Life With the iPhone

Posted on December 13, 2011

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I finally got the iPhone this past quarter, and it might just be the greatest thing I have ever owned (although I’m pretty fond of my house and Subaru Outback, too).

It’s funny, but when I went to the Easton Apple store to get it, it wasn’t like making other purchases–I have money, now give me the product I want. Rather I felt like I had finally been “allowed” to get one, although the only person stopping me before was me and my thrifty (read cheap) nature. Now I don’t know how I lived without it.

It has also allowed me to connect with my Ohio State journalism students in a whole different way as we compare different apps and tools on the new 4S, and take turns seeing who can give Siri the most outrageous commands.

And on a more practical note, we have been trying to maximize our multimedia opportunities with our iPhones, with some liberating results.

One of my students went out with her “real” video camera and didn’t realize that green in that environment does not mean go–it means pause–and she didn’t actually shoot any images. That led her to improvise quickly and quite nicely with her iPhone, conducting interviews with homeless people on the street and in shelters, with outstanding picture and better-than-average sound quality. Other students happened into stories (like arrests during the Mirror Lake jump) and had only their iPhones with them, and their newly cultivated news judgement helped them start filming and recording in meaningful, newsworthy ways.

The learning process is, of course, not without challenges–some that are harder to identify and some that make you slap your head in a how-could-I-not-know-that manner.

For my multimedia journalism students who chose a more conventional video route, some discovered that the mixture of old technology and new can sometimes be a hindrance. They shot video on cameras they found not compatible with our Mac software, resulting in various patches and workarounds, and no shortage of stress. Their lesson: determine compatibility before shooting your entire project, and leave plenty of time to work out bugs.

And for my students who shot iPhone video that appeared in a harsh vertical format, their lesson was much simpler: hold the camera horizontally.

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Posted in: Journalism