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:

Here is the CheatSheet for the Story:

Mojo Interactive Apps List via Thinglink:

Mojo Gear Interactive images via Thinglink:

Android Fragmentation Report from

Heres the Storehouse Story I demoed with the iMovie Timeline:

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:

Finally, here’s the “Social media Experiment” from Jack Vale I referenced:

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Then to wrap the week up the legend that is: Dan Chung of 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.


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!


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

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!


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
RRP: €1300 (reporter edition)


CEntrance Mixerface
RRP: €450


Tascam US-366
RRP: €144


Focusrite iTrack Solo

RRP: €99
Focusrite Scarlett-2i2

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.


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.


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.



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:

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!


* 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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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 the IU680 was shown as a prototype at CES but has not actually entered production. 


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

Rode iXY for Lightning Unboxing and initial recording test.


The last unboxing/test/review for today is the Rode iXY Stereo microphone for Apple Lightning devices.


I bought the original iXY for the Apple 30pin dock connector and I have used it several times with the optional Rode SmartGrip to mount it on top of my DSLR while recording in the field.


The fact that both iXY devices can record at 96000Hz is pretty damn impressive. (That’s double CD quality to the man on the street)

Anyway here is the Unboxing Video and the sound clip recorded using the iXY with my iPhone 5S and the RodeRec App

For more information on either version of the iXY visit the Rode Micro Site

Testing the @Rodemics NT-USB Microphone against the Samson Meteor


I took delivery of the new Rode NT-USB microphone yesterday and committed to doing a studio test with it today.
The first thing I did was unpack it so see whats in the box.

I decided to test it against my current USB mic: the Samson Meteor.

I asked my frined and colleague Cian McCormack, who is a reporter with our Morning Ireland radio show, to read a piece of script.
He has a trained “Radio Voice” and also has a great appreciation of good sound so I was eager the hear his opinions also.

Here are the recordings from Voice Record Pro uploaded directly from the App to Soundcloud.

In case you are wondering what Cian is talking about in the test, he cycled the full length of Ireland, from Malin to Mizen Head recently and broadcast his adventures along the way!


Here’s a link to the feature on the website. You can follow Cian on Twitter

I tweeted that I would be trying out the NT-USB and asked had any of my followers suggestions for tests.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 14.48.11

Iain Collins, this is just for you:

TWO things struck me from that test:
1. If you hit off the Popshield on the NT-USB you gat an incredible bass hum so avoid that – BIG TIME.
2. It clearly picked up the staff to my right, one of whom coughed several times during recording, so not ideal for noisy environments.

Ultimate take away: The NT-USB is a well built, sturdy Microphone which performs best in a studio environment. The sound is clean, bright with great frequency response (Cian’s words) and I particularly like that you can use it with you iPad/iPhone as well as you Mac or PC. For more info visit the Rode Website


Rode Smartlav (original) Versus New Rode Smartlav+ Recording booth comparison


When Rode microphones originally announced the SmartLav in early 2013 I posted a blog about it as I was really excited and I believed it could be a huge step in the evolution of “budget” mobile journalism. During a mojo course in Budapest myself and John Inge Johansen from NRK tested it with FilMicPro but we discovered the main issue is the absence of audio gain in the App. (I subsequently discovered that MoviePro had added in App audio gain)


A number of weeks ago Rode announced an update called the SmartLav+ and certainly everything I’ve read suggests the audio fidelity is definitely higher in the the new capsule so today I took the SmartLav+ and the original smartly into one of our soundproof audio booths to do a side by side test. I recorded the test using glass and on the iPhone 5s I used Voice Record pro for the audio recording.

So here are the recordings:

Certainly my initial impression is that the SmartLav+ has substantially less hiss but it also sounds like it has also lost some of the richness in the bass.

I’m no audio expert – so I will defer to the judgement of some of my esteemed colleagues from radio who may comment. You can hopefully decide for yourself.

Its worth noting that FilMicPro will have audio gain as a feature in the upcoming Version 4 release.

For more information on the SmartLav+ visit the dedicated Rode micro site:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 17.59.00


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