My last TVVJ blog

I’ve been in the broadcast news/technology game since April 1st 1998. Yes, that’s right. I started my career in TV on April fools day! An omen (+/-) if ever there was one.

I’ve had many incredible experiences over those 19 years. Working as a broadcast support engineer, technical production manager, producer, director, cameraman, editor, trainer, mentor.

The highlights of my career have been the people I have had the privilege to work with. I’ve met so many talented people who have inspired me and many I now call friends. I met my wife Fiona while working in TG4.

I started this blog in October 2010. At that stage in my life I had passed through my darkest and most tumultuous period, leaving my home in Galway and starting again, pretty much from scratch in Dublin. It was all upheaval, change and scary as hell!.

With that new beginning came new opportunities, it just took me a while to get my sh*t together and refocus. I can say with complete honesty I wouldn’t be here today were it not for the patience and support of Fiona.

In 2006 I had completed a BBC “Train the Trainer” program through Circom regional. By 2010 I was involved in their VJ training courses and indeed was delivering them in RTÉ as well as around Europe. It was on one of those courses in 2011 that I by happen chance started shooting with the iPhone and editing on the iPad and what would become the RTE Mojo project was born…

In the years since, I have put a huge amount of my time and energy into continuous research in the mojo space. I’ve also come to the conclusion that “Mojo” is not actually limited to the use of a smart phone for storytelling but is in fact a mind-set, predicated on the idea of the individual as a multi-media content creator/storyteller. If you use a drone, a 360 camera, a gopro, a dslr to film or a laptop instead of an iPad to edit, should that preclude you from being called a “MoJo”? I think not.


I started Mojocon in 2015 because I was becoming frustrated at the slow adoption of mobile journalism in broadcast organisations around the world-particularly ones where I had delivered training. I became annoyed when I received emails from former mojo trainees who had been told that their TV stations would not broadcast their finished mojo reports because the “quality did not meet minimum technical standards”. I had heard exactly the same argument years earlier when I was involved in the introduction of video journalism. Change is never well received in traditional organisations.

The idea for Mojocon was to bring the growing community of mobile storytellers together to share their experiences, techniques and knowledge. I wanted the conference to have 3 objective: Inspire, Equip and Educate. The Inspiration came from the stories shared during the plenary sessions. The Equip came from all the hardware and software manufacturers who came to exhibit their solutions and the Educate came from the workshops run by a selection of the speakers. I’m happy with what Mojocon has achieved in the three years I’ve run it. I have to say that were it not for the support of my boss Richard Waghorn, it never would have happened. The resistance I met along the way when trying to get the concept over the line is unbelievable-yet through perseverance and with Richards determined support it became a reality.

Philip Bromwell, Eleanor Mannion and a small group of other staff (you know who you are) have almost single handedly pushed the boundaries of Mojo over that period and I can say with absolute confidence that Mojo in RTÉ will continue to grow (and hopefully thrive) after my departure.

There are many reasons why I think now is the time to go…

-the 12 hours days with 3+ of them spent behind the wheel for the daily commute which means my kids are getting up when I leave the house and going to bed when I get home. (I asked to work from home 1 day a week but the request was declined)

-the lack of funding for research or development work. When I applied for the role I specified that Innovation would need a research and development fund, but because of the financial situation in RTE over the last few years that budget was not allocated. Its hard to experiment and innovate when you have to “make do and mend”.

-the fact that I am at a glass ceiling in the organisation and cannot progress beyond my current position of Grade 1 manager reporting directly to a member of the RTÉ executive, the CTO.

-and many more things but I guess one of the biggest drivers is the realisation that the new structure that has been announced will ultimately result in RTE doing exactly the same thing but with a different team at the helm.

An opportunity to rethink WHAT RTE DOES and HOW RTE DO IT may be missed and this could be the last chance to realign the organisation, the idea of digital disruption is still eyed with suspicion and ridicule. When I enquired about Innovation and where it would reside in the new structure (I had pitched for an Innovation team, drawn from across the company, ring-fenced with scope to break, fix and fix better) I was told “there will be no specific team, we all need to be innovative”.

So its time to put my money where my mouth has been for the last 7 years…

For me the vision of where mojo can fit in a newsroom, any multi-media newsroom, is crystal clear. As technology improves and as AI goes mainstream I can see clearly how a virtualised (cloud based) mojo newsroom is the best way forward in realising the potential.

I believe much of the resistance in “traditional” media is borne out of a knee-jerk response to attempts to shoe-horn mojo into traditional newsroom infrastructure, disrupting the status quo. Its not 4:2:2“,  “the frame rate is not exactly 25fps” “the audio is not good enough” “we have to convert progressive to interlaced” “no one supports or wants 4k – all these protests have been fired back at me as reasons why mojo cannot be implemented. In a traditional newsroom these protests may have some validity but they fall away when you see mojo for its true potential: an end to end news ecosystem in its own right. 


If we consider developments in cloud infrastructure, AI, 5G and mobile tech then there is real potential in a virtual newsroom that can be spun up without any substantive* (by comparison to a traditional newsroom model) capital investment and it can operate above/outside the traditional newsroom structure but by leveraging cloud based transcoding delivering “ready for ingest/broadcast” content at the END of the workflow.

The reason that the tv content should sit at the end of the workflow is that the key drivers of mojo are trust, credibility and  immediacy – truly mobile FIRST and leveraging the platforms where the audience reside in realtime to get the content to them-as distinct from UGC.

For the audience who continue to watch linear scheduled news on TV, the content from earlier in the pipeline can be repurposed into more traditional/explainer/analytical style reports.

Where mainstream tv news media are at risk of missing out is failing to respond quickly enough to the changing audience demographics and platforms. Regurgitating the content from the linear TV schedule AFTER broadcast is just crazy! It’s “todays news, tonight” (the TV equivalent of Newspaper’s “Yesterday’s News today”)

Sure, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If there is a viable audience for the linear output and they want your content then “Give it to them” but if there is also an audience for different types or versions of stories on social media then “Give it to them too”. We (the broadcaster/media company) serve the audience. If we don’t give them what they want (our USP is credibility, accountability, trust, ethics etc) then they will happily migrate to one of the myriad of startups flourishing in the social vacuum we have allowed to grow. Keep an eye on Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg has his sights set on video news.

Remember mobile technology is ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER and recently, as I watched the launch of the iPhone 8/8+ and iPhoneX one thing DID catch my eye and it wasn’t about the iPhone it was about the new Apple TV-4K. There, buried in the slides was a sign of the future of mojo-news. SVT and SKY have already partnered up with Apple to get their content on the OTT Big screen. I’ve tweeted about this a lot recently. Playlists on the AppleTV Facebook App are (algorithmically) addictive. Of course you can always Airplay (or Chromecast) content from your smartphone to the big screen if you have an appleTV/Google Chromecast.

The potential of a Mojo, cloud-based, AI enhanced, newsroom could be a mixture of shortform social content throughout the day and then a HBO/VICE style evening news show on the “big screen” via Apple TV which is tailored to the viewers preferences and from peer/friend referral. Sure, some “News you MUST know” and algorithmically selected items wouldn’t go astray either but the true potential here would be to shift some of the money from the million Euro technical infrastructure used to create linear TV news production into a non-linear distributed, virtualised service where the money is spent on 1. People and 2. Stories – for that is where our true creative potential resides.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 13.25.35

We are entering a phase of exponential disruption.

My last day in RTÉ will be Friday December 15th. There are opportunities to be explored beyond Donnybrook, other organisations and companies who don’t have baggage, companies who are more open to change and ready to listen.

Above all there are companies who actually understand that to be innovative one must try. Create a structure, assign roles, agree deliverables, fund them, break things, fix things but above all else try and in doing so understand, failure is perfectly ok. For me, that is the essence of Innovation.

As my former colleague Mark Little often shows in presentations…

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better”
                                                                                                        – Samuel Beckett. 

This WILL likely be the last post on this blog.

Once I leave RTE my plan is to start a weekly vlog and to do more live stream AMA sessions. My energy will go into training and consultancy. I have just launched an online/ e-Learning mojo course in partnership with the Thomson Foundation and I have some other exciting initiatives to reveal in the New Year.

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TV VJ is done. Its been a blast!

Thanks for coming with me on the journey this far. Hope you will join me for the next chapter  🙂


PS You might be asking yourself “What about Mojocon?”

RTÉ own the brand and the idea (even though it was my concept) I’ve been told that RTÉ will run another event after my departure with a view to “scaling and monitising it”. My vision was always that the event would be not-for-profit and only seek to cover its own costs, it’s perhaps appropriate that as the event is getting a new direction it also will have new organisational leadership. For my part I intend to host at least one mojo event in Europe in 2018, (I just can’t call it Mojocon), but I’ll take the opportunity to rethink the event and to try make it more inclusive and more accessible. Stay tuned.

A soliloquy on Mojo and 3 burning questions about the iPhone7

I am an Apple fanboy. There. I said it. I first used an Apple product when I was in my first year of college and subsequently bought a mac as my first home computer. The last 6 years of my life has revolved around (albeit unintentionally) the Apple ecosystem – particularly iOS. So it should come as no surprise that twice or occasionally three times a year I sit with baited breath to see what the company has cooked up for their next iteration of the iPhone/iPad. Two years ago I was in Paris, having been invited to speak at an EBU Event about Mojo with the fantastic Mark Egan. At the time of the Apple keynote I found myself on a boat, floating down the Seine, surrounded by colleagues and peers who were absorbing the sights and sounds of Paris, while I desperately tried to find a quite spot with 3G so I could watch the launch. Sad? Yes. I was more bloody sad when the iPhone 6 was launched (once again) with just an 8mpx camera – so sad in fact that I seriously considered chucking my iPhone into the river and going to get merrily sloshed on free beer. I didn’t however (toss my iPhone).

Last night I sat in my office in Dublin and patiently waited through what felt like a tedious demo of Pokemon and Mario (I don’t play games) and thought to myself how the iPhone and iPad has impacted and affected, in a positive way, journalism in its many guises. After two years of Mojocon and having had the privilege of training thousands of journalists and content creators on how to make great content with these devices, I am consistently awed and surprised by ingenuity and creativity of people who have fully embraced the potential of mojo and who can see how it will shape the future of news and storytelling.

I get tired of defending my enthusiasm about Mojo. I get tired of people dismissing the quality, useability, potential, versatility, quality (did I say that already?) of Mojo. I get tired of trying to convince people to give it a go when they have become so cynical and blinkered that they fail to realise they are tearing headlong into a wall but refuse to change course.

Here is why…


Year on year we see incremental improvements in camera sensors, storage and very soon batteries in smartphones. The competition between Apple and Google / Samsung is a really healthy thing as it drives innovation and continually forces each player to come up with new and exciting technologies. It doesn’t really matter which platform you prefer (iOS/Android) once you are in an ecosystem it becomes increasingly more difficult to switch. I’ve spent hundreds, possibly thousands of Euros on iOS Apps over the last 5 years. If I jump to Android, I start again. Much of the audio accessories I have bought will only work with iPhone as they are lightning/30pin based. So I’m sticking with iPhone Mojo-I think!

We have seen everything from 6 second vines to 1hr 30minute feature films to Live streams being created with smartphones and yet I still get so much negativity about the potential of Mojo.

By 2020, when 5G goes mainstream Mojo will dominate news. The myriad of shareable content that can be made WITH these devices will be shared across a superfast connection TO these devices in an end-to-end ecosystem. One that will sit on top of (not displace) current “traditional” platforms. In time the mobile ecosystem will, I believe begin to erode traditional markets, this will happen mainly when advertisers can figure out a way to LEGALLY target personalised advertising to you via your smart device (its been technically possible for years and is fully exploited, in a limited, way by Facebook, Google etc).

Back to last night.


The advent of the Dual 12mpx cameras on the iPhone7plus is fantastic news for mobile photographers. Not so much for DLSR manufacturers, whos market share will inevitably suffer or companies like Olloclip, Moment, iPro, Moondog Labs and Exolens who have invested their fortune in lens accessories for iPhone.


The shallow depth of field photograph shown during the keynote was impressive, it did look like a shot taken with a large chip dslr on a fast prime lens but it also played to the trick you can use to pull focus with the iPhone: Maximise separation between the foreground and background, have one subject within 12″ of the iPhone and the other “far away” So the Bokeh effect in the image was an enhanced version of that and also took advantage of the f1.8 / f2.8 Apertures of the new cameras. However one burning question which I tweeted but still don’t have an answer for is: Can the “portrait” mode be used when shooting video? My guess is no as it will be very processor intensive but with a quad core chip with 3Gb ram maybe (and hopefully) I’m wrong.


The departure of the headphone socket seemed to dominate twitter last night and I get why people are upset, though Apple’s inclusion of a Lightning to TRRS socket with the iPhone 7 should appease most, it does raise yet another big question: Can you use an adapter to charge the iPhone while using a lightning based accessory? This IS a big deal for mojo. Battery life is one of the single biggest challenges with shooting HD, 4K even more so. If I am using my device for live-streaming (Periscope | YouTube | Facebook Live) then being able to supply power and an external mic is a pre-requisite. I REALLY hope Apple has given this some thought… A Lightning DUO would solve the problem if the actual Lightning protocol can support audio in/out and power simultaneously.


Mojo is growing, the accessories, particularly audio accessories, are getting better and adoption is spreading fast but this single move could put a coach and fore through the evolution of Mojo. However this post that my colleague John Lannigan shared, suggests that it is technically possible…


Lastly wireless. The Airpods are intriguing (but expensive @ €179). Going wireless is definitely a trend. All the big audio companies, Sennheiser, Shure, Bose, Beats etc etc are pushing wireless headphones to market. Apple’s W1 proprietary wireless chip may make its way into the MFi production chain which *COULD* see a selection of new iOS wireless microphones appear in the next few months, which would be very exciting. In the interim however I want to know: Can the new lightning based headphones act as an external camera remote AND mic as per the now obsolete TRRS ones and also, can the Airpods function as wireless microphone(s) when shooting in video mode? If so this would be a BIG step forward for “out of the box” Mojo.

HT to Yousef Omar who twigged this 13 minutes before me last night!


I will probably have to wait until 13th September for answers as thats when people will start to get their hands on the new iPhones but one more thing…

I really surprised that there was no mention of VR. When companies (rivals) like Google, Samsung, Facebook etc are ploughing millions into VR it is somewhat shocking that Apple have effectively ignored the tech. There is already a 360 plug-in camera for iPhone: the Insta360 Nano  360_camera

All Apple need to do to *start* their journey into VR is:

1. Up the display quality to surpass Retina
2. Add a VR/HMD platform to the MFi programme (or make their own)
3. Make Apple Watch a motion controller for interactivity
4. and support the 360 metadata required to tell YouTube that video is in fact 360.

I’ve shot with the Insta360Nano, copied the equirectangular footage to the cameraroll, edited it in HD in iMovie (have yet to try 4K on the 6S+) and uploaded to youtube but the problem is there is no step in this workflow to reinject the 360 metadata.


Paul Gailey who was a moderator at Mojocon2 has even built and App (which was launched at the conference) to do this called VRFIX but it is still not available for iOS, though it is for Android.

Rant over.



Testing the Rode i-XLR Adapter for iPhone/iPad


There are quite a number of audio accessories in the market for iOS devices…


I created an interactive image exploring them recently and now I need to add a new one to the mix. Welcome the Rode i-XLR.

As I mentioned at the end of the unboxing clip, I gave the iXLR to Cian McCormack who is a radio journalist as well as VJ and Mojo in RTÉ. Cian is regularly in the field and up against deadlines for radio packages and indeed Live Audio broadcasting so he of all people is well placed to put a new audio accessory through its paces and assess its audio quality. Here’s what he had to say…

Note the return audio to the headphone jack on the i-XLR depends on whether the App you are using supports the feature. Monitoring is also possible via the (soon to be obsolete) headphone socket on your iOS device.

This is the live broadcast (Using Tieline Report-IT Live) and pre-recorded clips Cian made for Morning Ireland using the i-XLR.

For more info on the i-XLR visit the rode website:

Livestream MEVO Quick tests

When Livestream announced the Mevo (or as it was then called the Movi) at CES in January 2016  I was immediately intrigued. I had previously seem demos of 8K cameras at sports events where a director could “extract” a 1080 image using a pan and scan technique and cover the entire event effectively with just 2/3 8k master shots but to see that principle technology reduced down to a pocket sized device for $400 seemed very ambitious.

So I placed a pre-order and pretty much forgot about it. Then about a week ago I started to see reviews popping up and checked to see where my order was at. Two days later it arrived (with a hefty €40 Import duty) and I excitedly unboxed and started testing. mevo

To give livestream credit, they really couldn’t have made the device simpler to use. The top is both an on/off switch and livestream button. The ring around the power button is a multicolour LED status display (which I REALLY like) The 4K camera is the main feature of the device with a mic directly beneath. At the back is the MicroSD and USB charging port and underneath is a tripod mounting hole. The MEVO creates its own Wifi Network to connect to your phone and some basic controls are over Bluetooth.

I bought the MEVO Boost unit also which adds the following features:
-Extended battery life
-Ethernet (wired) connectivity
-USB Port which can be used with a 4G USB Wireless stick for portable streaming


So yesterday I took the unit into one of our small headlines studios, set it up and did some trial recordings.

You will undoubtedly have noticed the audio distortion with the external microphones.

I tried the Sennheiser ClipMic Digital (via Lightning) and an AKG 417pp Lavalier mic and the Tascam iXZ XLR-trrs adapter via the headphone socket. Both had the same dropout. I’ve raised a ticket with Livestream to see if it could be a firmware issue etc. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back.

Initial Impressions.
I really like the simplicity and intuitiveness of the App. For 720p output the results are pretty good (a little grainy on  closeups). The studio was well lit so light was not the issue. What really struct me was that I could easily produce short video blogs about gadgets and possibly “cut/vision mix” the recording in realtime on an iPad on the desk. Mevo does not record the master 4K file – it only stores the shots you cut so if you mess up – you’re stuck with it until editing. Speaking of editing, I copied the recording from the Mevo MicroSD to my iPhone cameraroll in seconds. Created the intro and endboard in Intromaker for iMovie App in 2 minutes and cut the lot together in iMovie for export and upload to Youtube in under 8 minutes total. Now THAT could be really cool for hyperlocal news which is delivered via social to mobile. Super fast turnaround and pretty good “professional” looking results.

I’m trying to convince Will Goodbody, RTÉ’s Science and Technology Correspondent to test it out for a weekly (made for social/webTV) Technology show. If he won;t do it…I will 😉

Definitive guide to iOS Audio Accessories

Click this image to access a Thinglink interactive image with links to all the microphones mentioned.


7 Reasons Mobile will dominate the media by 2021.


These key drivers are reasons, in my opinion, why mobile is going to continue to evolve and come to dominate the media industry.

Sandisk recently launched a microSD card with 200GB capacity. Most smartphones rely on brands like Sandisk for their SSD/flash memory, so watching developments and new products from these manufacturers delivers an insight into future storage trends. In the next 5 years the nano-scale manufacturing process which are currently being developed will further improve the capacity of micro storage and enhanced connectivity will further drive cloud based backup and remote storage solutions. By 2020 it should be possible to cost effectively deliver 1TB of local storage in a mobile device with unlimited cloud based storage*.
Every year at Mobile World congress Imaging Sensor manufacturers deliver the latest breakthroughs in Image sensor quality. If you take the combination of currently available multi camera solutions like the LIGHT camera and lightfield technology like the LYTRO and combine it with the continued evolution of core image sensors it is feasible that by 2021 smartphones could easily be equipped with 50Megapixels sensors shooting UHD4K video as standard (without the current limitations of storage and battery issues) Still Images will be near DSLR quality and continued development of Apple’s Lightning based MFI programme and expansion of the USB OTG standard for Android devices will mean that external camera modules will be the solution to overcome optical image magnification issue. Devices like the DXO One, Flir One, Seek Thermal camera and the Insta360 Nano indicate that the “Add On” camera module market has huge potential going forward offering diverse solutions for different markets.
The current achilles heel of every smartphone/tablet is limited battery life – particularly if you are using them for processor intensive activities like shooting 4K or editing. Battery technology however is benefitting from a boom in research and development investment. Companies like TESLA are driving all other car manufacturers to offer all electric vehicle solutions and that future demand is in turn driving even more research into advanced energy solutions. A recent report on EV market growth indicated a 300% growth to over 3million vehicle sales globally by 2021. That will place huge demands on battery manufacturers to develop and deliver more efficient battery technology – principally to overcome “range anxiety”. The smart device industry will benefit in kind from these developments..
5th Generation Mobile Network
Probably the biggest evolution over the next 5 years will be the launch and roll out of the 5G mobile standard. This will deliver peak connectivity data transfer rates of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps. Aside from playing a pivotal role in the Internet of Things and connected devices this means that delivering high resolution 4K video on demand or indeed live-streamed will become a viable offering. The mobile device could in time, be more than just a control surface for your smart/connected home it could become the defacto OTT solution for 4K delivery to your large-screen 4K TV for shared experience social events (Sports/Movies) but equally be your personal 4K screen for news and niche/social/personalised content.
Even though 5G will bring substantially better bandwidth, users will still be mindful of data tariffs, particularly when roaming. As the trend towards more video continues and as the development of 360 video content grows exponentially it will be necessary for new video codecs to make compression more efficient. H.265 otherwise known as HEVC is the most well known (and likely) successor to MP4/H,264 upon which most mobile video and web video traffic runs currently. However HEVC appears to be fraught with expensive patent licencing and this may in fact stifle its adoption. Companies like Cisco (Thor) Google (VP9) and others including Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and Intel have formed a strategic alliance to create an alternative to HEVC. With brands like those mentioned driving the evolution of the next generation video codecs you can be sure that by 2021 4K or even 8K delivery will be a reality and if current video consumption trends are anything to go by, mobile will be a key beneficiary of those developments.
Apple has had “Retina Display” screens on some of its mobile devices for a number of years now. Retina Display refers to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. The key part of that description is NORMAL VIEWING DISTANCE. What is guaranteed to change over the next 5 years is the normal viewing distance of your mobile. Consider if you will, what happens when you put your mobile device into a VR Viewer like Google Cardboard. The two lenses magnify the screen to give you a limited field of view which create the effect of a sterescopic image. They also magnify the pixels meaning that current viewing experiences are pretty poor. Now consider the fact that Sony has already released a 4K resolution smartphone (the Xperia Z5 Premium) with 806PPI (thats more than double Retina Display) but it means that the pixel density is so dense that even when magnified in a VR Viewer the dots should be substantially less noticeable leading to a much more immersive and higher quality VR experience. Also, for the time being neither Youtube or Netflix offer 4K streams to smartphones- why would they? The bandwidth is not there over 3G and even if it were over Wifi there is no phone (other than the Xperia Z5) which can view the content at full res. However if you take the other driving forces mentioned (Storage, Optics, Battery, 5G and codecs) you will see that by 2021 4K or higher will be an absolutely viable platform for mobile.
360 Video | AR | MR | VR
The jury is still out on whether Immersive experiences will be the “next big thing” or the next 3DTV. For what its worth I think Immersive is going to grow exponentially over the next 5 years (with a few* caveats) Having experienced Facebook’s Oculus Rift I can absolutely see how Virtual Reality will fundamentally change the way people experience gaming. I think it will also have a huge impact on tourism, real estate, shopping and education. Once users have passed their initial *WOW* factor experience the challenge will be creating content which really utilizes the experiential nature of VR/AR. The thing is, the amount of people who will spend $600 on an Oculus Headset plus an additional $2000 on a powerful enough PC with a super Graphics Card to drive it, will be quite limited. However Mobile, as it will evolve over the next 5 years, will become the point of access to 360 Video | AR | MR | VR for the majority of users. Couple with this the continued growth of wearable technology, watches, glasses, sensors etc and the SmartDevice will become the thread that binds the user of 2021 to his/her digital, experiential, connected self.
For an interactive version of this blog post visit this link:

SubAqua – the next frontier for Drones

I know its been a while since I posted to the blog and I have to admit I’m struggling to find the time to maintain it. When I started this (over 5 years ago) I was newly single and in a new role in RTE so finding time to research and share was no problem. Now with two wonderful kids and a wife to consider, my evening are precious and with that comes the struggle to balance priorities and interests.

That said I’ve wanted to post this for quite some time…I’ve been a huge fan of UAV’s/RPAS/Drones since the launch of the DJI Phantom 1. The market for unmanned aerial vehicles has exploded over the five years since and the quality, features and range of models has grown exponentially. I’m still flying my Phantom 2 and have been tempted on many occasions to upgrade to either the Phantom 4 or the 3DRobotics Solo but for now I’m cash strapped so will have to make do and mend.

However there is one new area of Drones that is now starting to gain momentum: SubAqua.

I’ve been patiently waiting for a cost effective, HD/4K underwater camera system and in the last few months a few interesting ones have *surfaced*.

1. Aquabotix 
This company, based in the US, have 2 main Subaqua Drones. The Endura and the HydroView. Interestingly no prices are listed on their website (I have requested a quote) but the videos from the Endura look pretty good. Arguably they could do with a 3 axis gimbal with “soft follow” to stabilise but the most impressive thing is the depth. The Endure 300 can dive to 300m although it comes with a 100m tether out of the box so presumably you have to buy extensions to reach that depth. Will update with price if I receive a reply.

***UPDATE: The Endura 300 starts at $25,000 and the Endura 100 $17,000. You would want to be a pro user for that pricepoint.

More infro from their website:

2 . TTRobotix
The TTR Seawolf is a cheaper solution and aimed more towards the enthusiast. Again it is a tethered solution but in this case the depth is limited to 25m-60 meters depending on model. Interestingly one of the versions of the Seawolf has a VR/360 cameramount which in their promotional material shows a LUNA 360 camera attached. The Luna 360, recently funded via IndieGogo is waterproof and submersible.

More info: 

3. iBubble

The iBubble, recently successfully crowdfunded via Indiegogo, follows in the footsteps of the aerial equivalents of autonomous drones like the hexoplus, airdog and Lily. The iBubble will autonomously follow a tracker bracelet underwater, which has 8 pre-programmed camera moves but can be switched into manual operation mode or used as an underwater handheld camera. It’s target RRP when finally released* is expected to be around $2000.

More info:

4. OpenROV
If you are technically minded you could go the open source / DIY route and explore the OpenROV project. Kits are available to buy/build from $899 – $1399.

More info:

5. BlueRobotics 
An alternative DIY solution is the BlueROV which also relies on open source software via The BlueROV kit costs $1290

More info:

6. Fathom

Details are sketchy about the Fathom underwater Drone. Its due for release in “Summer 2016” The team behind the Fathom have said their target price is +/- $500

Limited info:

If you know of any other subaqua drone projects please let me know in the comments section. Equally if you own one and have some interesting video to share please post that also.

#Mojocon. The case for boutique V behemoth conferences.


I’ve written previously about the evolution of RTÉ’s Mobile Journalism Conference: Mojocon. In April this year we will host the second RTÉ Mojocon and once again we are shining a spotlight on the activities of broadcasters, publishers, NGO’s, businesses and educators who have pushed the boundaries of  content creation using smartphones and other digital consumer technology.

This is my second time organizing a conference and though it was an induction by fire the first time around, I learnt a lot of extremely valuable lessons from Mojocon 1. Probably the first lesson was understanding the phases of the planning. The Pre-production phase involved eight re-writes of the business case over three months with each one having a substantial reduction in the proposed budget.

Once the final business case was approved the next phase began: Initial logistics. Venue, dates and draft session lineup. After multiple quotes have been received and a venue is secured, we then move to announcing the conference with a “save the date” campaign and so begins the process of finding major sponsors for the event.

It’s worth pointing out that RTÉ run Mojocon on a not-for-profit basis. From its very inception over two years ago the entire concept pivoted on the idea that at the core of Mojocon is the intention to bring together a growing global community of people who are interested and can see the potential in mobile content creation. I think the non-profit aspect is one of the key things that separates RTÉ Mojocon from many other journalism related events.

That said, the cost of hosting an international standard conference for 500 delegates; venue, catering, travel and accommodation for 40+ international speakers, pr and marketing etc. all add up very quickly so major sponsors are absolutely essential to making the event a success. Without them the ticket prices would well exceed €500 and in my opinion render the event unfeasible.

We were extremely fortunate to have Sennheiser, an international audio solutions manufacturer, come on board very early into the process. When Google News Lab subsequently joined the conference as sponsors things really started to take shape.

Now, with just eight weeks to go, we are in the exhibitor and delegate ticket sales phase and it is this part that always leaves me somewhat bewildered. Over the course of the last two months I have reached out to over 80 companies inviting them to participate in the event as exhibitors, or in an ideal world sponsor/exhibitors. The thing that really frustrates me is the repeated cycle I’m seeing in the negotiation process where, as soon as I mention the delegate numbers are 500 I get a “Oh, is that all” response.

I’ve started to tease this out with exhibitors, asking why they feel 500 is such a small number and time and time again I’m getting replies like “We can take part in other international media events where the delegate numbers are in excess of 15,000 people for a similar investment-so its not offering great R.O.I. for us”

This is where the case for Boutique V Behemoth really kicks in. I would love to do some market research on the BIG conferences referred to above. As part of that I would like to see for each exhibitor who takes part in those multi-thousand attendee events how many make connections of real value. I would measure connections of real value in three ways: 1. Immediate conversion to a sale. 2. Viable lead for a post conference sale 3. Important and strategic contact in the target market.

Last November I attended The Web Summit for the very first time. Follow the link if you don’t know anything about the Web Summit. It has been heralded as one of the great success stories in recent years for the digital economy in Ireland. That perhaps was the case until co-founder Paddy Cosgrove announced in October 2015 that the event was moving from Dublin to Lisbon from 2016 onwards. Without digressing into the debate about the reasons why I will simply say that I am sure Paddy and his team had good reasons.


From my perspective, Websummit was a behemoth, like Mobile World Congress Barcelona, or NAB Las Vegas or IBC Amsterdam. A huge, sprawling multi location complex of stands and talks with 30,000 delegates trying to find something useful to do with their 8 hours in the venue (a substantial amount of which is spent queueing to get from talk A to B). I’ve experienced this myself at MWC and IBC. You can meander around hall after hall looking for interesting technologies and solutions but instead of finding them you end up bumping into familiar faces again and again and asking them have they seen anything really interesting and worth checking out.

I attended MWC just once and found it utterly head wrecking. At WebSummit I had one day where I really worked hard to navigate the halls teeming with startup alpha and beta’s who, once they noticed your badge said “Media” would instantly pounce in you to “Come meet our CEO/CRO/CTO/COO etc”. I have to be honest, the idea that a startup with three staff has a CEO,CTO and COO does make me wonder! The consensus from Media people I met was that they were actively hiding their media accreditation to avoid the “vulture effect” it induced. Don’t get me wrong here, I fully appreciate WHY this was happening, but it felt like utter desperation.

I can see from a profit point of view how economies of scale play a part in making these events so big. But as organizer of Mojocon, I am not interested in profit, so I don’t have to pander to these scales of excess to cram as many topics and threads into our event, in order to draw as many people as possible. Rather than trying to bring twenty diverse topics together in one space to “grow” an event into a behemoth, I would much prefer to do twenty boutique events where the participants, speakers and exhibitors have a real opportunity to connect. A chance to share stories and actually chat and exchange ideas, not just exchange a cursory few words while you glimpse at a leaflet on the way to the next queue for another talk you will be excluded from because its over capacity.

I have heard people say that they think a conference is worthwhile if you take away three ideas from it. If that is all attendees take away from Mojocon then I and the organizing team have failed. I want delegates to not have their minds opened to the possibilities but blown open with inspiration and ideas. Anything less would be a disheartening and disappointing result to me.

Mojocon has a very finely tuned scope. That breaks down into three components…
1. The plenary sessions with 40+ speakers on panels and fireside chats to learn from the experience of others.
2. The exhibition with 30 companies with products, accessories, apps which enable the professional production of content using smartphones and other consumer digital technology.
3. The workshop day where, if you were inspired on day 1 and bought some gear in the exhibition, you will have the chance to learn from some of the best and most respected mobile journalism and media trainers in the world.

If you follow that process through to the end you can leave mojocon not with just three takeaways but with real skills and inspiration to start your journey as a mobile content creator. Who knows maybe next year you could be a speaker sharing your journey and experience with the #mojocon community*.

Side note: As a spin off from Mojocon we created a group on Facebook to help build the community and keep the conversations from the conference going. The group now has over 750 members. You are welcome to join at

Hope to see you in Dublin in April 29|30.

PS. As a reader of my blog I’m giving you an exclusive tip about a St. Patrick’s Day promotion we will be running. Check out the video for details.

Mojocon returns. 29, 30 April 2016.

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In March 2015 RTE hosted the first Mojocon Mobile Journalism conference. Over two days 44 speakers from around the globe shared their stories, experiences and knowledge with over 350 delegates. Topics covered included mobile journalism, mobile photography, storytelling, social curation and verification, smartphone filmmaking, education and more. Over 28 exhibitors demoed the latest Apps and accessories to help turn your smartphone into a quality content production tool. The workshops were over-subscribed with some of the worlds leading mobile journalism, photography and radio trainers sharing their knowledge and tips including, BBC’ Marc Settle and Nick Garnett, EBU’s Mark Egan, RTÉ’s Philip Bromwell, Jack Hollingsworth, Dan Rubin and many more. Feedback from the delegates was incredibly positive. This was the reaction when asked if delegates would return again…

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So RTÉ have decided to run Mojocon again and I’m leading the project once more. I’m faced with a challenge, several actually, the biggest being: how do I make Mojocon2 even bigger and better than the first?

Learn from your mistakes! To begin with I learned A LOT! I had never organized a conference before and quickly came to understand why there are usually lots of people involved in the planning and production. For Mojocon 1 the team that worked with me was Cliona O’Reilly and Roisin Cronin from RTÉ Technology and PR & Comms respectively and Sinead Cassidy a freelance event manager. In spite of all of our best effort Mojocon1 failed in one regard: it did not break even as we had hoped. The costs of flights and accommodation for44 speakers, the venue and catering, the staging and production and the unforeseen extras meant that we carried a modest loss on the event. A loss which I worked hard to recoup by delivering external training on behalf of RTÉ for the remainder of 2015.

For this years event I’ve decided on a few changes, many informed by delegate feedback…

  1. No panel will have more than 5 speakers with 4 preferred.
  2. Moderators will be assigned well in advance to ensure familiarity with panel
  3. Sessions will be 1hr15mins and retain the 10min presentation slots
  4. Coffee Breaks will be longer (30-45mins) to facilitate networking
  5. Exhibitors will have option to demo on both Friday and Saturday
  6. There will be NO HIDDEN EXTRAS at venue or networking event
  7. Sponsors are key to the success of the event
  8. We need to diversify into 360 video, drones and live streaming
  9. Ticket prices should be very competitive. Here’s a table to compare:


I have only announced 17 speakers so far, there are at least that again yet to announce but it is going to be a VERY interesting few days.


I also want to dispel the myth that this event is just for journalists. Mojocon 1 attracted media, NGO’s Businesses, PR Agencies, Marketing firms and the education sector. I’m working on special case studies which are directly relevant to these sectors as well as the broad range of media content we are putting together. Here’s just some of the companies already registered to attend.


If you want to meet a substantial amount of the global mojo practitioners and influencers then you need to be in Dublin for Mojocon.



Still unsure? Check out this Thinglink of some of the articles written by attendees and speakers from Mojocon 1.

Guest post: Oscar and Javier of explore Switcher Studio for iPad with external cameras

I met the guys Javier and Oscar, behind at Mojocon, they are two absolute gents. They also blog about mojo at

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They shot this really great mojo teaser about Mojocon for which I am exceptionally grateful.

Based in Alicante, Spain they provide comprehensive mojo courses and production facilities. Their blog is a great source of information about Mojo, in Spanish and English. Earlier this year on the Mojocon Facebook group they posted a thread about using Switch Studio (aka RecoLive) with external devices, i.e. non-iOS devices. I asked would Oscar be interested in sharing his experiences via a guest post and he kindy agreed. A colleague of mine, Leola Lillis previously posted about Switcher Studio on this blog.


How to make a mobile multi-camera production with iPads, iPhones, or any other video source.

How to add a video source to Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio

Recolive Multicam is an application developed to record multi-camera productions using a WiFi network connection that allows you to sync up to 4 different video sources running on iOS and/or Mac devices. The norm is to use the built-in camera of your iPad as one of the cameras, and as the live mixer of all other video signals.

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Switcher Studio is a mobile video app that performs the same functions as Recolive Multicam, but additionally allows you to stream LIVE video while recording, as wells as, to view it using an HDMI adaptor or via Airplay.

Check-out the following post to learn all about how I’ve managed to go further into the use of these apps by using an external video source that does not run on an iOS device.


Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio: multi-camera video apps. 

I have recorded many videos using an iPad4 and an iPhone 5S ( with Recolive Multicam ( This is without a doubt one of my favorite apps, because it allows me to have my own TV studio in the iPad. I can choose among the different video sources right there live; enhance the production with signs, tittles, headlines, overprinting or logos; use transitions; mix images Picture in Picture; or divide the screen; I may even select the device that will be the main provider of the audio signal.

Switcher Studio was developed after Recolive Multicam and widens its many functions allowing multi-camera streaming productions

From now on, thanks to apps like this one – with a very simple learning curve-, anyone, either a person or an institution will be able to record cultural or sports events, interviews, round tables, or simply create video courses. Let me give you an example to illustrate it, with a challenge that I have taken on recently.

02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam
02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam

Recording a Surgical video using Recolive Multicam

A few days ago, while teaching one of our recording with mobile devices in-house seminars –with our brand YOS Contenidos ( -, I was asked about the possibility of a multi-camera production in an operating room mixing 3 different video signals as follows:

– One from an iPad recording a general shot of the room, showing the surgeons around the surgical table (the iPad would also act as the main mixer of all other video sources);

– A second one from an iPhone focusing on the patient area where the surgeon keeps his trocars (surgical instruments used to perform procedures without practicing open surgery)

– Finally, the third one would be the image provided by a trocar, or tube equipped with optical elements that sends images from the inside of the human body to a screen, guiding the surgeon during the procedure.

As you have probably guessed by now, the problem is that the laparocopy video is not an iOS or Mac device, therefore, incompatible for the Recolive Multicam recording (the use of which would make them save a lot of money).

The challenge: Full screen live preview using a video capture card

As I’ve mentioned before, Recolive Multicam can only mix video sources from iOS devices using the corresponding app, or running it from Mac computers that have the appropriate free software, Recolive Capture (, to share the screen or to shoot with the laptop camera. That seemed to be the solution.

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03 Recolive-Capture

I thought that maybe connecting a MacBook to a capture card device showing the trocar signal would be enough…

I needed video capture software that would preview full screen, but, none of the software that I tried, including BlackMagic Media Express, did the trick. I asked my streaming expert friends about it, but they could only advise about purchasing hardware, not software; therefore, the costs were skyrocketing.

04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables
04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables

After several try-outs, and a lot of Internet searching, I found a video in a French site that explained how to use a MacBook screen to play with a Playstation using Blackmagic capture cards: full screen!!!  (

We could make full screen live preview from the capture card, FullHD (depending on the latptop and the source), by using the free software capabilities of Pixel Conduit.

Solution: “Full screen live preview video from capture card”

Let me fully describe all the steps taken in the test I run, and that I hope to be using very soon in an operating room.

Equipment used:

  • 2 iPhones 5s with Recolive Multicam app
  • 1 iPad 4 with Recolive Multicam app
  • 1 MacBook with Recolive Capture software
  • A video capture BlackMagic UltraStudio Express card
  • 1 Canon HDV AX-H1 camera (video source used as the “trocar” for this test)
  • Free software from Pixel Conduit ( )

05 Pixel-Conduit05 Pixel-Conduit


1. Preparing images, lowers, and logos; saving them into the iPad that will be used as the mixer.

2. Setting up the video input from the Mac through Blackmagic Media Express and the video capture Blackmagic card. In this case, PAL 1920×1080. I will turn off the software once I see the signal.

3. Setting up all video sources, 2 iPhones and the Mac screen, through Recolive Multicam.

4. Setting up Pixel Conduit to recognize the video source coming from the Blackmagic card and previewing it full screen. See video, isn’t it simple?

5. Selecting the transitions that I will be using, as well as the durations in the iPad; select the multiviews; fix the White balance, the exposure and the focus of the iPhone cameras

Silence in the set: 3, 2, 1… let’s shoot!

And this is the test result: (In Spanish)


The option to use an external video source with Blackmagic capture card allows me to increase the options to shoot with several iPhone and iPad devices into any other video source.

Furthermore, if you would like to shoot with several microphones and you have a sound table, you may use it as a mixing console for the audio signal, connecting the output of the table to the iPad mixer through a digital interface such as iRigPro or Shure MVi, or an analogic interface such as iRigPre or a Tascam iXZ.

There is absolutely not a more affordable way to do up to 4 sources multi-camera productions.

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06 Maria-iPad-recolive-live-recipes-CookPad-full-size

Those were the pros, but I should mention the cons, there is a minor audio delay, around 0,1-0,2 seconds, from the external video source that does not come from Mac or iOS devices.  In this particular case, this will not be a problem for us, as the image from the laparoscopy does not have audio; although, if you would like to have someone speaking from that source, you will run into an unavoidable de-synchronization.

Finally, Recolive Capture only shares the screen of the MAC computer, but not the sound.

I hope that you will find this to be a useful post. I can’t wait to try this new option of multi-camera production in the operating room… Here is hoping that I will not faint while doing it….

I would like to thank Glen Mulcahy for his invitation to publish this translation in English of our article in his reference blog to all of us who record with our mobile devices.

Thank you also to Gabriele Mondada, CEO of Recolive Multicam to always respond so quickly and so gracefully to all my questions.

If you would like to read this post in Spanish, please visit our blog “el Taller Audiovisual” ( ), fully devoted to recording with mobile devices.

Xkuty Recording 02 Workshop PBC Coworking October 2015 Jovempa - Elda Major 10-30-15Xkuty Recording 03

Thank you!