Testing the @Rodemics NT-USB Microphone against the Samson Meteor

meteorVntusb

I took delivery of the new Rode NT-USB microphone yesterday and committed to doing a studio test with it today.
The first thing I did was unpack it so see whats in the box.

I decided to test it against my current USB mic: the Samson Meteor.

I asked my frined and colleague Cian McCormack, who is a reporter with our Morning Ireland radio show, to read a piece of script.
He has a trained “Radio Voice” and also has a great appreciation of good sound so I was eager the hear his opinions also.

Here are the recordings from Voice Record Pro uploaded directly from the App to Soundcloud.

In case you are wondering what Cian is talking about in the test, he cycled the full length of Ireland, from Malin to Mizen Head recently and broadcast his adventures along the way!

Brrl4xdIgAA_Ldc

Here’s a link to the feature on the RTE.ie website. You can follow Cian on Twitter

I tweeted that I would be trying out the NT-USB and asked had any of my followers suggestions for tests.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 14.48.11

Iain Collins, this is just for you:

TWO things struck me from that test:
1. If you hit off the Popshield on the NT-USB you gat an incredible bass hum so avoid that – BIG TIME.
2. It clearly picked up the staff to my right, one of whom coughed several times during recording, so not ideal for noisy environments.

Ultimate take away: The NT-USB is a well built, sturdy Microphone which performs best in a studio environment. The sound is clean, bright with great frequency response (Cian’s words) and I particularly like that you can use it with you iPad/iPhone as well as you Mac or PC. For more info visit the Rode Website

 

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.

20131013-115103.jpg

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

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 18.09.40

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

Mojo-CSA4

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

cheatsheet-3up

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

 

 

 

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.
Screenshot 2014-07-22 00.03.59

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.

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

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.

 

 

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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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.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 13.08.35

 

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

MukuLabs Shuttr – Bluetooth Shutter remote control for iOS and Android- unboxing and review

muku-shuttr-iphone-ipad-samsung-android-bluetooth-remote-control-camera-shutter-1big

I had a play today with the MukuLabs Shuttr Bluetooth controller and I have to say I’m really impressed.

The device is neat, well built, simple to use blah blah blah but the thing that really impressed me was the bluetooth range. Watch this to see why…

So is it worth the splurge of €30/$39 for your Mojo Kit? I damn well think so! To be able to trigger your camera (photo/video) from that distance is nothing short of brilliant.

Very Handy.

Shuttr_Black03

http://www.mukulabs.com 

Editing Video on Android – whats out there? Try TrakAx an Irish company with vision

In November last year I noticed a new follower on Twitter: @trakAx and after a little further research I discovered an Irish company who may well have addressed one of the biggest challenges for Mobile Journalism on the Android Platform: editing.

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With iOS/OSX Ive been using FilMicPro to shoot and iMovie to edit on the iPhone,  Pinnacle Studio to edit on the iPad and Final Cut Pro X on the Mac. The workflow is extremely easy no matter which combination you choose. With the iPhone you export from FilMicPro to the camera roll and iMovie sees the video immediately. With the iPad you transfer the video from iPhone either via the camera connection kit (as shown below) or via an App like Photo Transfer or indeed shoot on the iPad using FilMicPro.

It might be time to update this video with an iPhone5s, lightning Camera Connection Kit and iOS7!!!

With OSX you can connect the iPhone via USB and copy the files directly from the FilMicPro Library (no export to camera roll necessary) via App Sharing in iTunes of you can use iPhoto on the Mac to copy from the camera roll.

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The quality of the editing tools and the ease of the workflow is one of the fundamental reasons I teach iOS Mojo. However I have often publicly said I would love to have a comparable workflow for Android or even Windows Mobile.

In the case of Android, smartphones like the Galaxy S3 and the Note III have awesome cameras, which in the case of the Note III can shoot at a stunning 4K resolution. But right now (to the best of my knowledge) there is no Video Editing App that can deliver in-phone editing to the same standard as iMovie (or Voddio) can on the iPhone.

So when I saw this promo for TrakAx I got excited…

So here are my initial impressions:

1. There is a lot of potential in the App, it has a substantial advantage in the Google Play store right now as there is really very little to compete with the it.

2. The fundamental functions of editing are all within the App, Insert, trim, mix, audio fade etc.

3. The App leverages the power of the smartphone so as long as it packs a snapdragon 600 chipset or higher it will give great results*

4. The App accesses the photos App on Android so no exporting from other Apps – mind you, if FilMicPro had an Android version that would potentially be a great workflow.

5. I have reservations about the proprietary CHANNEL editing process which is currently limited to six channels, though each channel can support video or a stack of photos.

6. The live Mix solution before output is a novel approach to creating the final story, its more like taking 6 sources into a vision mixer and mixing it live that traditional non-linear timeline based editing. My concern here is that there is no way to pre-programme frame accurate cuts. You have to cut between channels as part of the final mix, the App records a macro of your mix cues, fades, audio mix etc and then at the final stage it conforms and compiles the final rendered story.

Overall I think it is a powerful App and its pitched at exactly the same price point as iMovie on iOS

€4.50, there is a free version too which the developers suggest is a good way to pre-test your hardware’s ability to run the App. Thats a very clever solution to one of the fundamental weaknesses of the Android platform: Market Fragmentation. So many manufacturers, devices, chipsets, cameras, specification variations and custom flavours of Android.

Anyway of you have a powerful Android Smartphone and want to experiment with video editing without having to dump it off to the cloud or to a PC/MAC then TrakAx Movie Express is definitely worth a look.

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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.

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture Cheat-Sheet on one page #mojo

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture Cheat-Sheet on one page #mojo

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture CheatSheet. I’ve been promising to do this for ages! Now its out of date because of iMovie for iOS7. As soon as I upgrade to the iPHone 5s and iOS7 I’ll post a revised one…Promise :) Download the full resolution image here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wyin75s56w2xmmw/iMovie-Gestures-CheatSheet.jpg

Upcoming Mobile Journalism Training courses – limited availability.

MOJO-MEMORIES

If you follow me on Twitter (@glenbmulcahy) you may have seen a tweet recently where I invited applications to take part in a Live Video Stream of an upcoming 1 Day mobile journalism course I will be running in RTE in late September. This is an experiment to all intents and purposes and Im really curious to see how the participants respond. The idea of this is to make it as interactive as possible for the remote participants.

So while the stream is Live the select 25 people will be able to interact with me in realtime via Twitter and Livestream chat. I have adapted my usual 1 day “in person/ face to face” training course for this experiment. There are 3 places left – tweet me if interested.

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A little history: I first started pushing mobile journalism with a group of fellow trainers when we were in Budapest for the Annual Circom Regional Video Journalism training course in 2011. While there I shot a short HOW TO video (all on the iPhone 4) and uploaded it to Vimeo. http://vimeo.com/30263550

I also shot an interview with Karol Cioma, Training Project Manager with Circom to highlight the quality and I FTP’d the finished edit back to RTE to get some feedback from our Ingest room on the quality. http://vimeo.com/35132184 The consensus was it was good enough for broadcast. (Note: the original quality was substantially better than SD on Vimeo)

Following on from that I shot some content to try out different gear and accessories. Including this story which was shot on the iPhone 4S and edited on iMovie on the iPad2

http://vimeo.com/40811091

I then gave the gear to one of our most talent Video Journalists: Sean MacAntSithigh (Twitter: @Buailtin)  and he produced a story about artists in Dingle which was nothing short of brilliant: http://vimeo.com/42390467

That led to my first MoJo (mobile journalism) presentation at the Circom conference in Malmo Sweden. Click here to view the presentation: http://livestre.am/3SUMj

During that session over 85 senior television executives listened to the proposition that this technology could revolutionise the way journalists produce content. As a result I was invited to speak at a number of other conferences and also to deliver training to some Circom member stations like NRK (Norway), Roos Network (Holland), HRT (Croatia), and more recently Aljazeera.

Myself, Karol, John Inge Johansen from NRK and Darko Flajpan from HRT all got together to deliver a one week intensive mobile journalism course for Circom that November – this was structured to run before the traditional one week VJ course. At the end of the MoJo course Darko interviewed the participants to capture feedback. These were the responses:

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is what I have christened “the Transition”. This is the moment when participants finally realise the full potential of their mobile device. Most users are aware that they can shoot HD video, substantially less are aware they can edit that in device and export it. Fewer again realise the sheer volume of accessories that are available to augment and improve the quality and potential of the device. Its only after the first couple of practical excercises that the “penny finally drops…”

When I was that the Roos Dagen conference in Holland I did an impromptu interview, at the end of the presentation, with Arthur Vierboom. This is a good starting point:

A few months later I was asked by the lovely Sarah Marshall from Journalism.co.uk to deliver a short presentation on Mojo at their News:Rewired conference. I have attended previous News:Rewired events and they are excellently organised with a really high profile bill of speakers (myself excluded) and its always a worthwhile day in London. This is the video of that presentation: (via journalism.co.uk) Please excuse the technical issue with audio at the beginning!

Sarah has asked me to deliver a one-day, face to face MoJo training day for the next News:rewired conference. That will be happening on 19th Sept. More info here

One of the key things I would say to someone considering paying for a mobile journalism course is check the references of the trainer and also look for examples of stories or feedback from former students. In the three years I have invested in mobile journalism I have seen the number of self-styled MoJo trainers mushroom to the point that now pretty much anyone with an iPhone and a bit of knowledge can advertise their services as a trainer.

My advice…If your going to spend your hard earned cash to learn these skills – look for someone with  a proven track record. I regularly share ideas with the following trainers/practitioners- each of these guys are at the top of their game and are open to sharing, debating and encouraging each other- a true collective.

-Marc Settle (London) from BBC College of Journalism @marcsettle
-Nick Garnett (Manchester) from BBC Radio 5 Live @nicholasgarnett
-Neal Augenstein (Washington) from WTOP Washington @augensteinWTOP
-Ivo Burum (Australia)  -Independent MoJo trainer @citizenmojo
-Charles Hodgson (Australia)  Editor of @viewnews / @CharlesRHodgson
-Michael Rosenblum (New York) “the godfather of video journalism” @rosenblumtv
-Jack Hollingsworth (Austin Texas)- master iPhone photographer @photojack

If I’ve forgotten someone DM me – apologies in advance!

The most recent Circom regional MoJo course was held just before the annual conference in Santiago De Compostella, Galicia, Spain in May this year. The usual trainers group, Karol, John Inge, Darko and I had participants drawn from TV stations all across Europe.

IMG_8134

We (as trainers) were blown away by the results of the stories – particularly as some of these journalists had never shot or edited previously and also as English was not the 1st language of many.

I blogged about the course at the time but here are a few of my favourites and a link to a playlist of all those stories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDp3aNOa9dY&list=PLv-3VuGs_1JNpOV25lhUyiYNouEFa4oSI

Here finally is a list of gear that you can consider if you are thinking of producing multimedia content with your iOS device:

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If you want to learn the skills required to produce high end multi media content like the samples mentioned here then keep an eye out for training courses by any of the specialists mentioned above or even the occasional public one from me.

I’ll be back in Budapest again in October for another MoJo course with Karol Cioma (@KarolCioma) John Inge Johansen (@lonelyrider) and Darko Flajpan (@DFlaj) and I look forward to sharing the stories produced by the next group of Circom MoJos.

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