Tips on shooting newsworthy video and protecting your rights

From It seems almost everyone has a smartphone. That's why we're seeing more videos of police shootings, natural disasters, violent demonstrations, accidents, acts of heroism and other unusual events.

But some smartphone users may not be prepared for the moment when they need to record such an occurrence. The video has to be shot well to show clearly what happened. In addition, the video may have monetary value if the right steps are taken to protect it.

Things to keep in mind:

■ Get an "establishing" or wide shot first that shows the entire scene. Unless something is happening quickly, do not begin with a tight shot of people or the event. Get at least a 10-second shot from enough distance to show all the key elements.

■ Hold the camera steady. This is hard to do with a smartphone, especially if you have to move to keep up with the action. Buy a hand grip that is made for smartphone video. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a pocket.

■ Practice with the grip. When it comes time to record the event, you may not be able to get close and will need to zoom in. As the shot gets tighter, the slightest camera movement can ruin the video. The grip will help you hold the camera steady while zooming or panning. Always shoot horizontally.

■ Protect yourself. Try not to let those involved know you are recording them. If someone committing a crime sees you doing so, you could be in danger. Also, police have confiscated cameras and arrested those shooting video even when the person was on public property and out of the way. And don't ever go onto private property.

If the video has financial value, you need to take steps to preserve it: