Farming with the Smart Phone

Guest post by: Scott A. Stoltz, Integrated Media Specialist and Field Photographer

In the past 4 years, I have had the pleasure of being asked to document some really great advances in the field for Monsanto. I have traveled thousands of miles, walked through hundreds of farm fields in various stages of the growth cycle and braved the intense elements that Mother Nature has to offer.

However, that is just a small portion of what farmers around the world endure every single day, months and through the years as they work hard to feed the rest of us. I have taken many photos and videos in my short stint in the field. While reflecting about all of the joys of nature that I had the privilege to see, it hit me. Farmers of today have an incredible tool at an arms reach to help them show us what they really do, Their Smart Phones!

Understanding Mobile Camera & Video

By “Farming with the Smart Phone,” farmers can invite the rest of us right into their world as it unfolds on a daily basis for those whom are willing to share a portion of their daily operations, growth, progress and obstacles they experience while farming.

There are many smart devices out there for the farmers to choose from based on today’s technology. According to Web Pro News the top 5 Mobile devices for the end of the second quarter fiscal year 2012 comes in with Apple’s smartphone brand market share as 31% and Samsung’s as 24%. HTC and Motorola follow these heavyweights with 15% and 12% of the market, respectively. LG rounds out the top 5 with only 6% of the market. Based on these numbers and the fact that these will change rapidly, I have chosen to discuss tips and trick for using the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and the Android. For more information, please refer to this link.

In this series of blogs, I plan to discuss the Cam and Video Apps that come with each device as well as premium Apps that will streamline the user’s ability to capture great images and share through Social networks like Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo, direct multimedia messaging and email. We will also discuss Cloud based editing and storage of the pictures and video.

Tips for iPhone Photography & Video

I have chosen to start with the iPhone. This device is the most user-friendly interface out of all three devices. Once you unlock your device, the icon for the camera App is located in the top right corner of the screen. The stock photography and video cam is very simple to use. You can choose to shoot in landscape or portrait just by changing the orientation of the actual device. Use your best judgment here to make sure you truly capture the image you want for the shot.

If you want to shoot video, just slide the icon from camera to video camera and you are ready to go. However, this next tip is HUGE!!! When capturing video, please make sure you position you device to capture in landscape, hold the device long ways and use both hands to really get a steady shot and push record, when the record icon is flashing red, you are capturing video. The system will auto adjust to the environment in which you are shooting. Be sure to not face the sun, this will cause your subject to be a dark silhouette and that’s rarely what you are looking for. The built-in video camera comes with auto white balance as well as an auto focus, more advanced Apps allow even more control of these features. We will get into those Apps in the next blog.

Now that you have captured your masterpiece, you may want to share it or save it. The iPhone automatically saves your videos to the camera app, under the small icon in the bottom left of the Cam App. Tap this icon to open up the “Camera Roll”. Inside this icon you will find all of you videos saved in the order they were shot on your device. Scroll through these files and you will find all of your photos as well as your videos in this specific order taken with your device. Select a video by tapping on the actual video and it will maximize. The window will list the number of the video and a small timeline that looks like a series of clips at the top.

If you tap and drag on the left of this timeline you can swipe across it slowly and fast forward and rewind the actual video. If you tap on the far right of the time line it will become highlighted in yellow. This indicates you now have the ability to trim the beginning and ending of the video to determine what the actual length of your video will be. Once you have the video trimmed to your liking, push the trim button, the device will prompt you to trim original or save as a new clip. If you want to be sure to keep the original clip, then tap the icon that says “save as a new clip”.

Ok, now that you have shot and trimmed your video clip, let’s share it. Look for the small icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing to the right, that’s the share button. You will be given 3 options: Email video, Message or Send to YouTube. Depending on your needs and who you want to share your video with will determine what icon you choose.

  • Email —FYI, in order to save space on your device, you can email this video to your personal email account, you will have the video for later use by storing it in your video folder on your personal computer or a larger hard drive. This allows you to delete the video from your iPhone so you can have plenty of room for future videos.
  • Message the video to a friend, push the Message button, this quickly opens the MMS page, choose a contact, tap below the picture and the cursor will be flashing where the text will appear. Type a short note and hit send.
  • YouTube – Ok, last but not least you have decided you want this Ag video to go viral! Let’s Post it to YouTube! Note, an icon will pop up and ask you for your YouTube Username and Password. If you don’t have one yet you may want to do that first from a PC, MAC or follow the steps from the YouTube App on your iPhone. Once you have signed in the YouTube interface, it will ask you for the title and description of your video. Since you have shot this video on the stock video cam for the iPhone, you will see that the Standard Definition will be checked and highlighted. Then choose your category and choose if you would like the video to go Public (Anyone can search for and view), Unlisted (Anyone with a link can view) or Private (Only specific YouTube users can view).  All that is left to do now is to push the blue icon button in the top left of the screen that reads “Publish” Congratulations, you have just shot, trimmed and published you first video from your iPhone.

Let’s take a quick look at how you may choose between these three key uses:

  • Email the video: this tool is great to share with a select group of friends or to be able to store and catalog the video clips to review later, such as habits of livestock or field conditions on a specific day.
  • Messaging the video clip is a quick way to share a vide clip with someone either in the field, back on the farm or home in case you need a specific item, tool, product or material.
  • Publishing to YouTube is a great way to share the progress or daily procedures you may encounter in the field, on the farm or even just for fun on the family vacation.

All of these are great tools to have right at an arms reach. So take a moment, look around you and start shooting some great video.

In my next blog post we will discuss in detail how to shoot  High Definition Video on the iPhone using Premium Video Camera Apps, how to Shoot in HD and send directly to Facebook. As well as Editing Apps and Cloud-based storage by utilizing Vimeo.

Until next time, enjoy your day by getting out there and shoot some great pictures and videos on the iPhone.

Scott A Stolz is an integrated media specialist and field photographer at Monsanto. AgChat advisory board member Janice Person says “he’s as passionate about video and photography technology as most farmers are of their part of agriculture. And, he’s great working with farmers so AgChat seemed a perfect match!” Scott routinely shoots video on a variety of equipment, from expensive professional, broadcast-grade to his mobile phone. He’s offered to write a series of posts to share tips on ways to maximize mobile phones photos & videos.

August 28th, 2012 – AgChat on Back to School and Ag Education

Back to School and Ag EducationAre You Ready for Back To School? It is back to school season across the world. Many students in agriculture communities have to work around late state and regional fairs. Also, what is being taught in school is key to success later in life. What are the paths to getting an education to help production agriculture? How are family, community, and school needs met? What supplies today are needed in school? These and other questions were the focus of this AgChat conversation on Twitter.
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Alltech Sponsors 2012 Agvocacy 2.0 Training Student

An elite group of students have converged upon Kansas City for AgChat Foundation’s annual Agvoacy 2.0 Training conference which lasts Aug. 23-24. The two-day training session is for farmers and ranchers who using social media, share their story with customers. In recent years, social media has created a historic movement among farmers and ranchers. The goal of the conference is to better equip farmers and ranchers with necessary social media tools, ideas and concepts to be successful in their story telling.

For the second year in a row Alltech is sponsoring the event by offering a scholarship to one future Agvocate. Registration fees for one student will be covered by Alltech, but they need your help to select the winner.

Visit Alltech’s website where you can read more about the four finalists and what they hope to get out of Agvocacy 2.0. Vote for the most promising future agvocate by clicking their vote button on Alltech’s post. You can vote once an hour.

Spread the word and help your favorite agvocate.

Dr. Raines Scholarship Inspires Young Meat Scientists

The agriculture community tragically lost a leader in social media and meat science earlier this year. Dr. Chris Raines had the unique ability to see both sides of an issue and the skill to bring opposing sides to the conversation table. Dr. Raines, or Chris as we all knew him, always had a characteristic way of providing much needed perspective on emotional issues.

To continue his legacy, an anonymous donor is sponsoring one AgChat 2.0 Training Conference Attendee with a $500 scholarship to cover their registration and travel. The selection committee reviewed all applications and chose the winner based on the applicant’s ability to embody all that Chris stood for.

This year’s winner is David Hayden. Here David tells us a little about himself.

Tell us about yourself

I’m originally from KY and was raised on a commercial cow/calf and poultry operation. Agriculture has been a

David Hayden, 2012 Chris Raines Scholarship recipient

number one priority for my family since I was a small child.  Growing up, I was actively involved in 4-H and FFA. As I grew older, so did my passion for the industry.  I attended Murray State University where I majored in animal science. After attending MSU, I moved to Oklahoma to start my masters at Oklahoma State in meat science. I now work for Wolf-Tec inc. as an Applications Specialist assisting customers with the implementation of meat marination and portioning equipment. My job with Wolf-Tec exposes me to all realms of the meat industry both nationally and internationally.

How did you become involved in the meat science industry?

As an undergrad I participated in an exchange program where I was able to attend OSU for a semester.  This is where the door to meat science was opened to me. I knew at that point the meat industry was where I wanted/needed to be. With my background in live animal production I felt a meat science degree was imperative to understanding the industry as a whole.

How do you use social media to connect with agriculture’s customers?

I try to connect through Facebook, Twitter and blogging. I’ll admit I don’t have the time to dedicate as I would like but these realms of social media have allowed me to connect with customers, producers and processors from across the country. I have a blog called Farming America where I discuss food and agriculture related issues that arise in the media and are of concern to the industries producers and customers. My Farming America Facebook page has also allowed me to share my blog and other industry related articles which engage conversation among producers and consumers alike. Twitter has also been a great avenue for sharing information as it arises.  I tweet under the handle @davidhayden7 sharing information that surrounds our industry with a few occasional tweets through the eyes of a “Meat Geek”.

How did Dr. Raines inspire you?

I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Raines about 3 years ago at the Reciprocal Meats Conference (RMC) in Lubbock, TX.  Because he was a fellow OSU meat science Alum, I was finally able to put a face to the name “Chris Raines” that many of my fellow grad students and professors talk so highly about. While at the RMC, I was able to discuss the realm of social media with Chris. He was my number one inspiration for starting my blog and Twitter presence. From that day on we continued communication through social media and he continues to be an inspiration every time I start and publish a blog.

August 21st, 2012 – FoodChat on Hot, Spicy, Ouch!

FoodChat on Hot Hot HotHot Foods, Spicy Foods People love hot and spicy food. But you do have to be careful. This FoodChat discusses some of the hottest foods out there, some do’s and don’ts, plus places to go to get hot foods.
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