Manual of the Little Smartphone Videomaker

A short introduction to mobile video-making: from filming, to editing and sharing.
A project by Slash Prod, originally made for Once upon a time in Anderlecht.
Media literacy for all
Here you can find the chronology of the early smartphone revolution.

Since 2013, Slash Prod’s initiatives embody the need for a radical change within EU communications.European institutions have to cope with modern political challenges of legitimation and democratic accountability.

We believe that a digital, visual, democratic revolution is possible and necessary:

In 2015, with the vital support of the Roi Baudoin Foundation, Slash Prod launches the social initiative Once Upon A Time In Anderlecht.
The project sets up workshops toteach smartphone videomaking to teenagers from the suburbs of the capital of Europe.The goal is to provide them with accessible tools of communication, investigation, and representation of both their city’s and their own identity.

This groundbreaking technique of filming & editing evolves into both a distinct entrepreneurial initiative and a growing interest in media literacy and tech-education.

10 rules to get started with mobile video learning

We want you to learn how to use your smartphone to make better videos.
We believe in media literacy as a tool to make better citizens. It is not relevant whether you will become a professional video editor or simply a better Instagram user.

Use the following 10 tips to improve your video skills and download our free manual to if you really dream of being the best Youtuber in Europe.

1 – Do it horizontal, not vertical.
Sure, vertical mobile videos are becoming more and more intriguing, but you are here to learn. 

Start filming your videos horizontally, rather than vertically.

You will still keep the possibility to crop the image to a square, which fits social networks, such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or Instagram, better.
2 – Do it stable, not shaky.
Put your smartphone on a table. Place it against another object. 

Buy a cheap tripod, or – even better – a small “gorilla” tripod, which can hang anywhere. 

If you can afford it, buy a DJI Osmo stabilizer, it’s just crazy how beautiful and cinematic your shots will be.

Just please, avoid shaky filming, because it makes viewers sick.
3 – Sound sucks? Video sucks.
Wind, traffic, noisy crowds: be careful when you film. 

Nothing is more annoying for the audience than hardly understanding what people say in the video. 

In case, invite people to speak louder and ask the people around to stay quiet, whilst you are recording.
4 – No light? No video.
Sometimes you just need to move a little bit or to switch side to have a completely different light on your subject. 

However, you need some light, because video (not differently than photography) is nothing else but the capture of light by any sensitive device.

Light is especially important on people’s faces, which is what naturally attracts viewers’ attention.
5 – Simple video, better video.
Videos are cool because they communicate essential information quickly. 

Too quick to say all that you want to say? 
Then, write a book. 

And please, do not abuse of animations, special effects, and filers, because even Power Point animations looked good in the ‘90ies.
6 – Never, never zoom in.
Are you too far from your subject to take the perfect shot that you have in mind?
Then use your feet to get closer! 

Never, never use your smartphone camera’s zoom. 

Why? 
Because the built-in zoom of a mobile is not an optical zoom, it is a digital one. 

It simply stretches the initial image and lowers the quality of the image dramatically.
7 – Finished is better than perfect.
All beginners and 99% of professionals cannot make the good video they want, they simply make the best video they can. 

A good videomaker gets the very best out of the given resources. 

He/she always delivers. And always in time!
8 – Good music, poor learning.
There are two problems with music. 

1 Most songs have copyrights. 
Stupid platforms, such as Youtube or Facebook, are smart enough to block your contents. Or, even worse, they will use your hard work to sell their advertising. 
Try using classical music or the copyright-free music that you find online. 

2 Good music makes good videos, even when the video is not very good. Which makes learning more difficult. 

So, try to apply music the least you can.
9 – Airplane mode on
If you are in the middle of a short, there is nothing more annoying than corrupting your raw material with the interference of a phone call.

Set your smartphone on “airplane” mode, so that no entry call or message can damage the sound or the image, which you are about to record.
10 – Feedback makes videos better
Watching the same images for hours is as necessary as dangerous for the quality of your film: let common people take a look at what you are doing and listen to their feedback. 

If they don’t like your video, they are probably stupid: nonetheless, their stupid point of view can help you improve your work a lot. 

Just listen very carefully to any critic or advice.

Download the Manual of the Little Smartphone Videomaker for free.

…and help us make it better!

We want to change Europe,
one smart video at a time.

Join the SMART revolution