Smartphone Storytelling: The Complete Mobile Video Guide

Shoot | Edit | Share | Professional Storytelling with Your Mobile Device
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Instructed by Amani Channel Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 60
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2013 English

Course Description

This is a course by an award-winning visual storyteller for storytellers. Just about everyone has a smartphone, and whether you're a writer, photographer, editor, blogger, or content producer you can use your smartphone to tell visual stories. Have you tried to? Did the video come out the way that you planned? If not, you've arrived at the right Udemy course.

The future is now, and you should be using your smartphone to capture, edit, and share stories. Professionals storytellers like Neal Augenstein, Nick Garnett, and Jeremy Jojola know all about it, and so does vlogger Steve Garfield who actually scooped CNN by using his Nokia smartphone.

You don't need expensive editing software, or even a high end camera, because if you have an iPhone you can do everything with apps. It's all in your pocket. Do you want to learn how to connect a microphone to your device, use a tripod, or quickly edit your video? Then take a moment and watch the free videos below.

In this course you'll learn:

  • How to use your Android or iOS device to capture high quality audio
  • How to use professional production techniques with your mobile device
  • How to use a tripod with a variety of iOS devices
  • How to shoot, edit, and post videos quickly with your iPhone
  • Storytelling techniques including interviewing and writing
  • Demos of iMovie, FiLMiC PRO, and other mobile apps

I've worked in broadcast news, and video production all my career, and I've watched how mobile technology is transforming the news business. Your phone can be used to tweet headlines, share photos, but let's face it, nothing is more powerful than video.

This course is designed for all levels of storytellers. There is something here for everyone. If you own a smartphone, you'll learn how to capture stunning images, and how to create and share stories just like the pros.

What are the requirements?

  • iOS Device, Most Gear works with iOS or Android, Interest in visual storytelling

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn How to Hold and Capture Quality Footage
  • Learn How to Connect a Tripod and Microphone to Your Device
  • Learn What Apps are Best for Video Production
  • Learn How to Edit a Story with Your iDevice
  • Real World Examples of How Journalists are Creating Mobile Media
  • How to Conduct an Interview
  • Bonus: How to Edit with Nonlinear Editing Software (FCPX)

Who is the target audience?

  • Traditional media makers, storytellers, digital content producers, bloggers

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Mobile Journalism: Getting Started with Video

Welcome to Mobile Journalism for Smartphones and Tablets. If you're a photojournalist, reporter, editor, writer, social media storyteller, or content producer, this course is for you. Learn why this course was created, you'll learn a little bit about me, Amani Channel, and this should get you interested in learning more.


This lecture will cover the curriculum and will explain why you need this information along with what you'll learn.


Why do you need to learn and master smartphone media production? Because it is the future. Photojournalists are being replaced by iPhonography. Some may frown at it, but that's the reality. This isn't to scare you, but to help you realize how the media profession is changing. Some outlets are already using iPads other mobile devices to create news. That's why this course was created.


You've probably shot poor smartphone video. This lecture will cover three of the most common mistakes that people make while creating smartphone videos.


Some journalists and media makers are using their smartphones and apps in creative ways to share news and content. This lecture will introduce you to several of them. Steve Garfield used his Nokia phone to scoop CNN. Radio reporter Neal Augenstein produces all of his reports with his iPhone. Jeremy Jojola used his iPhone to do a live shot, and WTTG educated their viewers how to use their smartphones for citizen jouranlism styled reports.

Mobile Video in the News
All Mobile: Trayvon Martin Rally: Smartphone Reporting Case Study

You should never try to integrate a new tool into your storytellling toolbox until you understand how it can be used and how you can use it. This lecture will cover some of the things you should consider as you learn about mobile technology.


This lecture will give you an overview of the gear that you'll need to invest in.
Visit this link for more info on the equipment.


Questions or comments? Email ask (at) .

You've just begun your journey, and there is so much to learn. Remember to keep an open mind, and start using the technology. It's important to experiment and have fun.


Watch this recording of Amani's live presentation at Atlanta Web Fest. He shows examples of mobile filmmaking and mobile journalism and demos the gear that you'll learn all about in this course.

Section 2: Mobile Production Techniques and Gear

This section is packed with info that will help you understand the gear that you'll need, and most importantly, how to use it. From cables, mics, lights, and special accessories, you'll learn everything that you'll need to start capturing great smartphone video.


This lecture will lay the foundation for your video production journey. You'll get an overview of the equipment that you'll need to get started. Of course you'll need a smartphone, but to really produce quality videos you'll need cables, a microphone or two, a tripod, and a tripod attachment that allows you to mount your device to a tripod.


This lecture will cover the importance of using light and a tripod during your video productions.


Now that you know how to use a mic, you'll lean how to connect your smartphone to a tripod. It's easier than you think, but you'll need a special attachment to do so. In this lecture, you'll learn what kind of tripod you should use, how to connect your smartphone to a tripod, and basic tripod movement.

Featured Tripod: Promaster 7100 Fluid Tripod


It's important to capture quality sound when you're recording sound, especially interviews. With a mobile device, you need a special cable (4-pin or TRRS) to connect a microphone to a smartphone. This lecture will give you an overview of microphones and how they work, and how you should use them.


Before we even talk about video, you need to have equipment to capture good audio, specifically cables and a mic or two. In addition, you will need a special connector to plug a microphone into your mobile device. This lecture will show you just how easy it is to connect your mobile device to a consumer, or professional microphone.


If you want to really step up your productions, then consider investing in a smartphone stabilization device. These devices allow you attach your smartphone to a tripod, you can attach lenses, and lights.

I cover three in this lecture, the Phocus, the Padcaster, and the iOgrapher.


If you'd like to add another layer of quality to your production, then you may want to invest in a stabilization/tripod mount/lens accessory like the Phocus ( The Phocus comes with two lenses, a wide/macro lens and a telephoto lens, and is really cool to use. In this lecture, you'll learn how to get started with the Phocus, and how to use a professional tripod.

Equipment in this lecture:

Manfrotto 501 Fluid Tripod


Tablets like the iPad can also be used to catch quality video, and The Padcaster is an accessory that can enhance your tablet video productions. The Padcaster features and aluminum frame with a rubberized housing that securely holds the iPad. Once connected, a mic can be connected, and the device has a tripod attachment. The Padcaster isn't perfect, but it is a great device to create high quality iPad videos. Check out my full review here:

Equipment in this lecture
The Padcaster
Vericorder 4-pin to XLR Cable


Don't just start recording video with your mobile device. That's a sure way to record bad video or audio. This Demo will walk you through setting up your phone to record. How to put it in airplane mode, how to activate your camera, and how to lock the focus and exposure.


You're going to love this lecture. This video will be key to developing your videography skills. From framing up your shot, to using the sun as a light source, you'll see exactly how to capture professional looking video with your mobile device.


"Lighting is everything." I was on the set during a music video shoot, and that advice was given by the gaffer (the chief lighting technician. Light will set the mood, provide a time of day reference for your viewers, and if nothing else, it will allow your camera to capture visuals sufficiently.

In this lecture, In part 1 of this 2 part lecture, I will demonstrate basic 2-point lighting, and will demonstrate how I set up an affordable light kit in my home studio.


Once your lights are set up, you should set up your tripod, connect your camera, and microphone. In this lecture, I'll also test three mics with the iPhone, an Electro-Voice 635a, and Audio-Technica AT-2005 USBmic, and an Electro-Voice RE-20. This is part 2 of a two part lecture.

Equipment Used:
Electro-Voice 635a
Audio-Technica AT-2005
Electro-Voice RE-20


Interviewing is an art and a science, and this lecture will cover basic techniques to help you shoot good interviews. Make sure the background isn't cluttered or boring and make sure the shot is well framed. Help your subject feel comfortable, and if you're shooting handheld, pay attention to the shot.


Know your mobile device. That means that you should know what it can and can't do. In this lecture, you'll learn some of the limitations of mobile device video production.


This lecture will recap the gear that was covered in this section.
Remember that you need:
TRRS Audio/mic cable
Tripod attachment
Fluid Tripod

Section 3: Visual Storytelling

Part 3 will get into visual storytelling basics. Strong visuals, sound, and emotion, make the video world go round. This lecture will give you a basic understanding of the different elements go into compelling stories.


This lecture continues to help you build a strong storytelling foundation by explaining the 5Ws and H. Every story should answer: who,what, when, where, why, and how.


This lecture will share additional tips to keep in mind when you are shooting broll. In addition to shooting the basic shots, try not to overshoot or shot too much video, and shoot 10-15 seconds of still video.


The questions you ask during and interview, and how you ask them is important. This lecture will explain the dos and don'ts of interviewing.


The stand up is your time to shine if you want to be in your story. A stand up is a staple in broadcast news, and there are a few ways they are used. During a live shot the reporter will give a live intro and outro. In taped segments (packages), a stand up is used either as a tag at the end to wrap up the piece, or as a bridge in the middle. It takes practice, especially if you're not comfortable speaking on camera.


Writing a news story is like putting a puzzle together, but you have the right pieces put together in the right order. This lecture will get you started.


In general, there are two kind of new stories, hard news, and soft news. Hard news is generally events like crimes, tragedies, and acts of god like hurricanes.

This lecture will also review the storytelling section.

Section 4: Applications and Editing

Are you trying to get started with mobile media apps, but don't know where to get started? This lecture will share some of the best video apps out there. There are always new apps to test and try but this will get you started.


The iMovie 1.0 mobile application was used to edit the Trayvon Martin rally package that was shared at the beginning of this course. In this lesson, you'll see the iMovie mobile application timeline which will include edit points from the clip that were used, as well as the sound bites and b-roll.


This lecture will teach you how to navigate the home screen of the iMovie application. You'll learn how to start a new project and the functions to get started.


iMovie's interface is simple, one you're familiar with it. This lecture will give you a complete overview of the edit canvas.


Now that you know and understand the timeline, it's time to add your first video clip. In this lecture will start editing our story.


This lecture continues the lesson in adding clips to the timeline.


iMovie allows you to make basic transitions. It's easy to add or delete transitions. Watch this lecture to learn.


In this final lecture, you'll learn how to record narration with an external microphone, edit adjust the audio on the timeline, add text/lower thirds and export the video.


This lecture recaps iMovie editing and intros how to edit photos with music and text with iMovie.


Get started editing photos from your iOS device in this lecture. You'll see the timeline, images that were selected, and the transitions that were added.


Get started creating easy videos with photos in your camera roll. You'll learn how to preview, select, and add the photo to your timeline.


The same features that you can execute to video, you can do with photos, including adding transition, text, and music. Watch the final project with music, text, and transitions.


This is more of a speculative lesson. You'll learn how your smartphone can be used in breaking news situations. For this example, a real world spot news situation was captured, the video was edited in the field and uploaded to the Internet minutes after I arrived on scene.


In this lecture, I'll show you the spot news iMovie timeline and explain the shots that were selected, and shared with a local news station in Tampa, FL.


After the video was edited, the clip was uploaded it to YouTube and emailed the link to a local news station. Though they didn't run the story, this is something that anyone can do quickly without a computer or live truck.


In this lecture, I'll cover some of the basic features of the iMovie 2.0 mobile app.


This Mini Movie was shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 4S


This lesson will explain the how the final version of Shades of Fall was created by showing you the iMovie app timeline.


The lesson will teach you how I created a how to styled vlog on my iPhone that used a previously shot movie and commentary that was added. This is a behind the edit lesson.


Now that you've learned how to tell visual stories with your smartphone, it's time for you to start using what you've learned. This lecture will wrap up this class, and you'll learn about other resources for smartphone storytelling.

Section 5: Bonus Lessons

In this bonus lesson, you'll learn how to use the FiLMiC PRO application. FiLMiC PRO is a camera enhancement application that allows you to white balance, zoom, and change the framerate along with other features.


In this lecture you'll learn how to adjust the settings in FiLMiC PRO. This app has numerous features and setting that allow you to capture and control the image.


This lecture is a general introduction to FXPX editing with the iPhone or other mobile devices. You can edit your smartphone video in any editing software, which is another option for telling your story. This covers the basic interface and how to create a new event.


In part 2 you'll learn how to create a new project in FCPX. The project contains the storyline that is associated with the event where the video assets are stored. Once the new project is created, video clips can be added and edited on the storyline (timeline). In this video, you'll learn how to record a voice over directly to the storyline.


Start editing your story in FCPX. This lecture will show you how to select and add clips to the storyline.

Was this course helpful? Please email: ask(at)

Section 6: Downloads
8 pages

Download or print the Storyteller's Mobile Video Production Guide by Amani Channel.

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Instructor Biography

Amani Channel, Empowering content creators through video

Amani Channel, MA is a video specialist in traditional and digital media. During his career he's worked as a news reporter, content/community manager, media consultant, and he's an award-winning video producer. He currently serves as a Sr. Producer at KEF Media, a company that specializes in broadcast PR. He is also a professional adjunct professor at the University of West Georgia.

During his broadcasting career, Channel's content, commentaries, and reports have been featured on NPR, APTN (Associated Press Television News), CNN, Headline News, Fox News Channel, BET, Black Family Channel, HDNews, and across the Web.

Channel started vlogging in 2006 before it was cool, and he also is the co-founder of, a video production tutorial community. 

Channel often speaks at conferences, workshops, and universities across the country about traditional and new media. He's taught video production at Hillsborough Community College, and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Tampa, FL.

In 2010, he received a Master of Arts from the University of South Florida.

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