Photo by ROBERT BUCKMAN

Victor Hernandez dazzles audience with new apps, gadgetry

SPJ Louisiana is publishing articles written by University of Louisiana at Lafayette chapter members who attended the SPJ Region 12 conference in New Orleans.

by DEVIN COCHRAN

Victor Hernandez, director of Media Innovations for Banjo, a social and digital media organizer, shared what apps he recommends for smarter reporting with smartphones.

Hernandez, who often quoted whom he called his “co-host,” Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, covered an array of app types and technology, ranging from wearables such as the Apple Watch to video and audio apps, audio and camera accessories and popular broadcasting apps such as Videolicious.

Approximately 44 people attended the presentation.

“At some point, we’ll have screens and computers inside our bodies,” Hernandez said. “We’ll always be wired. Google took out a patent for smart contact lenses for connected contact lenses. You’ll have access to the Internet through your eyes — through your mind.”

Newer cell phones are capable of shooting 4k UHD-resolution videos, quality “ultra high definition” videos that once only shot by professional-grade cameras. Also, according to Hernandez, smartphones offer in-phone video and photo editing that allows consumers to publish content quicker.

But Hernandez said people will still need professional-grade products and other features that smartphones are becoming capable of doing.

“I don’t think this (lesser use of professional equipment) is going to be standard issue and everyone will work by themselves,” he explained. “We’re still going to need teams and collaboration to do well-produced and thought-out pieces. But these offer tremendous opportunities in terms of go-betweening.”

Photo by ROBERT BUCKMAN
Victor Hernandez, director of media innovations for Banjo, displays the Narrative Clip 1, a tiny camera that can be worn on the lapel and snaps a picture every 30 seconds. Photo by ROBERT BUCKMAN

Hernandez then encouraged the audience to think about a time when their equipment may have failed and the use of a cell phone has proven beneficial.

He also spoke of his personal use of the app Moment, which shares how much a person uses his or her phone on a daily basis.

“I use that Moment app to track usage every day,” he said. “Should I be doing more things outdoors this beautiful weekend instead of sitting on my phone for 10 hours? That helps me think about my behaviors and if I’m wasting time or being efficient with my business.

“The saying is, ‘There’s an app for everything’ because you have so many options, but the down thing is we’re saturated. We’re inundated with all of these options, and we become easily overwhelmed trying to figure out, ‘What’s the perfect thing that I should be using?’”

One conference attendee, Alley Loope, a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, was surprised with the results the app gave her.

“While he was talking, I actually downloaded the one that tells me how often I use my phone because I thought that was really cool, and I use it a lot more than I thought,” she said.

According to statistics Hernandez gave during his presentation, 5 billion people will own a smartphone by 2020 — with 90 percent of American adults currently owning a smartphone.

“There’s an app I didn’t mention in the presentation, but it’s called Glued, which actually rewards users for not picking up their phones and using it as much,” Hernandez said. “You have certain goals where you leave your phone in your pocket or your purse. Ultimately, I think the numbers we saw today about behavior and usage and how many hours a day we spend on these things, they’re all just going to go up.”

Video and photography apps Hernandez discussed included Stellar, Hyperlapse, Snapseed and Photoshop Express. An app not mentioned in the presentation, but Hernandez said he uses frequently in his digital photography usage, is Sunrise, Sunset.

“In photography, you care about the ‘golden hour’ or the ‘magic hour.’ The hour of sunrise and the hour of sunset so you get the best lighting for photos. So I have an app that’s called, Sunrise, Sunset, and it just tells me, based on the GPS in my phone, what the magic hour times are. I don’t have to Google it; I don’t need to go look up information elsewhere. With one button, I can open that up, and it tells me everything I need to know for planning. It just does that one thing really well.”

He demonstrated a miniature camera, called the Narrative Clip 1, which can be worn on the lapel and takes a photo every 30 seconds. There is also a Narrative Clip 2, he added, for video.

Of all the apps presented — and other apps found in app stores — Hernandez said his favorites are those that do one feature exceptionally well, especially “for video or photography. I’m hugely passionate about digital photography and I like it a lot more than video, but I have a broadcast background,” he said. “I have photography apps that I’m a big fan of.”

Despite advanced in photographic technology, Hernandez urged photographers to “zoom with your feet,” meaning get as close as possible to the subject, because zoomed pictures lose resolution.

Loope said the apps she learned about are encouraged at her school for assignments as well.

“I really liked it because even in my classes at school, our professors encourage us to do some of our projects with our smartphones,” she said. “It’s really interesting to hear exactly how that’s transferring in the actual industry and how that’s going to move towards only smartphone usage. I think that’s interesting.”

Among the quotes from Berra that Hernandez said were relevant to new smartphone technology were, “You can observe a lot by just watching,” and “the future ain’t what it used to be.”

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