This guide takes the reader through the various video making tasks you can do on your Android device. It covers a range of video production and distribution processes — from filming, to editing, to sharing your videos.

What are Android devices?

Android is the leading operating system in the world for smartphones and tablets. It is based on Linux, the free and open source alternative to the Windows and Mac operating systems for computers. There are already some 700,000 applications (or apps) in existence. Android is the platform for the handheld devices of many leading manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Google, Amazon and Asus.

How open is Android?

Being open source means that the Android code is public and accessible to all developers. This makes it different from closed platforms such as Apple’s iOS for iPhones and iPads, or Blackberry’s RIM. Some commentators however criticise Android owners Google for the lack of community development (coders have to wait for Google to update to see their modifications). Also, Android is mainly used for smartphones, and the phone networks implement a closed model of the software.

Why are mobile devices important for video making?

The image quality of smartphones and tablets is comparable with that of older compact video cameras. People are now shooting whole documentary films on smartphones, and there are new digital cameras using the Android system.

Shooting on a phone means you always have your camera with you. Never has good camera technology been so universally available. This guide shows you how to make the most of it.

This manual and the mobile media revolution

The camcorder revolution which began around 25 years ago changed the face of media and democratised its production. But good video making still required a very high skill level and a great deal of time, and so was mainly the preserve of a small number of people. The arrival of broadband internet and video recording on smartphones connected to the web changed this. They have been two of the keystones in the advance of citizen journalism. This guide shows you step by step how to use some of the best apps to enhance your video production. It also shows you how to tell stories with mobile video successfully and get them online quickly, catching or even changing the news cycle.

About the writing of this guide

This book is written by Richard Hering ([email protected]) for FLOSS Manuals with guidance and feedback from the wider v4c network, especially Mick Fuzz, Cheekay Cinco, Brian Conley and Becky Hurwitz. I would like to thank Takako Yamaguchi for help with the design, and Yamina El Atlassi for technical support.

The screenshots for this guide are all original, released under creative commons licence, apart from a number of promotional photos used for the sale of technical accessories. For the mobile story-telling and citizen journalism parts I have used extensively the training resources of citizen media project visionOntv1, including the cartoons of Hoon Yoon2 and extracts from visionOntv‘s  Citizen Media Handbook3, currently in preparation. I have also previewed Small World NewsStorymaker4 app, also to be released in 2013.

The subject of this manual is developing very rapidly, with new and more advanced tools available constantly. We would like to keep this guide alive and to encourage you to help us to improve it. If you have suggestions or comments, please make contact with us via the FLOSS Manuals Community. FLOSS Manuals is a community made up of technical writers and educators using, teaching and writing about Free Software. You can make contact via their public mailing list5 or via the contact page6.