing wide shot. It can be used as a filler, opening, ending or can stand alone.

Here are a few tips in shooting evergreen footage.

Pay attention to your composition. This gets you that beautiful, clean shot. Keep an eye on all edges and remember the rule of thirds. However, changing the composition is where great creativity comes to play.

You don’t have to be in a park to get evergreen footage. These shots can be wide city shots, landmarks or even creative time lapses.

To…

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Technical How-To: Ensuring a video upload size of 16×9

Occasionally, Stringrs submit smartphone footage with the incorrect screen aspect ratio. Read this blog post for a quick fix.

THE STRINGR BLOG

by Kaitlyn Mitchell

This week’s blog post is quite technical, but we’re hoping it helps you out, Stringrs. Daily video submissions from Stringrs often appear on our platform in a smaller size than our customers prefer.

This is common problem that Stringr’s curation team comes across when carefully reviewing all of your video footage submissions: Some of the videos come in with a 4×3 aspect ratio, instead of 16×9. The aspect ratio is a term to describe the frame size of the video when it is eventually viewed.

At Stringr, the bare minimum requirements for your video to be promoted to our customers include:

  •  The video must be shot horizontally
  • The video must be shot with a 16×9 frame aspect ratio
  • The video must be newsworthy
  • The video must be nicely shot

Luckily for you iPhone users, the iPhone will ONLY export 1080p quality video via the 16×9 aspect ratio.

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Before You Shoot: A Checklist

by Kaitlyn Mitchell

Hey, Stringr! Yeah, you: If you’re serious about selling video regularly on the Stringr platform, but don’t want to invest in an expensive video camera, you should consider purchasing some attachments for shooting with your smartphone. Here’s your pre-shooting gear checklist, as well as a few tricks of the trade to keep in mind before heading out into the field.

iphoneshot

Prepare your phone

  • Make sure your battery is fully charged, and go into airplane mode to conserve battery. Wifi networks can still be accessed in airplane mode, but being connected to wifi and bluetooth will also drain battery.
  • Clean your lens — the sleeve of your shirt will work in a pinch.
  • Get rid of extra media and apps on your phone. If you need those apps for personal use, get another phone to be used specifically for shooting. So next time you get an upgrade, save your old model for shooting!
  • Test the sound and image before you start shooting the actual event, and play it back to make sure the sound comes through and the image isn’t blurry.
The user interface of the app FiLMiC Pro, available on the app store for $9.99.

The user interface of the app FiLMiC Pro, available on the app store for $9.99.

Lock autofocus and autoexposure

  • If you download See it with Us or FiLMiC Pro, you’ll be able to select an appropriate brightness and camera subject distance. These apps allow AE, AF, and AWB locks.
  • If you’re used to using an actual camera, remember that smartphones control exposure through shutter speed and ISO only. There is no “f:stop” control on your phone.
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The Mobile GorillaPod can be attached to your arm to steady your shot.

Stabilize the camera

  • Use a tripod, rest your phone up against something, or hold your arms as close to your center of gravity as possible to reduce shaky footage. The heavier your phone, the more you reduce the sway. Watch our video blog on handheld shooting here.
  • Newer smartphones have stabilization built in — make sure that it is turned on.
  • Check out our video blog on tripods for more information.
  • Some specific models that have received positive reviews are: GorillaPod Mobile, The Keyprop, and GripTight Mount.
A reporter photographs musician James Taylor using an Apple iPhone as he gives an interview during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A reporter photographs musician James Taylor using an Apple iPhone as he gives an interview during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Shoot for the editors

  • Most cameras cannot keep up with movement, so stay at as wide of an angle as possible.
  • NEVER zoom in and move; in fact, it’s best to avoid zooming all together. Digital zooms degrade the image.
  • Allow subjects to enter and leave the frame. Check out our video blog on framing your shot here.
  • Separate your interview subject from the background whenever you can, and don’t film your subject in front of windows or a bright background (otherwise, you won’t be able to see the subject).
  • Always shoot horizontally!
The Ampridge Mighty Mic.

The Ampridge Mighty Mic.

Get good sound 

  • Smartphones usually don’t allow you to monitor sound levels, so shoot a test and play it back while wearing your earphones to make sure that the video has audio.
  • Get up close and personal with your sound source if possible — this will eliminate extraneous sound.
  • Consider using a second phone for audio (just in case).
  • Wind will ruin your audio: If you have an external mic, put a softie on it. If you’re shooting with only your phone’s mic, try to block the wind with your hand if possible.
  • Consider an external microphone that plugs into a headphone jack. Some reliable models are: The Mighty Mic, Røde Videomic Go, and DXA-SLR Ultra Adapter (this one is advertised to be used with a DSLR camera, but it can be used with iPhones).
  • See our own video blog on getting better audio here.
The OlloClip lens will give your smartphone telephoto abilities.

The OlloClip lens will give your smartphone telephoto abilities.

Fragment your world

The Anamorphic Adapter lens.

The Anamorphic Adapter lens.