Livestream MEVO Quick tests

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

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

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

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

boost1-d

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

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

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

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

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

Google Glass , its concept, design and possible room to improve- a discussion document.

UPDATE ******

I just picked up this article in Engadget about Meta Pro.  Now this looks VERY interesting indeed.

yeahMetaPro_shot_one03

One of the first things that struck me about the build of their immersive glasses is that they have built in surface tracking (think Microsoft Kinect) and gesture tracking (think Leap motion) and also an IMU (inertial measurement unit – think the core sensor of many Quadcopters) as well as HD displays etc etc. Check out their video… I WANT ONE OF THESE!!!

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Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely believe Google Glass (or a similar wearable & connected device) will revolutionise multiple industries, eg. technical support, medicine, broadcast, navigation, marketing etc etc but in the absence of the opportunity to actually try them out I can only express an opinion abut the design and configuration as I understand it through the eyes of Glass Explorers…

So to begin lets look at What “Glass” is and What it can do…

If you are interested in a superb, forensic level teardown of the device then visit: http://www.catwig.com/google-glass-teardown/

The Fundamentals are:

Optical Display | Main Logic Board | TouchPad | Microphone | Speaker | HD Camera | Battery

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Image from http://www.catwig.com/google-glass-teardown/ This work is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA 3.0.

So my first observation is the DESIGN…for a first generation device I think Google did a pretty good job. The Titanium (bendable) frame is very slick and without the tinted glass lenses the device does look “quite” discreet- certainly compared to the earlier prototypes anyway!

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See members of the Glass dev team talk about the prototypes here

But heres the thing, when you wear it you do look like a bit of a nerd, Im OK with that to be honest, I’ve carried a Leatherman on my belt for the last 15 years and have gotten quite used to the smartass “boy scout” remarks. But one thing does irk me, and that is the position of the prism/display. BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones referred to  the display as “what looks like a 20″ plasma hanging in the distance” but what I have yet to witness in reality is watching someone “look up to the right” to check the display. I genuinely wonder if one eye attempting to focus a few centimeters away and the other attempting to mimic the focal point but without any reference will be both a strain on my aging eye muscles and a long term RSI risk. Try it yourself…hold a finger in front of one eye (about an inch away from your face) and try to focus on it for more than a minute!

For a more detailed analysis of the potential risks with the offset display read this article on/by Steve Mann.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/profiles/steve-mann-my-augmediated-life

(Maybe there are some very clever prism di-opters in there to trick your right eye into believeing its focussing 3 meters away?)

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VOICE RECOGNITION. I do think the voice recognition is a good idea, being able to be hands free all the time is very useful and the other benefit is that encouraging people to perform an action for you is VERY SIMPLE. If you consider CNNs plans to release a Google Glass App (GlassWare) especially for the iReport UGC project then it is possible to see how quickly Glass could be leveraged for getting content- potentially in realtime!

“OK Glass, Stream to YouTube” or “OK Glass, Stream to iReportLIVE” that’s a hell of a lot simpler than trying to encourage a member of the public to…Take out their mobile device, hold it horizontally, record some video, contact the newsroom to let them know you have some great UGC content, use your own mobile data allowance to upload it to the newsroom servers and wait for it to finish sending before getting confirmation its there, then wait for editorial review and note it may not be used – but while we have you on the phone can we ask you ten questions to establish who you are and whether you are a trustworthy source. PS-thanks for the effort!

With a device like Glass it will be possible to quickly establish where you are (GPS/GeoLocation data) Who you are via social media accounts, iReport user account etc and whether you are a power (repeat) user/contributor. Members of the public will start to feel like professional stringers!

In relation to VoiceRecog, hopefully the command list will expand so you can teach Glass to learn your voice patterns and then in time recognise complete sentences – the way Apples Siri does (is supposed to). The risk being something like this….(haha)

HD CAMERA – the Camera is HD, well 720p HD with a 5 megapixel photo resolution. There is room for improvement here, in February 2013, at the World Mobile Congress Aptina and Omnivision both announced they would be shipping a 13megapixel mobile imaging sensor that would be capable of record video at 4K resolution 25/30 fps. At the same conference Qualcomm announced they too, would have a new Chip, the Snapdragon 800 which is at the core of Samsung’s Galaxy Note III. One of the first smartphones (Android) capable of shooting at 4K resolution. For an interesting review of the Galaxy Note III 4K ability see renowned cameraman/director/DP Philip Blooms blog.

The other limitation is the storage within Glass – 12Gb of “useable” flash memory. Thats pretty meager when it comes to HD video and is probably part of the reason the camera is just 5mpx/720p. When shooting video the camera has a default record time of two minutes.

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While on the topic of the camera,Image
can I introduce you to PivotHead – think GoPro in a pair of Sports Sunglasses. This is the Pivothead Durango Smoke, heres a snippit of some of its features…..
– Control: Connect your Pivotheads to your iOS or Android device with the Pivothead Mobile Apps to configure video recording and image capture settings, download files, and more.
– Video: One-button video capture | 1080p, 30fps | 720p, 60fps | 720p, 30fps
– Photos: Capture 8, 5, or 3 megapixel photos
– Timelapse: 6 setting modes for capturing full-resolution (8 megapixel)  time-lapse sequences
– Burst mode: Capture bursts of 3, 5, 10, or 16 images at full resolution

BATTERY The “One Day of Typical Use” line in the spec document above is a little of an overstatement. Maybe if you sleep for 22hours a day its true – but most reviews I’ve seen suggest about 2 hours operational time – particularly if shooting video.

I think its worth pointing out the latest developments in batteries designed using carbon nano-tubes and graphene. A recent article on computerworld.com highlighted a research project in New Jersey Institute of technology where the researchers managed to build a flexible carbon-nanotube battery. An article earlier in the year on extremetech.com outlined the potential of Graphene as a superconductor and how it could revolutionise the battery industry and electric car industry. However other new battery technology is on the doorstep too, Lithium Sulphur batteries claim 5 x the energy density of Lithium-Ion batteries and several companies are researching Lithium Air as an even more efficient solution. Bottom line: battery technology is finally developing at an ever increasing speed –its nowhere near Moore’s Law but its going in the right direction.

TOUCHPAD I guess the touchpad is there as a backup in case you run out of voice commands or develop laryngitis🙂 but seriously though, Ive seen several videos on you tube with users fumbling to navigate what is a fairly shallow control hierarchy. Its here that I think a smart watch or the like my actually have a use. If a smart watch (or mobile phone) was paired with the headset then you could probaly navigate the menus far quicker and more efficiently than swiping at the arm of the headset – and heres another possible use for the smart watch – what if it had a detachable microphone as part of the body which would act as a bluetooth or wifi microphone for the headset allowing you to actually record interviews with people witout sitting on their lap. If you are wondering what the hell Im talking about then take a look at the demo videos  from Robert Schoble.

Now heres where I start to wander off into my own little dream world where lots of different technologies collide/converge into a hodge-podge of ideas.

What if there was a wearable computer (like Glass) but that had…

1. A full HD or 4K camera in the centre of the frame, with a shutter to open/close it (for those paranoid folks)
2. Had a Transparent/Bendable OLED technology display that covers the entire visible surface of the glass to create a completely customiseable, immersive HUD (Heads up display)
3. Used Smart Glass technology to allow you to turn the glasses OPAQUE/Semi Transparent/TRANSPARENT with a flick of a switch.
Lets call that Privacy mode for the shits and giggles – so you can watch movie or immerse yourself in some serious Augmented Reality/ virtual reality games – with out the distraction of the real world beyond. Or maybe you just want to get some kip without taking the headset off?

Damn, I’m trying to decide is that more Terminator or Ironman???
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This Glass uses a special film which when an electrical current is applied to it makes it “transparent” but when the current is switched off it becomes opaque:

Check out http://www.intelligentglass.net/smart-film-self-adhesive.html

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Or how about an iPhone/Android Wifi controlled version?: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/843725167/sonte-iphone-ipad-android-diy-wifi-digital-shades

I noticed a tweet last night from Todd Smith (@Cisco_Mobile)

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.29.26

where he had picked up on an Apple patent for a wearable headset…see full patent info here

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.28.20

By the looks of things it is anything but discreet (gross understatement) but it does in fact very closely resemble the Occulus Rift Virtual Reality headset which has created a huge stir in the VR / Immersive gaming community.

OculusRift1

So lets recap. When Glass goes public I for one really hope it will have a better camera, better battery life, more storage, pairable/wearbale controller (maybe a smart watch) wireless/bluetooth mic support and a more dynamic HUD- or maybe Apple will just come up with a real competitor for it?

Swivl by Satarii

Heres a neat iPhone accessory. SWIVL uses a motorised base that follows a radio transmitter in a fill 360º arc so if you attach your iPhone while on Skype or Facetime it will track you as you speak. Could this be a soultion to automate the shooting of Pieces to Camera for Mojos. Ill try to get my hands on one and let you know…ships early 2012. check out the site http://www.swivl.com/

Vodpod videos no longer available.

VidyoCast – IP based multi-source production system

VidyoCast. If you’ve heard of Vidyo then yes Vidyocast is indeed part of that group. Vidyo are best known for the innovative teleconferencing solutions. I recently saw a demo of their Vidyocast system for broadcast and I have to say I was impressed. They use a proprietary H264-SVC codec that is VERY impressive even over low-bandwith / internet connections. Ive been waiting for them to launch an iPhone App to allow remote (mobile based) contributions into their production suite, the VidyoRouter being the effective Brain of the system. Keep an eye on these guys- their like Skype on overdrive but with professional / broadcast / webtv in mind. A turnkey solution like this could close the gap on iPhone based two-way live reporting for web -oh and did I mention they include multi camera vision mixing, ifb, remote ip-based camera control, and custom graphics / key overlays as part of their product line!

Check out their H264-SVC demo from YouTube
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Associated Press Stylebook 2011 for iPhone etc, on the iTunes App Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


AP Stylebook 2011 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the iTunes App Store
The Associated Press Stylebook is an essential tool for writers, editors, students and public relations professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, with special sections on reporting business and sports.


Take the 2011 AP Stylebook with you anywhere with this easy-to-use application. This handy app lets you:

– Search listings across all chapters
– Create your own custom entries
– Add notes
– Bookmark frequently visited listings

Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism

Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism. Really interesting article, well worth a read for social media savvy journos…

Silicon Republic: MOBILE MAY: A beginner’s guide to smartphones

MOBILE MAY: A beginner’s guide to smartphones – Digital Life – Digital Life | siliconrepublic.com – Ireland’s Technology News Service. As part of a feature on mobiles, Silicon Republic has published a number of up to date reviews on handsets, this concise introduction and a nifty short eMag using YuDu which I blogged about recently…see what you think.

Olympus LS-20M boasts dual mics and 1080p recording, split personality — Engadget

Olympus LS-20M boasts dual mics and 1080p recording, split personality — Engadget.

Photosynth App for iOS Impresses with Quick and Intuitive Panoramic Image Creation (free) | Carrypad

Photosynth App for iOS Impresses with Quick and Intuitive Panoramic Image Creation (free) | Carrypad.

Gizmodo’s Essential iPad Apps

Gizmodo’s Essential iPad Apps. Following hot on the heels of my iPad APP LIST here is Gizmodos must have list…