Film, Edit, Share . . . Without Leaving Your Smartphone

Mobilized - Wed, 2014-12-17 14:09

Check out this new video from the UCSF Tech Commons on how to properly use the keyboard trays in the Library’s computer labs.

This video will not be nominated for an award at the Sundance Film Festival this year, but would you believe it was filmed, edited, and distributed using just an iPhone? It was, and this post showcases the workflow and technology used to create and share a video using a single device that fits in your hand. It also follows up the previous Mobilized post, Top 5 Tips for Better Mobile Video.

Why Mobile Video?

Before we dive into all the tools and tech available for this type of project, let’s make sure we understand why we would want to use our mobile device to produce a video. Here are just a few scenarios where you may want to take out your phone and start recording (and then editing):

  • Interview a colleague to promote a new service in your school or department
  • Document a conference or professional development event
  • Create a video to use on your website or in your CLE course
  • The digital video equipment offered through the UCSF Library is not available
  • You have a limited budget and little digital video experience

Notice what these different videos have in common? They all involve short videos that require minimal editing and have a clear objective.

Now that we have thought about the Why, let’s talk about the How. The keyboard tray video was filmed, edited, and shared using just one device, but I combined a number of apps and equipment to accomplish this, including:

  1. iPhone 6 camera to record video
  2. Slow-Mo setting on the iPhone 6 camera
  3. Voice Memos app on the iPhone 6 to record audio
  4. iMovie iPhone app to edit the footage
  5. YouTube to upload and distribute the video
  6. Tripod for filming

Here is a summary of my workflow used to create the video:


Just because I used a mobile device to create this video, it does not mean I could skip outlining the video, that is, storyboarding! The first thing I did was outline what I wanted to cover in the video and identified the clips, audio, and images that I needed to capture. I turned this into a list of video clips and pictures (a shot list) that I could quickly check off while filming.

This is what my storyboard looked like:


Armed with my storyboard and shot list, I started filming the clips in sequence using the iPhone 6 camera. You may notice that certain audio in the video carries over from one clip to the next. This was done by recording audio in the Voice Memo app, which I later imported in the iMovie video project during editing.

An extremely helpful piece of equipment for this project was the tripod. I recently purchased the Kooteck Tripod for Smartphones from for $12.99. This resulted in steadier, more professional-looking shots, especially when shooting in slow motion. I also used the iPhone’s camera to take a few pictures that I used for b-roll, also known as alternative footage.

Oh, and don’t forget to hold your phone horizontally while filming! There are very good reasons to avoid vertical videos. Learn more about Vertical Video Syndrome.


I purchased the iPhone iMovie app for $4.99 to edit the video. I chose iMovie, because I use the desktop application frequently and was interested in how the video editing experience differed on a 4.7” screen. Of course, there are many other free and paid video-editing apps to choose from in both the Android and Apple iOS markets. If there is a specific app that you like to use, please let us know in the comment section below!

Using the iMovie app, I added titles, transitions, and a jingle to enhance the video. The jingles that come with the iMovie app are royalty free, but there are fewer options in the mobile app than what you get in the desktop version of iMovie. Even though my audio options were limited, I was still able to use sound to cover up some awkward silences and improve the overall quality of the video.

Here is a screenshot from my iMovie project showing the video and audio tracks:

When I was finished, I exported the final video out of iMovie to the iPhone camera roll. The size of the 36-second video was just 7MB (not bad)!


Now for the easy part — sharing your masterpiece with colleagues! I uploaded the final video directly from my iPhone to YouTube, which only took a few moments. I added a description as well as important metadata or tags to help people find the video when searching. I uploaded the video to YouTube because YouTube integrates well with the platform used for this blog, making it easier to embed my final video in the post you are reading now.

I can now share my video in an email, via the UCSF CLE, or on my department website! Make sure to check out UCSF’s media distribution system, Media@UCSF, for sharing UCSF-related videos. You can also read more about Media@UCSF on the Convergence blog.

That’s a Wrap

And that is one example of how you can film, edit, and share a video using only your mobile device! This video took no more than an hour to create from start to finish and was done using only the iPhone. No work was done using a laptop or desktop computer and no cables were needed!

Do you need assistance creating your own video using a mobile device? Stop by the UCSF Library’s Tech Commons or attend a Tech Clinic with the Learning Technologies Group for tips and tricks for creating your own video. Remember, you do not need an iPhone 6 to create an effective video — you just need to know the tools, apps, and resources available, and start filming!

Check out the resources below for creating videos using mobile devices:

Lastly, thank you UCSF Library staff member, Ben Stever for your patience and cooperation during the filming of this video!

Categories: Mobilized

JAMA Network Reader

Mobilized - Wed, 2014-09-17 06:00

Interested in reading JAMA articles on the go? You’ll be happy to know that because UCSF Library is a JAMA subscriber, our patrons have access to the latest year’s worth of content from all 10 JAMA journals on the JAMA Network Reader.

The Reader works across all devices — phone, tablet, and desktop — to give you free, instant access to the research, reviews, and viewpoints in all JAMA Network journals, including those published online first and with embedded video. It’s browser based and available as a Chrome app or Safari extension to allow for offline article viewing (articles are only available for online viewing on Mozilla and Internet Explorer through the Reader website). The option to read either online or off saves storage space on your device and gives you the ability to easily access the article later.

Additionally, there are no manual updates needed, and Online First articles and new issues appear automatically.

To take advantage of this benefit to UCSF’s JAMA subscription, you will need to access the JAMA Network Reader while on the UCSF network or click through to the JAMA Network from the library catalog if you’re off campus. Look for the link to the Reader on the top of the right sidebar of every article page. For more detailed instructions, please visit the JAMA Network Reader website and see the section “How to access through your institution.”

Also visit the Reader site to learn more about installation and offline reading.

Image from JAMA.

Categories: Mobilized

Automatic backups with Box Sync

Mobilized - Wed, 2014-09-10 07:40

Given San Francisco’s history of earthquakes, I should be better prepared.
My earthquake kit has a flashlight, portable radio, first-aid kit, and enough dehydrated food rations to last a few weeks. I’m probably better prepared than most, but I’m still lacking an adequate supply of water, spare clothes, cash, street maps, and emergency contacts. In terms of earthquake preparedness, I’m woefully short of ready. Emergency preparedness is a great analogue for data disaster recovery. Investing some time in being prepared could potentially pay huge dividends later on; preparing yourself for the worst is often easier than dealing with disasters as they unfold.

If you’ve owned a computer in the past decade, chances are you have either experienced a hard drive failure or know someone who has. Data from Backblaze –– an online backup provider –– outlines how failures can occur due to manufacturing defects, as well as wear-out failures. Wear-out failures unsurprisingly increase with disk age. Unlike traditional spinning hard disks, the increasingly popular solid state drives do not have moving components and thus are less likely to fail mechanically. Solid state drives, however, are not immune from wear-out. Regardless of the kind of drive you own, having a secure, automatic, online backup is a great practice.


If you’re staff, faculty, or a student here at UCSF with MyAccess privileges, you already have access to UCSF Box. Box is one in a crowd of cloud-based storage providers, competing with Dropbox, Mozy, Skydrive, SugarSync, Amazon Cloud Drive, and many others. UCSF Box provides 60 gigabytes of personal storage with a file size limit of 5 gigabytes. You can use Box to store, access, and share data.

Cloud vs Network Shared Drive

Box, like many other cloud services, offers some advantages over traditional storage on a network drive. (Note that a network drive is not the hard drive on your computer — it’s backed up storage space provided on your school or workplace server. Typically, you must be on-site to use it.)

  1. Access from anywhere. Once your data is up in your Box account, you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. That includes directly via their website, through mobile applications on both Android, Phone/iPad, and Windows Phone.
  2. Share files easily. In Box, you can share files and folders quickly with anyone. You can generate a hyperlink to share your data, then customize the access settings according to your needs. Find out more about sharing files with Box.
  3. Add tasks, discussions, and comments to files.

There are a few drawbacks with using Box at UCSF, most notably that it cannot be used for FERPA or ePHI information. Also, if you have data exceeding 5gb per file, or 60gb in total, traditional network storage would be more suitable. Otherwise, the benefits of portability between devices and the enhanced suite of features make Box a great option.

Box Sync

Box Sync is a great feature, similar to other cloud storage offerings, that integrates a folder on your Mac or PC with your account. Anything added or modified within this folder is automatically backed up. You can modify the contents of the folder while you are offline and the changes will be applied the next time you connect to the internet.

To setup Box Sync, follow the instructions below.

  1. If you haven’t setup your Box account yet, do so by visiting UCSF Box (or if you are not part of the UCSF community)
  2. Download the Box Sync client from here
  3. Follow the install instructions for your operating system here
  4. When you first launch Box Sync, you can choose a custom location for your Box Sync Folder.

In my case, I’ve setup my Box Sync folder in my User Directory (the default location). I’ve added a folder entitled “PowerPoint Presentations” as well as a sample document entitled “Sample Word Document.” The Box Sync application has syncing turned on.

When I login to my Box account, I see that both the folder and the document have been uploaded. Anything I place in the Box Sync folder will be uploaded, including documents seeded within other folders.

Go On, Be Prepared

Don’t wait to take advantage of your space on UCSF Box. It could save you enormous hassle and heartache if (when!) your local hard drive fails. If you don’t have UCSF privileges, you can still use a free account or a competing solution, though your amount of space and/or cost may vary. If you take a few minutes to set up some kind of cloud-based file storage, you won’t be sorry.


Categories: Mobilized
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