It’s customary to upgrade to a new smartphone once every year or two. A lot of people want to stay up to date with the newest tech, even if they just use it for cat videos and selfies. Why, then, should we hang on to our old devices when we upgrade? There’s actually a bunch of reasons why the general population would want to do this. For example: you could use your spare device as strictly an MP3 player. Or perhaps you have a younger sibling or child that wants their own device but is too young to have a cell phone. Or maybe you want to have some spare hard drive space and not eat up all the storage on your new phone. My nine-year-old stepson uses his moms old iPhone 6s as his main media consumption device and he loves it.
So what about all the content creators out there?? Well, we have some reasons of our own to broaden our arsenal of smart devices. Over the last year, I have had many instances that called for using more than one of my devices at a time and since the advent of iCloud and easier file sharing, there’s never been a better time to practice this. I’ll describe a few examples for capturing photo, video and audio using multiple devices. Keep in mind, this post is mainly talking about keeping old phones when we upgrade considering most people tend not to upgrade their tablets as regularly as their phone. Though, these practices I’m describing could be done between any combination of devices.
So lets start with photo. Now, most situations won’t call for using more than one camera at a time to take a photo, but there are still certain circumstances where it makes sense. One basic example is performing a camera test between different generation iPhones. Every year the camera is at least moderately improved so taking the time to showcase that quality difference with a simple “A-B” comparison is extremely useful. Consumers often watch videos showing these tests when deciding wether or not they want to upgrade yet. Another example would be when you need a photo of your phone in action, say for a YouTube thumbnail or a behind-the-scenes shot. That spare device would come in handy when taking those photos for sure.
For recording video, there are also many times where having a secondary device would be useful. Whenever you’re capturing an interview scene and you want to have a second angle recording simultaneously, throw that second device on another tripod using a different shot composition and you’re good to go. This works for filming a narrative scene as well. Another use for that spare device would be for filming a talking head video for YouTube. The second device works perfectly as a teleprompter if you need to have a lengthy script to read from. Perhaps your video consists of screen capture. In that case, use your main device to film your talking head bit while simultaneously recording the screen capture from the second and then marry them in post.
Capturing good audio is such an integral part of creating content and having another device on hand can be a lifesaver. Now depending on the shot, I’ll often have my Lav mic or shotgun mic plugged directly into the phone I’m filming with, but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes the framing doesn’t allow for the mic to be out of the shot, but I don’t want to have re-record all the dialogue in post. In this instance, I’ll end up using my secondary device as my sound recorder. Simply plug in your Lav mic to the second device and then put it in your subjects pocket. Now you’ll have consistent audio regardless where your subject or the camera moves.
There are plenty of other uses for a spare device when creating content. The ones listed here are just the ones I’ve found myself using most often. The point is, my iPhone 6s is about 5 years old and it still helps me create. Why would I just discard a solid device when I got the 8+? In December I’ll most likely be getting the iPhone 11 which will bring mobile device arsenal up to an iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad mini 4, iPhone 6s, iPhone 8+ and iPhone 11. I may not always have a reason to use all of them simultaneously, but I will always find a use for them.