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

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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

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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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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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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.

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

 

 

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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

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

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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.

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http://www.mukulabs.com 

A selection (not exhaustive) of iPhone media workflows as an infographic of sorts

A selection (not exhaustive) of iPhone media workflows as an infographic of sorts

A selection of iPhone media (photo/video) workflows to remind MoJo trainees of some of the options available to them to get their finished stories off their iPhone. There are others also ;)

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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Using a Radio Mic with your iPhone/ iPad Mojo kit…

*******NOTE: I have not personally tested ALL of these combinations so if you have discovered any issues with any of these set-ups please comment below and I will modify the post*******

If you need to use a Radio Mic with your iPhone / iPad Mojo kit there are several options available to you. The first thing to consider is what Radio Mic are you connecting.

I’ve used the Sony UWP kit which is the standard Radio Mic set we use in our Video Journalism kits. It comes in three versions:

A lapel transmitter / receiver pair UWP-V1 (Indicative Price €599)
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A Reporter Mic transmitter / receiver pair UWP-V2  (Indicative Price €599)

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An XLR adapter , lapel transmitter / receiver pair UWP-V6 (Indicative Price€990)

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There is also a comparible set available from Sennheiser EW100-eng (Indicative Price €725-€999) and other manufacturers 

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Its important to know the different properties of the microphones in questions- the lapel mic is ideal for indoor interviews, to use it in an outdoor environment you will need to add a Rycote windjammer to reduce wind noise. Its important to remember that in most of the solutions below the iPhone will ONLY record the sound from the radio mic so if you are conducting an interview where you want to hear both your questions and the interviewees answers than its not the best solution.

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The reporter (handheld) mic is ideal for run-and -gun interviews like Vox Pops and where you need to hear both sides of the conversation. The XLR adapter means you can turn just about any professional microphone with an XLR connector into a radio mic and use it in a cable free environment. I’ve never tried it but it could potentially mean that you could connect it to a rifle mic like this Sennhesiser ME66 and use it wirelessly away from the iPhone and radio receiver.

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Now to get to the options to connect the Radio Mic to the iPhone. The first thing to note is that most of the Radio Receivers come with two connector cables and a cold-shoe mount.
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In theory you can use either cable to connect to the iPhone but with different adapters. Lets deal with the mini-jack to mini-jack first.

Image This cable will need to adapted from a Tip Ring Sleeve (TRS) to a Tip Ring Ring Sleeve (TRRS) to be used directly with the iPhone. Cables for this purpose are available from http://www.kvconnection.com/category-s/8682.htm

Alternatively you could use one of these audio adapters: NOTE ALL these adapters offer a STEREO / DUAL CHANNEL input as they connect via the 30pin / Lightning DOCK connector on the iPhone.

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Fostex AR101 http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/AR101.shtml

Fostex AR4i   http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/AR-4i.shtml

Tascam iXJ2   http://tascam.com/product/ixj2/

Alternatively you could use the XLR cable from the radio receiver

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to connect via these adapters

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Top left: IKMultimedia iRig PRO http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigpro/

Top right: Tascam iXz http://tascam.com/product/ixz/

Bottom left: Griffin MicConnect http://store.griffintechnology.com/micconnect-mic-interface-ipad

Bottom right: iKMultimedia iRig Pre http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigpre/

Note the iRig PRO is the only interface of these which connects via the 30pin/Lightning dock and as such it is a fully digital interface. All the other three are analogue interface which connect via the mic/headphone socket.

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

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