Hi, there, I’m Gin Ferrara, the Community Engagement Manager at Regional Educational Television Network (RETN) and Partner at the Vermont Story Lab. Part of my regular work is spreading the word about our programs and services to our community. This includes sharing videos, photos, events, and blog posts across social media platforms. I’ve put some of my own lessons learned into a 3-hour lab for Vermont Story Lab, “Top Tips for Digital Media Outreach,“ and this post shares a few of the tech tips for media making. This blog is the second of 2 — see my tips for thinking about the big picture of digital media outreach in my first post.
SMASH THE APP!
App Smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. These days, you can do a lot of simple graphics and video editing with free* or inexpensive apps. I often use this process to make video titles that are more interesting than the standard titles in iMovie. Here’s an example:
Here’s a list of some programs that we’ve tried – I recommend playing around with ANY app for a little while before using it for an outreach campaign!
- WeVideo – Desktop and mobile video editing, works on PCs and Macs, low-cost with many options.
- PicMonkey – Robust desktop photo editing, also includes layout and graphics. Free and $ versions.
- Adobe Spark – Desktop and mobile app for simple video and design templates. Stock photo and music included.
- Canva – Robust design templates for web and print graphics. Mobile version for Apple.
- YouTube Editor – Royalty free music and sound effects for videomakers with a YouTube Channel.
APPLE APPS (for iPad and/or iPhone)
- iMovie – Simple but thorough video editor for iPad and Mac (desktop version too).
- GarageBand – Music composition and audio recording for iPad and Mac.
- Typorama – Make dynamic quotes with text editor for iPads and iPhones. Free version has watermark.
- PicLab – Photo editor and graphic layout for iPad/iPhone. Free and $ versions.
- Paper – Hand-drawn images with multiple pens, palettes. Free and $ versions.
- Vont – Titling tool for iPad, create moving, layered text on video. $ version only.
*User beware! FREE isn’t always free – there may be a watermark, annoying pop-up ads, or an inability to share your design. Even paid apps often have some limitations over the full-featured desktop software most professional designers use.
A BIG PICTURE
When creating images for outreach, use the best quality settings on your device, and shoot/record horizontally. You can always crop later, but most web image frames are horizontal (or square) as the default. Video frames are a 16:9 ratio, while photos are often 4:3. You can crop your images in most editor apps to these standards.
Image sizes change frequently, so it’s important to stay up-to-date. Fortunately, there are often blogs about new sizes, so you don’t have to do the work yourself. A recent reference put out by social media aggregator HootSuite is here: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-image-sizes-guide/
- There’s no point creating an awesome digital media plan if you can’t find your photos, right? So from the get-go, make folders that clearly name your campaign, and make it easy to find your files.
- Once you’ve created media on a mobile device, save all your original files and the finished product to safe storage (your cloud drive, Google Drive, and/or your desktop computer) and clear your device so you have room to make more!
- But HOW do I make a video? Check out RETN’s workshops, offered year round.