We will look back at 2007 as being a year when the world went in a new direction and communicators struggled to keep up.
In January that year, Apple’s iphone, Google’s Android and BBC’s iPlayer were all launched.
Tom Baldwin in his book ‘Control, Alt, Delete’ singles out the pivotal year of 2007 as the moment that the world was being re-shaped faster than business and people could adapt to it. I’d add communicators to that list, too, who are also running to keep up.
Better internet connectivity is leading to better devices which leads to new services online.
One annual set of helpful bright red snow poles through this blizzard of change has been the Ofcom communications market report. It maps how people consume the media that acts as a mirror to the UK. Trends, impossible to spot on the ground day-to-day are mapped from a strategic view.
This year, it has slimmed from around 250 pages to a slimline 90. And in addition, there is an interactive page that allows you to drill down for more data.
In short, this report remains the numbers you need.
A decade of change
We are a smartphone nation
Across the UK, 78 per cent of the population have a smartphone.
Smartphones are ubiquitous. From 17 per cent ownership a decade ago to 78 per cent a decade later they are the platform of choice.
People check their phone on average every 12 minutes.
Almost half – 46 per cent – would miss their phone most out of all channels.
They help us stay connected and they are the platform of choice as a web browser more than a maker of phone calls. More than 90 per cent are more bothered about their phone’s ability to connect to the web over 75 per cent bothered about its ability to make calls.
The average time spent on a smartphone is two hours 24 minutes rising to three hours 14 minutes for young people.
Since 2007, we have left some tech behind
But as tech moves, some channels wilt. Desktop PCs have fallen from 69 per cent ownership to 28 per cent with DVD players dipping from 83 per cent to 64 per cent.
Tablets are plateauing at 58 per cent ownership with ownership amongst the AB demographic at 39 per cent greatly larger than the DE demographic on 14 per cent.
We are maintaining some media
Nine out of 10 people watch TV weekly with 95 per cent owning a TV set.
Radio is still listened to by 90 per cent of the population – unchanged since 2007.
We are developing a taste for new tech
On average, 13 per cent of homes have a smartspeaker with Amazon – 75 per cent – in market dominance.
Just over 10 per cent listen to a podcast every week with a peak of 28 per cent amongst 25 to 35-year-olds.
Virtual reality headsets – 5 per cent – make their debut.
We are always online
A total of 64 per cent say the internet is an essential part of their life and 29 per cent feel lost without the internet and 34 per cent are cut off without it.
Of all mobile phone users, 76 use their device to go online.
One in five adults is online 40 hours a week or more with the UK average now 24 hours per week per person. That’s double the figure compared to 2011.
We are online at home but less so at work
In 2007, we used the internet 3.3 hours a week at work which has risen to 6.6 hours in 2018. The figures are dwarfed by the 14.9 hours a week opn average we spend online at home.
We rely on smartphones on the commute
Time travelling with a smartphone means that 42 per cent complete personal tasks while 35 per cent carry out work-related tasks. Young people are especially adept with nine per cent of 18 to 34s carrying out 11 or more tasks compared to 1 per cent of over 35s.
We know there is a downside
Just over half (54 per cent) accept that phones intrude into conversations but young people are far more forgiving than older people.
Young people and old people are united in using it to connect
Surprisingly, while different age groups use the web in a different way, there is a broad consensus that the web is useful for keeping connected with friends and family. All age groups are around 75 per cent in agreement.
Smartphone ownership peaks at 95 per cent for 16 to 24-year-olds where almost everyone has one. But he trend is also to be found for over 55-year-olds wit ha majority – 51 per cent – have such a device.
We are maintaining social media
In the UK in 2018, 77 per cent have a social media account.
Comscore research, which is referenced in the report shows the league table of UK users:
YouTube 44.3 million
Facebook 41.8 million
Twitter 27.5 million
Snapchat 22.7 million
Messenger 22.3 million
Whats App 21.0 million
We are fractured in our social media use
As the research shows, different age groups use different platforms in different ways. But the breakdown of who uses what is hugely useful when planning content.
How to use the Ofcom communications market report
Human comms is simply an organisation talking in a human voice.
Sometimes it is planned but often it is responding with a human voice to something which has happened.
So, bravo West Midlands Fire Service for responding to a tweet from a girl who didn’t think she could be a firefighter with video… of female firefighters.
The tweet and its video reply can be seen here:
.Esme, lots of our firefighters are girls and boys – some of them want to say hello to you! We would love to meet you and show you what we do. You can be a firefighter too! #firefightingsexism #thisgirlcan @NFCC_FireChiefs @StaffsFire @LondonFire Let’s keep this going! pic.twitter.com/ZV1IdrGp3S
— West Midlands Fire (@WestMidsFire) January 18, 2019
In the tweeted response was liked 12,500 times with more than 2,400 talking about it.
The overall mood of the responses to the fire service was overwhelmingly positive with more than 1.1 million watching the clip. West Midlands Fire service blogged the figures and their surprise here in a corporate post.
wow, how kind and inspiring. Just about to show my daughter (and sons!!!) Thank you for taking the time.
— julie waine (@jmw3cat) January 19, 2019
I was 5 when I decided I wanted to be a firefighter… it’s a fab job and I’m so happy she is excited it is a possibility for her.
— Maisie Rudkin (@maisie_rudkin) January 18, 2019
The purpose of the clip was to tell people – and Esme in particular – that women can be firefighters, too. Figures on the number of female firefighters in the UK are hard to pin down but the London Fire Brigade have seven per cent while in 2012 the national figure was four per cent.
It is beautiful clip whose ROI will take time to pass through to the bottom line.
It shows that being human works that a video can be made for an audience of one and be shared and that content can be shot on a smartphone is effective. It also shows that women can be firefighters.
Full disclosure: I’ve helped deliver video skills training to West Midlands Fire comms staff who have picked up the ball and run with it.
A while back I wrote some guidelines for social media and I’ve updated and simplified them.
This time around, as unexpected as it is there’s going to be a few people caught out by planned communications during the election campaign. Seek guidance. But if you can show that it was pre-planned and you stay politically neutral you should be okay.
But whatever you do, communicate these while things are quiet. You’ll need a steer over when Purdah for the General Election starts from your Returning Officer and legal team. If your organisation has multiple accounts spread scross the frontline and elsehwhere make sure they know the guidance.
What is Purdah?
There’s this funny period in the run-up to an election which sees local government comms team change behaviour.
Gone are the press releases from politicians and in comes quotes from officers. Why? To ensure that the council cannot be accused of political bias in the run up to polling day.
It’s been around for decades and local government comms teams have got a pretty good grasp of what this entails. It means under The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity (Local Government Act 1986) that newsletters, press releases, conferences, badges and web pages are affected.
The code says:
The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election.
Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members.
However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political.
Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control.
Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election.
What this means is that the council’s resources must not be or even appear to an observer to be used for party political ends in this period of heightened political sensitivity.
Six golden rules during Purdah
1. No publicity will be given to matters which are politically controversial.
2. The general presumption will be that no references will be made to individual politicians in press releases (except where there is a valid emergency).
3. Great caution will be exercised before undertaking any significant media exercise unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
4. No photographs of candidates in the election will be issued.
5. Before any request for council photographs and other materials is considered, enquiries will be made as to the use to which they are to be put and an appropriate restriction on use imposed if supplied.
6. The position of Mayor as the figurehead of the authority is different and material will be issued, providing it is not of a political nature.
But what teams struggle with is social media. How does this affect the Twitter stream? Here’s a cut-out-and-keep guidance for people who operate council social media channels (disclaimer: check it with your legal team first).
Social media channels
1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election. It may be helpful to tweet a link to an explanation of Purdah for guidance.
2. Do not share content from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
3. Do not add content on matters which are politically controversial.
4. Do not tweet text, images or video of political parties, politicians or subjects which are politically controversial.
5. Do not stage a significant digital campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
6. Tweets by and about the Mayor may be retweeted as long as they are not of a political nature.
7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician during Purdah.
Third party social media profiles
Council staff who update third party social media profiles as part of their job are governed by Purdah. These profiles include business partnership profiles which the council supports.
There are two options:
1. Opt out: For the duration of Purdah hand over ALL admin to a non-council member of the partnership and allow them to add Purdah-restricted content that council staff are unable to post. Resume adding content and managing after the election.
2. Opt in: Council employees can continue to add content or share admin duties but ALL content is governed by Purdah restrictions.
Picture credit: Documerica / Flickr
Looking at what’s coming down the track in 2019 for public sector comms people Brexit came shining through.
But what’s to do?
Wait for the worst?
Cover your ears and say ‘la, la, la, la?’
Actually, if you’re in public sector comms there’s stacks you need to do.
While I blogged it briefly in my predictions for 2019 here are some detailed things you can do if you are local or central government, blue light or NHS.
Brexit risks for comms people
Government, frontline police and others have warned consistently of the risk of civil disorder, shortages of medicine, through to nursing shortages. In areas such as Kent emergency planning to keep Dover as to close to moving as possible have been set out.
You may get opposition from politicians in your organisation who think this is scaremongering. But it is far wiser plan for the eventuality.
I do think that the biggest headaches of 2019 for the UK public sector will be directly or indirectly Brexit related. From the the hard and direct impact of traffic problems and food shortages all the way through to soft impact recruitment drives as some posts are harder to fill.
As a comms person, you are not there to debate the rights or wrongs of Brexit but to look dispassionately at how it can impact on your organisation.
Much of this is emergency comms but a fair chunk isn’t. It’s day-to-day. As sure as rain, the impact of Brexit will find a way you reach you and shape your workload. So here’s a few things to get in place.
Get the right kit
I’m astounded 15 years on from the launch of Facebook that people don’t have the right equipment. I’ve met central government comms people with iphones that bar apps and Police who can’t use social media on their tablets in an emergency.
Brexit is a critical opportunity to upgrade your kit so you can actually do your job.
The simple question you must answer is this: ‘Can I communicate in realtime away from the office?’
For this your need android or ios devices that can handle your email, create content and post it to social media on the move.
You absolutely categorically don’t need Windows devices or blackberries that can’t help you do all that.
But the business case. If you need to, get your emergency planners to sign-off against the need for kit in black and white. If and when the balloon goes up you don’t want the finger pointed at you.
Have a look in the constitution to see if there are supporting lines about using the right equipment. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. Trust me.
Have a look at your policies. Cut and paste the policy that says you’re a digital organisation that makes data-led decisions. You know the kind of thing.
You can build a business case by playing back to the organisation what the organisation has previously said.
Then have a look at some of the government warnings.
2. Get the right content creation skills
Know how to shoot video and post it in real-time.
Disclaimer: I’ve been helping to deliver training for the last four years, so I would say this wouldn’t I? But, the thing is video is more trusted than pictures and much, more trusted than text. If you need to get something out, get it out.
Video is more engaging than words by at least a third.
Here’s an example of Periscope from West Midlands Fire Service:
Update from Wednesfield fire https://t.co/XZsdhIYqfp
— West Midlands Fire (@WestMidsFire) January 1, 2019
What does it do? It spells out that there is a fire, that the fire crew are on it and what they are doing. It warns and informs in realtime.
Failing this, an image can help you communicate in realtime.
3. Post to Twitter and Facebook groups
Posting to Twitter has been default since the 2011 riots. You reach people quickly and you reach the journalists and opinion formers.
But my strong advice for 2018 is to look for the relevant Facebook group too. This is from an open Guildford Facebook group hours after the murder of a man in front of his son on a train.
People are where they are on the web not where you want them to be.
4. Build relationships with the right people
Each area has a Local Resilience Forums that helps codify the response on who does what. You can find a list here. The stabbing at Manchester Victoria railway station showed this. In a police-led incident they led the online communications.
I will be doing a statement to the media very shortly in relation to last night’s horrific attack at Manchester Victoria station.
— Chief Constable Ian Hopkins (@CCIanHopkins) January 1, 2019
Get to know people in peacetime so you are able to act when the cars are on fire.
5. Refresh your emergency planning comms plan
All public sector organisations need a document that says how they’ll communicate in an emergency.
Go and re-write yours to make it 2019-proof.
If there’s a major incident there may be a public enquiry and you may well be on the stand being asked to go through your emergency comms plan and explain how you did – or didn’t – deliver it.
6. Test it
It’s been an occasional joy to train local government teams in public workshops and then test them.
It doesn’t have to be me. But you need to stress test. You’ll learn a lot. Believe me.
7. Have a rota
Funny how things rarely kick off between 9am and 5pm. Have cover around the clock. If it can’t be paid set out the risks of failing to have this in black and white for the future.
8. Be strategic
As a comms team you shouldn’t be working in isolation. You should be plugged into the wider organisation to raise the issues early and understand the areas where there’s risks and dangers.
9. Place marketing
If the future is uncertain, being able to sell where you are to a national and international audience will have a role strategically post-Brexit. For local government, being able to tell people good place to live and work will be an asset more than ever. The foundations are good emergency comms. You probably don’t want Google searches being all about riots.
But if Brexit does come to pass there needs to be a narrative about why companies would want to be in your community.
10. Staff shortages
This will depend on where you are in the country. Your team may be fortunate to employ some EU citizens and if you do you’ll be aware of the uncertainty that surrounds. There’s a management issue here about reassuring those in post and recruiting able people in future.
Aside from that, a regular demand on your time in 2019 and beyond may be to retain and recruit the right staff in the right places. Nursing is already right across this.
11. It’s going to get harsher so look after staff and politicians
If you are looking after a Facebook page or a Twitter account don a tin hat. It’s going to get fiesty. If things go wrong, the quality of debate will get nasty. Make sure your staff are rotated and given screen breaks. Don’t have one person checking everything 24/7. That’;s duty of care time.
Remind them when to engage and not engage. Look to mute on Twitter rather than block wuld be my advice.
You need to be aware that officers may be getting it in the neck online as well as politicians as well as people who don’t fit the world view of Tommy Robinson.
12. Be aware of misinformation
Well meaning or malevolent the spread of information will impact on what you are doing. This post from political journalist Robert Peston shows the issue. A warning that gathers Brexit commentary and warns people to act.
A senior politician distances themselves but is the information accurate? Or deliberately stirring? The lack of branding makes it look like it isn’t official. But the blue and white gives an echo of NHS communications.
I put to senior government source whether attached is official NHS advice. This was the reply: “No. This is not an official NHS publication. People should trust advice from official NHS sources. We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, medicine… pic.twitter.com/NqC7umXaKn
— Robert Peston (@Peston) January 4, 2019
It doesn’t matter what your own beliefs on Brexit are. There is a chance you will be asked or ordered to play things up or down around Brexit.
It’s important for you to have ethics as well as a moral compass.
Tell the truth. Don’t lie. Be responsible.
Do the right thing.
Picture credit: Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 / Flickr
Something magical happens in the festive period and it’s not just the sight of twinkling lights and presents under the tree.
People actually get creative in a way they don’t often do throughout the rest of the year an d its a beautiful site.
Here are eight videos that show creativity and that have lessons that can be re-purposed by any bright comms person through the rest of the year.
Going all Bob Dylan to get round the video is watched without sound issue
As we know, the majority of social video is watched without sound. So, this Police video from Australia dodges the bullet brilliantly. A policeman knocks on the door of a house. He tells his message through prompt cards and a dry wit. Bingo. It reaches second screeners.
2. Make an emotional story the way to get a message across
What’s more effective? Cllr Bob, the cabinet member for environment, up against a wall? Or a kid excitedly counting down for Christmas? For me, its the child and the reminder to give recycling as a gift all year around. I’d love to see how recycling rates were impacted as well as the promising view numbers. Good work, Selby Council.
3. Sat it with a song
One used a rewritten Christmas carol supported by subtitles to encourage people to recycle. Through the video they build their Christmas tree from items you can recycle. Good work New Forest District Council.
4. Make a how-to video in 24-seconds
The National Trust look after thousands of acres of countryside as well as buildings, pubs, homes and other venues. Rather than hector people to go out and walk they made this handy how to guide to make a mouse. You need pine cones. You get those from the countryside. Have you joined the dots?
Will you be giving a pine cone mouse a home this Christmas? pic.twitter.com/6wcwizwcm0
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) December 12, 2018
5. You can use a human face to talk about Christmas work
Network Rail Western used Sarah Fraser to talk about her Christmas Day. It involved work. But popping home too to see her family. Then back out to work. What does it say? It spells out the lengths they’ll go to keep the trains moving everyday. And I love the liberal use of emojis to tell their story.
🏗 In Westbury, Wilts, work continues until 4 January as we upgrade and extend platforms as well as upgrade track.
👏🏻 This will improve safety, reliability and allow longer trains to stop at the station.
🎥 Sarah Fraser explains what it’s like to work at Christmas. pic.twitter.com/VdraUNSM1Z
— Network Rail Western (@networkrailwest) December 26, 2018
6. Tell a human story
Channel 4 News are brilliant at using video on social media to tell a story. You can learn a lot from them. They have a first few seconds with impact. They use sub-titles effectively so you can follow the story without sound. This video tells the story of a homeless ex-soldier. Yes, journalists can do this far easier than the public sector. But think a little. How could you let real people talk about issues?
7. Use a clear demonstration to give clear advice
Norfolk Recycles is a partnership of local authorities and used this campaign to try and make a dent in recyclking over the festive period. I love its clarity.
— Norfolk Recycles (@NorfolkRecycles) December 13, 2018
8. By showing children sing carols and capturing the smiles
It’s a simple concept. Children singing carols at Christmas make people beam. So, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS TRust ask children in to sing to elderly patients. This year they filmed the results.
A little festive treat for you…watch children from Sandwell Day Nursery bring joy to the patients on our older people’s assessment unit with their Christmas singing. Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. pic.twitter.com/bpYB5ljOmP
— SWBH NHS Trust (@SWBHnhs) December 24, 2018
I’m reading a memoir of a trawlerman at the moment and it’s making me think about public sector comms in 2019.
The skipper remembered how he looked at the boats moored in Peterhead harbour and he felt nagging disquiet that all this was going to change.
So, after carefully thinking through his next steps he moved from targeting cod with heavy quotas to the greener niche catch of langoustines to send to Spain and France. A few years later he looked at the same view and it was different. Those cod trawlers had largely gone and those that were left were struggling.
In 2019, storms are coming.
‘Predictions are very difficult, especially if they are about the future’ – Niels Bohr.
Every year for the past eight I blog some predictions. Last year, I made a series of predictions.
In 2018, here’s what I got right:
- Facebook group admins did grow in importance.
- Technology continued to outpace the public sector.
- There was a need to improve the quality of video.
- The need to use all Facebook has to offer rather than the corporate page grew
- The need for human comms grew as did the need for specialist generalists,
- GIFS and threads became expected.
- Twitter continued to struggle and social media became less social.
- The need for digital first grew.
- Video grew in importance along with the need to demonstrate evaluation.
- Income targets remain a minority pursuit.
In 2019, here’s what I got wrong
- Live video hasn’t caught on in the public sector although it thrives in the metric conscious field of local journalism.
- 360 images and VR haven’t moved into the mainstream yet.
- Internal comms didn’t reach a crisis point.
So, what will happen in 2019?
As each year passes, the gap between the cutting edge of technology and the public sector grows wider.
As the public embrace new technology such as voice to use the internet, the public sector lags behind. Weighed down by legacy systems and legacy attitudes many of those in the ship’s wheelhouse are poorly equipped to meet the dark clouds of 2019. But as much as they may wish the clock was stuck in 2005, the dial moves and the boat chugs forward. This year the sea gets faster.
In 2019, the single greatest gift a comms person can have will be strategic vision. To know what is coming down the track is one thing. Having the time and space to manoeuvre will be a luxury.
One take is that social media has gone from the positive sunny uplands into something darker and negative. Another view is that it has matured and the positive as well as negative sides are in view.
Social media will continue to get more closed. The public comment is being replaced with the walled garden where people feel freer to speak. This explains the rise of Facebook groups, Messenger and WhatsApp and the decline on Twitter. This will continue.
Get ready for strategic Brexit chaos. If you are in the public sector, the impact of Brexit will be profound. The worst case scenario of ‘no deal’ is food shortages, medicine running out and a whole lot else. The best case is short term deep uncertainty. So, expect strategically, get your troops in the right place and expect smaller budgets as the public sector will inevitably take the financial hit.
Get ready for tactical Brexit chaos. The UK public sector is well placed to deal with emergencies as terror attacks have proven. Local Resilience Forums provide the platform for councils, central government, police, fire and NHS organisations to handle emergencies. I’d be recommending polishing up these links as there is a fair chance they’ll be used. Digital comms needs to be at the forefront of any breaking scenario. Good luck, Kent County Council. With Dover on your patch how well you do with this has national significance. This is local government, NHS, fire and police. Not just the Whitehall Department for Leaving the EU.
Get ready to support elected members. As the waters ahead get choppy there is a need to give extra help to elected members and those in comms who deal with day-to-day social media channels. Some of this may be perceived. Some of what will come won’t be.
Spotting and rebutting fake news. As things get thrown up in the air there’ll be plenty of misinformation. Some deliberate from Russian trolls and some accidental by your mate Dave who heard something in the pub. The ability to screen, spot and rebut swiftly is needed in the public sector in 2019. A process that allows swift rebuttal in minutes not days is needed.
Prepare for bankruptcy. Northamptonshire County Council’s financial problems showed that there are problems stacking up in the public sector. Some organisations will fall over in 2019. Re-building will be a specific skills set.
As trust in institutions is hammered, the need to give social media to the frontline grows. I’m returning to the theme of ‘sharing the sweets’ and letting others have access to social media. The need to train and devolve in this most crossroads of years has never been greater. Your librarian can handle telling people about their table top sale. You’ll have other things in your inbox. Trust me.
Hello 5G. The 5G mobile network will start to roll out in 2019. As this explainer shows, this means that people could be able to use a mobile phone out and about to download a film in 10 seconds rather than 10 minutes. This will start in 2019 but will take time to roll out. This will mean a greater use of mobile devices to access websites and video.
Voice. The market for voice to search an activate the internet is growing beyond the tech bubble. What was niche 12-months ago is getting mainstream and will get more so in 2019. Yet, public sector websites risk falling behind this trend. How can people search your website using voice? Can they? Or will they fail?
Subtitle, baby. As video continues to rise, the need to subtitle gets larger. Why? Aside from regulations coming down the track for public sector people most video is watched without sound. So, be creative.
Same as it ever was. Yes, you’ll need to demonstrate your evaluation and as the landscape continues to make tectonic shifts the role of the communicator as educator to the organisation rises. Please fulfill that role. Please.
Facebook won’t go away. The debate about the ethics of Facebook will continue but as a platform there’s no prizes for saying that it will remain the largest single platform consumed by UK people.
Facebook groups will get even more important. For public sector people, the lack of budget means a creative use of the Facebook platform with the ability to search out relevant Facebook groups will become an increasingly key skill.
AI continues to rise. There will be useful tools offered by vendors that use Artificial Intelligence that help make public sector comms people’s lives easier.
Local Democracy Reporters prove their worth. The BBC-funded journalists have fanned out across the country and are intended to fill the gap in local government coverage left by hollowed-out newsrooms. Some bright public sector people have spotted that good relations with them can lead to positive coverage across eight local news titles simultaneously instead of one.
Gig economy comms teams. Bringing people in with specialist skills for one-off projects will be default.
The best ideas will come from journalism. For the last 10 years journalism has been on the ropes. Like the boxer who has taken too many blows the betting was how quick it would fall. While there will be fewer titles in 2019, the best ideas of how to use digital channels will come from journalism and not the public sector. They have the resource – just – but they also have the existential business case.
Do we talk to young people or don’t we? The public sector needs to ask itself if actually wants to talk with young people in the places where it hangs out. As the media landscape continues to fracture, this will involve experimenting in new places. The alternative is to be honest and tell people that you’re not interested in talking to them.
So, that’s it. There’s storm clouds ahead. But there have been storms before. Prepare. Look ahead. You’ll get there.
Shout if you need a hand. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org and @danslee on Twitter.
Pic credit: Darren Flinders / Flickr
Someone in their 20s once stopped me in my tracks talking about all that video they had of themselves when they were a kid.
Those first steps, she said, that first Christmas it’s all on VHS, isn’t it?
Actually, for this 40-something year old, no it isn’t. I have their heirloom family album of 1:1 pics that was instagram cool the first time around and no video until I’m at least 22.
So, as 2018 runs out and 2019 starts, here’s some apps for you to play with on your smartphone or tablet when the turkey is done, the Brexit arguments with relatives are through and you’re bored of the telly.
The benefit of this is that you get to road test some apps and you’ll be able to make more creative filmmaking decsions when you are next back at work.
I’ve taken a look at them on android and made a note when there is an ios version of the same app. It’s becoming a busier marketplace so if you don’t fancy what’s there keep looking.
VHS Camcorder (VHS Cam) app by Rarevision.
This is brilliant. It allows you to shoot video in the app that looks like a VHS camera. You even get to add text in the manner of a family video from 1986. Get out the scalextric and make it look like Bruno Brookes is still on Radio 1. You need to shoot within app. From there the clip is saved to your gallery on android. You can shoot wider than a mid-80s TV but as their own website points out, why would you do that? It can shoot 480 to 1080. It’s available for android and ios.
This allows you to shoot timelapse photography. Want to capture an afternoon painting a wall? Or a birthday party? The standard VHS film speed is 25 frames per second. This app staggers when you shoot each frame. So in other words it takes just over six minutes to shoot a frame of footage. You can leave it shooting infinitely for longer projects. So, that new bridge or regeneration project can be captured as it arises. You need to shoot within app. You also need to keep your phone powered. It’s available for android.
Glitchee Cam and Video FX
Glitches are effects that change how you see the picture. One irritation of this app is that there’s limited effects you can use without reviewing it. However, once you review some extra features open. Like a heartbeat that builds tension, lightening for a wtf moment or drunken that makes the screen go a little awry. They may be useful in your story telling with your film making. You can shoot within app or import your own clips that have the glitch added. But don’t worry, a copy of your pristine original remains on your device until you delete it. Both apps are available for android and ios.
ESSENTIAL VIDEO SKILLS FOR COMMS workshops 2019
As video is what your audience is likely to be consuming your video strategy will help you deliver a successful communications strategy.
To help you achieve this, I’m running workshops in 2019. Delivered along with cameraman, filmmaker and academic Steven Davies the sessions will help you plan, shoot, edit and post engaging comms video. We’ll make sure you are safe and legal, GDPR, copyright law and PSBAR compliant.
We’ve had four years of experience and have delivered training for more than 2,000 people across more than 300 organisations.
6.2.19 Friends House, Euston Road, London. For more information and to book click here.
7.2.19 Bond Company, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham. For more information and to book click here.
13.2.19 Leeds, Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds. For more information and to book click here.
If those dates don’t work or you’d like in-house training drop me a line email@example.com or @danslee on Twitter.