Tools and Tips

We are always being asked what tools do we use, what camera do we shoot on, how do we edit, do we schedule content?

So we thought we’d share some of the online tools we use on a daily bases for producing content. Naturally, the gear you’ll find on the site, the following is about the software and web tools we use.

Before we start the following tools are used inline with a solid brief and an understanding of the brand, it’s story and what the goals are with the content, as you can’t capture the essence of a brand without understanding it first. 

First up, what do we use to take photos? Well, you’d be surprised that we don’t shoot on a massively technical camera, most of the work is shot on an iPhone XS, when not using the trusty iPhone XS we shoot with Canon gear, just because it’s compact robust and has some epic lenses, but let’s not geek out on that…

Why do we shoot so much on an iPhone? That’s pretty simple when producing content at speed for social media, having the ability to shoot and create on your phone enables the opportunistic content that social media is designed for, capture and publish in the ‘moment’ will provide far more engaging content.

In conjunction with the iPhone, we use other fast production tools such as Photoshop Express, which allows for plenty of adjustment and tweaks to photos as well as saving your preferred settings for faster editing.

With editing photos on your phone, with speed, comes a trade-off. The ability of the tools is restricted. For example, the following photo of the Porsche 911 was shot with an iPhone XS but was finished in Photoshop. As the gravel under the car had several potholes that need to be removed, the apps on my phone didn’t allow for the masking we required to match the stones.

A point to note, also with the images below, it is super hard to replicate the depth of field you get with a DLSR, as you’ll see in the two pics, the artificial depth that my phone adds using it’s two lenses is ok, but you get the smudge or fuzz around the edges, this is where your shooting perspective becomes important as it is less obvious in the picture of the artist (yes that’s one of Tom sons) compared to the camera shot.

Another tool we love to use for cropping and adding text and client logo/watermarks is the Aussie Unicorn called Canva. As a tool, it is a super solution for those small quick jobs that don’t necessarily need to go to a Designer. Especially as you can load in all sorts of images, assets and fonts. Plus it has a great feature that allows you to produce simple animations/video.

How about video production, yup, you guessed it we use an app on our phones (yes there really is an app for everything), again it’s about where it’s going and what message we are trying to get across. For fast production on the fly to social media channels, then its an app called Videoleap. Alternatively, we use apps like Boomerang and cross post, depending on my objectives. Here’s a link to Tom’s Instagram story that shows a clip or two put together using Videoleap.

Note: editing video via your phone is somewhat limited and should be only used for IG Stories etc., for anything more than simple cuts and adding in backing tracks you need to use the proper tools. I’m also no video editor as that is a disciplined art.

On the topic of video, for backing tracks, sound effects and anything else audio, we typically use Audio Jungle, but we admit it takes a lot of searching to find good audio that doesn’t sound like ‘stock library’ music, we also tend to do this in advance of the content been produced, saves time in the sign off.

Next is scheduling, yes absolutely we do, but brand-specific and obviously not at live events. For example, if your brand is product related and online, you can schedule product shots until your heart’s content. If it’s brand culture and engagement, then we wouldn’t schedule but plan the shots and type of engagement we are trying to achieve, then shoot on the day and post or shoot a few and selectively publish in the day.

For scheduling, we use an app called Apphi, which is awesome and allows you to schedule and plan for both Facebook and Instagram. If we are looking for scheduling outside of these networks, we use Buffer as you can schedule on FB, IG, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and much more.

We also use more enterprise tools depending on client demand like AgoraPulse, which is fantastic for full channel management, listening and monitoring, but is a big hammer for most often a small nail.

For reporting, there are a few options here, for quick dashboard metrics across multiple networks you can’t go past Databox, if you are after monthly reports for a Board or Management then Report Garden or Whatagraph, both have excellent integrations, with Whatagraph looking a little nicer but Report Garden has some decent customizable features. We also use Google Analytics and goal tracking to measure more direct conversions, which also integrates into the reporting tools.

To answer the question on larger scale production of content. For the things that are longer than 10seconds or more than 800×800 pixels the team shoot and produce with Canon, DJI and GoPro gear depending on the situation, location and end destination. For post-production work, it’s all the Adobe tools.

Thanks for reading and we hope you found this helpful.

We first shared this article via LinkedIn, feel free to connect with Tom directly as he often shares other articles on the world of digital and social media.