It was June 29, 2007.
Spring had paved the way for summer, prompting nature enthusiasts to rush to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.
After hibernating for months during the Minnesota winter, buds sprouted across the arboretum’s expansive 1,200 acres. Vibrant tulip blooms under the bright sun greeted the excited visitors.
Two time zones to the west, on June 29, 2007, the first-generation iPhone sprouted on the arboretum of technology. It seeded hundreds of new businesses and products that owe their existence to Apple. The revolution Steve Jobs envisioned continues to evolve. He saw in the iPhone not a device to make phone calls but to be the media communicator of the future.
Evolution beyond a phone call
One can capture photos, audio, and video rivaling the quality of a professional with today’s smartphones. Surprisingly, all this is now achievable at a fraction of commercial-production cost.
In a recent conversation with EPLN, Dan Carpenter articulated smartphone video-making potential. He created a toolkit to do that easily.
Carpenter is the Community Television Administrator at the Southwest Community Television (SWTV), broadcast on Comcast Channel 15. It is available for Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Richfield, and Wayzata residents.
The Southwest Suburban Cable Commission has funds set aside so that residents can receive free training and access to equipment. Carpenter also can make it even better by teaching young interns to use their smartphones to produce high-quality videos broadcast over SWTV.
Smartphone video makers go mainstream
Carpenter emphasized that recording a video is only one component of his workshop. He also includes proper framing of a scene, correct lighting of the subject, and complementing sound and voices to deliver the intended audience experience. “All those elements need to come together to make it look good,” he emphasized. To that list, he also added a good video editing tool.
He expects the interns to come out of the workshop armed with the skills required to create compelling, cause-driven smartphone video messages. The upcoming workshop will focus on distracted driving. Carpenter would love to have the videos produced by the youngsters appear on his public access channel.
The video toolkit
His toolkit will allow interns to record a show with a tablet or smartphone, a tripod, a light implement, and a set of microphones. “That’s all you need. It is possible to start recording a show for around $250,” Carpenter noted with an encouraging demeanor.
Carpenter did a lot of research before buying the equipment for himself and advises his audience to do the same. He did not go for the most expensive but sought the best quality for the price. He is fully aware that teenagers and even many organizations have limited resources. “They don’t have money to buy expensive equipment,” Carpenter stressed.
In his research, Carpenter looked for a free program for editing videos. After experimenting with several programs, he ended up with Adobe Premiere Rush. He found it the best one for both Android and Apple products. They do not place restrictions on their base-level application and offer full functionality. The Premiere Pro Rush is also available for a monthly fee with other top-end functions.
He believes “everyone in the community has a vision for a show, but they don’t know how to make that happen.” Little training is all one needs.
“I haven’t met anyone who’s not been able to produce something of quality,” he said, exuding confidence.
Editor’s note: Vijay Dixit is the chairman of Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, a 501-c-3 nonprofit advocating distraction-free driving. He is also a board member of Eden Prairie Local News and a member of the EPLN Development Committee and journalism team.