Smartphones are an ideal tool for shooting video.

1. TUTORIALS: HOW TO SHOOT A VIDEO. Here are some suggestions on how to do so to get started:

 


2. PLAN YOUR VIDEO BY STORYBOARDING. These resources range in price from “free” to “not-free”.


3. VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE


4. RECORDING AUDIO: The right Mic is critical, and what kind depends on what you are going to do: are you filming from far away? Interview-style?  Here are some options:

  • External Microphones
    • Zoom makes some really nice, moderately priced microphones.  The Zoom IQ5 is a small stereo microphone that iphone or ipad. It makes a huge difference when recording video and is a good mic for filming straightforward videos. You can rotate in the direction of the speaker but it will still pick up external sound, so for interviews a lapel microphone (i.e., lavalier microphone) will be better. However, this has the advantage of not having to sync sound and video in post-production. My one complaint is that it is tough to plug in if you have a case on your phone, so I might try one of these adapters.  (NB: the new zoom mikes seem to have accounted for this – finally – and have longer stems for the lightning connector).  There are other external mic options, and googling finds lots of posts on the topic. I found this one by Jeff Geerling useful.
    • If you want a mic that doubles as a recorder. Jai Ranganathan recommended the Zoom H1. It’s reasonably priced and you can pair it with a lav mike for interviews. Get a 32 gb memory card for it. You can also plug it into a video camera with some extra cables.
  • Lapel (Lavalier) Microphone
    • If all you want is a lapel mike that plugs straight into the iphone so you can record interviews this Rode smartLav+ is highly recommended on the interwebs.
  • Wireless Lavalier Microphones: Wireless lav mikes are tough – the good ones can be very expensive (>$600) but there are some budget options.
    • This Audio-Technica PRO 88W-R35 Wireless Lavalier System is generally well recommended. You’ll need to get a lav mike like this one the speaker plugs into the unit they carry on their belt. You can record into a portable recorder like the Zoom H1, then sync sound and video in post-production
    • You can also rig it so the sound is recorded directly into your video camera.  Here are some tutorials on how to do this:
    • Don’t forget the necessary adapters and cables.

5. MUSIC. Do you want a soundtrack or background music? DON’T VIOLATE COPYRIGHT! Get music that is royalty-free or has the appropriate Creative Commons license.  Remember….ROYALTY-FREE MUSIC does not necessarily = completely free – you may have to pay to download the track.  Thanks to Megan O’Neill and Devon Glenn for the blog posts with these lists

  • Incompetech. All kinds of different genres; requires attribution.
  • Dan-O: composer that offers original songs for free download at DanoSongs.com.
  • Free music by a well-known artist without licensing fees!  Moby Gratis (MobyGratis.com), where Moby provides music for free download and use provided your film is non-commercial or non-profit.
  • FreeSoundtrackMusic.com
  • ccMixter: community music site where music is posted under Creative Commons license. NB: some creative commons licenses require you give credit to the source in the  video.
  • Partners In Rhyme: music loops, sound effects, midi files and more. Some of the royalty free music is for sale, but they’ve got a selection of free music loops and full-length tracks for free download
  • PacDV free music and sound effects; requires attribution.
  • Public domain music, video and other content can be used in any way, including in your online videos.Public Domain 4U is a great site for finding public domain music downloads.
  • Musopen is another free site that provides music that has the copyright expired. Especially good for classical music.
  • Beatpick licensed music but if you are using it in a non-commercial or non-profit production it’s free (choose song, click  “License Song”,  choose “Non Commercial projects.”)
  • SoundCloud Special section for tracks were uploaded under a Creative Commons license.
  • YouTube Video Editor: Inside the YouTube video editor is a library of pre-approved tracks that you can use in your video free of charge.
  • Vimeo Stock and Royalty Free Music: Vimeo also has a catalog of songs for videos. Some free; others you pay to download.
  • A list with 10 sites (I’ve used DanO songs)

6. PHOTOS: You can intercut photos of your field sites, study species, community or team members, etc. into your video. DO NOT VIOLATE COPYRIGHT. Get photos that are royalty-free or have the appropriate Creative Commons license.  Remember….ROYALTY-FREE PHOTOS do not necessarily = completely free – you may have to pay to download the photo.