RTE Mobile Journalism – Where it began, where we are now and where we are going…(potentially)

RTE-MOJO-Header

Back in late 2010 I was working in the Technology Division of News in RTE and I had bought an iPhone 4 for myself, which I had, like every other iNewbie loaded with Apps to try out. I started investigating accessories for the iPhone beginning with the Owle Bubo which was one of the first iPhone Tripod mounts. After a few months of testing things and seeing what worked or didn’t I had created-by accident- a small production kit and I showed it to the then Director of News Technology: Ray Purser. After a bit of experimentation he suggested I create a presentation and that we pitch a pilot project to the then Director of News and Current Affairs: Ed Mulhall. A few days later we delivered the pitch and Ed asked us to show it to some other RTE management and the general consensus was – there was definite potential and it merited further exploration..and so began my mojo project.

Within 6 months I had tested thousands of Apps- seriously! But the end game was I had assembled a selection of Apps which allowed you to improve the quality of the video above the standard iOS Camera and also allowed basic editing on the device. I had been training video journalists in RTE for a number of years at this stage and I was also sent annually to assist with the Circom Regional VJ training course. It was on this course in 2011 that I showed the gear and Apps to the trainers: Karol Cioma, Tony O’Shaughnessy and Darko Flajpan on the VJ course.

While in Budapest I shot a short tutorial video on the iPhone and edited in my iPad then sent the finished edit back via FTP. I subsequently posted the video online (9/10/2011) and its been viewed well over 5,000 times:

After sharing this proof of concept I was asked to present the project at the next Circom Conference which was held in Malmo Sweden in May 2012. The one hour presentation was well attended and the response was overwhelmingly positive. With the result that the Circom executive asked me to develop a mobile journalism course for them. That November (2012) I led the first of the RTE mojo courses for Circom and I was joined by John Inge Johansen from NRK, and Karol Cioma who had championed the idea and Darko Flajpan whom I had worked with previously for VJ training.

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Since then I’ve led three Mojo courses for Circom and I’ve blogged about them here and here but Mojo training has taken me beyond Circom to working with AlJazeera and elsewhere.

Its odd to look back now after just four years of development but at the same time its been a very interesting journey. Watching what BBC, NRK, Aljazeera, Skynews, and other are doing in the space is really exciting.

This May I missed the Circom Mojo course which was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia but Philip Bromwell, a colleague from RTE and someone I admire hugely as a storyteller, took my place.

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Interestingly on the course a lot of energy was spent testing Microsoft Lumia devices versus the iPhone. I’ve had a Lumia 1020 on loan from Microsoft for months now and I do think it has an absolutely exceptional camera: 41Mpx! which puts the 8Mpx iPhone camera in the shade. However the current weakness for the Windows Phone/Lumia range is not hardware but software, there simply aren’t as many pro grade production Apps as there are for iOS. What is interesting about the Windows Phone/Lumia is that, like Apple, Microsoft have a limited range of phones but they now control the Nokia hardware so they can, unlike Google’s Android platform, guarantee performance on their devices, this will, in time, give Microsoft a genuine advantage and hopefully secure market share for them where, for example, they currently hold just 3% of the US Smartphone Market Share.

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Source: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphone-milestone-half-of-americans-ages-55-own-smartphones.html

As of writing a new Circom Mobile journalism course is in the planning with an associated competition called the “Mojo Challenge” which will take place in October. The project is being led by Karol Cioma.

I’ve chosen to not be involved as I have invested a huge amount of time in developing the iOS training programme and though I am interested in both the development of both Windows Phone and Android I still believe that iOS offers the best, most diverse and powerful solution for mobile journalism at this point in time. Windows Phone is not mature enough yet, it needs more Apps and greater penetration and the recent announcement by Microsoft that they would be shedding 18,000 jobs from their global workforce, 2/3 of which will be from their newly acquired Nokia division shows that Microsoft are going through a refocusing period where lots of things can, and will, change.

Meanwhile it is widely rumoured that Apple will release their next iPhone model(s) in September which may see a new bigger class of iPhone 6. This I think could be revolutionary for Mojo- an iOS Phablet may very well be the ultimate mojo solution. Small enough to still be discreet and portable, yet big enough to allow proper video editing and processing. The Apps are already mature and the workflows proven.

In fact today I decided to pull together the stories that my colleagues and alumni of the RTE Mojo courses have produced and I think it pretty impressive – but I would say that wouldn’t I. I have to give credit to Philip Bromwell also as he and I are now training staff together and the combination of our skills, his storytelling and journalism, my technology and workflows is proving very effective.

For me, the emphasis now shifts to what next…I’m trying to secure funding to organise the first (to the best of my knowledge) dedicated Mobile Journalism Conference. The idea behind @MojoConIRL is to bring together the global community of mojo trainers, practitioners, evangelists and storytellers so we can share our knowledge and bounce or other like minded creatives. The problem is I had planned to do this at the end of October 2014 and that is looking more and more unlikely as time passes. Securing funding to book the venue, marketing, flights and accommodation for the speakers and panelists is proving to be far more difficult that I anticipated.

Sure, I’ve been asked can I not just  launch the tickets and use the ticket revenue to cover the costs-if they sell fast enough but thats not viable for such a niche event. I will know by the end of this week if I can pull off MojoConIRL or if I will have to defer it to early 2015. The thing that disappoints me most is that so many incredibly talented people offered their support and participation and I was getting really excited at the prospect of bringing these people together in Dublin to interact and share.

Meanwhile, I have enquiries for me to join sessions at a number of pretty high profile conference engagements over the next few months including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers conference in August, the European Broadcasting Union News conference in Paris in September, the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam in September and the EBU Training Academy conference in October. I will post updates (if/) as these events are confirmed.

In the meantime if you want to learn about Mojo then here are links to resources I’ve posted on the blog over the last few months all distilled into one list:

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Mojo Hardware options: here and here
Original Post: Mobile Journalist Gear: Mojo Tripods | Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Tripod/Monopod combo

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Mojo Applist: here
Original Post: Interactive Mojo App list for iOS via Thinglink

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Mojo Sequences deconstructed: here
Original Post: The Ultimate Mojo CheatSheet! Sequences Deconstructed, examples, apps – everything you need (except the gear)

Cheatsheets for:

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

FilMicPro : here
Original post: FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

hokusai-promo

Hokusai DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE   DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO  DOWNLOAD PAGE THREE
Original post: Hokusai – An advanced Multi Track Audio Editor for iOS (iPhone & iPad) FREE CheatSheets HT @wooji

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iMovie   Page1 Page2 Page3
Original post:New: iMovie CheatSheet PAGE3 – Advanced features. Free download for all #mojo

 

 

 

Google Glass – a revolution in news gathering or an underpowered, overpriced prototype with a way to go before mainstream?

So I’ve had Glass for a fortnight now and I’ve had a few sporadic opportunities to try it out in different scenarios which I wanted to share.

To begin, I wrote about Google Glass in absentia back in Dec last year. In absentia, in the sense that I had no actual hands on time, so the piece was very much a distillation of what I knew or could establish from reports and reviews. Now however I’m basing this post on real world experience-although not a lot!. I still haven’t worn it in public,to be honest I really do feel like a complete twit with it on and though I’ve been to several tech conferences where Glass is everywhere it still looks intimidating.

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The initial acquisition process was a P.I.T.A. due to Googles extremely annoying Explorer release process. I had to lobby a colleague (who may prefer to remain unnamed) with UK residence to purchase it on my behalf. Once this obstacle was overcome the next was getting access to the MyGlass App for iOS which is only available in the UK and US iTunes stores. Having created a new US iTunes account based on and with the consent of a family members address in the US, I could then download the App.

The setup was easy enough once the App was installed. The prompt videos on the Google Glass site are very clear and simple to follow so within minutes I was practicing the gestures.

The MyGlass App is available for Android (obviously) iOS and also via a desktop browser- preferably Chrome. google.com/myglass

Once everything was working and I had learnt the basic gestures I started to add Apps (glassware) from the Glass App store.

I even did my own super simple gestures video:

One of the most exciting in my opinion is the Livestream App which will allow you to stream live video to your Livestream channel with the words” Ok Glass, start broadcasting”!

I then decided to try Glass out in a couple of interview scenarios, indoor and outdoor. The idea was to assess picture and audio quality and also explore eye-line and proximity to get “traditional” tv style shots- a mid shot interview for example.

As you will have hopefully noticed in the videos above the camera (720p/5mpx) is AUTO EVERYTHING. White balance drifts while shooting, exposure has a very obvious jump between F-Stops (or shutter speed depending on how it is managing exposure) and the “off camera” audio is pretty awful. I used a Rode SmartLav lapel mic with my iPhone on the guests to compare audio and it would be an absolute essential to mic them separately to have useable sound. The other issues are the “speaker” on Glass which vibrates against your skull -which I find really annoying. In fairness they do give you an optional earpiece which connects to the USB Input as an alternative.

In the first few days I took loads of ridiculous photographs because composition is quite a task – see the “close up” in the outdoor video. Which quickly makes you realise that this video from http://www.grovo.com has a lot of hidden truths, even if it was intended as a gag!

Keeping your head steady is a REAL pain in the neck, the camera desperately needs enhanced optical image stabilisation-to begin with Google could take a leaf out of the  @evilwindowdog book who developed Horizon App which always shoots horizontally- not because of vertical video but just to ensure framing is level. Or alternatively…

Glass-Tripod

I can’t help but think the explorer edition is grossly under-spec’d, underpowered and over priced. For Glass to have any REAL WORLD value it needs an Advanced Camera: 12Mpx+, Optical image stabilisation. Bluetooth detachable Microphone, More battery and storage (preferable removable) and more Apps. I was amazed to see that in spite of its beta presence for over two years there are still only 60-ish Apps available for it. Still the handsfree live streaming is a big win and Tim Pool (@timcast) from Vice News has been a pioneer in this space – his use of Glass during the Protests in Turkey was ingenious in my opinion.

Verdict: Definite Potential but wait for the full consumer release or a competing product with better specs and lower cost.

 

FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

 

I just noticed that FilMicPro have redesigned their website. Looks very nice indeed. Also impressed that they have chosen to outline the new features expected in v4.0 – the new release due in Autumn.
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That means that I will probably have to re-do this CheatSheet in a few months but nonetheless I still think its a handy reference.

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Theres a High Resolution A3 version available to download here
Here too is a refresher tutorial for the slightly older version of FilMicPro – this will be updated for V4 upon release.

 

 

The Ultimate Mojo CheatSheet! Sequences Deconstructed, examples, apps – everything you need (except the gear)

Mojo-CSA4
Tomorrow Philip Bromwell and myself begin a new Mojo Masterclass in RTE. We met today to fine tune the curriculum and the topic of a Sequences Cheat Sheet came up. We put our heads together and voila! We’ve pieced together The Ultimate RTE Mojo CheatSheet. I designed it as an A3 image so you can download it at full A3 res or squeeze it to A4 and its still perfectly readable/useable.
Let us know what you think- Twitter: @glenbmulcahy @philipbromwell . Enjoy!

Interactive Mojo App list for iOS via Thinglink

 

I used to give Mojo Trainees a PDF list of my favourite Apps but that’s so damn old school so instead here is a ThingLink with interactive links to my favourite Apps.

Click the image to explore!

Sorry I have t redirect you to their site but WordPress.com doesn’t support iFrame embedding.

Let me know if any of the links don’t work or if Apps disappear from the Appstore (which happens – quite a lot!)


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Google Cardboard may be the catalyst 3D Immersive Video + Gaming needs to go mainstream.

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One of the hot topics to come out of this years Google I/O conference is Google Cardboard. (Or Oculus Thrift as its been nicknamed!!)

As BBC’s Richard Taylor suggested in his iPhone shot report on the project, some attendees thought it was a gag- Until they tried it!

But having watched a few reports I have to say I think it is ingenious! At the start of the year I blogged about 360º Immersive Video and the trend setters to watch.

Since then a literal deluge of 360º cameras/devices  have hit crowd-funding platforms as have novel and interesting alternatives to the Oculus Rift-see below.

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With so many impressive 360º cameras likely to be available by the end of the year, it begs the question how will the user CONSUME this 360º content?

Remember some of these cameras can LIVESTREAM 360º Video!

There are a growing number of Apps available for Android and iOS ( I don’t know of any for Windows but if you do please share in comments below)

which will give you a 360º Video player. The one I’ve used for demonstrations is Freedom360Player which uses the accelerometer, gyroscope etc to orientate the image as you move your head (head-tracking)

It looks like this

but notice this App doesn’t emulate the 2 up Immersive 3D display that is now synonymous with “Immersive Video:

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This is where Immersive Headsets like the Oculus Rift and these others come in to their own….

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But, until now there has been a genuine risk that Developers wouldn’t bother coding Apps for this Immersive platform.

Immersive is (somewhat) unproven and new,  3DTV left a lot of hot air in its wake but without the promised audience adoption.

However Google’s Cardboard, albeit extremely rudimentary may help to convince a wary audience of the potential of Immersive Video and Games, before they outlay on any of the headsets mentioned above.

This could be the catalyst that helps in the proof of concept stage that will lead to wider audience adoption and hopefully some really innovative uses.

The designs to build you’re own “Cardboard” are on the Google Developers site (Click image of template) or

 

 

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alternatively you can buy a pre-cut version here

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The last point I’m chewing through is the interaction features. Google have used an ultra simple magnet (silver ring in image) mounted on the side of the headset to interact with their menus.

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But what if the mobile device, iPhone or Android could pair via bluetooth with something like a Kinect or Leap?

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Or even better what if the Android Wear range were fitted with the same motion sensors as the phones to track movement?

Then simple gestures with your hands could become the interaction method for the user?

A-Wear

Which might look like this…. ;)

Form more info on the MetaPro SpaceGlasses click here

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25fps v 30fps and @Youtube tutorials for Pinnacle Studio – iPhone by @Lumatouch

25-30

One of the issues that keeps cropping up on this side of the pond is the 25fps/30fps issue with the iPhone. As its “designed in California” the standard frame rate for the iPhone Video Camera (and for iMovie) is 30fps, however in Europe (the PAL area) we use 25frames per second for broadcast. In order to address this issue I adopted FilMicPro as our Video Camera App of choice as it allows you to select 25fps (as well as other frame rates) the next step is to decide how to edit the footage, which I covered in a blog post previously. If you are exporting the footage directly from FilMicPro via iTunes App Sharing and importing into an NLE like Avid or Final Cut then you will have no issue with frame rates as you can set them in the project, though you may have to convert from progressive to interlaced for transmission.

If you are editing on the iPhone or iPad however then iMovie, easy as it is to use, has a problem- it is 30fps and there is no way to change the frame rate.

On the iPad my preferred editing App has been Pinnacle Studio, an ex-Avid product which is even more powerful than iMovie.

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The good news is that a few months ago Luma Touch, the company who develop Pinnacle studio for Corel, released a version of Pinnacle studio for iPhone and in the App you can set the frame rate to 25 or 30.

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Luma Touch have really good tutorials on YouTube so instead of me creating a new one and duplicating their work, I’m embedding them here with permission from Luma Touch.

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More tutorials from Luma Touch are available on their YouTube Channel and Follow Luma Touch on Twitter for Updates.

MoondogLabs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter for iPhone 5/5s Unboxing and FCPx Squeeze tutorial

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I ordered a MoondogLabs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter a while back. Their Kickstarter campaign  caught my interest,  particularly when it emerged that they had reached out to FilMicPro to have an In-App Squeeze option added!

So you ask Whats an Anamorphic Lens Adapter and Why would you want one?

Here’s a quote from the MoonDogLabs Kickstarter page:

“Anamorphic lenses were introduced for filmmaking in the 1950’s to create an immersive, panoramic experience intended to compete with the widespread adoption of television.  In addition to a wide aspect ratio, the anamorphic aesthetic is characterized by horizontal flares, distortion that creates a unique sense of depth or dimensionality, and oval “bokeh” or blur for out-of-focus areas. For these artistic reasons, anamorphic filmmaking has been enjoying a decades-long renaissance.  However, due to the complexity and expense of the optics involved, anamorphic lenses are not readily available to most independent filmmakers.  We believe there are stories best told with an anamorphic aesthetic, so we have developed an affordable 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter specifically for the iPhone 5/5S.”

 

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So my Adapter arrived this morning, as it was a U.S. import I had to pay the Customs and Excise import duty (€41) on top of the lens price of $199. So not cheap, particularly on this side of the pond and not for everyone, but if you are a budding Conrad Mess or Michael Koerbel  and you are after that “Cinematic” feel for your epic iPhone short Film then this is definitely something you need to look at…

I took the Adapter out for a quick test shoot, using the current version of FilMicPro, and then using the footage I imported it into my Mac so I could create a simple project in FCPx to show you how to SQUEEZE the footage to the correct Aspect Ratio.

Remember, the new version of FimMicPro will have an option in the menu to allow you to Squeeze the footage In-App-no release date from Cinegenix as yet but will keep you posted. In the meantime heres that tutorial.

Mobile Journalist Gear: Mojo Tripods | Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Tripod/Monopod combo

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Over Three years ago when I was moving the RTE Mojo project from the Research phase to Roll-Out I put together a “Grab-Bag” with everything a mobile journalist might need to leverage the best from their device.

We have used the Rollei Fotopro Tripod/Bag solution since and have been mostly satisfied with the results. However the gear available is always changing as are the Apps and Devices themselves so I recently

contributed to a Twitter Chat about Mojo with Journalism.co.uk and I updated the kits lists for the chat.

Click either of the images below to open a new window which uses THINGLINK which gives dynamic links to more info/sources for the gear featured.

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Notice in the Midrange Kit (Value about €750) the Tripod featured is different to the one at the top of the post.

Reason: I bought a Hahnel Triad Conpact c5.

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Its quite similar to the Fotopro except for one ingenious feature: One of the legs can be unscrewed and turned into a monopod!

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The Triad C5 retails for circa €125.

One Tip: This applies to the Fotopro and the Triad and any tripod with the same leg lock mechanism:

DO NOT UNSCREW THE LOCKING RING ENTIRELY OR THE PLASTIC LOCKS WILL FALL OUT AND THE LEG WILL FALL OFF!

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It may well be possible to 3D print replacement plastic locks but if you loose them your tripod is rendered pretty much useless!

 

 

Hokusai – An advanced Multi Track Audio Editor for iOS (iPhone & iPad) FREE CheatSheets HT @wooji

 

 

hokusai-promo

Hokusai is a multi track audio editor for IOS which is very powerful. Aside from the core feature of multi track audio it also supports the Sonomo Audio Copy/Paste feature which can “bridge” the sandbox between Apps allowing you to move audio clips/files from one App to another. Its also supports the Apple OPEN IN protocol – both of these features mean you can easily import and export audio clips between other Apps like Twisted Wave-One of my other favourite Audio editing Apps.

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Hokusai is free to download from the App Store but in fact to get the full use of it you need to purchase advanced features in App. If you buy all the features you get a “All-In Bundle” for €8.99.

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I checked the Developers Website Wooji-Juice.com to see if there were any tutorials for the App or to download the manual.

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There are tips on the site but to get the manual you have to email the developer via the contact page on the site. I did this yesterday and he kindly and quickly sent it to me. If he grants permission I will link to it here.

The only issue I had is the manual is quite “wordy” : (11 pages) with no illustrations or images so, being a visual learner I decided to create CheatsSheets like those I’ve created for iMovie previously.

You can download the 3 sheets as PDF FILES here:

DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE  |  DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO  |  DOWNLOAD PAGE THREE

Or as HIGH RESOLUTION A3 JPEGS here:

DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE JPEG  |  DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO JPEG  |  DOWNLOAD PAGE THREE JPEG

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