A few weeks on the road and I’m relieved to say, Mojo is moving into the mainstream media-finally!

I’m just back home from an intense three weeks which have left me feeling both excited and exhausted at the same time. If you are reading this I’m going to assume you have read at least one previous article on the blog and know roughly the sort of mobile journalism and UAV projects I’m involved in.

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The first part of my trip was in London contributing as a trainer to the Thomson Foundation Summer Convergence course with 10 journalists drawn from Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, USA, Oman and Ghana. The course covered everything from the core principles of journalism and balanced reporting through social media, multi-media, radio packaging, reporting for tv and mobile journalism. I was blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of the group and I was also very impressed with the results, particularly of the journalists who chose to use Mojo to produce their TV report.

It was a pleasure to work again with Dan Mason who is an absolute fountain of knowledge about social media and online/video journalism, but also one of the best trainers I’ve worked with.

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After London, I went to Paris to join Mark Egan, VJ & Mojo Trainer PurpleBridgemedia, to co-present a session on Mojo at the EBU News Technology Conference. Mark compiled a great showreel looking at all the diverse use cases for Mojo across the active users in Broadcast News.

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Mark was one of the very first Video Journalists in BBC and spent a substantial period training VJs as part of Michael Rosenblums courses. Our many chats made it clear that he and I are 100% on the same wavelength and have a shared vision for the future of mobile news gathering. After the presentation we took our “gadget bags” out to the atrium to give the attendees some hands on time. The feedback was really positive with lots of queries about how other news orgs could get started in Mojo.

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After a few hectics days in Paris I then headed to Amsterdam to join an IBC panel discussion on “Mobile and Social Innovations (in News). Moving from the marginal to the mainstream” With me on the panel were Bogdan Frusina, CTO of Dejero, Ronen Artman, VP Marketing, LiveU and Sergei Lupashin, Founder Fotokite. The session was chaired by David Lowen, Director, International TV and Media Consulting Ltd and produced by Steve Bennedik, Head of Technology, SkyNews.

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Then to wrap the week up the legend that is: Dan Chung of NewsShooter.com invited me on to his IBCLive talkshow with Elliot Smith to discuss Mobile Newsgathering and the Future of TV News.

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The common thread throughout these events is that News organisations, (tv, radio, online and print) are now starting to take mobile news gathering seriously.

I had some great (heated) debates about the future of linear TV news, what should new journalists do to kick off their career and how much more potential does Mojo really have. All I can say is, even though I was disappointed by the 8Mp Camera in the iPhone6/6+ the advent of greater manual camera control, “dslr like” optical focus and stabilisation and “Extensions” in iOS8 Mojo mean iOS Mojo has just taken another leap forward. Speaking of leaping, I’m still amazed when I meet someone at a senior management level in news who greet my Mojo presentation with gasps of “I had no idea you could do so much with mobile” makes me wonder if the metaphor about the BOILING FROG is alive and well. If so the temperature has just been turned up a notch.

 

PS: I will detail the gadgets and gear that caught my eye at IBC in a separate post a little later.

Which Lapel mic for mojo? Final Microphone test (for a while) AKG 417pp Vs MXL FR 361 Lavalier

Sennheiser MKE 2-EW GOLD  Mke2 Gold For Evolution Wireless With 3.5Mm Jack.  Black**     009831.jpg

Back in 2011 when I tested various bits of gear for our RTE Mojo kits I was initially going to go for the Sennhesiser MKE2 OR the Sony ECM77b. Both these microphones are exceptional quality and are in everyday use for broadcast. However the price of them is what sent me digging deeper for an alternative! The ECM 77b is approx €450 and the cheaper Sennhesiser MKE2 is around €300.

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Given that one of the aims of the mojo project was to try to create a “grab bag” with all the accessories needed to equip a mobile journalist in the field, but ideally not costing more than that phone, the inclusion of either of these mics would have blown the budget. I found the AKG 417pp Phantom Lavalier and it ticked all the boxes – the sound was good (perhaps not as good as the Sony/Sennheiser) enough, the build was robust and the price was right. €110-€130. We’ve been using it in our kits since.

Recently however I noticed that MXL Microphones had started to explore mobile content production in a BIG way.
They have a set of  mobile specific accessories including a dedicated lavalier and miniature rifle mic with grip (Click images below for more details) but it is their Pro grade Lav mics that were of interest to me…

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MXL actually have two microphones in the Lav kits. One Omni Directional and one Cardioid.

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So I decided to test the FR-361 against the Akg 417pp in two different situations. First I did a sound ONLY test in one of our radio booths.

As with all the recent audio tests I used Google Glass to record what I was doing and posted the two separate clips to Soundcloud directly from the Voice Record Pro App…

Then I enlisted the help of RTE News “Mojo Champion” Philip Bromwell and recent mojo trainee Aisling Kenny to do a real world interview setup using FilMic Pro. Philip chose the RTE canteen, which is a noisy environment but with good light, and we set up two iPhone 5S with FilMicPro, IKMultimeida iRog Pre and the two lab mics which recorded the interview in parallel.

I would encourage you to listen using good quality over ear headphones to assess the sound.

So YOU decide if the MXL Quality and Value is a rival for the AKG, Sennhesiser and Sony. I think its fair to say there is a choice for every budget available now.

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Rode Smartlav (original) Versus New Rode Smartlav+ Recording booth comparison

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When Rode microphones originally announced the SmartLav in early 2013 I posted a blog about it as I was really excited and I believed it could be a huge step in the evolution of “budget” mobile journalism. During a mojo course in Budapest myself and John Inge Johansen from NRK tested it with FilMicPro but we discovered the main issue is the absence of audio gain in the App. (I subsequently discovered that MoviePro had added in App audio gain)

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A number of weeks ago Rode announced an update called the SmartLav+ and certainly everything I’ve read suggests the audio fidelity is definitely higher in the the new capsule so today I took the SmartLav+ and the original smartly into one of our soundproof audio booths to do a side by side test. I recorded the test using glass and on the iPhone 5s I used Voice Record pro for the audio recording.

So here are the recordings:

Certainly my initial impression is that the SmartLav+ has substantially less hiss but it also sounds like it has also lost some of the richness in the bass.

I’m no audio expert – so I will defer to the judgement of some of my esteemed colleagues from radio who may comment. You can hopefully decide for yourself.

Its worth noting that FilMicPro will have audio gain as a feature in the upcoming Version 4 release.

For more information on the SmartLav+ visit the dedicated Rode micro site:

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MoJoConIrl – the 1st Conference dedicated to Mobile Journalism, smartphone filmmaking and iPhoneography

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Over the last three years I’ve been continually amazed at the initial reaction of mojo trainees to the potential of smartphones, particularly iPhones as content creation devices.

I’ve been even more impressed with the quality of the stories produced by trainees after their courses and their continuing dedication to push the boundaries in what can be achieved with a smartphone and some cheap accessories and also to the work that some of the pioneers in this space like Sky News, BBC and NRK have achieved.

Last month I started to ask people I know and respect in the mojo world would they be interested in participating or contributing to a conference on mobile journalism, Mobile FilmMaking and iPhoneography.
I was awed at the response with 95% of the people I asked not only pledging their willingness to participate but also to help in spreading the word.

Once I realised how many people were supportive I immediately started looking at dates, venues and logistics and I drafted a proposal for the executive here in RTE.

Now that the project is scoped and with all the core stakeholders consulted, I’ve realised it will take more time to pull together than I had first anticipated but to be honest I want to do this right and make it the best it can possibly be.

So I’m going to reschedule the conference for March 2015, this timeframe will pave the way for making the event even better than I had first hoped.

But as a teaser to whet your appetite…here’s what I’m working on:

Day One. Plenary sessions/Panel discussions on the following topics…

Session One:      “Mobile Journalism: Technology in Broadcast – where to next?”
Session Two:      “Story. Exploring the diversity of multimedia storytelling with and for mobile”
Session Three:   “Smartphone FilmMaking: Award Wining Creators share their experience”
Session Four:     “Create, Curate, Verify: UGC, building communities and the process of validation and authentication” 
Session Five:      “The Multimedia Mojo – working across Radio, Print and Online case studies”
Session Six:        “Code:R-Mojo Educ8: App Development and education for Generation Y”

There will be plenty of opportunities for networking in the evening and there is some discussion about an iPhoneography walkabout session also.

Day Two: Workshops and Masterclasses

Masterclass: iPhone FilmMaking – learn from internationally awarded Filmmakers

Workshop: Social Storytelling – New Platforms for publishing and creating a community

Masterclass: iPhoneography: Shoot Epic images with your smartphone

Workshop: The RTE Mojo Project – From Shoot to Edit to Publish. A step by step workshop.

Conference Dinner (Optional)

I’m also hoping to attract a decent group of the hardware makers and resellers to set up stalls at the event with the idea that they not only demonstrate their gear but sell it as a special reduced conference price!
There will be rapid fire pitch rounds for App developers to pitch their Apps to the audience also.

This means that delegates will have the option to come to the conference, learn from industry leaders, buy their chosen mojo kit, do a top class training workshop and leave with all the skills AND gear they need to get started on their mojo journey.

If you are a hardware manufacturer or reseller who is interested in taking part then DM me on Twitter @glenbmulcahy for more info.

I haven’t completed the math on ticket prices yet but as soon as the date is officially confirmed I will post an update here with ticket prices and a lottery for some free tickets for you (blog readers)!

Im working on the event website now but in the meantime follow @mojoconirl for updates and if you have some suggestions or feedback please do get in touch.

GM-SIG

 

 

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:

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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

 

 

 

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…

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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.

 

 

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

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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.

Experiments in Storytelling with the iPhone using @FilMicPro @storehousehq @steller and iMovie featuring @fotopunctuation

I’m just back from the “RoosDagen” conference in The Netherlands where I held workshops on Mobile Journalism and also spoke as part of a Plenary session on the subject. While there I showed the most recent iPhone story I’ve shot: “Brendan O Se- iPhoneographer” which I filmed last week in Cork. As always I used FilMicPro as my camera App but I decided to experiment with the new version of iMovie (iOS7) on iPhone to see how far I could push it…

I’m actually very impressed with the new features which included Video Overlay, Detach Audio, Audio Fade in Fade out, PiP, Split screen and new title graphics etc.

Yesterday was an interesting day because it saw the launch of Steller a new Visual Storytelling App for iPhone. I’ve been a big fan of Storehouse for creating immersive multi media/visual stories since its launch but it is iPad only. However both are free and I would encourage you to try them both out if you can.

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Heres a link to a Steller version of Brendans Story (note max file size is 10Mb so I had to drop about 8 pages with videos to make it fit the size limit!)

https://steller.co/stories/205553277939484098

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Note: Best viewed using the App on your iOS device (as with Storehouse)

And I’ve just published a Storehouse version also. Download the App to view the full parallax scrolling/ immersive version

https://www.storehouse.co/stories/k113-brendan-o-se

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