Interview with the Sunday Business Post about MojoCon

I was approached just over a week ago by Steve Dempsey who writes for the Irish Newspaper: The Sunday Business Post.

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The article Steve wrote about MojoCon is available here but its behind a paywall so I asked Steve if he wouldn’t mind me posting the questions he asked me and my answers here on the blog. So with Steve’s permission, here it is:

Q1.     How would you explain to a technophobe grandmother how mobile technology is changing journalism?

A1. I work in television so I will take TV as my case study. The simplest way to demonstrate the evolution of mobile journalism would be to do a quick demonstration. I would begin with a compare and contrast exercise showing traditional television equipment versus mobile:

Here’s what it would involve:

A Photo of a Broadcast Quality News Camera Kit Value: €50,000

A Photo of a Broadcast Editing System Value: €25,000

A Photo of a Broadcast SNG (satellite) Vehicle: Value: €250,000

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I would explain, in simple terms, the role of each of these pieces of equipment and the highly skilled people who operate them in making the evening news bulletin. I would talk about how a television journalist works with these different people to create their stories for the news or how it happens that a journalist can appear live on air. Once I can see that the “granny” has understood the process, roles and logistics of traditional news gathering I would take an iPhone out of my pocket, connect it to her television and play a news story shot by one of our mobile journalists. Then I would ask her did she notice anything different from the stories she sees each night on the news. If we have done our jobs well, then she should notice no discernible difference save perhaps the subject matter is a little lighter than the “top stories of the day” and it is at this point I would demonstrate, not explain, how the story was shot and potentially edited using just the mobile device and a few small accessories.

The second part of the demonstration would feature a bag of traditional journalism equipment. In the bag would be a radio, a laptop, a pocket stills camera, a consumer dv video camera, a minidisc audio recorder, microphone, headphone and notepad and pen. Then item by item I would demonstrate how the mobile phone has a similar function built in and how it really is the swiss army knife of the modern journalist. If the message was received – job accomplished.

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If not, for my last attempt, I would borrow a tale from Michael Rosenblum, who started the self-shoot journalism (video Journalism) movement. Rosenblum, who is speaking at the conference, uses the the introduction of the Gutenberg Printing press as an example of disruptive technology. He compares the process, roles and logistics of making a Bible by hand, the painstaking craft of creating the vellum, harvesting and sourcing the spices and berries to make the ink, the years of learning needed to become a scribe and the additional skills of the illuminator/illustrator – a process of immense skill and craftsmanship and one which produced about one exquisite, priceless Bible per year, per monastery. Then Gutenberg created a way to cast the characters needed to create typefaces and once he had those moulds he could create identical multiples of each character, then with care assembling those characters into sentences and paragraphs he could ink them and apply the ink to paper and in a fraction of the time to produce a page or an entire Bible.

Rosenblum poses the question, how might the scribes and illustrators have reacted when they first laid their eyes on the work of Gutenberg?. Might they have called it inferior quality, poor craftsmanship, might they have gone further and cited his work as heretical and an insult to God? Several hundred years later Gutenberg’s Press is generally regarded as the disruptive force which created the modern print industry. The memory of the highly skilled scribes who handcrafted manuscripts on vellum are reserved for the annals of history.

Q 2.     Where are we in the evolution of journalism due to technology; tip of the iceberg, inflection point, or has most of the disruption you expect already occurred?

A2. I believe we are in the early days of this disruption in journalism and mobile is only one aspect of that evolution. The iPhone was launched in 2007 so it will be 8 years old this year. It has evolved a lot over this time and inspired many similar devices and platforms. Even at that, it is still not a mature product, there are several unfortunate limitations which are slowing adoption and preventing mobile journalism from becoming a truly mainstream solution. Those issues relate to battery life, storage capacity, robustness, lens and imaging chip specifications, technical standards and interfaces and cost. Most of the pioneering work that has taken place relating to mobile journalism has happened in spite of these limitations. There are now numerous accessories and workarounds available to overcome these challenges but these complicate the process, unnecessarily in my opinion.

I do believe that we are probably about to surpass Moore’s law with regard to the technological development cycle of processors etc, the new challenge is in fact overcoming the obvious policy of manufacturers to build in annual obsolescence cycles and force strictly managed, year on year, modest incremental improvement policies. In other words the biggest thing holding back mobile journalism is not actually the evolution of technological capabilities, its the desire to maximise profit year on year by the manufacturers. Sure you might challenge that statement by countering, without the profit there would be no product, but I don’t agree. Mobile journalism at the moment is taking a selection of devices which are not strictly “built for purpose” and using software (Apps) to overcome some of those shortcomings and accessories to overcome the rest. Where the inflection point will appear is when one of the manufacturers decide the journalism & professional content creation market is ready for a dedicated product solution (or accessory) which combines all of the core functionality currently in use but with all the limitations listed above mitigated by being factored into the design also.

There have been some attempts at this already, the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the Panasonic CM1 and a limited number of others but all these devices are aimed primarily at the general public with a few high end “niche” features to try and lure journalists to adopt them also. For me the most interesting thing here is that this bespoke device/accessory may not come from one of the big mobile manufacturers, it may evolve through a crowd funding campaign which will eventually be swallowed by one of the behemoths to take ownership of the IP and see if the product is ready for mass market production. While this process bubbles away in the background, new devices will come on stream that no one in mainstream media will have envisaged but which will leverage the highly connected global user base to bypass traditional delivery channels.

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Though the jury is out on Google Glass, (I’m not convinced Google is finished with it yet,) I think all eyes will be on the Apple watch to see can wearables go mainstream. Glass may have received the lions share of publicity but there is an ever expanding range of alternative wearable cameras which will be far more discreet and less likely to provoke the ire of the “innocent bystander”. Also I believe 360º Video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and RPVs (UAV’s/Drones) are all in their very early evolutionary cycle and will in time have an even more substantial impact on journalism and visual content creation.

Q 3.     How is the day to day job of the journalist changing due to mobile technology, and what does a modern, mobile journalist’s toolkit now look like?

A3 That depends very much on two things, one, the attitude and aptitude of the journalist and two, the awareness and vision of their editorial team/management. I’m still surprised when I deliver presentations to management in organisations who are very obviously taken aback by the quality and diversity of content that can be produced with a mobile device. At the end of the day the journalist is a storyteller, what mobile content creation does is offer a new set of tools to allow the journalist to approach how they tell a story and most interestingly adapt the story for different platforms (print/online/mobile/radio/tv). The toolkit is very much dependent on the primary platform the journalist works for. Put simply the mobile tools that a radio reporter needs to fulfil their core role are quite different to those required to produce a mobile journalism story for broadcast television. That said, the principles of demarcation which defined and isolated these platforms are blurring at an unprecedented rate. Newspapers and Radio stations are now commonly producing their own live, WebTV shows. When I researched the accessories that I would ultimately recommend for the RTÉ mobile journalism project I chose solutions which fitted our specific needs. That said, if i were to do that project again now, three years later, I would choose some different accessories which have come onto the market since and which take advantage of the the latest operating system features and new connections.

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Q 4.     What’s the 100%, full on vision of the journalist of the future? A reporter doing a piece to camera, filmed by a drone mounted camera – programmed to get B-Roll, which will be edited on the way back to the newsroom? What other Sci-Fi stuff can we expect?

A4 As innovation lead part of my role is trying to predict and analyse trends which may have potential and which may be disruptive for our organisation. Oddly enough everything you’ve mentioned in the question is technically possible already. (note https://www.airdog.com | http://hexoplus.com) Forecasting beyond three years is where crystal ball gazing may be required though!

I think the internet of things (IoT) and “Big Data” are the trends that journalists will learn to utilise going forward. More sensors, greater access to data and information will all contribute to journalists roles. Learning to search, collate, curate and verify content will become a prerequisite for journalists, it arguably already is. Faster connectivity, 4G+/LTE and eventually 5G will offer unprecedented connectivity speeds – with those come the potential for realtime remote collaboration, using the cloud to have multiple journalists/storytellers working on a combined story each contributing content and editing it collaboratively in realtime.

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I believe that Remote Piloted Vehicles/RPV’s (drones) will get smaller, cheaper, more intelligent spatial awareness, better image quality and longer battery life – with that will come greater regulation and risk management requirements but I have no doubt that live broadcast video from UAVs will become the norm in the next 12-18 months. The technology exists already.

Live video is the one thing that is destined to grow exponentially. Mobile phones, GoPro cameras, DSLR’s all have or are getting realtime connectivity either built-in or via accessories. With all that potential live content how will it be consumed? Online on Mobile- via social media. This week Twitter introduced the Twitter Video platform with the ability to record and edit 30 second sequences and share them directly into your twitter timeline. Twitter is a realtime platform, once they deliver an API that can support a live video stream into your timeline (perhaps Live 360º video) the journalists ability to share realtime content with their audience will grow exponentially. If you would like a great example of what that 360º video might look like then visit http://polarsea360.arte.tv and download their App.

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The other trend I’m watching with interest is personalised news/content. The vast amount of information we reveal about our digital life is been constantly analysed to serve us the most relevant ads, that information is ripe for being fed into an algorithm which will pump out personalised content. Platforms like Flipboard, Zite and others have been experimenting in this space for some time with mixed results but new metrics like device motion activity and eye tracking will allow those algorithms to fine tune content – possibly even measuring emotional sentiment from facial expressions. What would this mean for journalists? I think journalists have always had a “following”, readers, listeners, viewers who like what they say and/or how they say it. What hyper focused personalised content will offer is a new global audience for the journalists who have adapted to the concept of them as a “brand”, their stories, their product will develop an audience on an international stage once it strikes a chord with that audience. It will be a ruthless game though, where mediocrity and lazy journalism will vanish into obscurity – a survival of the fittest. You can see the early stages of this “own brand” content creation with the current generation of YouTube creators. For some, creating daily vlogs or video diaries for YouTube is enough to earn a living, for others, all the effort in the world won’t be sufficient to carve the niche necessary to secure a foothold and loyal following to make it financially viable and sustainable.

One other side note. I believe mobile content creation is perfect for hyper local news and would love the chance to reach out to communities to empower them with the basic skills to create great video content, its been tried by many stations around Europe but has always been predicated on “consumer grade” video cameras and editing software on laptops. Mobile negates the need for that expensive kit, with a few basic accessories and some simplified training anyone can become a visual storyteller (not a citizen journalist).   

Q 5.     Do journalists need to stay on top of technological developments to protect their jobs?

A5 I think the core skills of a journalist are still the most essential part of the role. In fact I think fairness, objectivity, accuracy, impartiality, credibility, verifiability and sound editorial judgement are, and will continue to be, the cornerstone of journalism, irrespective of platform. However I think journalists have an opportunity to add value to their role by enhancing their skill set. Being aware of technology trends is not the same as being a super geek (as I’ve frequently been accused of) it simply means taking a little time to digest some information about the newest gear and if time and budget afford, buying, experimenting with and becoming proficient with these new tools can only be advantageous in the medium term. I’ve been writing a blog (https://tvvj.wordpress.com) about such tools for over five years now, which as much as possible gives an honest and impartial account of my tests on this equipment. If you are a Twitter user then you can readily find and follow influencers who test and review new gear also.

Q6.     How did the idea for the conference come about and are there any other conferences like it internationally?

A6 There are lots of conferences held every year which seek to address shifts in journalism and news gathering. Similarly there are lots of conferences where the emphasis is almost entirely on equipment. Over the last three years I’ve spoken at over 20 such conferences around Europe and the Middle East and I’ve been struck, time and time again by the absence of a holistic approach to the topics. I took my combined experience from those events and put together a proposal to address what I saw as a substantial vacuum in the available conferences exploring the incredible potential of mobile content creation.

When I pitched the MoJoCon idea to Richard Waghorn, RTÉ’s CTO and my line manager, I outlined the concept that I wanted to create the conference around the experience of the delegate. The idea translated into three core strands.

One: The Plenary Sessions. To facilitate the delegate to come and hear experiences and case studies from pioneers and innovators from around the world who have all pushed the boundaries of mobile content creation.

Two. The Exhibition. To have the opportunity to explore a selection of the accessories and Apps that make professional mobile content creation possible and if you wish, test out and buy the kit you will need.

Three. The Workshops and Training. To offer the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry, with the option to choose two, 3 hour workshops designed to give the delegate the confidence to start their journey in mobile content creation.

In hindsight there was a fourth element which has only started to become apparent now that the event is nearing fruition. Networking and building a global community of mobile journalists and content creators who can share, encourage, support and inspire each other going forward.

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Ironically several weeks after we launched Mojocon I was contacted by the ONA (Online News Association), an american non-profit journalism association with chapters around the world, who told me they were planning a mobile journalism conference for March in London and wondering how much crossover there might be. Luckily they wanted to focus quite specifically on optimising content for mobile and less on the content creation side. A number of speakers I had provisionally approached have since joined their lineup, mainly UK based ones but overall the impact has been minimal. I am not aware of any other dedicated conferences which explore mobile journalism, filmmaking, photography and storytelling in one event.

Q 7.     What keynote speakers/main attractions will be there? Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

A7 Our two keynote speakers are in my opinion, exceptional. Richard Sambrook, Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff School of Journalism spoke at the Future of News Session at the International Broadcast Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam in September and he was the talking point of the entire session. Richard was formerly the director of the BBC World Service and he will give a keynote on audience and content trends. Gerd Leonhard, is a futurist. I’ve been following him for several years after I saw a Ted Talk he did on the future of business, communications and media. He will deliver a keynote looking at future trends in journalism and the media and some of the topics I outlined earlier. Between them the delegates will get a state of the nation and the future disruptive trends and opportunities to watch.

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Image Courtesy of Detention Films

I’m personally particularly looking forward to the mobile filmmaking session. Conrad Mess has won numerous awards for his iPhone short films, Michael Koerbel was one of the first directors to make an iPhone short film and he subsequently was one of the directors of photography who took part in a controversial documentary called “Revenge of the Great Cameras Shootout” which compared cameras ranging in price for €80,000 down to €800 (the iPhone) to see if the audience could tell the difference. Ricky Fosheim is the director of “And Uneasy Lies the Mind” one of the very first feature length films shot using an iPhone – which is timely given all the recent buzz surrounding Sean Baker’s “Tangerine” Movie at Sundance.

tangerine

The photography session has a slew of great smartphone photographers, I’m really looking forward to both the presentation and Saturday workshop from Jack Hollingsworth but Dan Rubin is a phenomenal photographer also so looking forward to see what I can learn from him and the other photographers. Having my former colleagues Mark Little (Storyful) and Blathnaid Healy (Mashable) back in Dublin to join the social media panel is a highlight, I could go on and on. Have a look at the full list of speakers yourself and you’ll see the immense diversity and range lined up.

Q 8.     What will the conference offer the different tranches of media professionals?

8a.     Management

For managers the highlight of the conference will be to see the diverse case studies from individuals and organisations who have already embraced the potential of mobile. My experience of senior managers when talking about mobile journalism is they perceive it as a journalistic pressure group seeking a method to get the most expensive “trophy phone” available. Once they hear and see the real world examples and use cases I think they will seriously revisit and re-evaluate what mobile journalism can/could do for their organisation. There are some truly thought provoking case studies in the line-up. Coupled with that will be the exhibition where they can learn about the costs of equipment and the functionality they can achieve, all this assisting with building a business case for how, why and what to pursue strategically.

8b.     Reporters/foot soldiers

For journalists working in the field they will get a chance to hear from and enter into debate with their peers from a substantial range of respected companies including BBC, NRK, CNN, Aljazeera, and more. All the sessions are designed to demonstrate and illustrate different content types that can be created using mobile. I’m hoping the diversity will be eye opening to all the delegates who may not fully understand how much can be achieved with a mobile device.

The journalists I’ve met on training courses usually fall into one of three categories.

1. The enthusiast, who sees the potential, is ambitious and can easily connect the dots that join the additional skills with their professional value/desirability.

2. The procrastinator, who understands the value and gets the logic of mobile but is hesitant because of concerns about professional credibility (“how can I be taken seriously as a professional journalist if I take my phone out to shoot an interview?”) or more commonly are extremely worried about being ostracised by their colleagues who perceive mobile as a direct threat to their roles, by this I mean photographers, cameramen, editors etc.

In truth mobile journalism is not a replacement or alternative but in fact an additional tool in the overall organisational strategy. Managers need to make it clear that mobile is not being embraced to cut costs or to reduce staff but in fact to empower every member of staff as a content creator.

3. Hard-bitten, cynical hacks, who are potentially resistant to change…

8c.      Hard-bitten, cynical hacks, who are potentially resistant to change

Tough crowd by all accounts. I’ve delivered training to journalists in organisations who are “very traditional” and perceive mobile content creation as just another way for management to squeeze more work out of them for no additional pay. Upon further discussion though it is usually apparent that there has been no dialogue with the journalists before the course. They have been sent, to participate, sometimes obliged to attend without any idea of the motivation or possible outcomes. If I was in that position I would be inclined to be suspicious too. To this group I would say this. The keynote speakers will give you statistical analysis of trends that will illustrate how your audience is getting their content, what they watch, what they don’t, what works and what doesn’t work and where these trends are likely to go. The plenary sessions will give you a very broad insight into global usage of mobile journalism and content creation in lots of different situations and scenarios. If nothing else, come and learn whats going on and at least be informed when the discussion finally kicks off in your organisation about mobile.

8d.     Others, I’ve forgotten in my rush to stereotype media workers

Several people have expressed surprise that I included NGO’s and PR agencies in the target audience. But both of these groups can derive huge potential from the sessions. NGO’s traditionally commission TV crews to produce highly polished promotional videos to highlight their efforts and demonstrate where funding is being spent. I’ve long held the view that I would prefer a weekly/monthly video diary shot by an aid worker where they are working to explain their efforts, even if it is comparably raw footage, because with that rawness comes authenticity. NGO’s can use these videos and photographs from their field workers to document their efforts and share via social media all the various projects they are involved in. The benefits are more intimate, immersive content- more transparency and credit for their efforts. Yet most NGO’s have never even explored the potential of up-skilling their staff to produce this content, usually under the misimpression that it is too complicated/expensive etc.

Similarly PR agencies often rely on traditional media to turn up at launches and press event to garner publicity but in fact they could use mobile content to create their own exclusive clips, interviews and content for their website, clients websites and social media. Again few PR agencies have even considered this potential.

Last but not least, journalism and media students. The students studying media production and journalism today are graduating into a brave new world where “career for life” jobs are long gone and the best they might get starting out their careers is an internship. Yet some of the mobile filmmakers speaking at MojoCon managed to make entire feature films by thinking outside the box. Ricky Fosheim used crowdfunding platform “Kickstarter” to fund his film. For students, who often learn from academics that follow a tried and tested curriculum, but who are not necessarily always aware of the latest disruptive trends, the conference will give them an insight into opportunities they may never have even thought existed.

Q 9.     How’s registration going? Is there a big interest? Should people who are interested be rushing to get tickets?

A9 I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the feedback and interest to date. Over 50% of the tickets sold are for overseas delegates and with 44 days to go, overall ticket sales are ahead of expectation. Vodafone Ireland came on board as our partners for the event and their sponsorship was pivotal in making this event happen. I’ve dealt with a very small number of complaints (four in total) about the ticket prices being too expensive but this is not an event aimed at the general public, its strategically targeted at professionals and businesses and it is cheaper than many comparable industry events in the U.K. It is important to consider that bringing over 40 speakers from around the world to Dublin, providing accommodation for them and then the venue and catering and marketing budget means there are very real costs associated with running this event.

Mojocon is not for profit, none of the speakers are being paid to speak, in fact the ticket prices are pitched to just break even. I was determined to keep the numbers intimate so there are only 300 tickets available in total, with less than 100 remaining now. To make it accessible to students there is a student discount code which you can request from us via email and a buy four, get one free group code also.

I think it will be interesting to watch the remaining tickets sell over the coming weeks. We still have a few interesting announcements to make. A few more intriguing speakers to reveal, lots more Saturday workshops to announce and another couple of interesting sponsors to reveal too. Plus I will start a weekly Google Hangout on Air with a number of guests on each show to ramp up the mojo conversation.

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If the ticket prices are completely beyond reach for you, we are running a competition, in partnership with the Thomson Foundation, to win flights, accommodation, VIP tickets and a complete mobile journalism kit -all you have to do is create a mojo story that captures the imagination of the judges.

Full details are on our website: http://mojocon.rte.ie

MoJoCon Update and Competition announcements

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted – things have been extremely busy since the launch of the http://mojocon.rte.ie website in mid December. Ticket sales are going well. I’ll be offering a limited number of discount codes here on the blog next week so check back for that. The speaker list is nearly complete but I have a little “rabbit in the hat” that I may/may not be revealing closer to the date (sponsorship depending) more on that in the coming weeks.

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Speaking of sponsorship I would like to give a big shout out to Vodafone Ireland who have come on board as event partners. Their support has been incredible and given that we will be talking a lot about mobile productivity I think this is a match made in heaven. 4G is the backbone of mobile journalism Live Streaming which is a big topic for the conference. I’m still looking for other sponsors for the event but I’m glad to say the exhibition hall is now sold out.

Keep an eye on the @mojoconirl twitter account for daily updates as I’ll be revealing a few more big sponsors soon.

The underlying ethos of MojoCon is to give our delegates a holistic view of the potential of mobile journalism. The plenary sessions will offer talks from some of the most innovative and pioneering practitioners of mobile journalism, mobile filmmaking, mobile photography and digital/multimedia storytelling. I will do a separate post on each of the sessions, outlining each of the speakers and their background (which of course is available on the mojocon site also)

The exhibition is designed to give the delegates a chance to explore a comprehensive selection of Apps and Accessories which allow you to bring the quality of the content you produce with your smartphone to the next level. Plus it offers some of the makers, creators and manufacturers who are traditionally online only vendors a chance to meet and network with the mojo community.

Day two is all about learning and skills. I’m still working on the lineup of courses for the day but LOTS of the speakers have volunteered to give workshops so I’m now considering more workshops but smaller and more intimate – allocated on a first come first served basis. I will be sending our delegate surveys to those of you who have already purchased tickets very soon so you’ll get first pick :)

I’m keen to hear what you think, do you like the approach, line-up, venue, dates, location etc – please me know. If you have ideas for sponsors or if you make a product that fits within the scope of the conference then please do get in touch. I’ve had three emails from students telling me how great the conference is but complaining that the ticket prices are too expensive for them so we have a third level/student group discount code to get 25% off or buy 4 get one free for groups to make the event more accessible to that audience. Get in touch if you/your college/university are interested in this.

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I’m also thrilled to announce that the Thomson Foundation, one of the longest running international media development organisations are supporting the conference by sponsoring a competition with a brilliant prize. Last week we we began inviting entries for the MojoCon/Thomson Foundation Mobile Journalism Award.

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The Prize will be Flights, Accommodation and 2 VIP Tickets to MoJoCon PLUS a full MoJo Kit (including phone) like those in use in RTE with a total approximate value of €3000 – thats a serious prize!
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If you are a student journalist who wants to come to the conference then this competition in association with Thomson Foundation could be your free ticket. Some Competition T&C’s apply. Full details are available on the Mojocon Website

Several sponsors have been unable to commit to the journey to Dublin to take part in the exhibition but have been nonetheless kind enough to sponsor some prizes. So myself and Christian Payne (@Documentally) have cooked up a neat little Twitter/Instagram competition to give way these goodies. Entitled the MoJoCon “Every Day Carry” Competiton all you need to do to take part is take a photo of your mojokit and tweet and post it to Instagram using the #mojoconedc. We will be using a cool widget from Irish company Tapastreet to collate the entries into a gallery on the mojocon website. Here are some examples…

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Prizes will be selected randomly from our sponsorship goodie bag and winners will be announced via Twitter and our Facebook page. Some Competition T&C’s apply.

Finally I was asked by the lovely people at Its All Journalism to join their podcast interview with Neal Augenstein (who will be speaking at Mojocon) Here’s the link if you are interested: http://itsalljournalism.com/128-mobile-journalism-gets-mojo/

I was also approached by Javier Cabrera and Oscar Oncina from ElTallerAudiovisual to do an email interview and they have published the first two parts here and here .

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

MojoCon launches on Monday 15th December. Limited early bird tickets available at 12:00 noon GMT

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What a whirlwind it has been..back in August I wrote about the idea of organising a conference on mobile journalism and I’ve been busy trying to pull the event together ever since. On Friday last RTE (Irelands National Public service Broadcaster and my employer) gave the green light to proceed. The idea behind MoJoCon is simple…Connect with and gather some of the leading global network of Mojo users. Create an event where a selection of these leading innovators, practitioners, teachers and advocates, who are pushing the boundaries of mobile: journalism, filmmaking, photography and storytelling,  can share their knowledge and experience and debate the future of this form of content production. For the delegates I want to create a holistic experience, one where you can come to hear these pioneers and experts share their trials and achievements and in doing so form your own opinion on the merits and strategy that might work for you or your organisation. Explore the exhibition space beside the main plenary hall which will host a selection of some of the leading mojo hardware and accessory manufacturers demoing their gear. This is a chance to test out for yourself some of the main/leading accessories for mobile journalism. If you like what you see you can buy on the spot or order online using a special mojocon delegate discount code. Also in the exhibition space will be a select group of App developers demoing their Apps – you can network with journalists, trainers, media students, NGO’s and learn about other case studies too. Then on Saturday there will be a selection of half day workshops with some of the speakers from day one on their specific areas. As of writing the sessions planned include: 1. Mobile journalism workshop which will split into strands for iOS, Android and Windows. 2. workshop on smartphone filmmaking with some of the panel from day one. 3. session on social media curation and verification 4. workshop on mojo in radio, recording, edit, send and live stream. 5. More workshops to be announced. I think it is important to explain that RTE are supporting this event and helping with the initial funding to get it off the ground. However the event is being run an a not-for-profit | break even basis. As a result the core costs (Venue, flights and accommodation for speakers etc) will be covered through a mixture of sponsorship and ticket sales. I have tried to make the event as comprehensive as possible without making it too expensive to attend yet small and intimate enough to make it a worthwhile networking event. The best deal is the two day ticket which includes the workshops. If you were to buy a place on a similar independent training course you could easily spend the entire ticket cost on the course alone! The speaker list is still growing and the session may change slightly but the lineup for the launch tomorrow is one I’m already thrilled with. Plus if you’ve never been to Dublin then you are in for a treat. Our venue is the National Convention Centre (www.theccd.ie ) right in the heart of the Dublin Docklands and beside the Luas – Dublin’s tram network giving you easy access to the rest of the city. You can take a virtual tour of the CCD Via Google street view: Click here for an Interactive Google Map of the Venue 06-march-14_1 If you have any questions about the event you can contact me directly via twitter: @mojoconirl | @glenbmulcahy Tomorrow the contact form, and all related pages come online so you can subscribe to the mojocon mailing list for weekly updates and stay tuned for a couple of great competitions. I’m so looking forward to meeting you. Best Wishes, Glen

Mojo in Action Behind the Scenes of RTE’s Philip Bromwell on a MojoShoot

Last Wednesday I joined Philip Bromwell as he went on a mojo shoot in Dublin. I brought three iPhone 5’s with me and some extra kit so I could shoot a behind the scenes Timelapse/Hyperlapse-mainly to convey the amount of movement and shots/angled required to create a good visual story.

Pictured is the Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Tripod, 2 x Shoulderpod Tripod Mounts, DiffCase CinemaRig, and Moment Lenses on both iPhones.

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Not all journalists I know will go this extra mile to get “the shot”

Afterwards Philip edited his story for broadcast and uploaded the finished edit to Vimeo in HD…

Philip Also used Steller App to create a multimedia longer form of the story:

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Guest Post: RTE’s Ivor Carroll @tiir shares his experience of using the new iPad Air for Mojo

Ivor

I had the opportunity to go and shoot a short RVO and an audio clip for our Nuacht bulletin. It was a favour so I used my own camera and edited on my iPad using Pinnacle for iPad. What surprised me the most was the speed in which I was able to ingest, edit, compress and FTP using the iPad. There is a lot of talk about small devices for shooting mojo and attachments for smart phones and lenses but if the post production method is not fast, the footage can languish unused on the camera device. I was using my trusty “boot and shoot” entry level DSLR Sony A37 and shooting mpeg4 HD 1440 1020. I shot around 12 minutes of footage that took up around 2.8 GB of space on the memory card. I had purchased an Apple usb lightning connector which enables very simple connection straight to the camera. I have had problems in the past with unsupported iPad connectors that would not be recognized by the iPad but when you purchase from the Apple shop those problems disappear.

Now for the interesting part. The 12 minutes of footage copied onto the iPad from my camera in around 1 minute. I was now ready to edit. Pinnacle studio for iPad is very simple and user friendly. It is an app the does exactly what is says on the tin. I edited a one minute RVO in approx 5 minutes, this could of been a lot faster if required. The size of the iPad is also very comfortable for carrying around and the battery life is perfect for ENG field editing. The export from pinnacle again took only 1 minute. I then used a free compressor app that turned my 150 MB file into a 40 MB file in less than a minute and now I was ready to FTP. In total the duration for capture, editing and exporting the file was now less than ten minutes. This is the marvel of using this method. In news gathering time is everything, the quick turn around of ready to broadcast media is critical and this form of ENG news edit delivered.

The next step involved having a coffee where there was good wifi and both the the RVO and clip were delivered in 20 minutes. (Network coverage and speed in Ireland, especially outside of Dublin is still poor but getting better. I did not have a 4G sim or dongle so I was at the mercy of free coffee shop wifi.)

This type of turn around is second to none. The iPad and pinnacle for iPad are a force to be recognized. The alternative is a very expensive and powerful laptop running FCP or Avid media composer. Hardware and software costs for these are greatly more expensive than the iPad option. Also the learning curve required for using these methods are steep and the variety of formats and compression settings can be a mine field. I can imagine in the future that the decision on what camera should be used for VJs and Mojos will be decided more on the ability for them to shoot mpeg4 for quick access and ingest to the ipad. In all my years I do not think that I have ever used a method of edit that was as fast, as reliable and as robust. This truly was a revelation for me.

Ivor Carroll
Production supervisor for Nuacht RTE.
BTW I don’t work for Apple  ; )

You can follow Ivor on Twitter @tiir

I was a little early, looks like 2015 will be the year of 360º Immersive Video Revolution.

In January I wrote a blog post expressing my hopes that 2014 would be the year that 360º immersive video would shift into the mainstream. Then in July I followed it up with a post about Google Cardboard and all the other Immersive headsets that were flooding onto the market and how the combination of 360º Video and High Resolution VR Headsets which track your head movement were effectively two sides of the Immersive Experience. In October I posted about the Kogeto Joey 360º camera and today I follow it up with a 360º Camera I somehow missed during the year but that looks like it will be the first I will get my hands on: V.360º from VSN Mobil. I’m super excited to try this out over Christmas- my Giroptic should arrive early in the new year so expect a “shoot out” blog post between them in the New Year.

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Heres the Specs on the camera which is on special offer $399 (exc sales tax)

v360-specs

In case you are not bothered to follow the links to previous posts above, these are some of the other 360 cameras I’ve been following, and in some cases have supported on crowd funding platforms

360

and these are some of the Immersive VR/AR headsets I’ve been following (or bought), I must add the Samsung Galaxy VR Headset and there are several others also.

Immersive-headsets

If you have no idea of what I’m taking about or why I’m excited about 360º Video then I would ask you to visit

http://polarsea360.arte.tv documentary series from ARTE France.

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This is an excellent demonstration of the potential of this 360º platform.

To experience just a flavour of its potential on mobile download their App for iOS. Or on your MC/PC visit their website

Screenshot 2014-11-30 16.17.27

Credit to Florian Reichart (@smartfilming) for highlighting The Polar Sea project.

Guest Post: RTE’s Cian McCormack takes the Zoom H6 out for a real world Radio Reporter’s trial.

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The Zoom H6 Field Recorder is a great, flexible all round radio recorder.

Recording quality is superb.

The additional interchangeable microphones (H6 Shotgun mic, mid-side mic, XY mic) offer fantastic flexibility for a wide range of recording situations.

For example, in the package attached, I was able to get interaction between Tubridy and Photographers with the Shotgun Mic without the ambient noise drowning out what I needed. Then I was able to switch microphone to do interviews with my interviewees. This was truly excellent.

The manual gain controls are a fantastic addition. It means quicker control – and less clicking noise  (as was the problem with the H4n, H4 AND H2)  – if levels need adjusting in an interview situation.

Multi channel functionality offers the ability to record ‘as-live segments’ without bringing a desk. That’s kinda handy. It’s always good to have a studio in your pocket.

Lines in are good.

For news feature  or feature packaging this offers good recording options. It is too much for doorstep reporter grabbing clips – they could use their iPhone. However, there is one MAJOR drawback.

Maybe it’s something I don’t understand, but I did search on line as to how I could import all my WAV files in one grab when I was bringing the raw material in to my PC to edit. Instead of being able to do this easily – as was with the case with the H4n and H2  – I was faced with the laborious task of opening a folder for every track I recorded.

In most cases, I could record up to 40 tracks (or more) for a package. Therefore, this adds an enormous amount of clicking and dragging. On the H4n, I just needed to open the folder in which my tracks were recorded on the Zoom and then drag the 40 recorded tracks simultaneously on to my PC.

With the H6, I faced 120 click and 40 drags. This is not workable for any reporter. If there is a solution I’d love to know. If Zoom resolved the H6 click and drag issue I’d be ordering this unit for myself and recommending it for high-end users in the newsroom.

Here is the report:

Using the Zoom H5 as external mixer for iOS and some other Zoom gear with potential for Mojo: iQ6, iQ7

 

I recently posted a blog about using the Roland Duo Capture EX (and some other mixers) as a Dual Microphone/Stereo Audio I/O device and mixer for iPad and iPhone. Ie use the Duo Capture EX to plug TWO microphones into your iPhone / iPad via Lightning. Read it here

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 18.51.12

I recently bought a Zoom H5 to use with my DSLR as a discreet audio capture device but I was interested to see if I could use it as a Dual Microphone I/O device via lightning also and sure enough it works! There is a mode in the menu on the Zoom  to activate it for USB use with iOS.

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Go to MENU > USB > AUDIO INTERFACE > STEREO > iPAD and voila the STEREO output from the Zoom appears as the External Microphone input in FilMicPro.

Note it is important to connect the device to the iPhone/iPad via the lightning to USB adapter and to ACTIVATE the mode outlined above BEFORE you launch FilMiCPro.

Zoom-H5-

Zoom-H5_Hardware-Ins-Outs-2

This is great news for Radio Journos in particular as they probably already use something like the Zoom H4n for Radio Packaging. To the best of my knowledge the H4N DOES NOT support this function so an upgrade to the H5 or H6 will be required. However it means you can connect two mics to your iPhone or iPad  via the Zoom and record within Apps like FilMic Pro (which support Stereo in via lightning) the only surprise to me was that you CANNOT record locally to the SD card in the Zoom when this mode is enabled, which seems kinda nuts!.

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Zoom have also recently(ish) launched TWO new Stereo iOS Lightning mics called the iQ6  (RRP €100) and iQ7 and also an interesting Dual Microphone mixer TAC-2R (RRP €400) which uses Thunderbolt i/o for Macs. Strange they didn’t put USB in too! For more info click the images.

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Zoom-Tac-2R

Google Hangout with the students of @ACJIndia on Mojo

Last year I watched with interest as a project from ACJIndia (Asian College of Journalism) in collaboration with other journalism Universities in the UK and US created a “Pop Up” Newsroom where the students used a diverse range of multimedia tools and storytelling techniques to share stories that explored topics in their communities.

The newsroom effectively migrated across the globe as it followed daylight hours. I thought the idea was brilliant and I had a number of conversations with Priya Rajsekar, one of the course leads on the course at AJC. So when Priya approached me a few weeks ago to know would I be willing to do a Google Hangout with the students in advance of this years Pop Up newsroom project – I couldn’t possibly say no.

So here it is in all its gory details!

Here are some of the references I made during the session

@philipbromwell “King of Coffee” Mojo Story: https://vimeo.com/95273884

Here is the CheatSheet for the Story: https://tvvj.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-ultimate-mojo-cheatsheet-sequences-deconstructed-examples-apps-everything-you-need-except-the-gear/

Mojo Interactive Apps List via Thinglink: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/544193485876494338

Mojo Gear Interactive images via Thinglink:
https://www.thinglink.com/scene/523897372011397121 

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/523892486175719425

Android Fragmentation Report from OpenSignal.com http://opensignal.com/reports/2014/android-fragmentation/

Heres the Storehouse Story I demoed with the iMovie Timeline: https://tvvj.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/experiments-in-storytelling-with-the-iphone-using-filmicpro-storehousehq-steller-and-imovie-featuring-fotopunctuation/

Heres an article about the development of Mobile for Livestreaming from Broadcast Now: Broadcast Now (PDF)

A recent post I did about Google Glass and Immersive Stories: Google Cardboard may be the catalyst 3D Immersive Video + Gaming needs to go mainstream.

The “discreet” Lens I demoed is called HiLo. More info here: http://shop.hilolens.com/products/hilo-lens?menu

Finally, here’s the “Social media Experiment” from Jack Vale I referenced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P_0s1TYpJU

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