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.

VSN-V360-Thumb nexusae0_V360App-668x478 vsn-v.360-2

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.

800px-Arte-Logo.svg

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.

zoo-h6_front_1

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.

photo

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!.

Screenshot 2014-11-13 18.17.58Screenshot 2014-11-13 17.50.52

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.

text_img_5035

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

Kogeto, makers of DOT 360º Adapter for iPhone have just successfully funded “Joey” a pro grade 360º Immersive Video camera

I’ve written several times this year about the fast growing development pace of 360º Immersive video devices and platforms. You can read the previous posts here and here

Screenshot 2014-10-04 12.42.46

I picked up a story today on Twitter from PetaPixel about Kogeto, makers of DOT 360º Adapter for iPhone

dot

who have successfully crowd funded a new “professional” grade 360º camera – the Joey via Kickstarter.

Kogeto_camera

Its full price RRP is expected to be $1400 placing it at the top of the range of 360º Cameras I’ve been watching. You’ll note it uses just one camera with a special panoramic sphere lens to capture the image, unlike many of the others who use multiple cameras and “stitch” the image together either within the device or after upload to a server running 360º stitching software.

360

Interestingly Kogeto founder Jeff Glasse makes a point of saying the Joey is designed with immersive consumption in mind using devices like the Oculus Rift.

Immersive-headsets

Check out the Kickstarter campaign and video here:

Joey has already reached its funding goal so you can expect to see it available early to mid 2015.

Follow Koegto on Twitter for updates. @kogeto

A few weeks on the road and I’m relieved to say, Mojo is moving into the mainstream media-finally!

I’m just back home from an intense three weeks which have left me feeling both excited and exhausted at the same time. If you are reading this I’m going to assume you have read at least one previous article on the blog and know roughly the sort of mobile journalism and UAV projects I’m involved in.

photo-4

The first part of my trip was in London contributing as a trainer to the Thomson Foundation Summer Convergence course with 10 journalists drawn from Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, USA, Oman and Ghana. The course covered everything from the core principles of journalism and balanced reporting through social media, multi-media, radio packaging, reporting for tv and mobile journalism. I was blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of the group and I was also very impressed with the results, particularly of the journalists who chose to use Mojo to produce their TV report.

It was a pleasure to work again with Dan Mason who is an absolute fountain of knowledge about social media and online/video journalism, but also one of the best trainers I’ve worked with.

photo-5

After London, I went to Paris to join Mark Egan, VJ & Mojo Trainer PurpleBridgemedia, to co-present a session on Mojo at the EBU News Technology Conference. Mark compiled a great showreel looking at all the diverse use cases for Mojo across the active users in Broadcast News.

photo-6

Mark was one of the very first Video Journalists in BBC and spent a substantial period training VJs as part of Michael Rosenblums courses. Our many chats made it clear that he and I are 100% on the same wavelength and have a shared vision for the future of mobile news gathering. After the presentation we took our “gadget bags” out to the atrium to give the attendees some hands on time. The feedback was really positive with lots of queries about how other news orgs could get started in Mojo.

photo-7

After a few hectics days in Paris I then headed to Amsterdam to join an IBC panel discussion on “Mobile and Social Innovations (in News). Moving from the marginal to the mainstream” With me on the panel were Bogdan Frusina, CTO of Dejero, Ronen Artman, VP Marketing, LiveU and Sergei Lupashin, Founder Fotokite. The session was chaired by David Lowen, Director, International TV and Media Consulting Ltd and produced by Steve Bennedik, Head of Technology, SkyNews.

photo-8

Then to wrap the week up the legend that is: Dan Chung of NewsShooter.com invited me on to his IBCLive talkshow with Elliot Smith to discuss Mobile Newsgathering and the Future of TV News.

photo-9 photo-2

 

The common thread throughout these events is that News organisations, (tv, radio, online and print) are now starting to take mobile news gathering seriously.

I had some great (heated) debates about the future of linear TV news, what should new journalists do to kick off their career and how much more potential does Mojo really have. All I can say is, even though I was disappointed by the 8Mp Camera in the iPhone6/6+ the advent of greater manual camera control, “dslr like” optical focus and stabilisation and “Extensions” in iOS8 Mojo mean iOS Mojo has just taken another leap forward. Speaking of leaping, I’m still amazed when I meet someone at a senior management level in news who greet my Mojo presentation with gasps of “I had no idea you could do so much with mobile” makes me wonder if the metaphor about the BOILING FROG is alive and well. If so the temperature has just been turned up a notch.

 

PS: I will detail the gadgets and gear that caught my eye at IBC in a separate post a little later.

Sony adds two new versions to its QX Camera/Lens system. Meet the QX1 and QX30

I recently posted some thoughts about the Sony QX10 and QX100 which were released a year ago almost to the day at the IFA Berlin conference. I speculated Sony would release an update and sure enough yesterday Sony announced the QX1 and QX30. Interestingly though these new models are not revisions to the previous one but in fact two entirely new models.

The QX1 is an Interchangeable Lens mount which allows you to fit Sony E-Mount lenses to the “camera” which, like the others in the range, then pairs with your smartphone over WiFi or NFC.

ILCEQX1_wXperiaNEW_4-1200

The QX30 is a 30X Optically stabilised complete lens/camera system (not interchangeable) which builds on the original models functionality. Interestingly the QX30 claims a combined Optical/Digital Zoom of 60X!

QX30_Main1-1200

What is not clear is if either camera will allow an external microphone input, which for me was one of the most obvious omissions on the original models. I have emailed the Sony press office for clarification and will update if/when they reply.

For more information click the Sony Press Release below

http://blog.sony.com/press/sony-expands-innovative-lens-style-camera-line-with-new-interchangeable-lens-model-and-30x-zoom-model/

Source Article: Petapixel

Did you know you can record 2 separate audio sources simultaneously to iPad via Lightning to USB? You can with this and it works for iPhone too!

***UPDATE***

Since posting this, several people have tweeted alternatives they think should be included so here are the additional suggestions.

Note some of these are designed as Pro-Grade audio interfaces specifically for radio applications, I have tested NONE of these though some of the manufacturers have contacted me asking do I want to test them out.
Where that is the case I have accepted the offer and will review/compare once the devices arrive.

GlenSound Cub
GS-CUB
RRP: €1300 (reporter edition)

______________________________________

CEntrance Mixerface
Centrance-MixerFace1
RRP: €450

______________________________________

Tascam US-366
us-366_i_02
RRP: €144

______________________________________

Focusrite iTrack Solo

itrack_front_elevated
RRP: €99
______________________________________
Focusrite Scarlett-2i2
foc-scarlett2i2_2

RRP: €133

***************************************************************

Original Post:

You may remember the Fostex AR4i – it was my GO TO accessory for iPhone Mojo back in the very early days of the RTE project.

ar_4i_005

However, it was a negative experience on the first ever Circom mojo course in Budapest 2012 that forced me to abandon it as several of the journalists using the Ar4i returned with mute audio – a fault, as we discovered, in the connection to the 30pin dock connector – if it is not absolutely 100% connected and secure the phone records nothing BUT the AR4i gives you audio monitoring nonetheless.

Tascam joined the stereo input game a little later with the release of the iXJ2 adapter – again for the 30pin connector- this is now discontinued.

ixj2_p_user

Both of these devices would allow you to connect two TRS mini jack audio accessories into your iPhone to enable stereo recording and unlike the Ar4i, the iXJ2 had discreet level controls for each input.

When Apple released the iPhone 5 with the new Lightning connector-the ability to record two separate sources in stereo vanished – until Fostex returned with the Ar101.

AR101-0024_Prelim

 

The Ar101 like its predecessor could take two separate mini jack inputs but the single control dial it came with was less than ideal and I found early tests with a beta version of the device quite frustrating. I will confess I haven’t tested the AR101 since its official release and I would be curious to hear from any users on its strengths and weaknesses but as we approach the imminent launch of the iPhone 6 it did strike me that there is no device (I’m aware of) which gives you STEREO XLR in to the iPhone. I thought for a while that either Rode Microphones or IKMultimedia might decide to pursue this market but to date – no joy.

However last week, while I was testing the Rode NT-USB mic my iPad died and without thinking I used my iPhone 5s instead. It only dawned on me later that the NT-USB says its iPad compatible, in fact I’ve checked the Apple spec for the Lightning to USB camera connection cable and it makes no mention of the fact that the iPhone 5 and 5S will support some of these devices also

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 19.32.24

Heres the relevant Apple Support article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4101?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

So on the back of that I decided to try the Samson Meteor mic via the lightning to USB Camera cable with my iPhone 5S- yep that worked too. Spurred by this I googled iPad Audio Interfaces and happened upon this:

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 18.51.12
Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 18.51.30

The Roland Duo-Capture EX, is a 24 bit Stereo Digital Audio Interface for PC, Mac and iPad.

I decided to order one to test out with my iPad AND iPhone

I spent some time today testing the DUO-CAPTURE with various Apps I use as part of my Mojo Workflow-with some interesting results!

USB-IN-Matrix

* I tweeted Wooji Juice, the developers of Hokusai to enquire about USB support and they said it should work -but it didn’t in my test.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 17.46.52

I should at this point highlight the fact that there are other USB audio interfaces available that will do a similar job to the Roland Duo, for instance this one from PreSonus- the AudioBox iTwo.

This device has a lot of the functionality of the Roland at  similar price point BUT it needs to be powered by the USB bus. This would suggest you need mains (or possibly a portable USB battery pack!)

Note on the back of the the device is says MFi (made for iOS devices- Apple certified accessory program). I don’t have one of these to test an compare but if any of you do – I would love to hear your thoughts.

presonus-audiobox-itwo-interface-front-back-1024x505

So lets get to the punchline: What the Duo-Capture EX gives you is the ability to connect TWO microphones via the lightning to USB Camera Cable to your iPhone/iPad (lightning dock)

There are two main scenarios for when this is useful and let me say before I get berated for suggesting mojos carry even more gear- (arguably further defeating the “in your pocket” mantra), the uses cases will be rare enough.
Its just good to know it is possible for when the need arises and bear in mind it can be used for audio OR video stereo recording.

roland-due-end

 

Which Lapel mic for mojo? Final Microphone test (for a while) AKG 417pp Vs MXL FR 361 Lavalier

Sennheiser MKE 2-EW GOLD  Mke2 Gold For Evolution Wireless With 3.5Mm Jack.  Black**     009831.jpg

Back in 2011 when I tested various bits of gear for our RTE Mojo kits I was initially going to go for the Sennhesiser MKE2 OR the Sony ECM77b. Both these microphones are exceptional quality and are in everyday use for broadcast. However the price of them is what sent me digging deeper for an alternative! The ECM 77b is approx €450 and the cheaper Sennhesiser MKE2 is around €300.

Be6AQdkIgAAasti.jpg-large

Given that one of the aims of the mojo project was to try to create a “grab bag” with all the accessories needed to equip a mobile journalist in the field, but ideally not costing more than that phone, the inclusion of either of these mics would have blown the budget. I found the AKG 417pp Phantom Lavalier and it ticked all the boxes – the sound was good (perhaps not as good as the Sony/Sennheiser) enough, the build was robust and the price was right. €110-€130. We’ve been using it in our kits since.

Recently however I noticed that MXL Microphones had started to explore mobile content production in a BIG way.
They have a set of  mobile specific accessories including a dedicated lavalier and miniature rifle mic with grip (Click images below for more details) but it is their Pro grade Lav mics that were of interest to me…

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 13.56.25 Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 13.55.49

MXL actually have two microphones in the Lav kits. One Omni Directional and one Cardioid.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 13.59.33

So I decided to test the FR-361 against the Akg 417pp in two different situations. First I did a sound ONLY test in one of our radio booths.

As with all the recent audio tests I used Google Glass to record what I was doing and posted the two separate clips to Soundcloud directly from the Voice Record Pro App…

Then I enlisted the help of RTE News “Mojo Champion” Philip Bromwell and recent mojo trainee Aisling Kenny to do a real world interview setup using FilMic Pro. Philip chose the RTE canteen, which is a noisy environment but with good light, and we set up two iPhone 5S with FilMicPro, IKMultimeida iRog Pre and the two lab mics which recorded the interview in parallel.

I would encourage you to listen using good quality over ear headphones to assess the sound.

So YOU decide if the MXL Quality and Value is a rival for the AKG, Sennhesiser and Sony. I think its fair to say there is a choice for every budget available now.

akg-mxl-price

Kodak and Vivitar effectively clone the Sony QX10 / QX100 “Smart cameras” concept and QX10 field test by @tiir

Around this time last Year word leaked that at IFA Berlin, Sony were about to unveil a “revolutionary” device which would dramatically affect photography and video with smartphones.

sony_qx10_1_zpscb9c6490

Sure enough at the IFA exhibition Sony announced the QX10 and QX100 smart cameras. As soon as they became available I got my hands on them to test out and I have to admit I was initially very impressed with the QX10- 10x Zoom – this was a big step forward for Smartphone photography. When you take a photo with the QX10 it transfers a low resolution version to your camera roll – these two shots of my dad are those low res images at the wide and zoom end of the lens range.

image photo-3

However the issues soon became apparent when trying to shoot fast moving action – the image on my iPhone via WiFi connection between the QX10 and my iPhone was at times 2-3 secs behind the camera – this made shooting any fast moving action all but impossible in video mode!

I just noticed today (though these may be on the market for quite some time) that Kodak have released and previewed what I can only call “a clone”. The Kodak SL10 and SL25 are to all intents and purposes copies (sorry to be brutal but that is how it appears) Click the link above to see the specs.

kodak-pixpro3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Vivitar ViviCam IU680 looks similar but is actually a different and more interesting concept. The IU680 is the “camera” body and it will accept lenses from the Vivitar camera range. According to PhotoRumours.com the IU680 was shown as a prototype at CES but has not actually entered production. 

Vivitar-IU680-Interchangeable-Lens-Camera-for-Smartphones-Revealed-at-CES-2014-416212-2

Anyway with IFA 2015  only weeks away its probably worth knowing the good and bad of the Sony models – in case they decide to introduce a new version or upgrade the current models…

I gave the QX10 to an RTE colleague Ivor Carroll, who, like me, loves testing out new gadgets and exploring their potential for broadcast applications. Ivor wrote up this piece on the QX10 several months ago – its my bad that it has taken so long to get it on the blog but it is still relevant and worth a read:

Sony QX10 Review
by Ivor Carroll

Had the good fortune to get a loaner from Glen Mulcahy of the the DSC QX10 smart phone camera attachment. I used it with an iPhone 4 and cut on an iPad with pinnacle for iPad. First impressions were that the QX10 is a very cool and very innovative piece of kit. It’s been a while since I have seen something with no rivals in the market. The QX10 is a camera attachment that uses your smart phone as the control and viewfinder. Its looks just like a lens but it hides a small micro sd recording function also. I tested it really for video and not photos. So my thoughts below are about moving pictures.

So, is it any good? Well the answer is yes. The image quality for video is very good. In video mode it is on fully automatic so there is no control but the results are very good. I would compare the quality of the auto settings in the QX10 as on a par if not better than the go pro. All my testing was hand held and the stabiliser is very good and the results in low light were very impressive.

Look at the YouTube links below and excuse the very bored children but we have been having some very bad weather and hense very bored kids.

The unit is also small and compact. It’s easy to carry and you would not find it annoying or cumbersome to carry on your person. It’s a great gizmo, gimmicky gadget but is it worth it? Well let’s look at the pros and cons…

The pros.
The 10 to 1 zoom is the number one strength of this device. The facility to zoom with a small device like this is a game changer. In my world more zoom equals more story. The wide angle at the beginning of the zoom is very good, shooting in small spaces will not be a problem. It connects to your device via wifi and this is also how you transfer clips onto your iPad or phone for editing so no need for wires or fiddly attachments. The facility to use the device at a distance from your hand held mobile is very interesting. I put the QX10 on a monopod and raised it to a height of around 10 feet. I was able to view the images from eye level and this produced great results. This is a function which would be very helpful for breaking news and press scrums.

The cons.
The battery life is not great. There is no mic input. The few buttons that are on the device are very small. In a rush it takes time to power up, disconnect your phone from wifi network and re establish connection with QX10 instead. This can take up to 30 seconds or more. Loads of time to miss an important shot. To access the micro sd card you have to screw of the phone grip, take of the battery compartment door and take out the battery.

Conclusion. The QX10 is a great piece of kit and worthy to be included in a vj kit bag or as a go pro alternative of sorts. It is perfect for breaking news when the zoom can get the pictures that a normal phone lens just can’t get. However I always think that for the price (eur270ish) you might be better off investing in a small handheld camcoder, an entry level dslr or maybe even the Samsung galaxy android camera with zoom lens.

The QX10 does not disappoint but my initial excitement was soon gone and I quickly went back to shooting on devices that are quicker to boot and shoot.

_________________________________
You can follow Ivor on Twitter: @tiir

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