Corporate video communications? There’s an app for that

(I originally contributed this article to Simply Communicate)

In two of my previous posts, I described the pillars of an enterprise video program, as well as how you can start leveraging your mobile device to capture better video when you don’t have a camcorder.

This article will focus on smartphone and tablet apps, and how software can transform your portable and connected device into a mobile video system to create and share powerful stories with your audience.

Given how widespread Apple devices are among corporate communicators, I’m going to cover five mobile video scenarios that make creative use of your iPhone and/or iPad.


Editing video

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Picture this: You just shot a great interview with your phone, the lighting was just right and you were careful to be close enough to your subject, so her voice was loud and crisp. But your interviewee stumbled on one of the answers and you’d like to remove the bad part. Every video can benefit from some editing, and simple actions like trimming, cutting, adding captions, photos and transitions can all be accomplished right on your phone or tablet. The two apps that I like the most are Apple iMovie ($5) and Avid Studio for iPad ($5). While both apps are quite well designed, Avid Studio comes ahead on feature richness due to their recent release and given the heritage of the developer company in the professional video space.

If you prefer to shoot video on the iPhone and take advantage of the larger iPad screen for editing, you can transfer media between devices using Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29) that consists of two separate adapters; one to connect your tablet to a USB device (like your iPhone), and the second to import photos / videos from a generic SD card. In my tests, I didn’t have any issues importing photos and videos captured with both my Canon point-and-shoot and DSLR.


Photo montages

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There are instances when you want to create a video and all that’s available are some nice still photos. Don’t despair; there are apps that will convert your images into high-energy animations inclusive of a custom music soundtrack. My favorite is Animoto (free) which is a cloud service that offers free and premium plans, depending on your need to output HD videos, their length and number of source files.

 

Tags

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Tags are a special breed of bar codes that can be scanned using a dedicated mobile app and can trigger actions like visiting a web site, dialing a number, sending a virtual contact card or simply displaying a message.

The two dominant types are QR codes and Microsoft Tags. Nowadays, you can find them pretty much everywhere, from magazines to food labels, on signs, promotional t-shirts, and more. Tags let you bridge the physical and virtual worlds, by facilitating the access to online information associated with the tagged object.

Microsoft offers a convenient free dashboard and mobile app called Tag (free) to generate and read both QR codes and its proprietary format.

If you work in internal communications, you may enjoy this video that shows how Microsoft used tags printed with edible ink on chocolate to deliver a promotional message to its employees.


Webinars

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If your workforce is increasingly becoming mobile, chances are that knowledge sharing inside your organization needs to adapt to this new trend too. Demos and presentations are integral elements of any readiness program, but how can they be delivered to a mobile audience? Companies that are not already enrolled in popular services like Webex or GoToMeeting, may want to check an app called TeamViewer for Meetings (free for non-commercial use) that lets a presenter share his desktop PC in real time with a mobile audience of up to 25 participants, including audio via VOIP, file sharing, whiteboard, instant chat and more. It’s definitely worth a look.


Video messaging

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Sending media across different mobile devices is risky business. Unless the handsets are from the same manufacturer, there is always the potential of video format incompatibility. MMS is a great solution that pretty much guarantees a uniform and reliable experience on smartphones, but the length of those clips is limited to less than a minute.

What about an ‘Outlook for video’? Eyejot ($4) is a video mail app that allows you to send personal video messages to other people regardless if they’re using Eyejot. The app includes a handy vCard feature that sends your contact information along with a personal video clip. Desktop users can watch Eyejot messages in their browsers and the service is free to record up to 5 minute long videos.

Do you have a favorite app that’s enhancing communications at work? Leave a comment with your feedback and experiences.