How To: Mobile Reporting (Part 1)

Mobile Reporting has become a buzzword in recent years. No wonder: every smartphone owner has a production device in his pocket, which offers potentially unimaginable possibilities. That’s why the next three parts of our “How to” series deal with the subject of mobile.


Mobile first! You do not even have to be a member of the digital avant-garde to spend that motto. Mobile devices, especially, of course, the smartphone, have long been dictating any media usage agenda. So it makes sense to also shift the production of content to mobile devices. Which leads us to the question:

Why actually: Mobile Reporting?

If you had to summarize it quickly, the answer would be: faster, more efficient, cheaper. And, more, more practical. Anyone who has been in the business for a while remembers: You had a lot of stuff (™) at the time to make photos, videos, or audios for something. All this is replaced today by a smartphone. And – admittedly – some accessories. But that’s not all that expensive and cumbersome like the previous analog adequacy.

On the plus side, there is another pleasant aspect: You become much more flexible, you can produce from any place, at any time. And, of course, interact, which has meanwhile also become the standard for anyone who does what with the media.

What can Mobile Reporting do?

Basically: everything. Ok, with a few minor limitations. Of course, for example, cameras of high-quality smartphones have a quality that can match any DLSR. But change the lens, that’s just not then. Before you know it yourself: Of course you can now synonymous any lenses paired in front of the smartphone, but I have not seen a really convincing result so far. Even with the microphones for smartphones, you will eventually come up against limits. Anyone who is really audiophile will not be completely satisfied with the results of a 50 or 100 dollar microphone.

On the other hand: Who produces content primarily for the (mobile) network, does not need 300mm telephoto lenses or studio microphones.

First and foremost, mobile reporting is not “either or”. But a “both as well”. When it comes to the question of the right equipment, you first have to know for whom and what you want to produce. My prognosis nevertheless: One will come in 90 percent of the cases to the conclusion that the possibilities of the mobile reporting suffice.

That’s exactly what makes it a bit more complex when it comes to the right equipment. Of course, one can expand into a number of different forms, as we shall see in the next episode. For the moment, it’s just a matter of the following question:

What do you need as a basic equipment?

Of course, you need a cell phone. This is not here, because I would not have believed you this realization. But because there are always basic questions about the topic of smartphones: Which price category, which manufacturer, which operating system? In addition to the usual taste issues, there are a few things that should be considered:

  • Memory: Sure, in times of the cloud and streaming, the hard drive’s capacity is not that much of an issue anymore, at least not for the average user. However, if you want to produce an intensive mobile, then you should not save at this point. Especially videos, photos, and audios fill a hard drive relatively fast. What can be a problem for iPhones that have no slot for more memory? As a small benchmark: I currently work with two iPhones, both have a memory of 64 GB.
  • Camera: When we talk about Mobile Reporting, the camera is the all-important thing. The quality of videos and pictures ultimately depends on it. Cameras and lenses are also a question of money. You can not expect much from a cheap item on this topic. Whether it becomes an iPhone, a Google Pixel or a Samsung, in the end, is up to you.
  • OS: Android or iOS? The old debate, to which there is no final answer. As for the available apps, there are few noticeable differences. However, if you may want to equip an entire department or editorial staff, keep in mind that some apps may be different on different versions of Android (and may not even run on some devices). Therefore, if Android, then make sure that you use identical installations. Everything else quickly leads to hopeless confusion.

If you have clarified the then not so trivial question for the right smartphone, it is about the accessories. Objective: To be equipped with as few devices as possible for as many situations as possible. But two comments in advance.

First, there is not one perfect equipment for all situations.

Second, everything that goes beyond standard situations requires additional equipment. Or: You do not need a smartphone and use a heavy device.

So what you should have at least: an external microphone. Recommended are so-called “Point & Shoot” – microphones that are docked by jack or Lightning. They are small, compact, versatile. With them you can handle almost any situation properly. Otherwise, I stick to my old credo: Good and special microphones you can not have enough because every situation is different.

Until recently, I would have recommended a selfie stick and a tripod. If you want to save space and time: In the meantime, there is something like that in combination.

And finally (please do not laugh, this is meant seriously): a neat Powerbank. Because videos, but also other applications are ordinary battery-eaters, they quickly drain batteries during intensive use of a smartphone. If you still (like me) tend to slight panic, you also have a spare smartphone, because: You never know.

Which software must be on the phone?

Apps for video and photo editing, but also for audio production are now small marvels. De facto, the really good of them can do whatever programs the calculator can. As always, so the question is: what exactly do you want to do with it?

If you really only want to record and edit later on a computer, theoretically also comes with the apps that are installed by default on the various smartphones. Thereafter, the selection is based on the focus that you want to set.

By the way, Adobe’s Spark apps are great for getting fast content to the (social) network. Theoretically, you can even do share pics on your phone and post.

And what does it cost?

Everything well below 1000 dollars is a bit risky. Alone for microSD card, power bank, a tripod will cost around 150 dollars. And mobile? High-quality smartphones are now in a price range of 700 dollars upwards.

The good news: With a lot more than 1000 dollars, you do not have to expect the entry. For that, you get really good equipment.

Who has doubts: UNSANE – for the first time a whole movie has been filmed on iPhone.

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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