A solo video journalist surprised a room full of colleagues by saying that he only shoots his news packages on his iPhone. It certainly inspired Javi Perez, a digital content producer at KENS 5 in San Antonio, Texas.
“It’s interesting that not more people know about it,” Perez said. “This is part of the revolution!”
Nick Castellucci, a professor of practice at Michigan State University, showcased episodes from, Phoning it in, a playful web-series on using cell phones to shoot news.
Castellucci focuses on using what he has available to him and says that news is moving in this direction.
“It’s the camera you will always have with you,” he said, pointing to his cell phone.
Castellucci prides himself on not being a technical reporter with a “less is more” attitude toward gear. His use of the iPhone with his improvised rig rose more out of need than technological advancement.
It’s just as much as using what is available to you as having the newest and best technology, Castellucci says. He had been shooting video for his former news station WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas on an iPhone 5 and 6.
“When people ask me about the limitations to using a cellphone for photography, I tell them there are none,” he said.
When people complain about the zoom capabilities of the iPhone, Castellucci answers with, “I zoom with my feet.”
He started out covering news packages visually with his phone after working as a reporter for over 20 years.
“I always worked with photographers, some of the best for my stories, and I got sick of asking for a photographer to accompany me to stories, so I decided to start using my cell phone.”
“You kind of learn through osmosis from being around photographers so much,” Castellucci said.
Shooting with Castellucci’s homemade news rig for the iPhone is a constant process of plugging and unplugging cords. He plugs in an external Rhodes microphone to capture natural sound for his assignments. He also uses an XLR cable adapter to plug in a wireless lavalier microphone. The beast grip which is then attached to a full sized tripod allows him to hold the camera close to his chest with two hands.
“It’s rare if I shoot a clip that’s longer than two minutes. I shoot and move and shoot again. I usually end up with 40 clips,” Castellucci said. “I can do it with an iPhone but can I do it with one of their cameras? Not a chance!” he said.
He uses the settings on the iPhone to change exposure levels and adjust settings to get the perfect shot.
Castellucci does admit that he is excited for the new iPhone 8 to be released by Apple, and he has found previous solutions for the removal of the headphones jack from the iPhone 7 for example.
Journalists are using cell phones to conduct Facebook Live interviews so that viewers can watch the weather on their phones or even shoot and edit video in the field. The applications are endless, and for Castellucci, less is definitely more.