How Do You Shoot Your Smartphone Video?

It’s a question as old as time. Well, not really. Mainly since smartphones have become a force in the field of video production.

Up and down or side to side? Vertical or horizontal? More technically speaking portrait or landscape

The portrait way, which is up and down so to speak, has its uses. If you are sending someone a video of yourself walking in your new suit, it may be the way to go. Or, if you enjoy producing lip-syncing music videos in various apps for Instagram and the like that’s fine too. Various social media sharing platforms encourage slightly different ratios at times and that is great. I guess.

woman with smartphone
That’s right! Landscape is the way to do it!

However, for a traditional and some might say a real video, I prefer landscape or some version of 16×9. It’s a great fit for YouTube and websites. It’s also the format that resembles television and movies. Although movie ratios can vary, that’s why sometimes they still do not quite fit your TV screen even with the newer wide TV formats, I have yet to walk into a theater and find a vertically mounted screen as opposed to a horizontal one.

I’m pretty sure some version of portrait was  tried a while back for certain movies and the concept sank like an iron ore paddle boat down to the bitty bitty bottom of the sea of misguided and bad ideas.

Last year I participated in a Video LinkedIn challenge and shot a little video about the subject. How about you? How do you shoot your video?


HumorOutcasts Radio “I am So Sick of White Guys” by Jim Corbett and Tim Jones

I am So Sick of White Guys Cover ArtHow many of us need more white guys? Probably not many of us right? So here’s a podcast with three more white dudes for your listening pleasure.

On behalf of HumorOutcasts Radio and, I recently had the chance to interview Jim Corbett and Tim Jones who are the authors of, “I am So Sick of White Guys – The Coloring Book Experience” available on Amazon. And we don’t mean the good “sick” either, but rest assured the book and the podcast are definitely “cool sick.”

Naturally to enjoy the content of this satirical and adult coloring book it would help for the reader to be progressively minded. Therefore, how “good” you may feel that the book may happen to be is rooted heavily in subjectivity.  However, even though I may not agree with all of the concepts on every single page, I can put on an objective hat. I have no issue stating that for me this book was a creative and witty isometric exercise into a fusion of political satire, humor, and social commentary.

The book’s illustrations were created by Steve Hartley, who in my opinion did a great job maintaining the recognition of the caricatures yet portrayed expressions that match the essence of the scenes and situations depicted.

Jim and Tim
Jim Corbett and Tim Jones

In this day and age it doesn’t take much to inflame a segment of the public. Jim and Tim have had their fair share of angry blowback from the right and from the land of social media. They sent me various links prior to the interview to show me this aspect of their experience and perhaps to give me fair warning of some of the grief that I could possibly catch as the interview migrates its way through the digital media cyberspace.

We touch on some of this negative feedback during the podcast but we really wanted to stay centered on the humorous aspects of this book as well as the societal messages conveyed in the content.

If you share an illustration with someone and it sparks a conversation, it has done its job.

During our pre-production meeting I suggested to Jim and Tim, that given the provocative title of the book, it may help to give the interview some depth if I threw them a few curve ball questions as opposed to producing what amounted to an audio infomercial.  They were very receptive to the idea and they both did a fantastic job making their points in this podcast which give it an intrinsic value of substantive content above what would otherwise be considered as just a digital media marketing tool.

I hope you enjoy the podcast. You can play the podcast from this site below or under Billy Dees on nearly all of the major podcasting platforms including iTunes Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.


HumorOutcasts Radio Interview with Molly Stevens

1BOTL coverI had a lot of fun interviewing Molly Stevens, who is the author of, “Boomer on the Ledge.”

Molly brought up some good points during the course of our podcast. One of the themes that seems central to her message is that it is never too late to discover new passions and ways to be creative as we mature. In fact, sometimes life experiences can enhance our ability to tackle original endeavors and challenges.

1Molly with book and doll no frame
Molly Stevens

Another concept that seems very dear to Molly is the idea that humor is a great way to deal with life challenges and can also be a way to inspire others to examine their own place in life in a more lighthearted and positive fashion.

Molly lives in Maine and still works as a registered nurse part-time after a long and fulfilling full-time career in the medical field. More recently Molly discovered the joys of writing and over the past number of years has been showcasing her work on her blog

1Molly Billy Pod
Billy Dees and Molly Stevens

“Boomer on the Ledge” is an interesting blend of musings and observations about the positive and negative aspects of being a Baby Boomer as well as an inspired pictorial of images photographed by Molly to illustrate the perceptions conveyed in the book.

Molly is a contributor to and can be found on Twitter @ShallRef and on her Facebook pages Shallow Reflections and Boomer on the Ledge. Her book, “Boomer on the Ledge,” can be found here on Amazon published by HumorOutcasts Press. You can follow @HOPress on Twitter.

Please take a moment to enjoy our podcast interview with Molly Stevens.

The playable audio program is right here:

HOPress HumorOutcasts Radio Molly Stevens

“Running Log” by Roger Hollis

Running Log front pageThe “Running Log” On Amazon

Publisher: HOPress – Shorehouse Books  Twitter:  @HOPress

The day before Thanksgiving I had a chance to stop by the office of Roger Hollis with a mobile production set up and talk to him about running and his new book, the “Running Log.”

The “Running Log” essentially encompasses three elements; running, cartoons, and motivation. Roger has been a long-time runner and has enjoyed both the physical and mental benefits of running. He has also enjoyed drawing cartoons and illustrations for personal enjoyment and for various books.

Roger HO1
Roger Hollis

My experience with Roger has allowed me to appreciate his down-to earth attitude and practical approach to most given situations with a little bit of humor as part of the mix.

I would describe the “Running Log” as a diary of sorts for runners and other fitness enthusiasts to document their progress alongside various illustrations and motivational witticisms authored by Roger. However, you don’t have to go by my

Roger and Bill HO
Roger Hollis and Billy Dees

description of his book because you can listen to Roger himself in this episode of HumorOutcasts Radio at the bottom of this post.

You can find the “Running Log” on Amazon and it makes a perfect companion to all of those New Year’s resolutions to get out and to be more active. Roger is also a contributor to and you can find his newborn presence on Twitter @roger_hollis.

Please give our podcast a listen. Thank you.

HOPress HumorOutcasts Radio – Roger Hollis “Running Log”

“Getting Started in Freelance Writing” by Ginny Simon

Ginny Simon CoverWe often hear the term “freelance writing,” but exactly what is it and can it be a viable career choice?

This podcast is an interview with Ginny Simon, the author of “Getting Started in Freelance Writing.”

Ginny talks about the creative and business aspects of freelance writing, the importance of research, and how your content should be marketed to potential clients.

It is a very informative podcast and we hope that you will give it a listen.

The podcast is featured on and the book is published by Corner Office Books, a division of HOPress-Shorehouse Books. You can find “Getting Started in Freelance Writing” on Amazon.

For your convenience the podcast is right here:

“If I Could Mend Your Heart” by Mary Farr for Shorehouse Books

Marr Farr Book CropHO Press – Shorehouse Books
“If I Could Mend Your Heart” by Mary Farr

Podcast Interview

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Farr. Her book, “If I Could Mend Your Heart,” deals with the subject of managing grief. This sorrow can be due to the loss of life but also any event or circumstance which heavily impacts our lives. The book is available here on Amazon.

Even though this is a difficult theme this is not a depressing podcast and this is not a sad book. Rather, Mary explains that often times carving out an alternative and positive path in life can be a part of how we manage the trials and tribulations that we all experience.

MaryFarrPodcastThe podcast is featured on For your convenience the interview is also playable at the bottom of this post or for those of you who regularly listen to podcasts it is also available under “Billy Dees” on iTunes Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and nearly all of the other major podcast/internet radio platforms for your favorite streaming device or mobile app.

This is a podcast production in partnership with HOPress-Shorehouse Books. Special thanks to Donna Cavanagh over at @HOPress.

Thanks to all of you and happy listening.

HO Press, Shorehouse Books, HumorOutcasts Radio interview with Mary Farr

5 Tips for Producing Digital Media Content


Woman SingingThe first step to making any good digital media production is to prepare your content. Your message should be clear, concise, and to the point. Once you have prepared your content, you can either hire a professional to help you produce a digital media production or you can do it yourself.

I wouldn’t discount out of hand the option of hiring a professional to help you produce your digital content on the basis of the process being too costly. In many cases, pros are streamlining their services to fit the burgeoning market of producing digital media. Also, a pro can help you organize your overall production and will likely get the technical aspects of the project right the first time.

With that being said many small business owners and amateur enthusiasts are producing their own digital media for their websites, social media, and other online platforms. Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you achieve better results.

1) Stay within the limitations of your equipment.

For example, a smartphone shoots fairly good video if you stay close to the subject being recorded and use plenty of light. Light is the fuel for any camera. Don’t forget, the microphone is inside the phone too. Therefore, the closer you are to the subject the better the video will sound as well. If you design your production around these limitations and invest in a basic editing app you can achieve good results. For goodness sake, edit out your hands reaching toward the lens to turn the camera on and off. Better yet, add a fade out or other transition when the video is over rather than just having the video cut off.

2) Know how to maximize the use of your equipment.

It is one thing to ask too much of your equipment but yet another not to know how to be creative with what you have. This, at times, can be done as easily as reading the instructions. The finer points will come with trial and error. Take some time and experiment with the settings and placement of your equipment. Online instructional videos and usage forums can also be helpful although be aware that there can be false information in many of those places. Instructional online information provided by the manufacturers of your equipment and their reps is often the most reliable.

3) Find simple and efficient production software tools.

The advantages of software in the digital age are related to editing and mixing functions. For example, in the days of analogue studio recording, mixing a recording down was essentially precision copying. Numerous raw audio tracks that were first recorded onto a multi-track recorder were then run through a mixer, and the subsequent mix of those tracks was rerecorded onto a stereo machine. This would be the copy that would generate what end-users would get with all of the sound levels balanced out.

Now, raw audio and video data can be digitally arranged and manipulated by software into a final version without any external steps resulting in signal loss. (Not all digital formats are the same. Be aware of what you are doing when converting file formats.)

Choose software that operates easily and performs the basic production functions and edits that are the most important to you. Software that is loaded with functions and performs all of them well is expensive, complicated, and may require better computers and interfacing for maximum use.

4) Don’t rely on software to create something that isn’t there from the start.

Although software is great for many things but I wouldn’t advise planning on fixing too many problems in post-production.

Let’s use audio as an example. There is an old saying in the recording business. Garbage in, garbage out. Do your research! Know what type of a microphone works best within your budget and in different given situations. Learn how to best set up the microphone with the proper accessories for the results that you are trying to achieve. Record a clean and rich audio signal. Don’t rely too much on signal processing within your software to create something that just isn’t there.

Just as though the truth never changes, your productions will have a greater consistency over time if you stay true to the audio source. The more you tinker with your recordings to make them sound better, the more your results will vary and at times sound artificial.

5) Know when to be satisfied with what you’ve got.

I understand what it is like to be a perfectionist. As you work on one project you will learn better techniques and inevitably feel the urge to go back and redo something. Unless it will clearly make a night and day difference, save that experience for your next production. Otherwise, more often than not you will spend an inordinate amount of time redoing material with only marginally better results.