#Mojocon. The case for boutique V behemoth conferences.

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I’ve written previously about the evolution of RTÉ’s Mobile Journalism Conference: Mojocon. In April this year we will host the second RTÉ Mojocon and once again we are shining a spotlight on the activities of broadcasters, publishers, NGO’s, businesses and educators who have pushed the boundaries of  content creation using smartphones and other digital consumer technology.

This is my second time organizing a conference and though it was an induction by fire the first time around, I learnt a lot of extremely valuable lessons from Mojocon 1. Probably the first lesson was understanding the phases of the planning. The Pre-production phase involved eight re-writes of the business case over three months with each one having a substantial reduction in the proposed budget.

Once the final business case was approved the next phase began: Initial logistics. Venue, dates and draft session lineup. After multiple quotes have been received and a venue is secured, we then move to announcing the conference with a “save the date” campaign and so begins the process of finding major sponsors for the event.

It’s worth pointing out that RTÉ run Mojocon on a not-for-profit basis. From its very inception over two years ago the entire concept pivoted on the idea that at the core of Mojocon is the intention to bring together a growing global community of people who are interested and can see the potential in mobile content creation. I think the non-profit aspect is one of the key things that separates RTÉ Mojocon from many other journalism related events.

That said, the cost of hosting an international standard conference for 500 delegates; venue, catering, travel and accommodation for 40+ international speakers, pr and marketing etc. all add up very quickly so major sponsors are absolutely essential to making the event a success. Without them the ticket prices would well exceed €500 and in my opinion render the event unfeasible.

We were extremely fortunate to have Sennheiser, an international audio solutions manufacturer, come on board very early into the process. When Google News Lab subsequently joined the conference as sponsors things really started to take shape.

Now, with just eight weeks to go, we are in the exhibitor and delegate ticket sales phase and it is this part that always leaves me somewhat bewildered. Over the course of the last two months I have reached out to over 80 companies inviting them to participate in the event as exhibitors, or in an ideal world sponsor/exhibitors. The thing that really frustrates me is the repeated cycle I’m seeing in the negotiation process where, as soon as I mention the delegate numbers are 500 I get a “Oh, is that all” response.

I’ve started to tease this out with exhibitors, asking why they feel 500 is such a small number and time and time again I’m getting replies like “We can take part in other international media events where the delegate numbers are in excess of 15,000 people for a similar investment-so its not offering great R.O.I. for us”

This is where the case for Boutique V Behemoth really kicks in. I would love to do some market research on the BIG conferences referred to above. As part of that I would like to see for each exhibitor who takes part in those multi-thousand attendee events how many make connections of real value. I would measure connections of real value in three ways: 1. Immediate conversion to a sale. 2. Viable lead for a post conference sale 3. Important and strategic contact in the target market.

Last November I attended The Web Summit for the very first time. Follow the link if you don’t know anything about the Web Summit. It has been heralded as one of the great success stories in recent years for the digital economy in Ireland. That perhaps was the case until co-founder Paddy Cosgrove announced in October 2015 that the event was moving from Dublin to Lisbon from 2016 onwards. Without digressing into the debate about the reasons why I will simply say that I am sure Paddy and his team had good reasons.

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From my perspective, Websummit was a behemoth, like Mobile World Congress Barcelona, or NAB Las Vegas or IBC Amsterdam. A huge, sprawling multi location complex of stands and talks with 30,000 delegates trying to find something useful to do with their 8 hours in the venue (a substantial amount of which is spent queueing to get from talk A to B). I’ve experienced this myself at MWC and IBC. You can meander around hall after hall looking for interesting technologies and solutions but instead of finding them you end up bumping into familiar faces again and again and asking them have they seen anything really interesting and worth checking out.

I attended MWC just once and found it utterly head wrecking. At WebSummit I had one day where I really worked hard to navigate the halls teeming with startup alpha and beta’s who, once they noticed your badge said “Media” would instantly pounce in you to “Come meet our CEO/CRO/CTO/COO etc”. I have to be honest, the idea that a startup with three staff has a CEO,CTO and COO does make me wonder! The consensus from Media people I met was that they were actively hiding their media accreditation to avoid the “vulture effect” it induced. Don’t get me wrong here, I fully appreciate WHY this was happening, but it felt like utter desperation.

I can see from a profit point of view how economies of scale play a part in making these events so big. But as organizer of Mojocon, I am not interested in profit, so I don’t have to pander to these scales of excess to cram as many topics and threads into our event, in order to draw as many people as possible. Rather than trying to bring twenty diverse topics together in one space to “grow” an event into a behemoth, I would much prefer to do twenty boutique events where the participants, speakers and exhibitors have a real opportunity to connect. A chance to share stories and actually chat and exchange ideas, not just exchange a cursory few words while you glimpse at a leaflet on the way to the next queue for another talk you will be excluded from because its over capacity.

I have heard people say that they think a conference is worthwhile if you take away three ideas from it. If that is all attendees take away from Mojocon then I and the organizing team have failed. I want delegates to not have their minds opened to the possibilities but blown open with inspiration and ideas. Anything less would be a disheartening and disappointing result to me.

Mojocon has a very finely tuned scope. That breaks down into three components…
1. The plenary sessions with 40+ speakers on panels and fireside chats to learn from the experience of others.
2. The exhibition with 30 companies with products, accessories, apps which enable the professional production of content using smartphones and other consumer digital technology.
3. The workshop day where, if you were inspired on day 1 and bought some gear in the exhibition, you will have the chance to learn from some of the best and most respected mobile journalism and media trainers in the world.

If you follow that process through to the end you can leave mojocon not with just three takeaways but with real skills and inspiration to start your journey as a mobile content creator. Who knows maybe next year you could be a speaker sharing your journey and experience with the #mojocon community*.

Side note: As a spin off from Mojocon we created a group on Facebook to help build the community and keep the conversations from the conference going. The group now has over 750 members. You are welcome to join at http://www.facebook.com/groups/mojocon.

Hope to see you in Dublin in April 29|30.
http://mojocon.rte.ie

PS. As a reader of my blog I’m giving you an exclusive tip about a St. Patrick’s Day promotion we will be running. Check out the video for details.

Mobile Journalism in the headlines, recent articles. #mojo

Mobile Journalism in the headlines

PHOTO: RTE’s Patricia O’Callaghan, one of the first journalists to complete the mobile masterclass last Nov. with Circom in Budapest.

Its been a very busy month for mobile journalism, with the incredible inclement weather creating a “perfect storm” to test the capabilities of mojo in the field. I was interviewed by Broadcast Now as part of a comprehensive feature on mobile news-gathering which also included pioneers like Nick Garnett from BBC and SKY News with their broad adoption of live streaming via mobile.

Also I was invited to write articles for both the European Broadcasting Unions Technology magazine Tech-i (published quarterly) and Dan Chung, editor of Newsshooter.com also asked me to write a guest post on the topic. The amount of discussion and feedback about MoJo has been phenomenal and it really is great to see so many journalists embracing the new technology and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. Here are links to the pieces:

EBU Tech-i Magazine (PDF)
Broadcast Now (PDF)
NewsShooter.com (link)

Older Articles

The Next Web (link)
Journalism.co.uk (link)
SiliconRepublic (link)

Participants on Circom Mojo Budapest gave 95.5% positive feedback to course.

So chuffed! The most recent Circom Mojo course in Budapest achieved a 95.5% positive reaction from the trainees. This is one of the highest feedback ratings we’ve ever had. I’d like to thank the team of trainers, Karol Cioma, Training Project Manager – Circom Regional, Darko Flajpan, Training Manager HRT Croatia and John Inge Johansen, VJ & Mojo Practitioner and Trainer NRK Norway for their fantastic support and contribution to the course. It was a great 5 days.

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The two RTE participants Patricia O’Callaghan and Aisling O’Riordan both of whom produced stories which will be broadcast on Morning Edition this week. Here’s a sneak preview….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jrff8UWb_I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FegC8f3uKtI

Remember these packages were shot entirely on iPhone using FilMIc Pro / iLapse / and Voice Record Pro and edited entirely on iPad using Pinnacle Studio

If you are interested in Mobile journalism or want to learn more about the course tweet me @glenbmulcahy

 

DJI Phantom, GoPro and that video of Howth Harbour

****UPDATE**** Ive just spotted on http://radiocontrolledshop.ie that the Zenmuse Gimbal has also been reduced. So you could buy the entire Rig I have, which cost me €1800 approx 6 weeks ago for just €1277.94. Other resellers include http://www.camerakit.ie and http://www.connscameras.ie though their prices may vary.

A few weeks back I blogged about the DjI Phantom Quadcopter I’d just bought.

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I promised I’d upload some sample vids but have failed to do so until today. On Saturday evening I took the Phantom out to one of the most picturesque parts of Co. Dublin: Howth and did a few short flyovers. The day was very calm, with very light wind and as sunset was approaching the light was great also (golden hour) .

At time of writing the video had just over 4000 views which Im well chuffed with! Anyway Ive had quite a few tweets asking about the rig, costs etc. So heres the lowdown….

The DJI Phantom was €650 when I bought it 6 weeks ago but the price has now dropped to €420 as the release of the new Phantom II and the Phantom Vision are imminent. (Rumour suggest mid-late October) with the result that if you bought the Phantom 1 recently you will get the option of a discount to upgrade to the Phantom II. More Info here

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NOTE: This MAY NOT be what the Phantom II will look like! 😉 (Image Unconfirmed and unlikely as the props look way too small IMO) Could be a great April Fools joke though!- Thanks Tommy.

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The Phantom Vision will have its own built in (stabilised) HD Video Camera with a FPV (First Person View) Video Downlink allowing you to SEE what the camera is recording while its flying. No price confirmed yet but to build the extras onto the Phantom 1 (Zenmuse, FPV Transmitter and Viewer, GoPro Hero3 etc) would cost about €2,000 all in.

I added a Zenmuse H3 2D Gimbal (€700) to stabilise the video from the GoPro Hero 3 Black edition (€450). This is how I achieved the smooth flight but I also used the image stabilisation feature of FCPx to remove any slight jitter.

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Its worth pointing out that GoPro announced this morning that they are now shipping the Hero3+ which will retail for the same price as the Hero3 was offered – the Hero3 presumably will be available at a discounted price.

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The Spec on the Hero3+ still shows 4K video at 15fps – which is no noticeable improvement on the Hero3. The body is smaller (again) the battery life is improved by up to 30% and the Wide angle shot is even wider but there is no Killer feature that Ive read about yet that makes me want to put the Hero3+ on my Xmas wish list.

On the 4 K issue Im surprised GoPro didn’t spec bump this to 25fps given both Acer and Samsung have 4K mobile phones shipping now. For more on the Samsung 4K mobile, watch this video from David McClelland : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ8UvEdlEbg.

If I was thinking of buying a Quadcopter I would hold off a few weeks for the release of the Phantom II.

Upcoming Mobile Journalism Training courses – limited availability.

MOJO-MEMORIES

If you follow me on Twitter (@glenbmulcahy) you may have seen a tweet recently where I invited applications to take part in a Live Video Stream of an upcoming 1 Day mobile journalism course I will be running in RTE in late September. This is an experiment to all intents and purposes and Im really curious to see how the participants respond. The idea of this is to make it as interactive as possible for the remote participants.

So while the stream is Live the select 25 people will be able to interact with me in realtime via Twitter and Livestream chat. I have adapted my usual 1 day “in person/ face to face” training course for this experiment. There are 3 places left – tweet me if interested.

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A little history: I first started pushing mobile journalism with a group of fellow trainers when we were in Budapest for the Annual Circom Regional Video Journalism training course in 2011. While there I shot a short HOW TO video (all on the iPhone 4) and uploaded it to Vimeo. http://vimeo.com/30263550

I also shot an interview with Karol Cioma, Training Project Manager with Circom to highlight the quality and I FTP’d the finished edit back to RTE to get some feedback from our Ingest room on the quality. http://vimeo.com/35132184 The consensus was it was good enough for broadcast. (Note: the original quality was substantially better than SD on Vimeo)

Following on from that I shot some content to try out different gear and accessories. Including this story which was shot on the iPhone 4S and edited on iMovie on the iPad2

http://vimeo.com/40811091

I then gave the gear to one of our most talent Video Journalists: Sean MacAntSithigh (Twitter: @Buailtin)  and he produced a story about artists in Dingle which was nothing short of brilliant: http://vimeo.com/42390467

That led to my first MoJo (mobile journalism) presentation at the Circom conference in Malmo Sweden. Click here to view the presentation: http://livestre.am/3SUMj

During that session over 85 senior television executives listened to the proposition that this technology could revolutionise the way journalists produce content. As a result I was invited to speak at a number of other conferences and also to deliver training to some Circom member stations like NRK (Norway), Roos Network (Holland), HRT (Croatia), and more recently Aljazeera.

Myself, Karol, John Inge Johansen from NRK and Darko Flajpan from HRT all got together to deliver a one week intensive mobile journalism course for Circom that November – this was structured to run before the traditional one week VJ course. At the end of the MoJo course Darko interviewed the participants to capture feedback. These were the responses:

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is what I have christened “the Transition”. This is the moment when participants finally realise the full potential of their mobile device. Most users are aware that they can shoot HD video, substantially less are aware they can edit that in device and export it. Fewer again realise the sheer volume of accessories that are available to augment and improve the quality and potential of the device. Its only after the first couple of practical excercises that the “penny finally drops…”

When I was that the Roos Dagen conference in Holland I did an impromptu interview, at the end of the presentation, with Arthur Vierboom. This is a good starting point:

A few months later I was asked by the lovely Sarah Marshall from Journalism.co.uk to deliver a short presentation on Mojo at their News:Rewired conference. I have attended previous News:Rewired events and they are excellently organised with a really high profile bill of speakers (myself excluded) and its always a worthwhile day in London. This is the video of that presentation: (via journalism.co.uk) Please excuse the technical issue with audio at the beginning!

Sarah has asked me to deliver a one-day, face to face MoJo training day for the next News:rewired conference. That will be happening on 19th Sept. More info here

One of the key things I would say to someone considering paying for a mobile journalism course is check the references of the trainer and also look for examples of stories or feedback from former students. In the three years I have invested in mobile journalism I have seen the number of self-styled MoJo trainers mushroom to the point that now pretty much anyone with an iPhone and a bit of knowledge can advertise their services as a trainer.

My advice…If your going to spend your hard earned cash to learn these skills – look for someone with  a proven track record. I regularly share ideas with the following trainers/practitioners- each of these guys are at the top of their game and are open to sharing, debating and encouraging each other- a true collective.

-Marc Settle (London) from BBC College of Journalism @marcsettle
-Nick Garnett (Manchester) from BBC Radio 5 Live @nicholasgarnett
-Neal Augenstein (Washington) from WTOP Washington @augensteinWTOP
-Ivo Burum (Australia)  -Independent MoJo trainer @citizenmojo
-Charles Hodgson (Australia)  Editor of @viewnews / @CharlesRHodgson
-Michael Rosenblum (New York) “the godfather of video journalism” @rosenblumtv
-Jack Hollingsworth (Austin Texas)- master iPhone photographer @photojack

If I’ve forgotten someone DM me – apologies in advance!

The most recent Circom regional MoJo course was held just before the annual conference in Santiago De Compostella, Galicia, Spain in May this year. The usual trainers group, Karol, John Inge, Darko and I had participants drawn from TV stations all across Europe.

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We (as trainers) were blown away by the results of the stories – particularly as some of these journalists had never shot or edited previously and also as English was not the 1st language of many.

I blogged about the course at the time but here are a few of my favourites and a link to a playlist of all those stories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDp3aNOa9dY&list=PLv-3VuGs_1JNpOV25lhUyiYNouEFa4oSI

Here finally is a list of gear that you can consider if you are thinking of producing multimedia content with your iOS device:

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If you want to learn the skills required to produce high end multi media content like the samples mentioned here then keep an eye out for training courses by any of the specialists mentioned above or even the occasional public one from me.

I’ll be back in Budapest again in October for another MoJo course with Karol Cioma (@KarolCioma) John Inge Johansen (@lonelyrider) and Darko Flajpan (@DFlaj) and I look forward to sharing the stories produced by the next group of Circom MoJos.

iOS challenge: Shoot a video with iPhone and edit ONLY with iPad. Wanna see the result…?

I spent 4 hours shooting with the very talented Carol Mahon, a design/illustrator from Dublin.

The edit took just over 5 hours including graphics.Image

Carol Mahon Design website

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

If the embedded video doesn’t show then Vodpod.com (now Lockerz.com) has let me down -since they were takenover probably, I may have to use WordPress Video from now on – bummer.

Please visit the source video on Vimeo here or click the photo above

I brought a good selection of kit with me but stuck to the challenge..

Shot with iPhone4s using FilMicPro
Mics: Sennheiser MKE400 Mini Rifle
Fostex Ar4i Audio interface
Cullmann Nanomax tripod

The extras were Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly from Kessler Crane, with motor and battery pack (basic controller)
Vinten Blue Tripod for Pocket Dolly

Editied using iMovie on New iPad and used the Split Audio Editing workflow i Blogged about recently to  get soundbites from interview. Used Photoshop Touch on iPad for graphics.