In December last year, we had the opportunity to follow a free workshop in the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London. This is what we’ve learned and why we recommend taking the Today at Apple free workshops if you can.
An unplanned decision
When we went to London for my birthday, we weren’t planning to do anything like this at all. I was mostly planning on shopping, visiting a couple of museums and just generally enjoying the London vibe.
We found ourselves with an hour to kill before our lunch reservation in Convent Garden (at Shoryu Ramen, highly recommended!) and decided to browse the Apple Store for a bit. I was looking at the ad display for the videowalk workshop that would be taking place in a couple of minutes and one of the Apple employees told us we could still join in. We had a bit of a ‘sure why not’- moment and took a seat.
Videowalk: Capturing cinematic shots
The workshop we followed was the Videowalk: Capturing cinematic shots:
“From shooting a video for social media to starting your full-length film, learn camera techniques that you can incorporate when recording on iPhone. You’ll collaborate with others to set up and practise different shot types on location. Get hands-on with the latest iPhone in this session or bring your own. Recommended for all skill levels.“
Since both Bart and I like to dabble in videography, this video walk seemed like a great match. We’re both proficient enough with a camera and have some basic video editing skills. I personally prefer to record video on my iPhone anyway, so for me this looked like a nice way to get some good tips on creating videos on my smartphone.
I also liked that it’s a hands-on course. You actually get to practise what you learn on the spot in a real life environment as you don’t stay in the store.
My review of the video walk
We started off with a quick introduction round. At first, we felt a bit awkward because we were the only 2 ‘students’. But the Apple Creatives (2) who were giving the course motivated a father-daughter duo to join in as well. I thought that was pretty nice as it meant that you can still join in at the start of the course and that there’s no age limit to the workshop.
I also want to mention that the Apple Creatives both had a background in videography and photography. They were both passionate and knowledgeable about the subject beyond what’s included in the course material.
Before we started the videowalk, the Creatives gave a short filmmaking 101 presentation. They also gave tips on how to avoid shaky footage and how to best hold your phone for stability.
After that we went outside of the store to practise. We had the option to use our own iPhone or borrow one from the store. We both opted to use our own phone because that’s the one we’d be using anyway. Though if you’d like to get the chance to test out the newest iPhone model, this is a great opportunity to do so.
Our first task was to record some basic film shots (long, medium and close-up shots).
We were free to roam around outside of the store on our own to practice. I liked that the Creatives let us do our own thing but were still available if we needed.
Later on we were taught some interesting video techniques to reveal or focus on our subject. There was a certain tricky technique where you move around your subject and afterwards we learned that this type of shot is easily done with a camera stabilizer.
I had already noticed that the Creatives brought some stabilizers along. So I was a bit afraid that this video walk was going to turn into a sales pitch for the stabilizers. But since they showed us how to do most of the techniques without a stabilizer, I really felt that the focus was on teaching us something new and not on selling equipment. But if you’re interested in testing out a video stabilizer for your smartphone in a real life environment, this is a great way to give it a go.
At the end of the videowalk, there was a short lesson in video editing using iMovie. But if you have another video editing app on your phone like Lumafusion, that was ok too. Once we were ready, the Creatives projected our final video’s on the large screen in the store. Admittedly, I was hesitant to share my video but I understand that this is also part of the creative process. The Creatives themselves remained enthusiastic and even gave some positive feedback. You can definitely tell that they’re passionate about their trade and genuinely wanted to help you improve your skills.
Overall, it was a very positive experience which has encouraged me to create a video of our weekend break in London:
About Today at Apple
Since 2017, Apple has rolled out free creative workshops in their Apple stores to inspire and motivate their customers to get the most out of their products. Workshops range from photography to music and even augmented reality.
In 2019 the workshops went through a grand overhaul based on feedback by customers. The workshops are now categorized per skill level:
- Skills: No prior knowledge needed, you’ll get all the basics from this workshop
- Walks: Get the chance to practise what you’ve learned outside of the store.
- Labs: A deeper dive into a particular technique or skill.