Dec 302015
 
9 great gadgets for 2016

9 great Gadgets for 2016

There are tools, apps, gadgets that make our life easier, more productive and better organized. Let me share 9 gadgets that are (almost) always on me:

  1. Skeletool – Leatherman’s multi-purpose tool has only a few functions, but this analog tool is a thing of beauty. I’ve rarely seen an instrument that is so well thought out and put together as this one is. The Skeletool gadget is always in my pocket (unless I’m flying). It’s masterful design is a beauty to behold, but it’s very simplicity belies the real usefulness: a solid set of multi function pliers, a strong blade, a set of 4 screwdrivers (you gotta see how the one you’re not using is stored – it’s amazing), a bottle opener / carabiner is worth carrying around 5 oz of steel.
  2. iPhone 6s – Apples phones carry an insane amount of customizable apps on them, that I can almost not imagine working without one today. From shooting photos for scouting and live streaming directly from the phone, to integrating the mobile side of my business, the gadget is truly my virtual assistant.
  3. Lifeproof case – has protected my iPhones since I bought the first iteration of this case for my iPhone 4 years ago. These cases are waterproof, they protect your phone from drops (the physical ones and the ones made from any liquid) and help you ensure that your phone survives the rigors of working in some pretty crazy environments. It’s the analog armor, that keeps my digital life protected. A gadget that protects another gadget, who knew.
  4. 9 gadgets 500LIV watch – in this digital world I love an analog time piece, that’s tough and stylish. Being on time is part of producing excellent work and there are so many other things I need to time (from long exposures of night shots to duration of time lapses) that this beauty keeps me punctual. Actually I feel bad calling this a gadget – it’s more a practical piece of Art (and one of my clients).
  5. Evernote – is my digital memory. It holds electronic copies of my contacts, notes, creative briefs, ideas, … and so much more. It lives on my iPhone, when I’m not in front of the computer and is connected to my digital brain SalesForce, that also lives on my mobile device. Yup, gadgets can be digital as well.
  6. Moleskine notebook – I’m a fan of writing, theres something to be said about putting pen(cil) to paper; actually there are studies out there that say you’ll remember something you wrote, better than something you typed. Drawings, sketches, scribbles, outlines, notes and so much more live in this paper notebook. Much of it is digitized and synced with Evernote. That app keeps on surprising me, especially when it actually can read my handwriting – it’s an old school gadget that’s actually quite brilliant.
  7. GoalZero Switch 8 – power is something we never seem to have enough of and often we need to top off another power hungry gadget, that’s where this little USB chargeable battery comes in. It allows me to carry an extra charge for my phone or GoPro in my pocket.
  8. Swiss Army cable – You gotta be able to get that power into your phone/camera/device though and carrying around a handful of charging cables kind of defeats the purpose. Here’s a cool USB charging cable, that bridges the digital generations: from the old 30 pin connection, via USB micro and the modern lighting adapter, this gadget can charge pretty much anything you throw at it.
  9. BeastGrip – Ok. So this one’s not always on me, but it’s always in my bag. The beastgrip is the best gadget for your iPhone as it let’s you shoot stable video, add accessories like a monitor and an external mic, if you want to get serious. It also has a dedicated depth of field adapter, that let’s you film with your DSLR lenses. You wanna up your mobile video game? Look no farther than Beastgrip. It’s spring loaded clamp lets me use my iPhone inside my lifeproof case – a gadget inside a gadget inside a gadget – almost sounds like inception to me …

Analog and digital gadgets

I love both worlds – the break neck pace of digital, with all the productivity it offers and the old school analog world of notebooks and knives. What are the gadgets you can’t live without?

Aug 012015
 
today's phones produce stunning videos

The August 7 deadline for sharing a 90-second (or less) video about your business as part of our ongoing Small Business Big Game contest is right around the corner — and it’s an amazing opportunity to showcase who you are and why you love running the show as a small business owner or self-employed professional. 

But what if you’re not sure where to start? 

We tapped OWN IT member and professional cinematographer Pascal Depuhl to share with us his top tips for creating a video you can be proud of — even if you only have a smartphone on hand.

Read on for Pascal’s great tips…

 

You’ve worked with a range of different small businesses to tell their stories in video. What are your go-to ideas or themes that work best?

The #1 thing you want to express in your video is the *why.* Why is your product the best? Why is your service better? Why is your small business the right choice for a potential customer or client?Once you nail the “why,” everything else will fall into place.
The story that comes out of the answers to these questions is the backbone of your video. That story is always simple:
  • Identify a problem your customer has
  • Show why your business offers the best solution
  • Finish with a call to action
I always start by putting myself in my audience’s shoes: What do they need that I can offer? Or, do I need to explain something new to them? If it’s necessary, how can I change their mind?
Do they want to hear from another customer? Make a testimonial video featuring one of your star customers.
Do they need to hear from an expert? Shoot an interview.
Do they need to experience your location? Take them behind the scenes with a guided video tour.
Do they want to learn how your service works? Film a short tutorial.
Remember, a good story will keep customers watching. A bad one (or worse, no story at all) and your viewers will drop like flies.
 

I know I want to tell a compelling story with my video, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance. What is the quickest way for me to create a script before I start filming?

Good luck on not leaving anything to chance! Actually, you want chance — unless you’re filming a movie with professional actors. Your video should be real. If you script what a client says in a testimonial, it’s gonna sound canned.
That being said, it is important — scratch that, it is *vital* — to plan. The good news is you’ve already started. You’ve figured out the problem your customer has, why your small business offers the best solution and how to convince the potential client to take action. You also know if you’re creating a testimonial, a behind-the-scenes tour or a tutorial.
Write out interview questions that you think will give you the answers you need for your story. Sketch out the order in which you want to walk through a behind-the-scenes tour, or lay out the steps you are going to cover in your tutorial.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. A few notes jotted down or a few stick figures in a story board will go a long way in keeping you on track. Don’t forget to also consider the location where you’ll be filming.

I only have a smartphone that can record video. Is that good enough for creating my video, or do I need to invest in expensive equipment first?

Story trumps equipment. Period. Every time. Always.
A great story shot on an iPhone is much better than

Dec 052009
 

You know I love this app for my iPhone. It is actually the only app I have paid for – well I did buy the Chicago CTA app this summer to figure out the schedules for their public transportation – but that’s neither here nor there.

I really like onOne Software’s DSLR Camera Remote.

If you are a photographer that shoots tethered using Canon or Nikon, you know that you can control the camera from the computer – depending what software you shoot into. I use Phase One’s Continue reading »