#Mojocon. The case for boutique V behemoth conferences.

mjc-linkedin2

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.

IMG_9756

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 http://www.facebook.com/groups/mojocon.

Hope to see you in Dublin in April 29|30.
http://mojocon.rte.ie

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.

Rode iXY for Lightning Unboxing and initial recording test.

rode-iXY-L

The last unboxing/test/review for today is the Rode iXY Stereo microphone for Apple Lightning devices.

ixy-orig

I bought the original iXY for the Apple 30pin dock connector and I have used it several times with the optional Rode SmartGrip to mount it on top of my DSLR while recording in the field.

rodegrip_2

The fact that both iXY devices can record at 96000Hz is pretty damn impressive. (That’s double CD quality to the man on the street)

Anyway here is the Unboxing Video and the sound clip recorded using the iXY with my iPhone 5S and the RodeRec App

For more information on either version of the iXY visit the Rode Micro Site

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

meteorVntusb

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

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

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

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

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

Brrl4xdIgAA_Ldc

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

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

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 14.48.11

Iain Collins, this is just for you:

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

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

 

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

smartlav_03

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)

smartlav-plus_large

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:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 17.59.00

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

mojocon-banner-Sm

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

 

 

Skyroad Film and Television festival seeking submissions now. Mojo’s: Deadline is Aug 6th via @skyroadfilm


Screenshot 2014-07-27 22.08.52

Sky Road TV & Film Festival is a new festival which takes place this September 5th – 7th in the Station House Theatre, in Clifden, Co Galway.

One of the organisers is a former colleague of mine from my days with TG4 and he reached out to me recently for some support so I Skyped him for more info:

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend but I do think the festival is worthy of a mention…
not least for the fact that they have 3 mobile categories for which they are currently seeking submission (Ireland only).

Their website has this to say:

The festival will work closely with producers and broadcasters to bring the latest content in Irish cinema and television, in both Irish & English language to the programme. The goal is to engage with filmmakers by providing a platform for discussion regarding media, trends and finance options available.

The festival has now announced its submission categories. They are as follows:

FILM

  • Best Feature Film
  • Best Short Film

TELEVISION

  • Best Feature Documentary
  • Best Short Documentary
  • Best Documentary Series

NEW MEDIA (Media filmed on a smart device)

  • 10 Second Short: Shot and Edited on Mobile under 10 seconds
  • 1 Minute Short: Shot and Edited on Mobile under 1 minute
  • 3 Minute Short: Shot and Edited on Mobile under 3 minutes

So if you are a budding mojo in print, radio, television, online or freelance and you have a story shot on a mobile device that qualifies for one of the three mobile categories, get your submission in now.

The process simply involves uploading your piece to YouTube or Vimeo and pasting the Url and some other info into the submission page on their website!

You can get updates via their Website or Twitter: @SkyRoadFilm

The Jello Effect in Mojo and options for stabilising your Smartphone or GoPro

If you are a regular follower of the blog you’ll know I talk about the iPhone as a mobile journalism solution a lot, but I also occasionally blog about one of my other interests: UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or “Drones” as some call them, though thats a title I loathe.

Anyway the two topics have a common thread and that thread is becoming quite a substantial crossover. UAVs like the DJI Phantom have the option of a Go Pro Stabiliser Gimbal called the ZenMuse H3-3D. What this device does is it corrects the position of the GoPro relative to the pitch/yaw/tilt of the UAV. Or in simple terms it keeps the GoPro steady while the UAV is moving and tilting around.


dji-phantom-2-uk-stock
Image via http://www.quadcopters.co.uk

The iPhone (particularly the older 4/4s) was extremely prone to rolling shutter and jitter-sometimes referred to as the “Jello Effect”. If you’ve tried walking behind a fast moving subject you may often notice the extreme shake in the picture and if you Pan (turn left or right) quickly all the vertical lines will bend very noticeably. During our Mojo courses I strongly recommend that trainees get into the habit of using either a tripod or monopod but thats not always practical. This is where the UAV Gimbal Stabiliser technology is now starting to have an impact on smartphones and GoPro.

A growing number of manufacturers are using the same Inertial Monitoring Unit Chip (IMUs) as those used in UAVS to create handheld brushless motor gimbals for Smartphones and GoPro. I’ve been trying to decide which one to buy for some time so I thought I’d share the ones I’ve been considering in case you are in the market for one also.

This is a THINGLINK image grab – If you click it you will be redirected to the Thinglink site where you can click on each image and go to the manufacturers website to get more information and pricing.

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.31.09

 

Its probably worth mentioning that these handheld units are baby versions of the much bigger and more expensive Stabilisers like the pioneering  FreeFlyCinema Movi M5 | M10

moviM5-1_8fb63030-3e61-4167-8295-5cc7cc600eba_1024x1024
and many of the others who have subsequently created their own versions.

If you want to see what can be achieved with these handheld stabilisers then checkout this Playlist

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

RTE-MOJO-Header

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

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

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

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

20131013-115103.jpg

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

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

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

pb

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.

_jcr_data
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:

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.23.07

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

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 18.09.40

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

Mojo-CSA4

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

Cheatsheets for:

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

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

hokusai-promo

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

cheatsheet-3up

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

 

 

 

FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

 

I just noticed that FilMicPro have redesigned their website. Looks very nice indeed. Also impressed that they have chosen to outline the new features expected in v4.0 – the new release due in Autumn.
Screenshot 2014-07-22 00.03.59

That means that I will probably have to re-do this CheatSheet in a few months but nonetheless I still think its a handy reference.

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

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

 

 

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

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,672 other followers