#Mojocon. The case for boutique V behemoth conferences.

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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.

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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.

Guest Review: David McClelland reviews the Samsung Galaxy Camera

uk_EK-GC100ZWABTU_035_Right-Angle_white Samsung Galaxy Camera – Mobile Journalist Hands-On

 (Note: this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, rather initial observations and opinions on the camera’s core features and suitability as a tool for a Mobile Journalist).

** Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a compact point and shoot camera with an integrated Android smartphone.

Its features include:

  • 16 megapixel sensor
  • 21x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Lens aperture f2.8 at widest
  • 4.8″ 1280 x 720 HD touchscreen
  • Android 4.1 Jellybean
  • Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity
  • 1.4GHz quad-core processor
  • 4GB of internal usable storage, expandable to 64GB with Micro SD
  • Standard 1/4-20 tripod mount
  • Removable battery

** Video Mode
The video mode on the camera, accessible directly from the main camera app, records 1080p footage at 30fps, 720p at 30 or 60fps, with even faster frame rates at lower resolutions. There is no 25fps (PAL) option.

Does the lack of 25fps really matter? It’s an omission the Samsung shares with other similar compact cameras, the recent Nikon One for example.

If you are likely to mix footage from a Samsung Galaxy Camera with that from other cameras, or with assets playing at 25fps this will be a headache, but if the aim of working with this camera is to shoot, edit and upload from within the device then it doesn’t necessarily present an issue.

** Sound

The Samsung Galaxy Camera shares a lot in common with the Samsung Galaxy S3. The 3.5mm jack is a four pole type, supporting simultaneous stereo output and mono input. Typically in a phone this might by used to connect a hands free kit, but with cheaply available breakout cables separate headphones and microphones can be attached.

I tested the Samsung Galaxy Camera with IK Multimedia’s iRig PRE, a compact XLR to 3.5mm pre-amp/adapter which provides phantom power, variable input levels and live monitoring through headphones (requires app support).

As with the Samsung Galaxy S3 the iRig PRE does indeed work, recording sound from an XLR source, in my case a Beyerdynamic M58 reporter microphone. I’ve used this combination in the field with the iPhone to record interviews and sync sound for video with very acceptable results.

Disappointingly, when used in conjunction with the Samsung Galaxy Camera’s native video camera app the output suffers from poor audio with a heavily compressed feel. This is the same symptom I reported when testing the Samsung Galaxy S3’s videography capabilities , a complaint well-documented online

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 An inspection of the Samsung Galaxy Camera stock camera app’s default video footage output reveals:

Video – H.264 @ 17019kbps 1920×1080 30.0fps

Audio – MP4A, 125.9kpbs, 48.0kHz 16bit, 2 channels

An internal microphone is mounted on top of the SGC’s body and, surprisingly, resulted in better quality audio (though still not great) than using the mic jack when indoors, but it appears to be very susceptible to wind/vocal pops, likely to be a problem when outdoors.

** Video Editing

The bundled Video Editor app is tedious in the extreme, but I write this as a competent video editor with desktop edit suites as well as iOS iMovie and Avid/Pinnacle Studio. Perhaps with perseverance the Video Editor app could indeed be usable, but unfortunately there’s little alternative on the Android platform at present for cutting video, the Clesh cloud editing software  perhaps the only realistic exception.

** Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Camera unpacks with a stingy 4GB of usable  internal storage, but does support Micro SD cards up to 64GB in capacity. With Dropbox installed on the camera all photos and videos can be uploaded to the cloud in the background automatically – by far the easiest way of getting footage back to a desktop (even more attractive with the 50GB free special offer from Dropbox and Samsung)

I attempted to ingest footage onto an iPad directly over USB via the iPad camera connection kit. While iOS initially recognised the tethered camera ultimately there seemed to be problems with the file format that prevented me from browsing and importing the footage. Further testing here may yield a workaround.

** Accessories

One practical limitation of the Samsung Galaxy Camera is the lack of accessory shoe on the top of the body, preventing easy mounting of lights or microphone equipment. I’d hazard a guess that it’s unlikely a case featuring accessory mounts (such as the ALM mCAM) will appear for the Samsung Galaxy Camera, although it does benefit from a handy wrist strap.

** Usability Notes

It’s fair to say that by integrating an Android OS the camera’s usability has been compromised. There is a significant wait while Android OS boots up from ‘off’, a killer for run and gun jobs. Shooting from standby fares better, but still feels very laggy in comparison to a standard point and shoot.

Ergonomically, it’s not too easy to hold as a phone, the lens preventing a comfortable grasp.

On the plus side the minimalist buttons work well and look great, and the almost-five-inch screen is bright and colourful, handy for shooting outdoors. The touchscreen controls are generally intuitive for those used to Android, with the onscreen Home, Back and Menu icons hiding when not required.

** Conclusion

My first impressions of this device reads like a list of gripes, but the fact is that at the moment I find the Samsung Galaxy Camera difficult to recommend to a mobile journalist. Many compact cameras currently on the market shoot better video and some will do so at a far more attractive price. The poor sound recording quality in the camera app, seemingly a wider Samsung Galaxy issue, is a major flaw but hopefully a software update can resolve this.

The compelling proposition of the SGC is that it offers the optics of compact camera with the flexibility and app store richness of the full Android operating environment, along with some great internet connectivity options. However, the Android integration currently does very little for the mobile journalist while there are so few genuinely useful and productive apps, particularly in the video editing category.

As a lifestyle camera for the casual social media snapper with cash to splash the Samsung Galaxy Camera could be just the ticket. But for a journalist searching for a device to be at the heart of his MoJo workflow the Samsung Galaxy Camera will almost certainly disappoint.

-David McClelland

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DmaC-smDavid McClelland is a London-based multimedia journalist; behind the camera he is a Consulting Editor at Computing, a contributor to titles including CNET, Wired and Computer Weekly, a freelance video editor and a keen DSLR and iPhone videographer. David Tweets @davidmcclelland and blogs at http://www.davidmcclelland.co.uk/
Note: His site is well worth a visit, there are some great MoJo stories to be viewed and his tweets are always up to date about tech and gadgets.

The 10 Commandments of Composition | Naturephotographers.net

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Photography. Great article on composition principles in nature and landscape photography. VJs with aesthetic sense should read this.

DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

 

 

 

 

 

DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App StoreThe DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit is a collection of useful utilities designed for the modern filmmaker, contained in one app. The toolkit contains:

ELECTRONIC SLATE
✔ Displays standard slate information, as well as settings specific to DSLR cameras
✔ Shot logging
✔ Automatic take incrementation
✔ High/low contrast display modes
✔ “Data Burst” displays all your slate information sequentially in a big, bold display, to ensure it is always readable, followed by an audible ‘beep” and visual flash, for audio synching.
✔ Coming soon – Rate and make notes on your takes

SHOT LOG
✔ Shots are automatically logged when the slate is activated
✔ Displays detailed data about every shot
✔ Handles multiple productions at the same time
✔ Export your log with one button press – you’ll be emailed your shot log instantly
✔ Coming soon – Export to .rtf and .xls formats

VIEW FINDER
✔ Designed to simulate the framing of your DSLR camera
✔ Choose from a huge list of available cameras
✔ Zoom through any focal length from 35mm to 400mm. (35mm is the widest due to limitations of the iPhone camera, although this will be addressed in an update coming soon)
✔ “Snapshot” an image you want to save. Your image will be saved, complete with the settings used.
✔ Location data saved with snapshots – remember where, when and what settings you used. Perfect for location scouting

DEPTH OF FIELD CALCULATOR
✔ Choose from a huge list of available cameras
✔ D.O.F data is displayed instantly as you change the controls
✔ Metric/imperial units both supported

DAYLIGHT HOURS
✔ Displays sunrise/sunset times for your current location and time of year
✔ Includes twilight hours – sunset doesn’t always mean there’s no light…
✔ Never run out of daylight unexpectedly again

SPIRIT LEVEL
✔ Works across 2 axes
✔ Perfect for ensuring your tripod/dolly/crane is level

Light Field camera | Lytro : shoot first, focus later

Light Field camera | Lytro.  OK so dont even ask me to explain how it works, theres a short presentation on the site about that but the principle is pretty amazing. Lytro are developing a camera that will allow you to take a picture and then while viewing it in post choose the selective focus point (what you want sharp and what you want blurry) the thing thats interesting is that this is not a post production digital tilt-shift focal effect generator – the source image apparently catches everything in focus, but is spatially aware to allow selective focus in post? HDTDT? Beats me!

CineStyle, Picture Style (profile) for Canon DSLRs- Technicolor

CineStyle, Digital Printer Lights, Filmmaking – Technicolor. Technicolour have released a picture profile for Canon DSLRS to optimise the dynamic range and enhance the “cinematic” effect of shooting video with your Canon EOS. More info from Fresh DV

Nikon D5100 announcement | Nikon Rumors

Nikon D5100 announcement | Nikon Rumors. Coming hot on the heels of the announcement from Nikon that they are introducing a new HDSLR model, the D5100 they now announce the release of a purpose built uni-direction microphone – the ME-1. Now lets see of they can go one better than Canon and include “Magic Lantern” type audio monitoring and controls as standard….

Pocket Light Meter for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on the iTunes App Store

Pocket Light Meter for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on the iTunes App Store. Have to try this-its free afterall. A Light meter for your iPhone- nifty:)

B&H HDSLR Hub: Learn With A Pro

B&H HDSLR Hub: Learn With A Pro. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have visited B&H photographic in New York, then you will know the wealth of expertise and the incredible selection of equipment they have on offer. Well those nice guys have gone and outdone themselves. They have teamed up with Shane Hurlbut, ASC to launch a free website to deal with the ever growing HDSLR cinematography market. There are tutorial videos and an Interactive Guide to HDSLR – this is WELL WORTH checking out. Thank you B&H.:)

Hair competition lighting diagram

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