In-Class Assignment: Shooting and Editing Video on Mobile

You only need to choose one option and follow the instructions in each option. Assignments are due at the end of class today at 3 p.m. Turn in as instructed by your professors in each section.


Video assignment

(This assignment must be completed individually)

Assignment: Use MoviePro or any video recording app of your choice to interview a local shopkeeper in the community or someone on campus (in the bookstore, food vendors, baristas, etc.). Choose a strong character and visual location. In addition to a short interview with your subject, shoot some b-roll. After shooting the interview and broll with your mobile device, edit the story to 45 seconds using titles, b-roll, and your one interview that you edit to tell a short story. You must edit the story solely on your mobile device using the editing app of your choice (if possible use apps recommended during class demos). Tell the story of the shop/shopkeeper in around 45 seconds. This should be a narrative story (no standups; only the sources voice/image and b-roll). Only one source is required for this mobile assignment. Pay attention to composition, light and sound quality! Turn the assignment in as directed by your instructor.


Recommended editing app: iMovie for iOS

Resources: iMovie iOS Tutorials (

Upload the video file via Fetch to your folder on the server and post a link in the comments to this post.



SnapChat Stories

(This assignment must be completed individually)

Assignment: Interview one of your classmates or a person on campus that you have never met. Take pictures, video and write text. Produce a SnapChat Story on your source. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but use your journalism skills as a foundation for this assignment. Turn the assignment in as directed by your instructor.

Recommended app: SnapChat

Resources: SnapChat tutorial (

Required: When you’re done with this task: Come back and write 400 words that answer the following questions. What did you do, and how did it go? What kinds of reporting assignments could you see yourself using something like SnapChat for? Is it about breaking news? Regular stories? Is it better suited for dramatic events or can it work for mundane things? What did you learn from this assignment?

Download the Snapchat file. Upload that file via Fetch to your folder on the server and post a link in the comments to this post, along with your essay. 

14 thoughts on “In-Class Assignment: Shooting and Editing Video on Mobile”


    My comments on my Snap Story:

    I chose to tell a snap story on the USC Bookstore and how the workload is rather light right now, but will increase in the Fall semester, and how they are preparing for that influx of students. It went well! I did encounter a little hesitation from my first interview subject, who is the manager of the Bookstore, because apparently there is a no photo-no video policy in the USC Book store. Thankfully, though, one of her employees is an undergrad Journalism major and he sort of smoothed over my request to record.

    I could see myself doing live event reporting through snapchat, and being able to do it well. It would also work for breaking news, but having the mapped out elements of an intro and solid B Roll would be more difficult, and a nice close would be harder there. I supposed you could just open up with what is happening in that moment, but I think Periscope lends itself more to the breaking news situation (especially because it’s a live stream, and you don’t have to mess around with “publishing” in the moment of a breaking news event).

    Snapchat could also work for dramatic events, but I see it being more effective for an “after the fact” type of story, showing reactions (similar to the way it was used in the example we saw of the Charleston, SC church shooting).

    I learned a lot of from this assignment, basically covering how to use Snapchat again. I used to use Snapchat a long time ago, when it first came out, when you could only send pictures directly to other people. Now there is a lot more utility in the app, and I’m glad to be back up to speed on it. Specifically, I learned how to delete snaps from the story, how to download the full story once it is complete, how to follow other people and how to let people know how to follow me. Looks like I’m back in the Snapchat game thanks to this project!


    I decided to pursue the theme of media and culture for my Snapchat story. It was a nobler aim than the product it yielded. I asked people the question “how does media affect culture?” and let them take their own spin on it. People had interesting things to say, but here a feature of the Snapchat app worked against my idea because the app cuts off the videos after a certain time period. I had to discard a lot of footage because of that. A few interviewees were nice enough to start again as I tried to recapture the moment. I also had a hard time figuring out what to put in the story – how much of it should be videos versus pictures, and how much text is appropriate?

    It seems that while Snapchat certainly has the capability to work for a variety of situations, I don’t think that it works for a journalist to shoot videos for sound bites. It’s hard to capture the voices of other people because of its specific video time, so you’re almost always going to cut someone off somehow unless you yourself are talking. This in turn makes it difficult to maintain an unbiased perspective. I feel that Snapchat works in the journalism world for a means of curating content and simply capturing the moment. The journalist cannot truly capture the words of people in a traditional interview format, but they can use the words of those who have posted to the app themselves.

    By nature, one can’t edit the story once it has been posted. That little hiccup led to an editorial error, as I misused the world “effect” and, due to the bright sunlight, didn’t catch it on my screen until it had been posted. This sort of on-the-go journalism leaves a lot of room for error in that regard, which again points to the idea that this platform may be best for curating, or at least posting content produced outside the app itself.

    Because Snapchat is short, instantaneous, and not (technically) permanent, it has a lot of holes for serious journalism. That’s not to say that it is useless or doesn’t have a place in the media world, but that people and organizations that choose to use it beyond silly pictures and messages must carefully plan out their plan of attack.

    In a lot of ways, Snapchat lends itself well to the more mundane subjects. One can think of clever captions and plan out sequences more easily. However in a dramatic situation snapchat would allow users to quickly share videos – if you’re able to add it to a public story.

    Snapchat certainly has a lot of potential, but takes a lot of thought and careful planning in order to execute it well.


    Snapchat as a news tool

    The application of Snapchat as a news reporting tool felt unconventional. When thinking of news, I commonly envision a crew with cameras, microphones, tripods and other equipment used for breaking stories. Despite the latter train of thought, having the opportunity to see news being handled in a new way was creative and liberating.

    The story I produced focused on the importance of healthful eating. This is a topic that has received vast coverage, however, telling the story on a different platform has the ramifications to spark a new look on the subject and capture a different audience. To create the content, I got footage inside of a health-food market and inquired on individuals’ reasoning for maintaining a healthy diet. The process had a youthful, modern-day feel, which I believe stripped away the serious mood common in broadcast news.

    Expanding beyond the project I used Snapchat to create, I think the app offers a new outlet for storytelling. Although Snapchat could be used in the creation of breaking news stories, I could see it being more effective in the area of soft news. Consumers have access to the app at any point of their day, but breaking news is meant to be received by viewers immediately, and Snapchat has a slight delay. Soft news, on the other hand, is not urgent and consumers can use it at any time. However, it could be used to follow up on breaking news stories.

    Looking at the demographic of Snapchat users, I think mundane stories would be a good fit for the platform. I think a younger audience would be more receptive to news that is easily digestible and fun. My liking for news that has an entertainment and pop culture vibe makes me lean more toward this platform, too, as it would seem more fitting for my news interests and audience.

    Overall, this news exercise helped me to see other methods of creating news and engaging with audiences. I think it has the power to change the way we consume news as is evident with the growth of news agencies on the mobile app.


    I used Snapchat to film the process of getting a bicycle registered with USC’s Department of Public Safety. Using snaps allowed me to take short clips of each step of the process, creating a visual information piece from the first person perspective. I filmed the ride over to DPS taking shots of USC flags to visually establish the scene and the topic of the piece. I filmed the entrance to DPS before walking in and registering my bike with the form that was handed to me. Every part of the registration process was filmed from taking the serial number down, inputting data into the computer to getting my registration sticker. Then I spoke with a DPS officer about the importance of registering bikes.

    In general, I see how Snapchat can be useful for breaking news because it is immediate and very personal. I think it lends itself well to collages, meaning you should aim for a diversity of shots and perspectives.

    Regular stories can also become interesting though. Mundane events like making breakfast or taking the bus to work can be funny and entertaining if filmed right. Especially if something unexpected happens.

    Today I learned that social media is a fast and intimate way to present the news. And to get good at using social platforms professionally requires using them in daily life. Also, because they are a developing platform, innovations in mobile storytelling emerge every day.


    I decided to expand on a project that I’ve been interested pursuing for a while about non-traditional restaurants. Last week, for my audio Vox Pop, I asked people about street vendor carts. Today, armed with Snapchat, I went to the food trucks on Jefferson and asked people on the street why a food truck versus a brick and mortar. Most of them said it was more convenient, but some remarked that they feel uneasy about food safety.

    I also talked to the workers on the truck but that snap somehow didn’t make it into my story — technical problems.

    I think the assignment went better than I anticipated. I noticed that younger interviewees got excited when I mentioned Snapchat, while older interviewees were averse to being filmed. I could see myself using Snapchat for breaking news just to capture the scene and get good man on the street reactions in real time, though I think personally it might be better suited for more process based things, to show something from start to finish. Because Snapchat requires more planning since you can’t reorder or re-edit things ex post facto, I think I would be more comfortable using it for features than breaking news. I could see it highlighting the dramatic, like unbelievable snaps or sights as they happen, but I think it would be especially useful for just trying to show how things are normally and close-up.

    I realized that using Snapchat for news is very different than how I use it personally to share funny things with friends. It takes a lot more planning. I was frustrated that I couldn’t reorder the clips after I got a great bite that I wanted to show up sooner in the story. Also, the time limit was a challenge that I needed to coach my subjects through. If I didn’t explain it to them, they’d run over the time limit, and I would have to tell them, and the second answer seemed far less candid than the first one.

    There are some challenges that I need more practice conquering, like handling the short time window and explaining that to subjects, figuring out when a photo, text, a video, or some voiceover would be appropriate, and understanding how to report linearly and without the safety net of an edit in post, among others. I probably wouldn’t be comfortable using it for breaking news quite yet, but I think with a script, a plan, and a little more time, I could use Snapchat to complement other types of stories.


    The student union is always packed at the lunch hour with people enjoying their meal. Although most people are there to buy food, I noticed some had their own lunch pail. I decided to ask a few people who brought their lunch how many times a week they did so and how much money they saved. On the converse side, I also asked those that purchased their lunch how often they did it and how much money they spent per week. Upon first approaching people, some were a little hesitant but most were more than willing to share their story. Everyone I asked agreed to be a part of my project.

    Snapchat is rarely thought of as a platform for a news story. Most people, as well as myself, use it to capture strange moments, go on rants, or just share selfies or silly videos with friends. The app can be used for all types of stories from breaking news to a press conference, it just has to be used correctly depending on the type of story. Snapchat has an informal approach to news and that makes it easier for people to connect to the story, which I believe makes it more effective as a news platform. It is simple for anyone in the middle of a protest or anyone witnessing an injustice to capture their surroundings and upload it to Snapchat for everyone to see instantly. It’s a lot easier for the audience to feel connected to one of their peers telling a breaking news story over a reporter on TV.

    I learned that although Snapchat is fun to use for a news story, it can be a little difficult for interview portions because of the time limit. If the subject’s answers are too long and they don’t get their entire thought out in 10 seconds, then the video looks choppy. You might also miss important words that are relevant to their idea in between trying to upload the first portion and begin recording the second half. However, Snapchat was still a fun and creative method to get the story across.

  7. First time SnapChat–2592777489909877125.mp4

    What did you do, and how did it go? What kinds of reporting assignments could you see yourself using something like SnapChat for? Is it about breaking news? Regular stories? Is it better suited for dramatic events or can it work for mundane things? What did you learn from this assignment?

    Today was my first time using SnapChat. I decided to go to the 901 Bar and Grill, located near the USC campus to experiment. My total running time for the project was forty-three seconds.

    901 is a place where Trojan students, alumni, and fans frequent. Flat screen televisions line the walls, along with banners that read ‘Fight On’ and the jerseys of famous USC players such as Matt Leinart, Frosty Rucker, Troy Polamalu and Reggie Bush. And of course, Los Angeles Lakers and Kings banners.

    SnapChat can be a useful platform for news. This form of social media gives journalists the ability to take still shots and short videos. The ability to create a voice over while recording video and panning eliminates lugging a big camera and microphone saves time and set up. Adjustments to work on for a news reports in the future using SnapChat would be practicing shots, building the story with more detail, and using more video recordings. Overall I liked my first attempt using SnapChat, and look forward to becoming better.

    Breaking news would be if USC won an intense big game or a bowl and everyone was there to watch. On the negative side, if there was a really violent bar fight which involved people being taken away in an ambulance would also be an angle, if it happened.

    This could be a regular story, because people regularly go to 901 for Trojan athletic events. Los Angeles may not have the overall college town feel, like Pullman, WA, but the 901 Bar and Grill has a college atmosphere. With drink and food specials daily, the capacity will increase as fall nears and the college football and NFL football seasons get started.

    During this assignment I learned how important the basis of research and journalism is to complete an informative well structured SnapChat news piece. Any one can snap a picture or video, throw a funny caption over it or say something cleaver while recording. However, to construct a news package which can be used professionally, the fundamentals of journalism are still a necessity.


    As a consumer, I initially wanted to shy away from immersing into the Snapchat app because there are too many apps to keep up with already! But as Snapchat gains popularity and peers use it more consistently as a means of communication, you’re left behind if you’re not using it. As a journalist, I’ve learned that there’s criticality in staying updated with my community and current events. Whether it’s global news or local news, it’s vital to know what’s happening.

    My group is investigating Snapchat’s corporate expansion and its impact in Venice Beach. Thus, it made sense to utilize Snapchat for this assignment. My goal was to gather intel on Snapchat’s popularity. What about Snapchat draws an audience, why are people using this app, and what are they using it for?

    While interviewing I found that some people didn’t want to be on camera, others didn’t have Snapchat, and most Snapchat consumers simply use it for updates from peers. Almost every person that I interviewed knew what Snapchat was. This assignment was enjoyable and productive. I’ve never thought about Snapchat as a method for breaking news so it helped me gain a new perspective on how to be a more edifying journalist in my era. My story was not about hard news or breaking news but rather an investigative and informative story on Snapchat’s popularity.

    Due to CNN, Buzzfeed, ESPN, and other media outlets integrating with Snapchat, it’s become a versatile avenue for companies and news organizations to post their news. Snapchat can be used for hard news, sports news, how-to’s, fun features and more. Snapchat is a great way to report live news; footage can be captured at the moment of a plane landing on a lemon truck, or for a building fire that’s visible from where you’re standing. I would use Snapchat if I wanted to gain a particular audience’s attention: a younger generation, students or even teenagers. Personally, this app is best suited for dramatic events when the ‘reporter’ is at the scene or event.

    This assignment helped me to think critically while filming. It helped to reinforce the skills that were taught in class. More specifically, to always ask the subject if they are willing to take off their sunglasses. This might be a California thing but most folks will wear sunglasses if they’re outside. Some of the best video footage can be shot outdoors but after the playback of my Snapchat story, I realized that I got some great answers but my subjects kept their sunglasses on. Now, I’m ready for my next Snapchat story!


    I approached this assignment like a Snap version of the Vox Pop. Yesterday, I noticed a number of international students wandering around the lunch area. After asking around, I learned that they were on campus for an international students’ orientation. I decided to use my Snap Pop to find out where these students are from and why they have come to USC.

    The students I spoke to were very receptive to and excited about this project. It was a bit awkward because I had to use cues (aka eavesdropping on conversations and a bit of stereotyping) to make sure I was approaching students who were from different countries. In the cases in which I got it wrong I still recorded their answers, but omitted them from my final Snap Story.

    I think the Snap Stories are a great way to get the “man on the street” perspective. They are useful in pulling together short, simple videos into a montage about one topic or theme. I was able to get a pulse on who these international students are and what types of things they are studying.

    While I personally wouldn’t choose Snap Stories for an immediate breaking news event, I would absolutely use it to get numerous perspectives in the aftermath of that event. I think the way SnapChat is designed- short clips that disappear immediately- is conducive to spreading the word about an event or sharing a specific message with a very large audience.

    To be honest, I started this assignment strongly disliking SnapChat. But this exercise helped change my mind. I think SnapChat Stories can be an engaging, simple, and fun tool for journalists and I’m planning to use it more as we move forward.


    SnapChat is quickly becoming the most popular social media app. As it’s constantly evolving, the uses for the app have increased. Media outlets are starting to use SnapChat as a way to deliver news and reach a younger audience. I decided to use SnapChat to explore the reasons why people chose certain foods for lunch.

    I went into the Ronald Tutor Campus Center and recorded the four different restaurant options. Among those options are The Habit Burger Grill, Verde (similar to Chipotle), Panda Express, and California Pizza Kitchen. I went to each one and asked one person why they chose to eat at that particular restaurant.

    I think the interviews went well. People weren’t as hesitant as I expected to be recorded. Sound was an issue because there were so many people around and not being able to edit your post once it is uploaded can be a hassle. Other than that, SnapChat provides the option to make a quick story with little to no effort.

    I think SnapChat could actually be used for different types of stories. It could be a great tool for breaking news stories because of how quickly it can be uploaded and seen by so many people. There’s really no limit to how many times you can snap and it’s intriguing because each snap is only a few seconds long.

    SnapChat can also be used for regular stories, like the one I did today. You can choose to narrate a story, or even type short captions for each segment. There’s also the options of filters and sometimes graphics telling your location.

    SnapChat is used on a daily basis for mundane things. Most of the people I follow post stories about their every day activities, random stuff they may see or do, and just unnecessary things for a humorous response.

    Although it is often used for unimportant events, SnapChat can work for dramatic events, as well. People like to capture dramatic events to inform or warn others about stuff going on. For example, when there was a fire on the 15 freeway a few people I follow on SnapChat got clips of the chaos. People are now taking photos and videos more for SnapChat instead of just having it in their photo gallery.

    I learned that SnapChat can be an effective way to produce a news story. It’s also a lot of fun to see a story come together through numerous small clips without any editing.

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