A soliloquy on Mojo and 3 burning questions about the iPhone7

I am an Apple fanboy. There. I said it. I first used an Apple product when I was in my first year of college and subsequently bought a mac as my first home computer. The last 6 years of my life has revolved around (albeit unintentionally) the Apple ecosystem – particularly iOS. So it should come as no surprise that twice or occasionally three times a year I sit with baited breath to see what the company has cooked up for their next iteration of the iPhone/iPad. Two years ago I was in Paris, having been invited to speak at an EBU Event about Mojo with the fantastic Mark Egan. At the time of the Apple keynote I found myself on a boat, floating down the Seine, surrounded by colleagues and peers who were absorbing the sights and sounds of Paris, while I desperately tried to find a quite spot with 3G so I could watch the launch. Sad? Yes. I was more bloody sad when the iPhone 6 was launched (once again) with just an 8mpx camera – so sad in fact that I seriously considered chucking my iPhone into the river and going to get merrily sloshed on free beer. I didn’t however (toss my iPhone).

Last night I sat in my office in Dublin and patiently waited through what felt like a tedious demo of Pokemon and Mario (I don’t play games) and thought to myself how the iPhone and iPad has impacted and affected, in a positive way, journalism in its many guises. After two years of Mojocon and having had the privilege of training thousands of journalists and content creators on how to make great content with these devices, I am consistently awed and surprised by ingenuity and creativity of people who have fully embraced the potential of mojo and who can see how it will shape the future of news and storytelling.

I get tired of defending my enthusiasm about Mojo. I get tired of people dismissing the quality, useability, potential, versatility, quality (did I say that already?) of Mojo. I get tired of trying to convince people to give it a go when they have become so cynical and blinkered that they fail to realise they are tearing headlong into a wall but refuse to change course.

Here is why…

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Year on year we see incremental improvements in camera sensors, storage and very soon batteries in smartphones. The competition between Apple and Google / Samsung is a really healthy thing as it drives innovation and continually forces each player to come up with new and exciting technologies. It doesn’t really matter which platform you prefer (iOS/Android) once you are in an ecosystem it becomes increasingly more difficult to switch. I’ve spent hundreds, possibly thousands of Euros on iOS Apps over the last 5 years. If I jump to Android, I start again. Much of the audio accessories I have bought will only work with iPhone as they are lightning/30pin based. So I’m sticking with iPhone Mojo-I think!

We have seen everything from 6 second vines to 1hr 30minute feature films to Live streams being created with smartphones and yet I still get so much negativity about the potential of Mojo.

By 2020, when 5G goes mainstream Mojo will dominate news. The myriad of shareable content that can be made WITH these devices will be shared across a superfast connection TO these devices in an end-to-end ecosystem. One that will sit on top of (not displace) current “traditional” platforms. In time the mobile ecosystem will, I believe begin to erode traditional markets, this will happen mainly when advertisers can figure out a way to LEGALLY target personalised advertising to you via your smart device (its been technically possible for years and is fully exploited, in a limited, way by Facebook, Google etc).

Back to last night.

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The advent of the Dual 12mpx cameras on the iPhone7plus is fantastic news for mobile photographers. Not so much for DLSR manufacturers, whos market share will inevitably suffer or companies like Olloclip, Moment, iPro, Moondog Labs and Exolens who have invested their fortune in lens accessories for iPhone.

MojoLenses

The shallow depth of field photograph shown during the keynote was impressive, it did look like a shot taken with a large chip dslr on a fast prime lens but it also played to the trick you can use to pull focus with the iPhone: Maximise separation between the foreground and background, have one subject within 12″ of the iPhone and the other “far away” So the Bokeh effect in the image was an enhanced version of that and also took advantage of the f1.8 / f2.8 Apertures of the new cameras. However one burning question which I tweeted but still don’t have an answer for is: Can the “portrait” mode be used when shooting video? My guess is no as it will be very processor intensive but with a quad core chip with 3Gb ram maybe (and hopefully) I’m wrong.

portrait-mode

The departure of the headphone socket seemed to dominate twitter last night and I get why people are upset, though Apple’s inclusion of a Lightning to TRRS socket with the iPhone 7 should appease most, it does raise yet another big question: Can you use an adapter to charge the iPhone while using a lightning based accessory? This IS a big deal for mojo. Battery life is one of the single biggest challenges with shooting HD, 4K even more so. If I am using my device for live-streaming (Periscope | YouTube | Facebook Live) then being able to supply power and an external mic is a pre-requisite. I REALLY hope Apple has given this some thought… A Lightning DUO would solve the problem if the actual Lightning protocol can support audio in/out and power simultaneously.

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Mojo is growing, the accessories, particularly audio accessories, are getting better and adoption is spreading fast but this single move could put a coach and fore through the evolution of Mojo. However this post that my colleague John Lannigan shared, suggests that it is technically possible…http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/8/12846162/apple-iphone-7-charge-listen-to-music-same-time-lightning-dock

airpods

Lastly wireless. The Airpods are intriguing (but expensive @ €179). Going wireless is definitely a trend. All the big audio companies, Sennheiser, Shure, Bose, Beats etc etc are pushing wireless headphones to market. Apple’s W1 proprietary wireless chip may make its way into the MFi production chain which *COULD* see a selection of new iOS wireless microphones appear in the next few months, which would be very exciting. In the interim however I want to know: Can the new lightning based headphones act as an external camera remote AND mic as per the now obsolete TRRS ones and also, can the Airpods function as wireless microphone(s) when shooting in video mode? If so this would be a BIG step forward for “out of the box” Mojo.

HT to Yousef Omar who twigged this 13 minutes before me last night!

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I will probably have to wait until 13th September for answers as thats when people will start to get their hands on the new iPhones but one more thing…

I really surprised that there was no mention of VR. When companies (rivals) like Google, Samsung, Facebook etc are ploughing millions into VR it is somewhat shocking that Apple have effectively ignored the tech. There is already a 360 plug-in camera for iPhone: the Insta360 Nano  360_camera

All Apple need to do to *start* their journey into VR is:

1. Up the display quality to surpass Retina
2. Add a VR/HMD platform to the MFi programme (or make their own)
3. Make Apple Watch a motion controller for interactivity
4. and support the 360 metadata required to tell YouTube that video is in fact 360.

I’ve shot with the Insta360Nano, copied the equirectangular footage to the cameraroll, edited it in HD in iMovie (have yet to try 4K on the 6S+) and uploaded to youtube but the problem is there is no step in this workflow to reinject the 360 metadata.

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Paul Gailey who was a moderator at Mojocon2 has even built and App (which was launched at the conference) to do this called VRFIX but it is still not available for iOS, though it is for Android.

Rant over.

 

 

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Testing the Sennheiser MKE2 Digital and the ClipMic Digital at the same time. [audio comparison]

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I’ve just taken delivery of the Sennheiser MKE2 Digital Lavalier mic for iOS products. I got the ClipMic Digital a few weeks back and did an unboxing video and audio test in this blog post.

Given the price difference between the MKE2 Digital (RRP €499) and ClipMic Digital (RRP €220) I wondered if I did an audio test using them similtaneously would there be a discernable difference in the quality of the recordings.g

I used the Apogee MetaRecorder companion App for the recording test on two iPhone 5’s and then imported and synched each (mono) audio track from the App into FinalCutPro to use with the footage shot on Google Glass. Its not a very scientific test to be fair but I was interested in the results. In the Video I panned the two track left and right so if you use decent headphones to listen to the video you should be able to notice the subtle differences.

But just in case you don’t notice any difference I’ve uploaded each recording from the App as an individual track on Soundcloud also. I’m curious to hear what you think. For me the MKE2 is cleaner, less hiss and not quite as heavy on the bass but it was interesting to note that at -18dB the ClipMic recording level was higher than the MKE2. It is a smaller capsule I suppose.

Is Apple’s New iPod Touch the best budget #mojo device?

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We’re recently bought a couple of Apple’s latest iteration of the iPod touch. I’ve been testing it for the last few days and I have to say – this really is a great budget #mojo solution.

I’ve tested our preferred video App: FilMiCPro on it and it works fine with only one little bug* which is in full manual focus mode, when you slide the control bar on the left to set a focus point the iPod Touch Autofocus overrides it. But that may well be something that the FilMiC team can sort out. 1080 25p works perfectly. The camera is the same 8MP iSight as used in the iPhone 5 (which was pretty damn good) though aperture is f2.4 whereas 5s/6/6plus all have f2.2.

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If you buy the new iPod Touch you get iMovie free (as well as a selection of other Apple Apps) and the great news is Audio In via lightning works perfectly too. I tested the Sennheiser ClipMic Digital and the iKMultimedia iRig Pro with the AKG 417pp Lav mic.

Speaking of the Sennheiser ClipMic Digital I found it for under €200 on the Thomann website thats the cheapest price I’ve seen anywhere (so far).

When you think about the inspired project that BBC’s Nick Garnett initiated with Dr. Alex Kumar during the Ebola crisis, where, with a previous generation iPod touch, Dr. Kumar shot first person iWitness content on the ground at one of the Ebola Treatment centres and it auto transferred back to BBC via Dropbox whenever the iPod was connected to WiFi.

Click image to view report:

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it suggests to me that the iPod touch may well be the perfect solution for Hyperlocal content creation or NGO projects. Remember you can pair the iPod to any smartphone via WiFi tethering to allow it to livestream and transfer so you are not restricted to just fixed wifi spots for connectivity either. If you go for the 128Gb version of the new iPod Touch it is less than half the price (€469 in the Irish Apple Store) of the 6plus 128Gb (€999) version – thats one hell of a saving!

So with all that in mind here is my latest #budgetmojo solution. (it links to an interactive Thinglink image)

newbudgetmojo

Interactive Mojo App list for iOS via Thinglink

 

I used to give Mojo Trainees a PDF list of my favourite Apps but that’s so damn old school so instead here is a ThingLink with interactive links to my favourite Apps.

Click the image to explore!

Sorry I have t redirect you to their site but WordPress.com doesn’t support iFrame embedding.

Let me know if any of the links don’t work or if Apps disappear from the Appstore (which happens – quite a lot!)


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MoondogLabs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter for iPhone 5/5s Unboxing and FCPx Squeeze tutorial

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I ordered a MoondogLabs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter a while back. Their Kickstarter campaign  caught my interest,  particularly when it emerged that they had reached out to FilMicPro to have an In-App Squeeze option added!

So you ask Whats an Anamorphic Lens Adapter and Why would you want one?

Here’s a quote from the MoonDogLabs Kickstarter page:

“Anamorphic lenses were introduced for filmmaking in the 1950’s to create an immersive, panoramic experience intended to compete with the widespread adoption of television.  In addition to a wide aspect ratio, the anamorphic aesthetic is characterized by horizontal flares, distortion that creates a unique sense of depth or dimensionality, and oval “bokeh” or blur for out-of-focus areas. For these artistic reasons, anamorphic filmmaking has been enjoying a decades-long renaissance.  However, due to the complexity and expense of the optics involved, anamorphic lenses are not readily available to most independent filmmakers.  We believe there are stories best told with an anamorphic aesthetic, so we have developed an affordable 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter specifically for the iPhone 5/5S.”

 

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So my Adapter arrived this morning, as it was a U.S. import I had to pay the Customs and Excise import duty (€41) on top of the lens price of $199. So not cheap, particularly on this side of the pond and not for everyone, but if you are a budding Conrad Mess or Michael Koerbel  and you are after that “Cinematic” feel for your epic iPhone short Film then this is definitely something you need to look at…

I took the Adapter out for a quick test shoot, using the current version of FilMicPro, and then using the footage I imported it into my Mac so I could create a simple project in FCPx to show you how to SQUEEZE the footage to the correct Aspect Ratio.

Remember, the new version of FimMicPro will have an option in the menu to allow you to Squeeze the footage In-App-no release date from Cinegenix as yet but will keep you posted. In the meantime heres that tutorial.

iPhone Audio accessories update | Fostex AR101 Data Sheet just released – now also iPhone 5/Lightning compatible

Click this link AR101_NAMM2013  to view the data sheet that has just been released by Fostex for the New AR101. Due to ship by end March (Q1) it now appears that Fostex have beaten Tascam to the line with a Lightning as well as 30pin version of the device. The prototype was displayed at NAMM in the last few days. It will be interesting to see review or feedback in the coming days. No price mentioned as yet. I like the fact that there are now dual LED level monitors and and a dynamic controller – It will be interesting to see the reaction to the form factor (cold shoe mount) when it starts shipping. Head over to the Fostex Website to keep up to date.AR101-0024_Prelim

 

HHH’s New iOS Filmmaking Book is available NOW! | Hand Held Hollywood @handheldhollywood @rosenblumtv

HHH’s New iOS Filmmaking Book is available NOW! | Hand Held Hollywood.

Ive been following Taz Goldstein’s HandHeldHollywood website for over two years – In fact I have to give him credit for introducing me to the OWLE BUBO when it was first released. It was his video review of the OWLE that convinced me to start looking at the potential application of mobile in news gathering. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll see that I have tweeted about this book already but for those who don’t, but are interested in the mobile journalism / mobile flim-making movement I cannot recommend this book enough.

Taz has produced what I can only describe as “The definitive mobile production field guide” My copy arrived on Christmas eve and I haven’t been able to put it down since. The list of Apps and Hardware accessories is incredibly comprehensive- If you buy one book on iOS film production this should be it:

Buy a print copy from AMAZON or the iBook version via the HandHeldHollywood website.

Note Taz has a special 35% discount code available on his site so get your copy while you can! You can follow Taz on Twitter: @TazGoldstein @HandHeldHollywood

PS. If you buy TWO books this year then the second I would recommend is Michael Rosenblum’s iPhone Millionaire.

iphone millionaire

Michael, founder of NYVS and Rosenblum TV has been traversing the globe for the last 20 years teaching journalists and producers how to shoot TV with cheap DVCameras. In the last few years his emphasis has moved to the iPhone and its almost limitless potential as a production tool. In the last few years he has run media training programmes with the Guardian and the Travel Channel but his latest venture is OutwildTV.com Michaels book is a very readable and convincing argument for why the iPhone is revolutionising video production and what you need to know to cash in on it. Its available from AMAZON  You can follow Michael on Twitter: @Rosenblumtv  @NYVSFilmSchool

GREAT NEWS: Split audio editing IS Possible with iMovie on iPad3 plus some interesting Camera compatibility tests

UPDATE*** The Video Workflow is now online – its been open access for 24hours but the password is now on- so email me if you want to view it.
The PDF document of the workflow is also up for grabs for anyone who gets in touch.

Ive had a little time over the past few days to do some tests with the New iPad and the latest version of iMovie.

First off I decided to see what cameras (of the few I have) might be compatible with the latest version of iMovie (which now supports 1080p)

So far Ive tested the GoPro HeroHD,  Nikon D7000 and the Kodak Zi8 – All three (shooting in 1080p mode) import fine into the Photos/Camera Roll and also import perfectly into iMovie for editing.

The second little gem Ive discovered is that you CAN do split audio editing -well sort of. Its a workaround and involves using a second App to extract the audio, but after hours of trying different methods Ive found one that works. Its a little fidgety and you will need 3G or WiFi access for it to work but it does and the beauty of this workflow is that you can move the split audio completely independent of the video in iMovie  but the lip synch is a bit of a challenge. Realistically how many split audio edit will a typical 1:45 news item have? Here the average is about three for that duration.

Avid – are you listening? This is a feature I mentioned would be an absolute must after the initial release of Avid Studio for iPad, (that and in App voiceover recording.)

Ill post a video on Vimeo later today to show you exactly how to do it, however – for the first time this tutorial will be password protected. If you want access to it you will have to email me: imobilejourno@gmail.com for access. Im not looking for anything from you other than your email details to add to a mailing list -I would like to build a network of contacts who are interested in MoJo – as things stand a lot of people (over 5000) last year viewed the blog but I have no way of knowing who they are, what they do or why they are interested in my research.

If you don’t want to be part of this mailing list but still want access to the workflow video then email me and tell me as much!

Alternatively you can drop me a message via TWITTER : @glenbmulcahy please use hashtag #iMojo

Vodpod videos no longer available.