Mobile Journalism in the headlines, 3 recent articles. #mojo

Mobile Journalism in the headlines

PHOTO: RTE’s Patricia O’Callaghan, one of the first journalists to complete the mobile masterclass last Nov. with Circom in Budapest.

Its been a very busy month for mobile journalism, with the incredible inclement weather creating a “perfect storm” to test the capabilities of mojo in the field. I was interviewed by Broadcast Now as part of a comprehensive feature on mobile news-gathering which also included pioneers like Nick Garnett from BBC and SKY News with their broad adoption of live streaming via mobile.

Also I was invited to write articles for both the European Broadcasting Unions Technology magazine Tech-i (published quarterly) and Dan Chung, editor of Newsshooter.com also asked me to write a guest post on the topic. The amount of discussion and feedback about MoJo has been phenomenal and it really is great to see so many journalists embracing the new technology and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. Here are links to the pieces:

EBU Tech-i Magazine (PDF)
Broadcast Now (PDF)
NewsShooter.com (link)

Conrad Mess, the master of iPhone filmmaking releases his latest movie: The Other Side. via @messfilmMakers

If you haven’t heard of Conrad Mess then you have missed one of the most impressive success stories of an aspiring filmmaker who has realised his dreams of making films but in Conrad’s case his approach is somewhat different to the traditional route.

I have worked in a college that teaches Filmmaking and Documentary and I met lots of young, enthusiastic and aspiring students who all dreamt of being a director or cameraperson and who had signed up for the course to learn from industry professionals. Many of them went on to work in the TV and Film Industry, but very few ended up realizing their dream of being a director. When you start in the movie industry, aside from having to be nominated by other union members just to get your union card to work on set, there is a very defined hierarchy and when you are starting out you most definitely start at the bottom.

Luis Mieses, a.k.a. Conrad Mess,  born February 23, 1974 in Zaragoza, Spain. In the last three years he has created no less than nine short films, all of which have been shot on various generations of iPhone. Image

If you would like to learn more about Conrad and his amazing projects check out this interview with The Smalls

He today launched his latest project: The Other Side which he crowd funded over the last number of months. I contributed to the funding as I have been quite amazed at the quality of some of Conrads work and often show a piece of his work during my Mojo training as an example of what can be achieved if you have the vision and determination.

This movie is exceptional in that it was all shot on CSO / Chromakey/ Green Screen and composited in post production. Its so well done it is hard to tell the rendered images from the actual rushes! Decide for yourself:

Mess filmmakers are on Twitter: @messfilmmakers and also on Facebook: Me.S.S.FilmMakers

I hope to interview Conrad in the coming weeks.

iOS7 supports SD HC and SD XC Cards – CONFIRMED

iOS7 supports SD HC and SD XC Cards - CONFIRMED

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about an issue I discovered with the iPad Camera Connection kit and Secure Digital (SD) XC cards when trying to import videos I had shot on my GoPro camera. When I connected the MicroSDXC card using this combination

MicroSD-conxthe iPad failed to read the card, instead I got this message: contents not available,

Last month a comment was posted Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 19.30.21that suggested that with the release of iOS7 the SDXC issue had been resolved and that the card would now work with the camera connection kit into the iPad.

I have just tested it (Sorry for delay) and I can confirm that the Lightning Camera Connection cable for SD cards with a MicroSD card adapter did indeed work as did the 30pin Camera Connection kit into the 30pin to Lightning adapter. I’ve also checked the Apple support forums and SDXC is now confirmed as a supported format according to this article : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4101 This is great news as you can now use 64Gb SD/Micro SD cards in your DSLR (if compatible) your GoPro Hero3,3+ and other cameras -giving you lots more storage.

Google Glass , its concept, design and possible room to improve- a discussion document.

UPDATE ******

I just picked up this article in Engadget about Meta Pro.  Now this looks VERY interesting indeed.

yeahMetaPro_shot_one03

One of the first things that struck me about the build of their immersive glasses is that they have built in surface tracking (think Microsoft Kinect) and gesture tracking (think Leap motion) and also an IMU (inertial measurement unit – think the core sensor of many Quadcopters) as well as HD displays etc etc. Check out their video… I WANT ONE OF THESE!!!

______________________________________________________________

Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely believe Google Glass (or a similar wearable & connected device) will revolutionise multiple industries, eg. technical support, medicine, broadcast, navigation, marketing etc etc but in the absence of the opportunity to actually try them out I can only express an opinion abut the design and configuration as I understand it through the eyes of Glass Explorers…

So to begin lets look at What “Glass” is and What it can do…

If you are interested in a superb, forensic level teardown of the device then visit: http://www.catwig.com/google-glass-teardown/

The Fundamentals are:

Optical Display | Main Logic Board | TouchPad | Microphone | Speaker | HD Camera | Battery

Image

Image from http://www.catwig.com/google-glass-teardown/ This work is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA 3.0.

So my first observation is the DESIGN…for a first generation device I think Google did a pretty good job. The Titanium (bendable) frame is very slick and without the tinted glass lenses the device does look “quite” discreet- certainly compared to the earlier prototypes anyway!

Image

See members of the Glass dev team talk about the prototypes here

But heres the thing, when you wear it you do look like a bit of a nerd, Im OK with that to be honest, I’ve carried a Leatherman on my belt for the last 15 years and have gotten quite used to the smartass “boy scout” remarks. But one thing does irk me, and that is the position of the prism/display. BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones referred to  the display as “what looks like a 20″ plasma hanging in the distance” but what I have yet to witness in reality is watching someone “look up to the right” to check the display. I genuinely wonder if one eye attempting to focus a few centimeters away and the other attempting to mimic the focal point but without any reference will be both a strain on my aging eye muscles and a long term RSI risk. Try it yourself…hold a finger in front of one eye (about an inch away from your face) and try to focus on it for more than a minute!

For a more detailed analysis of the potential risks with the offset display read this article on/by Steve Mann.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/profiles/steve-mann-my-augmediated-life

(Maybe there are some very clever prism di-opters in there to trick your right eye into believeing its focussing 3 meters away?)

Image

VOICE RECOGNITION. I do think the voice recognition is a good idea, being able to be hands free all the time is very useful and the other benefit is that encouraging people to perform an action for you is VERY SIMPLE. If you consider CNNs plans to release a Google Glass App (GlassWare) especially for the iReport UGC project then it is possible to see how quickly Glass could be leveraged for getting content- potentially in realtime!

“OK Glass, Stream to YouTube” or “OK Glass, Stream to iReportLIVE” that’s a hell of a lot simpler than trying to encourage a member of the public to…Take out their mobile device, hold it horizontally, record some video, contact the newsroom to let them know you have some great UGC content, use your own mobile data allowance to upload it to the newsroom servers and wait for it to finish sending before getting confirmation its there, then wait for editorial review and note it may not be used – but while we have you on the phone can we ask you ten questions to establish who you are and whether you are a trustworthy source. PS-thanks for the effort!

With a device like Glass it will be possible to quickly establish where you are (GPS/GeoLocation data) Who you are via social media accounts, iReport user account etc and whether you are a power (repeat) user/contributor. Members of the public will start to feel like professional stringers!

In relation to VoiceRecog, hopefully the command list will expand so you can teach Glass to learn your voice patterns and then in time recognise complete sentences – the way Apples Siri does (is supposed to). The risk being something like this….(haha)

HD CAMERA – the Camera is HD, well 720p HD with a 5 megapixel photo resolution. There is room for improvement here, in February 2013, at the World Mobile Congress Aptina and Omnivision both announced they would be shipping a 13megapixel mobile imaging sensor that would be capable of record video at 4K resolution 25/30 fps. At the same conference Qualcomm announced they too, would have a new Chip, the Snapdragon 800 which is at the core of Samsung’s Galaxy Note III. One of the first smartphones (Android) capable of shooting at 4K resolution. For an interesting review of the Galaxy Note III 4K ability see renowned cameraman/director/DP Philip Blooms blog.

The other limitation is the storage within Glass – 12Gb of “useable” flash memory. Thats pretty meager when it comes to HD video and is probably part of the reason the camera is just 5mpx/720p. When shooting video the camera has a default record time of two minutes.

Image

While on the topic of the camera,Image
can I introduce you to PivotHead - think GoPro in a pair of Sports Sunglasses. This is the Pivothead Durango Smoke, heres a snippit of some of its features…..
- Control: Connect your Pivotheads to your iOS or Android device with the Pivothead Mobile Apps to configure video recording and image capture settings, download files, and more.
- Video: One-button video capture | 1080p, 30fps | 720p, 60fps | 720p, 30fps
- Photos: Capture 8, 5, or 3 megapixel photos
- Timelapse: 6 setting modes for capturing full-resolution (8 megapixel)  time-lapse sequences
- Burst mode: Capture bursts of 3, 5, 10, or 16 images at full resolution

BATTERY The “One Day of Typical Use” line in the spec document above is a little of an overstatement. Maybe if you sleep for 22hours a day its true – but most reviews I’ve seen suggest about 2 hours operational time – particularly if shooting video.

I think its worth pointing out the latest developments in batteries designed using carbon nano-tubes and graphene. A recent article on computerworld.com highlighted a research project in New Jersey Institute of technology where the researchers managed to build a flexible carbon-nanotube battery. An article earlier in the year on extremetech.com outlined the potential of Graphene as a superconductor and how it could revolutionise the battery industry and electric car industry. However other new battery technology is on the doorstep too, Lithium Sulphur batteries claim 5 x the energy density of Lithium-Ion batteries and several companies are researching Lithium Air as an even more efficient solution. Bottom line: battery technology is finally developing at an ever increasing speed –its nowhere near Moore’s Law but its going in the right direction.

TOUCHPAD I guess the touchpad is there as a backup in case you run out of voice commands or develop laryngitis :) but seriously though, Ive seen several videos on you tube with users fumbling to navigate what is a fairly shallow control hierarchy. Its here that I think a smart watch or the like my actually have a use. If a smart watch (or mobile phone) was paired with the headset then you could probaly navigate the menus far quicker and more efficiently than swiping at the arm of the headset – and heres another possible use for the smart watch – what if it had a detachable microphone as part of the body which would act as a bluetooth or wifi microphone for the headset allowing you to actually record interviews with people witout sitting on their lap. If you are wondering what the hell Im talking about then take a look at the demo videos  from Robert Schoble.

Now heres where I start to wander off into my own little dream world where lots of different technologies collide/converge into a hodge-podge of ideas.

What if there was a wearable computer (like Glass) but that had…

1. A full HD or 4K camera in the centre of the frame, with a shutter to open/close it (for those paranoid folks)
2. Had a Transparent/Bendable OLED technology display that covers the entire visible surface of the glass to create a completely customiseable, immersive HUD (Heads up display)
3. Used Smart Glass technology to allow you to turn the glasses OPAQUE/Semi Transparent/TRANSPARENT with a flick of a switch.
Lets call that Privacy mode for the shits and giggles – so you can watch movie or immerse yourself in some serious Augmented Reality/ virtual reality games – with out the distraction of the real world beyond. Or maybe you just want to get some kip without taking the headset off?

Damn, I’m trying to decide is that more Terminator or Ironman???
Image

 

This Glass uses a special film which when an electrical current is applied to it makes it “transparent” but when the current is switched off it becomes opaque:

Check out http://www.intelligentglass.net/smart-film-self-adhesive.html

Image

Or how about an iPhone/Android Wifi controlled version?: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/843725167/sonte-iphone-ipad-android-diy-wifi-digital-shades

I noticed a tweet last night from Todd Smith (@Cisco_Mobile)

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.29.26

where he had picked up on an Apple patent for a wearable headset…see full patent info here

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.28.20

By the looks of things it is anything but discreet (gross understatement) but it does in fact very closely resemble the Occulus Rift Virtual Reality headset which has created a huge stir in the VR / Immersive gaming community.

OculusRift1

So lets recap. When Glass goes public I for one really hope it will have a better camera, better battery life, more storage, pairable/wearbale controller (maybe a smart watch) wireless/bluetooth mic support and a more dynamic HUD- or maybe Apple will just come up with a real competitor for it?

1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens for iPhone 5/5S via @moondoglabs

1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens for iPhone 5/5S via @moondoglabs

This is a very interesting Kickstarter project- HT Marc Settle from BBC Cojo for the tip.

MoonDogLabs have a concept to produce an 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens for iPhone 5/5S.

moondof-labs

Whats an anamorphic Adapter you say?- well thats one of the terms that used to wreck my head when teaching journalists about our transition from 4:3 to 16:9. Anamorphic – to put it simply is a “vertically squeezed” image. See this Wikipedia article for a more in-depth description.

In doing so the lens can in fact record a wider field of view than standard 16:9 widescreen and the bit I like a lot about this project is that the guys in moondaglabs have already reached out to Cinigenix, developers of filmicpro to incorporate a De-anamorphic option for in App processing which is slated for release with the expected ship date of the lens….”For the best workflow, we are working with FiLMiC Pro to incorporate a 1.33x anamorphic de-squeeze in their first quarter 2014 release for full in-app compatibility with the Anamorphic Adapter.  To help you through the de-squeezing process, we will post simple instructions on our website and link to them here on our Kickstarter project page.”

This anamorphic technology (squeezed image) is similarly being used in the latest GoPro Hero3+ under the name “SuperView” What would be really clever is if MoonDogLabs also included/ optioned a filter pack similar to the ones http://www.polarprofilters.com make for Gopro cams

To find out more or to make a funding pledge visit the Kickstarter page, visit their website moondoglabs.com and/or follow them on twitter: @moondoglabs

Quicklook: Using AirStash®: wireless flash drive + pocket media server + SD adapter for iPad, iPhone and more, for Radio/Multimedia Journalists

AirStash®: wireless flash drive + pocket media server + SD adapter for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, and more.

Maxell-AirStash-product-shot

Marc Settle from BBC CoJo recently tweeted about a video he had found online that showed some great audio solutions for iOS. One of the devices mentioned was AirStash. When I saw the clip I immediately realised the potential uses for radio journalists who record their audios on Zoom H4n recorders. So with that in mind I ordered an Airstash to try it out and today Ive recorded a quick tutorial to show you how to use it to get audio from your Zoom into your iOS projects in iMovie (and soon Pinnacle Studio)

PLEASE NOTE: In the tutorial I illustrate the difference between opening an audio clip as a soundtrack (green) or an effects track (blue) in iMovie. You should be aware that there is a time limit to audio effects. If a clip is OVER 60″ SECONDS long iMovie will open it as a soundtrack – with all the associated limitations such as placing it at the beginning of the edit and looping it indefinitely for the duration of the video. So ideally if you are bringing audio files into iMovie either A-try to keep the soundbtes under 60seconds or B, open them in Twisted Wave first – edit them to under 60 seconds and then open in iMovie – Tedious I know but it is a workaround Apples Stupid Sandboxing Architecture – which I personally believe is really just over zealous DRM.

I mentioned in the clip that Pinnacle Studio have confirmed that their next update will bring the OPEN IN feature to their App which should offer a lot more flexibility than iMovie.

The Maxell AirStash is currently listed for £99 on Amazon.co.uk

***********************************************

Special thanks to my sweetheart Fiona for ripping the Pi** out of me for saying BASICALLY 14 times in the video. Love you too baby :D

Check this out: RecoLive MultiCam – The Multi-Camera Shooting App for iOS via @RecoInfo

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 23.38.34
RecoLive MultiCam – The Multi-Camera Shooting App – Video.

You may have heard of Collabracam or indeed Vyclone but here is another iOS multi camera application that has a new feature set that I think is quite unique and certainly gives it a competitive edge.

RecoLive is similar to Collabracam in that it uses the RecoLive App to either act as a remote camera or as a multi camera director/controller – the Director interface is particularly effective on the iPad.

recolive1

Ok, so maybe the Swiss developers don’t buy into the rule of crossing the line – but the video (in spite of being in French) still gives a pretty good idea of the potential of RecoLive. So heres the three extra bits they have introduced that I think really sets them apart from the competitors.

banner-galileo

1. Built in support for Galileo - the Kickstarter funded remote control iPhone holder and interface for iOS. Galileo is designed by Motrr and will be available to purchase soon via their website www.motrr.com This is pretty awesome stuff as it means the director (using the iPad App) can potentially control a number of remote iPhones  in Galileo mounts – this gives the director effective PT (Pan, Tilt) control. Pretty Awesome

rl-capture-banner

2. RecoLive Capture A companion App for OSX which streams the desktop output of the Mac or any camera available on the mac over wifi (presumably via AirPlay) to the Director App – meaning you can deliver a Keynote on the mac and it will appear as a source on the Director App together with any other RecoLive cameras  (as long as they are all connected to the same WiFi network and the AirPlay ports required are not locked down by a firewall.) Note this App is described on the RecoLive website as an “EXPERIMENTAL” version of the App to garner user feedback. Its free as a result but may also have some bugs to be ironed out.

tally-light-480x249

3. The latest update to the RecoLive App offers an override of the default auto exposure and focus with new Manual exposure and focus control and even a dimmer feature so the flash on the iPhone 5 can be used as a tally light! See their blog post for more info on this.

NOTE: I have not yet tested RecoLive or any of the features Ive just mentioned however I intend to do so once I can get my hands on a Galileo – which will hopefully be soon. I will update the post at that stage.

RecoLive is 4.99 on the App Store (note it requires iOS 6.1 to run the latest version and the RecoLive Capture App for OSX requires OSX 10.8)

You can follow RecoLive on twitter

G-CONNECT – Wireless Storage for iPad® and iPhone® | G-Technology via @GTechEurope @G-Tech_Support

g_connect1

G-CONNECT – Wireless Storage for iPad® and iPhone® | G-Technology.

Having just bought one I thought Id write a quick blog about the G-Connect from G-Technology (which I believe is a subsidiary of Hitachi) Looks Cool doesn’t it?

Here’s part of the opening description from their website:

“Expanded Capacity for iPad® and iPhone® Users

G-CONNECT is a wireless storage device designed for on-the-go access to content through the iPad and iPhone. Use it to access content that’s not already loaded on a mobile device, including movies, music, books, photos, and documents……”

_________________

So with that in mind I thought – Brilliant! A wireless device that can be used to give me “expanded capacity for iPhone and iPad” Ill have one of those thank you very much… You see one of the biggest challenges I get while on location training Mobile Journalists is how do I back up my (or the studnets) content – or save my finished stories from my iPhone/iPad.

Right now there are a few solutions:

1. Connect your device to a Mac/PC open iTunes and copy the content from the App.

2. FTP the finished edit from your camera roll or from the App (if it supports FTP) to your FTP server* (assuming you/your tv station has an ftp server)

3. Install DROPBOX, BOX, GOOGLE DRIVE or one of the other online cloud storage solutions and upload a copy to the cloud – but note the file will be compressed before being uploaded*

4. Send the video via email but as a downloadable link  with an App like YouSendIt (this bypasses the email size limits often set in enterprise situations)

5. Connect your iDevice to the Apple Digital Av Adapter and record the clip via HDMI into something that…well, records HDMI. (like at Atomos Ninja for example- definitely in the silly/expensive territory here)

6. Connect your iDevice wirelessly to a WiFi storage drive and copy the file to the Video Folder. Perfect – the G-Connect is just the solution… but STOP! NO ITS NOT!

Clever though the G-Connect may seem when you are reading the PR blurb…

Simultaneous Content Streaming & Internet Access

G-CONNECT can wirelessly stream high definition content to up to three devices or standard definition content to up to five devices simultaneously. It even acts as a WiFi Internet access point for five+ users!”

 

The one fundamental thing the G-Connect Apps CANNOT DO is a direct upload of content from your iDevice camera roll to the WiFi drive – so no direct backup of your Photos or Videos! In the G-Connect App you can DOWNLOAD a file from the G-Connect to the iPad Camera Roll (or to a folder within the G-Connect App on the iPhone) in what they refer to as “OFFLINE MODE” but you cannot – or at least I CANNOT find a way to backup TO the G-Connect directly from my iPhone or iPad.

RTFM you say? Yes Ive read the manual in a state of bewilderment – how the hell can they release a product that has SO MUCH potential and then fail to provide the simplest yet most required part of the workflow??? How? I CANT TYPE ANY BIGGER THAN THIS BUT I WOULD IF I COULD!!!

Seriously G-Technology / Hitachi as makers of highly reputable, industry standard Raid drives etc etc can you PLEASE get your S*** together and fix this- its bloody insane!

Now before any of you decide to berate me for this post with the response that you CAN backup the content of the iPhone/iPad to the G-Connect via your Mac or PC- Can I point out that yes Im aware of that, but if Im going to do that then I would probably just as likely buy a cheaper 1TB Portable HardDrive and forget about all the bells and whistles of the G-Connect and given that the late Steve Jobs has spoken of the Post PC era I just thought, for a moment, that some joined up thinking had produced a really fantastic product that bridges that gap. Im sorry to say with the current handicap – the G-Connect falls short of that expectation (or misses a great opportunity)

Do any of you know of an alternative WiFi enabled device that can have content transferred to is from the camera roll via WiFi? If so please PLEASE let me know. Cheers

***UPDATE***

I have found some alternative options via this website It would appear that there is no way to save content directly from the iPhone/iPad to an external wifi drive. Which makes me wonder how come no one has come up with a wireless drive that can support FTP protocol? Then you could simply use iFTP or FTP on the Go PRO to transfer the files to the drive? Hmmm

Military-grade scopes and apps for iPhone and iPad boast geotagging and nightvision | iMore

Military-grade scopes and apps for iPhone and iPad boast geotagging and nightvision | iMore. I saw this and I had to grin….I, perhaps naively, thought that a few million iPhoneographers bemoaning, pleading, begging for someone to produce a good quality optical (glass) zoom lens for iPhone would eventually yield a winning product – so far I and the millions of other iPhoneographers have been dissapointed. BUT behold the US military (who have VERY DEEP POCKETS) as they appear to be the ones leading the charge-pun intended. Check out these iPhone/iPad military grade night vision scopes and monoculars – WICKED! I dont even want to think about the mortgage you would need to purchase one but as often happens, when a manufacturer starts producing these for the military they will eventually mass produce a similar lower grade product for the consumer market too. Roll on the day.

New iPad iSight Camera Vs the iPhone4s iSight- A Gizmodo review.

 

iPad Test Notes: Camera Performance. Have you wondered if there is any difference betweenm the iSight camera in the iPhone4s and the iSight in the New iPad? Well the folks over at Gizmodo obviously did and they set up a head-to-head to assess them for both photos and video – the results might surprise you! Click link or image to see the Gizmodo article.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,184 other followers