iPhone: A storytellers most valuable tool. Plus apps and gear you gotta have.

I’m a Mac.

There are five Mac laptops of various makes and models in our home, along with three iPods, two iPhones and one iPad, which makes it highly unlikely that you’ll believe my next statement.

I am not an Apple fanboy.
Also,
I’m pro-choice.

Let me explain.

I’ve always believed in the storyteller’s right to choose his or her own ‘paint brush’ to tell their story. Who wants a tube of titanium white shoved down their throat when what they really want to paint with is cadmium green.

Early in my photojournalism career I used Nikon gear, because it worked best for me. It fit my shooting style, despite everyone around me clamoring for a Leica M6. Years later when Canon made a better product I switched.

I mention all of the above because I am going to extol the virtues of the iPhone and I want you to know while I’m ‘on the bus’ I’d hop-off the second someone, anyone, offered me a better ride. I’m not trying to convince you to buy an iPhone. I expect you’ll find the tool that fits your lifestyle.

Remember it’s not about the tools or the technology, it’s about the story. I try to focus equally on both here at mms. My last post, was all about story.

As a profession we are in need of some serious attention to technology, especially in the mobile realm. Speaking for myself, I’m getting a strong feeling that to be truly successful as a journalist of the future everything I do must be viewed through the mobile lens. That said, let’s talk technology.

Internal conversation:

OMG isn’t the iPhone just the greatest device in the whole wide world?
Duh, yeah!

I’m as excited by the story consumption aspects of the iPhone as with its story creation ability. Today I’ll focus my attention on the story creation apps and gear I find most useful for story tellers and in a future post talk about the story consumption aspects.

Let’s get going. I’ve used all of the following apps and gear to create various stories for both personal use and professional outlets. I hope you find some of these as useful as I have. They get the mms seal of approval. Not that that means much! :)

POWER

Using the iPhone as a mobile journalism tool comes at the expense of battery life. These two products have saved me frustration in the the field.

juice pack air™   BUY

As the world’s thinnest rechargeable battery case, the mophie juice pack air™ is designed to
virtually double the time you have to Rock, Talk, Surf and Send with your iPhone 3G or 3GS.

The juice pack airâ„¢ is a rechargeable external battery concealed inside of a protective form-fitting case
for the iPhone 3G & iPhone 3GS. It offers you the full protection of a hard-shell case while providing
virtually twice the battery life of the iPhone alone; all in an ultra-thin, light-weight, low-profile design.

Whistler PI-400W 400 Watt Power Inverter BUY

This power inverter allows you to run AC appliances like  laptop or a phone charger  right from your car. It’s also great for emergencies and bringing the electric coffee maker on camping trips.

STABILITY

Nothing says amateur story teller  more than blurry images or shaky video. These are the tools I’ve found most useful for recording smooth video or creating panoramas with my iPhone.

Joby GM2 Gorillamobile Flexible Tripod BUY

Zacuto Z-ZG-IPJ Z-Grip iPhone Jr. Handgrip System BUY

Not only is this great for hand holding, but it has a tripod mount at the bottom of the grip and a mount on top to mount a mic adapter or external light.


What’s an OWLE? BUY

The OWLE Bubo is a camera mount that brings the best features of a camcorder to the iPhone 3GS: stability, optics, microphones and tripods! The OWLE Bubo is made of a solid piece of aluminum, making it virtually indestructible. The OWLE Bubo comes standard with 37mm lens threading, as well as a 0.45x wide angle/ macro lens combination. This is a real piece of optics, delivering stunning images with better color saturation, contrast and sharpness than is possible with the iPhone’s camera alone. The wide angle lens accepts 49mm screw in filters which are sold separately. The OWLE Bubo provides 4 x 1/4″-20 female threaded mounting holes (1 on top and bottom of each of the 2 hand grips), as well as having a cold shoe mount and recesses allowing access to important areas such as the 3.5mm jack and bottom port of your iPhone while the iPhone is docked within the Bubo. Unseating the iPhone from the OWLE Bubo is easy even for those the thickest fingers thanks to the ergonomic access port. Watch the videos below to learn more!

iPhone Adapter 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack BUY

So you can do this!

Read More about the above set-up here.

This short Adapter cable provides a 3.5mm (Microphone Input) jack to your iPhone or other compatible cell phone. It is the perfect solution for interfacing your new iPhone with your premium microphone for quality recording.
APPS

Description

Easy Release by ApplicationGap replaces inconvenient paper release forms with a slick, streamlined application designed by professional photographers for professional photographers. Fully supports iPad, iPhone and iPod-Touch.

- Lets you collect all the data and signatures you need right on your iPhone, then mails a PDF and JPEG of the release right to you. For convenience and ease of use: Lets you retrieve model and witness information from your contacts. Get location data from a list of previously used.

AutoStitch Panorama

Description

AutoStitch brings high-resolution, wide-angle photography to the iPhone. Have you ever wanted to capture a wider view in a photo? Do you wish the iPhone had a better camera? Using AutoStitch, you can:

- Combine multiple images to produce wide-angle panoramas with no visible seams
- Create spectacular high-resolution images of up to 20 megapixels using your iPhone camera

ReelDirector

Description

BEST APP on APPLE’s Rewind 2009 List and also featured in Creative Editing Kit by Apple.

Full-blown video editing for iPhone and iPad.
Compatible with HD video on iPhone 4!

Note: iPhone 3G & iPod Touch can import video by copy paste.

Monle

Description

Monle works with all external microphones, both those that plug into the headphone/microphone jack and those that plug into the 30-pin data connector. iPhone users can also record with the iPhone’s internal microphone. Monle records WAVE files with sample rates from 8kHz to 44.1kHz, stereo or mono, in 16-bit. All file formats can be simultaneously mixed and edited together.

With Monle, you can manage recordings, rename and delete audio files, create, save, and open editing sessions, zip and backup sessions, upload and download WAVE files by FTP and local WiFi, and share audio via AudioCopy/AudioPaste.
Monle allows users to easily submit audio to American Public Mediaâ„¢, the second largest producer and distributor of public radio programming and the largest owner and operator of public radio stations in the nation.
Create a slideshow production in the palm of your hand.

Great for creating multimedia lessons for instructors; multimedia postcards or YouTube videos; or creating multimedia podcasts.

Unite imagery and sound with ShowCase; our premier podcasting tool that combines still photography or powerpoint slides with audio.


Description
Specifically created to facilitate the work of radio and television journalists, TCoder enables you to take notes during press conferences, presentations, speeches, etc. perfectly synchronized with the time code of your recorder, miniDisc or TV camera.

Forget about paying constant attention to the counter of your recorder, or constantly asking to the camera operator: as long as you have TCoder with you, your notes will automatically include the right time code.

Featuring a stylish and intuitive interface, TCoder is not a recording device: it is the perfect complement to your recorder, camcorder or MiniDis

Pano

Description

Pano for iPhone is an award-winning app that lets you take beautiful, seamless panoramic photos straight from your phone, no other software necessary. Selected by Apple as one of the “Best Apps of 2009″, Pano has gotten rave reviews from tens of thousands of users around the world! Pano is exclusively for iPhone.

Features:
- Deliciously simple interface
- Take 360-degree panoramas with up to *sixteen* photos
- Handy semi-transparent guide helps you line up each shot perfectly
- Advanced alignment, blending, and colour-correction algorithms provide seamless images in just seconds
- Finished panoramas save directly to your camera roll
- Final resolution of up to 6800×800
- Panos can be resumed if interrupted


Description

CiL Writers can use the iPhone App to instantly:

  • Create, launch and run live events
  • Publish live commentary
  • Approve and moderate Reader comments
  • Publish Photos, Audio and Video in real-time
  • Integrate Twitter – search for and post tweets
  • Email event link and embed code
  • Place events into Standby Mode
  • End live events
  • View live event listings

Description

Audioboo is an application for recording and sharing your voice with the world. This free version allows you to create audio up to 5 minutes in length and post that to your own account on the web. You can add titles, tags, geolocation info and a photo to the recording before you upload it and we’ll save all that with the file. The audio can then be shared with your followers or via Facebook, Twitter & more social networks by managing your account at http://audioboo.fm.
Description
about

overview

Have an iPhone? Have an Eye-Fi card? If not you should, these things rock!

Get the FREE Eye-Fi app for your iPhone to extend the Eye-Fi card’s benefit to your iPhone. Enjoy unlimited photo uploads straight from your iPhone to your computer or to the web. Stay organized as photos automatically land in preset folders in your computer. No syncing. No tethering. No hassles.

I’ve used an Eye-Fi Card and this app to shoot images from my Canon  5DMKII 1DMKII,  also, wireless to from my iPhone then automatic to my Flickr account. Photo editor was able to download the images right from my Flickr and I didn’t have to stop shooting. NICE. To make this a little clearer, I use my Eye-Fi card in my Canon 1D and transmit back via a verizon express card using a Cradlepoint PHS300 with an adapter. If you want to know more about this just drop me an email and I’ll share my workflow. Sorry to have confused some folks. The iPhone app is standalone it DOESN’T work WITH my Canon 1D.

Photogene

Description

  • Enhance photos with multiple color adjustment: adjust color levels, exposure, contrast, saturation or manipulate the RGB.
  • Apply filters such as the sharpen or the pencil filter.
  • Crop, straighten and rotate your image.

Qik

Simple LIVE recording and streaming to the web.
Stream live from your iPhone with Ustream Live Broadcaster. I like this better than Qik, but both are solid.

Gorillacam

Features I love about this app: ANTI-SHAKE, SELF-TIMER, TIME-LAPSE, CONTINUOUS RAPID-FIRE, PRESS ANYWHERE, 3-SHOT BURST and GRID OVERLAY. Plus it’s free!

iTimeLapse Pro

Description

iTimeLapse – Create stunning time lapse and stop motion videos straight from your phone!

Finally, you can make and share Time Lapse videos like the pro’s without having to sync to your computer.

It’s so easy, anyone can do it… be an artist!

iTimeLapse allows you to capture a series of images rapidly and then compile them into a video.

iTimeLapse lets you create as many sessions as you want, adding images to them at any time… No need to finish in one sitting.
Then as soon as youre ready, you can compile the images into a video and share it in many ways: YouTube direct upload, Facebook, Vimeo, Email it, Export it to your Camera Roll so it syncs with iPhoto.

OTHER RESOURCES:

iPod and iPhone Recording- GREAT hands-on review with audio examples of some high end recording devices

http://iphonephotographyschool.com/ – The best resource for all things iphone!

5 Essential Tools for the Mobile Journalist Also Mashable has a great mobile/iPhone blog:  http://mashable.com/mobile/iphone/

Poynter.org – News about mobile & its applications & implications for media by Damon Kiesow who also has some very good resource links on his delicious feed: http://delicious.com/dkiesow like: 12 Tips for Improving Camera Phone Photos – Very basic tips for non-photographers

11 comments

  1. gorillacam is the best shooting app out there. but if you’ve got an iphone 4, be aware that it doesn’t shoot 5MP images. hopefully there is an update coming!

  2. I also suggest the new Camera+ App from Taptaptap.

    It lets you edit and share your photos on the fly. There are lots of filters, effects and borders to make your pictures a lot more appealing.

    It cost about $3 or so. I use it a lot now.

  3. How about Hindenburg – a recording software developed by radio journalists for radio journalists. A very nice app AND a sleek piece of software or both mac and pc. You can send a recording from your iPhone/ipod Touch straight to your open application on the computer for further editing. Including your original in and out markings

  4. Thank you for the clear statement that defines this post: “Remember it’s not about the tools or the technology, it’s about the story.”
    The process will always be there…the technology comes and goes…

  5. Your Comments
    Loved the thought of eye-fi in a 5d tranmitting images via iPhone to a website for viewing and downloading by editors. But after buying an X2 card, an adapter and many e-mails to the manufacturers, I seem to have the wrong card. What eye-fi are you using with what CF adapter to shoot in the 5D?

  6. Thanks for clarifying the Eye-Fi stuff. Ever tested the mic/headphone to mini pin cable in the 5d? Could that magic work? XOR and headphones feeding into the Canon’s mic jack?

    ML

  7. Mike, not yet. Since I have the beachtek, i don’t need that work-around. i’d love to know if it works, i thought it was an urban legend. :)