DXO ONE – Could this be a “Game Changer” for Mojo? We’ll have to wait and see…

UPDATED 28-6-15 with 2 demo videos from the DxO YouTube Channel.

Two years ago Sony introduced the QX range of Cameras, designed to work as an image capture device which uses a smartphone as the viewfinder. All the heavy lifting was done by the QX camera with connection to the smartphone via WiFi or NFC. The cameras originally released were the QX10 and QX100 with the QX1 and QX30 being introduced the following year. I bought the QX10 shortly after release and I was very impressed with the image quality and the 10X optical zoom. Sony-QX-range The downsides however were the latency between the camera and the phone over wifi. At times this could be as long as 8 seconds which meant shooting video with any sort of movement was virtually impossible. They also lacked any microphone in which would have been excellent as the QX could be operated via over wifi with a substantial distance between itself and the phone. I’ve written previously about the QX and my colleague Ivor Carroll did a great field trial with them also. I picked up a story yesterday on Twitter from PetaPixel about a new iOS only Camera called the DXO ONE.DxO ONE iPhone Angle What we know so far is the camera is 20.2 megapixel, 1″ CMOS sensor, 32mm equivalent f1.8 lens. The body is aluminium. It has no viewfinder – the iPhone acts as the viewfinder using the companion App. It connects to the iPhone via Lightning connector. THIS IS NEW and to me this is big news. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time an external imaging device has been released which has connected to the iPhone via Lightning. I cannot say for certain but one immediate benefit should be the latency experienced with the QX range over Wifi is virtually non existent. But more importantly this means that the Lightning port can support Digital stereo Audio in AND camera control! Why is this a big deal…? It potentially paves the way for fantastic prototypes that really could revolutionise mojo. Screenshot 2015-06-19 10.33.14 Remember this from 2011 from Antonio DeRosa via  ADRSTUDIODESIGN? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2RDcL0X5vc#t=44 OK I’m letting my imagination run away with me but one thing is for sure the DXO ONE is an exciting development. Back to what we do know… DxO ONE Connecting to iPhone It has a rechargeable (hopefully removable) Lithion ion battery and a microSD slot. DxO ONE iPhone APri DxO ONE iPhone Selfie It records video .mov (h.264) at 1080p/30fps or 720p/120fps which is a bummer for anyone in Europe wishing to use the footage for broadcast. Hopefully the French company with look to 25fps in a firmware update in the near future. The Aperture range is f1.8 to f11. Digital 3x zoom, Shutter speed from 1/8000 to 15s and ISO range from 100 to 51200 (Hi2). It remains to be seen how well that camera performs in the real world. External audio in would be fantastic but I see no mention of it on the spec sheet. Better Zoom and Optical Image stabilisation would also be desirable. I’m not even sure if it sports a 1/4-20 tripod mount underneath. Pre Order price €649 via the DXO WEBSITE DxO-ONE-Fact-Sheet_EN

Mojo solutions: Are we ready to make documentaries and longer form content with mobile?

Are we ready to make documentaries and longer form content with mobile? This is a question which was quietly bounded around at Mojocon. The various responses were quiet interesting. For many the consensus was that #mojo was best suited to short form content like 1minute 30 news reports or shorter form social video and multimedia content. However, I pointed out that there were a number of different solutions available which would allow you to back up your HD video while shooting on location. To begin with…


Back up to iPad via Camera Connection Kit or Via AirDrop

Backup to a Laptop via USB and move to an external hard drive via thunderbolt/usb

Backup to one of the variety of cloud services (iCloud/Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive etc)

All of these solutions are tried and tested and will provide you with the necessary off-device storage.

However none of them are a 100% failsafe solution. What you hear again and again is the essence of Mojo: “the camera you always have with you” You won’t always have your iPad/Laptop/HDD with you. You won’t always have access to 3G/4G/Wifi. So what are your options if you want to shoot discreetly – for extended periods of time, without resorting to slow and expensive cloud uploads or carting around more and more gear (making you less mobile).

When Sandisk came on board as sponsors for Mojocon and opted to sponsor a product rather than financial support I was really delighted. I had read about the iXpand as well as a number of other lightning based external storage devices but hadn’t had time to buy/try any of them.

Having got my hands on one at the conference I decided to do a quick unboxing of the iXpand to run through its features and to elaborate on its potential for Mojo-in particular for how it enables longer form content production with a discreet “pocketable” solution.

When you think about the recent audio solutions that have hit the market from Rode, Sennheiser/Apogee and Shure and look at the extremely high quality lenses now available from iPro (Schneider Optics), Moment, MoonDog Labs and Olloclip it really shows how far mobile journalism and content creation has come in the last 12 months.


The quality and potential of this method of production is growing exponentially. Just think what 5G mobile networks, better optics and camera sensors and even more mojo accessories will bring with them in a few years!

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Unboxing and quick test with RodeLink Filmmakers kit

I just got my hands on the RodeLink Filmmakers kit and wanted to take it out for a quick field test. The RodeLink is different to most other wireless microphone solutions in that it uses Wifi frequencies instead of traditional UHF radio frequencies.

To begin I shot a quick unboxing video using Google Glass to show you the contents of the kit.

Then I decided to take the kit out to the front of the RTE building to do a rudimentary range test. There are at least 9 wifi networks in the area I tested the mics, two of which are campus wide with industrial grade routers supply a strong signal so its worth bearing that in mind while I do the test.

Until the launch of the RodeLink kit your radio mics options were most likely to be either the Sony UWP set or the Sennheiser Ew range. Both of which cost in the region of €800 for the set.

EG: Sennhesiser Evolution Wireless : €785 from CVP.com

Sennheiser-ew-112  UWP-V1_zm

However Sony have released a new version of the UWP Wireless (D11) set and it is just over half the price of its predecessor positioning it in direct competition with the RodeLink system and it too is digital. €500 from CVP.com


On the subject of microphones I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Sennheiser MKE ClipMic Digital and MKE Digital Lapel mics for iOS. These lapel microphones use an Apogee Digital preAmp which should position them as premium audio solutions for iOS Mojo. What remains to be seen is will Sennheiser make a USB version of these mics to work with Android devices like Samsung Galaxy phones and other high end smartphones.

ClipMic-3quarters SILVER-MKE-2-digital-3quarters-windscreen

Interestingly not long after the release of the Sennheiser solutions for iOS Shure, another premium audio device maker announced a new range of iOS compatible solutions also, including a direct competitor for the Sennheiser ones mentioned above.

One thing is for sure, with an ever expanding range of professional grade audio solutions being released targeted directly at mobile content production its the mobile journalists and mobile content creators who will reap the benefits.

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Finally!: Mojocon Sessions are now online

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I’ve been beavering away quietly trying to edit together the sessions from Day one of Mojocon. I know its taken longer than anticipated – mainly because I have a day job to balance with it and since Mojocon there has been a steady stream of Mobile journalism training requests. Right now I’m in Dundalk Institute of technology teaching 14 European journalists the principles of mojo on a 5 Day Circom Mojo Masterclass.

Joining me as trainers are my colleague Phillip Bromwell from RTÉ, John Inge Johansen from NRK Norway, Darko Flajpan from HRT Croatia, Guillaume Kuster from France 3 and Karol Cioma Training project Manager for Circom. I’ll post about the course once it finishes later this week.

Please note I did not censor the sessions – expletives are as stated on stage!

Here are the sessions in order:

I know there are some camera mistakes, audio mistakes and absence of screen displays a couple of times (where cameramen decided to wander off the screen and shoot cut aways) but in spite of those shortcomings I think the sessions capture the essence of the day. Enjoy!

Guest Post: Wytse Vellinga from Frisian PSB Omrop Fryslan- 1 year with #MoJo

Dutch regional broadcasters are in trouble. Big trouble.
Funds are running low and the audience is running away. The question is: Do people really need these regional broadcast stations? Are they relevant? And if not, could they be relevant again? It was these questions that got me interested in mobile journalism and made me start a bold experiment that has lasted for one whole year now. I handed in my VJ camera and my dedicated radio recorder and became one of the first all out mobile journalists.
For a whole year all I took with me was my mobile phone and some necessary extra’s  like a microphone, tripod and headphones. It has been both a great and a frustrating experience. After just half a day of training by Glen Mulcahy and Karol Cioma, there was a lot I had to find out for myself. Here’s what I found.
1. I can be cheap
First thing you will have to do when you start as a MoJo is to get your gear. Shop around for a good microphone, a tripod and all the other gadgets you might want to use. I bought some stupid stuff (some weird looking lenses, monopod) and some smart stuff (shoulderpod, Irig Mic HD). But no matter how much gear you buy (and there is a lot of it out there), it is going to be relatively cheap.
Of course you can easily spend a couple of hundred euro’s on a microphone, but compared to the ‘pro’ stuff it is going to seem ridiculously cheap. And believe me: The quality is fine. Don’t believe the tech guys, who say it cannot be done, because it can be done! I made over 300 reports for radio with my MoJo equipment and close to a hundred pieces for TV or Online. It can be done.
2. I can be quick
One of the biggest advantages of MoJo is the fact that you can take your time recording or shooting your story. I do not have to rush back to the studio to do the editing or to get it broadcasted. I can do everything on the scene, which saves me a lot of time. Time I can invest in the story itself. And if all goes wrong and I’m not ready in time? Then I’ve got all the equipment with me to do a live report. And I have done so dozens of times for radio.
Being able to be quick means that my working area has expanded. Before I became a MoJo I had to stay within an hour’s drive of the office. Now I can travel far beyond. Even to the Waddeneilanden, a group of islands off the coast of Friesland. Reporting from these island used to take a lot of planning and I usually had no more than one hour to record both my radio and TV story. Now, I can take my time and wait for the last boat to travel back home.
3. I can be close
Shooting with a mobile phone is far more personal than doing the same with a cameraman or a VJ-camera. Every shot I make is a shot I thought about. Shooting with a phone is like being a photographer. Everything has to add up: framing, light and sequence. For me this means that it is MY story. I can mould it in every form or shape that I want, because I am in total control of the shots, the sounds and the way I want to tell the story.
mojo6 mojo1
Also, it’s more personal from the interviewees perspective. People who usually would’ve been reluctant to appear on camera with their story, had no problem with me and my phone. And yes, people do take you seriously with a phone, because they are familiar with the picture quality of modern phones. They use it themselves everyday.
4. I can be interactive
Twitter, Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook, Vine, Storehouse, Steller, Bubbli. The list of apps to start publishing whilst still on the scene is endless. By doing so you can tease your story before it is being broadcasted. And maybe even get some extra people to watch it. Added bonus is the fact that you will get instant responses. People will ask questions you might have forgotten to ask, or correct you when you’re wrong. Your public can get involved in the story in a way they previously couldn’t.
5. I can be secret
As a journalist you sometimes have to go places that aren’t very journalism friendly. I’m not talking warzones here, but every now and then there is a situation you wouldn’t be very comfortable with carrying your big camera with the big logo. Angry football supporters, disgruntled farmers or, in my home territory: angry aaisikers (just look it up and you WILL be afraid). When in a situation like that, just shoot your story using just your phone. And no extra’s. It will keep you safe and secret.
6. I can be experimental
Being a MoJo is all about not being afraid to experiment. The apps you will use change every day and new stuff will be just around the corner. I have tried dozens of apps in the field. Some were a bit gimmicky and not very useful. Usually they disappeared from my phone after a day. Other apps are now in my everyday mojo folder (Vine, Bubbli, Pinnacle Studios, Gravie, Skitch and many more)
But the experimental part of MoJo is more than looking for the right apps or gear. Shooting every possible story with a mobile phone, means you have to be very creative in getting your story. Experiment with the angles you shoot, the way you edit your story and the use of sound and text. Surprise your audience.
7. I can be a pain in the ass
Some of my colleagues really hate my guts. Especially the technical guys. They feel like I am trying to steal their jobs. And trying to be an expert in their field of expertise. I decide which microphone to buy or which stabilizer to use and I can be very stubborn in my decisions. Not that I don’t trust their opinions, but mostly because they are stuck in their very conservative way of doing things. I know it annoys them, but I have found that it is the only way to get things going.
Does that mean you do not have to listen to them at all? Nope, it doesn’t. I have had a lot of discussions with cameramen, editors and radio technicians. And I have learned a lot. But I am still just a journalist and they are the technical experts. So listen to them. But whether or not you are going to use their advice is up to you. I have made choices they are not happy about because it is not technically perfect. But it does help ME tell my stories in a far better way. And in the end it is all about the storytelling.
8. I can be a storyteller.
And this is the most important part of being a MoJo. In the past year I have made a lot of radio and TV stories which I could not have made in the traditional way. I am now more in control of the news pieces I produce than I ever was. I am more comfortable with every aspect of the job at hand. Being fast, personal and very flexible improves my stories. Sure there are things that have gone wrong (edited pieces that never reached the newsroom because of technical issues, tripods breaking down, apps not working) but even with these issues I still feel I am a more complete journalist now. And most of all, a more complete storyteller.
Here are some of Wytse’s reports (in Frisian):
About the author:
Wytse Vellinga is a Radio and TV-journalist working for Frisian public broadcasting company Omrop Fryslân in the north of the Netherlands. Learned about MoJo for the first time in april 2014 from Glen Mulcahy and Karol Cioma. He has been experimenting MoJo to its maximum since then. Uses his iphone and lumia phones for making radio, tv and online content every day. He blogs about mojo in dutch here: https://mobielejournalistiek.wordpress.com/
You can follow Wytse on Twitter: @WytseVellinga

Guest Post: RTÉ’s Leola Lillis hands on with Switcher Studio App for iPad

There were 26 exhibitors at the Mojocon conference on 27th and 28th March. One of those exhibitors was Switcher Studio. http://switcherstudio.com/en/

Swither Studio is an App for Video that lets you sync up to 4 iPhones and/or iPads to allow you to record ad stream live video to services like Youtube an Ustream.

Leola Lillis work in RTÉ News where she is part of the production team which delivers daily news bulletins for RTÉ Nuacht-the irish language news swrvice.

Here are Leola’s impressions of Switcher Studio:

You can follow Leola on Twitter: @thisisleola

Mojocon is over but the mojo debate is just kicking off!

So Mojocon 2015 is over, the feedback has been incredible and the debate has shifted to “will we do it again”.

I don’t have an answer for that right now but I do think the fantastic dialogue that kicked off during the conference should be encouraged to continue. On Twitter, #Mojocon was where the majority of the virtual conversations took place before, during and after the conference and I, and several of my colleagues, feel that Twitter is a natural home for that conversation to continue. (See slideshow at end of post)

It has come to our attention that there has been a solo run by an individual (who shall remain unnamed) to curate a LinkedIn group to “keep the mojo conversation going”.

It is important to note that neither I as the organiser of Mojocon or RTÉ have any involvement in or association with that group. Its marketing has included multiple twitter accounts using the conference hashtag for repeated promotion and also sending unsolicited email (aka spam) to the Mojocon email list that the individual in question was privy to as a speaker.

While we welcome and encourage the continuation of the mojo dialogue and sharing of ideas we are not supportive of a closed/exclusive LinkedIn group. We cannot stop this group but we can offer an inclusive, accessible and open alternative. So today I’m announcing #mojomeetups using Meetup.com

MoJoCon Meetup

If you want to join us sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/MoJoCon-Meetup/grow/

As promised at the last session at Mojocon there is now a dedicated public group on Facebook for Mojocon also – Click here to join

My initial plan is to host a meetup every fortnight in Dublin – Venue to be announced. One huge aspect of the conference itself was to use the conference App to network with individuals at the event. Face to face time networking is incredibly effective and it is this aspect I want to encourage further.

I want the sessions to be inclusive and accessible so I intend to setup a Google Hangout / Skype / Spreecast session to livestream the meetup so even if you are not in Dublin you can still join in. We will experiment with solutions like Switcher Studio at the events also to try to create a professional record of the events for posterity.

As with the hangouts before Mojocon the recordings will be hosted on the Mojocon Youtube channel.

I’m currently editing the sessions from Day One which I hope to post online very soon and I am also working on a free eBook which includes essays from some of the speakers and contributors and photos of the conference as a record also.

See you again soon! Glen

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

vj-kit hdslr-kit

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.


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.


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.


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.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 23.50.14

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!
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…


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.


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