Elanor Mannion, Journalist at RTÉ explains how to create engaging content for broadcast quality and multi-platforms content in the palm of your hand.
Elanor Film and edit stories for RTÉ’s social media and broadcasting using a smartphone. She delivers broadcast quality content for television and radio and is also responsible for producing stories for social media. When asked how telling stories for digital and social media has changed journalism, Elanor says that it has made space for the ‘small stories’ to be told. ‘A lot of what we see on television and radio is often factual and is not about a single person but social media has shown that people are interested in hearing a story from one person’s point of view,’ she says. Through visual and audio content that RTÉ shares on social media, they are able to focus on one a single issue through very personal stories that can easily be produced and shared.
As a trained videographer, Elanor says she wanted to find out how she could push the smartphone within the broadcast space and she’s since gone on to produce compelling content from the palm. She filmed and directed on hour television documentary titled The Collectors which was filmed in 4k on an iPhone 6+ and was eventually broadcast on RTÉ’s primetime making it one of the first mobile produced documentary in Europe to be broadcast on such a scale.
She says that filming on a smartphone is light and portable because the device is easy to carry. It’s discrete which means one doesn’t attract attention with all the intimating traditional gear. A smartphone offers a chance for great close-ups with the interview, it’s flexible and doesn’t intimidate the interview the same way big cameras do, which means the interviews are often a bit more intimate. However, when filming with a smartphone, one does have to think about the stability of the footage which would require a tripod, storage, battery and light are some of the limitations that can be mitigated against by getting the necessary gear.
Her kit involves a smartphone, the Filmic Prop App which she uses to film and edit, a power bank for the battery, radio mics, a tripod, Feiyu Tech G4 Pro stabilised Gimbal, motorise tracks, external drives for space, sound recorder and a lighting director that’s portable. She also uses Crowdtangle to measure and discover stories on social to find out what people are talking about. Other applications include Lumafusion, Kinemaster, Quik, Legend, Picplaypost, Storyo and Adobe Spark.
With more and more people consuming content on their smartphone. She’s finding herself and her team producing more and more original stories which are shot, edited and sub-titled on a smartphone which are published first on digital where they will be viewed on smartphones. When making posts for social media, she says she makes posts in square formats because they are easy to share across a variety of platforms and she always includes subtitles because about 70% of people don’t put on their headsets and will listen to a video without sound.
The RTÉ philosophy of telling social media stories is, ‘make me think, make me feel and give me a voice’. Which has inspired several campaigns two of which she shared included a story about children who wrote a children’s book dedicated to the representation of disabled children. The other story focused on the mental health of the youth in Ireland by bringing in personal stories from young people sharing their struggles through high-production stories which were used for both social media and broadcasting. When editing, she has to edit for television at 16 by 9 and 25 frames per second, for radio and take some still for articles that will for online platforms.
To follow a community of mobile journalist, join the Facebook group called Mojocom and the hashtag #mojo across various social media platforms. Other people to follow on Twitter – whom she says would be happy to answer questions or engage on mobile journalism, some of whom also taught her – include @Marcsettle, @phillipbromwell, @glenmuclcahy and @corinne_podger.