Rozana’s trainers continue, together with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Facebook Journalism Project, to provide training for journalists in the Middle East and North Africa, mainly on video and mobile journalism. The workshops were held in the Arabic language and lasted for six weeks.
After the first webinar held on 12 November as part of the ICFJ’s training sessions on mobile and video journalism, which was initiated by the trainer at the Rozana Media Development Center (RMD) Syrian journalist Mais Katt, who provided instructions and methods for journalists on how to use mobile phones to produce journalistic content, the ICFJ organised a second webinar on Thursday, 19 November that lasted for two hours and witnessed the participation and interaction of 370 journalists from the Middle East and North Africa.
The fourth session was held for two hours on 3 December, with the participation of 311 journalists and students, during which Darwish provided practical advice on mobile journalism and information on the tools used to prepare journalistic reports using mobile phones, while stressing the importance of paying attention to sound quality when preparing reports with a mobile phone and recommended using an external microphone to record the audio.
Darwish mentioned a number of microphones that can be used to enhance and purify sound, including the ones used in interviews, such as the BOYA wireless microphone, which he referred to as a good option because of its capacity to record good quality sound at a moderate cost.
Darwish also recommended the Rode microphone, which is his favourite and the one he used to produce the report that won the Thomson Foundation Award. However, the trainer noted that this microphone is a bit more expensive, while presenting a number of devices suitable for the different conditions of the shooting location. Hence, in case the journalist could not use the external microphone, Darwish recommended using the phone’s speaker to record.
The journalist also referred to the importance of using a tripod when starting to shoot the story and stressed that the first step is to choose the right phone mount, while presenting some of the recommended tripods with mentioning their advantages and other details regarding the devices’ weight, capacities and prices.
He indicated that the heavy weight of some good tripods constitutes a disadvantage, unless the devices can offer more stability, in addition to introducing the Flexible Tripod, which is a small rubber stand that is both flexible and affordable; in addition to recommending the Manfrotto and the Regetek tripods.
After introducing the aforementioned tools, Darwish went on to talk about other gadgets used for motion photography, noting that using these tools are easy, useful, and allow the journalist to take photos like a professional cinematographer.
He explained that scenes captured using the motion tools are usually horizontal shots, saying that the latest versions of Osmo Mobile also allow taking vertical shots.
Darwish presented devices manufactured by Zhiyun and Osmo companies and talked about their capabilities, features and prices, in addition to demonstrating an example of taking shots with motion tools in a video report broadcast by RTE TV.
On the other hand, participants asked questions about the different tools that were presented and the best ways to use it, while Darwish explained that each report needs specific tools, depending on the shooting conditions. He pointed out that not all of the aforementioned tools are necessary for each journalistic report, but there are always two important tools, which are the microphone and the tripod.
Darwish presented smartphone brands available in the market that can be bought from stores or online and can assist journalists in preparing their reports, pointing out that the latest generation of smartphones is advanced; hence, journalists should look for the right features that may assist them in preparing reports such as battery lifespan and storage space.
The journalist said that as long as the camera (or cameras) has a good quality, good reports can be produced using a mobile phone and with the help of the tools he mentioned earlier. The participants were very interested in the aforementioned devices and asked if these tools are available in Arab countries.
As for external lenses that can be attached to the mobile phone, Darwish recommended using Moment lenses.
With regard to lighting, the first piece of advice was to photograph outside whenever possible, but if the journalist had to conduct an interview indoors, spotlighting devices like the Manfrotto could be used to improve lighting.
Darwish concluded his presentation by talking about some useful applications that can be uploaded on mobile phone, including FilmicPro, which is a paid app and one of its most important features is the ability to emphasise focus and lighting.
He explained that the application allows shooting videos with different screen sizes and even in portrait mode, which is useful when producing Instagram and Facebook reports.
Darwish also recommended the Adobe Premiere Rush montage app for iPhone and Android users, as well as Lumafusion and iMovie, which are available for download on iPhone.
It is noteworthy that the training sessions were held online, as an extension of the training of journalists in the Middle East and North Africa within the “Social Media Platforms Solutions” program, which was launched in partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project and in cooperation with the Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum held by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet).