Livestream MEVO Quick tests

When Livestream announced the Mevo (or as it was then called the Movi) at CES in January 2016  I was immediately intrigued. I had previously seem demos of 8K cameras at sports events where a director could “extract” a 1080 image using a pan and scan technique and cover the entire event effectively with just 2/3 8k master shots but to see that principle technology reduced down to a pocket sized device for $400 seemed very ambitious.

So I placed a pre-order and pretty much forgot about it. Then about a week ago I started to see reviews popping up and checked to see where my order was at. Two days later it arrived (with a hefty €40 Import duty) and I excitedly unboxed and started testing. mevo

To give livestream credit, they really couldn’t have made the device simpler to use. The top is both an on/off switch and livestream button. The ring around the power button is a multicolour LED status display (which I REALLY like) The 4K camera is the main feature of the device with a mic directly beneath. At the back is the MicroSD and USB charging port and underneath is a tripod mounting hole. The MEVO creates its own Wifi Network to connect to your phone and some basic controls are over Bluetooth.

I bought the MEVO Boost unit also which adds the following features:
-Extended battery life
-Ethernet (wired) connectivity
-USB Port which can be used with a 4G USB Wireless stick for portable streaming

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So yesterday I took the unit into one of our small headlines studios, set it up and did some trial recordings.

You will undoubtedly have noticed the audio distortion with the external microphones.

I tried the Sennheiser ClipMic Digital (via Lightning) and an AKG 417pp Lavalier mic and the Tascam iXZ XLR-trrs adapter via the headphone socket. Both had the same dropout. I’ve raised a ticket with Livestream to see if it could be a firmware issue etc. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back.

Initial Impressions.
I really like the simplicity and intuitiveness of the App. For 720p output the results are pretty good (a little grainy on  closeups). The studio was well lit so light was not the issue. What really struct me was that I could easily produce short video blogs about gadgets and possibly “cut/vision mix” the recording in realtime on an iPad on the desk. Mevo does not record the master 4K file – it only stores the shots you cut so if you mess up – you’re stuck with it until editing. Speaking of editing, I copied the recording from the Mevo MicroSD to my iPhone cameraroll in seconds. Created the intro and endboard in Intromaker for iMovie App in 2 minutes and cut the lot together in iMovie for export and upload to Youtube in under 8 minutes total. Now THAT could be really cool for hyperlocal news which is delivered via social to mobile. Super fast turnaround and pretty good “professional” looking results.

I’m trying to convince Will Goodbody, RTÉ’s Science and Technology Correspondent to test it out for a weekly (made for social/webTV) Technology show. If he won;t do it…I will 😉

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RTE Mobile Journalism – Where it began, where we are now and where we are going…(potentially)

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Back in late 2010 I was working in the Technology Division of News in RTE and I had bought an iPhone 4 for myself, which I had, like every other iNewbie loaded with Apps to try out. I started investigating accessories for the iPhone beginning with the Owle Bubo which was one of the first iPhone Tripod mounts. After a few months of testing things and seeing what worked or didn’t I had created-by accident- a small production kit and I showed it to the then Director of News Technology: Ray Purser. After a bit of experimentation he suggested I create a presentation and that we pitch a pilot project to the then Director of News and Current Affairs: Ed Mulhall. A few days later we delivered the pitch and Ed asked us to show it to some other RTE management and the general consensus was – there was definite potential and it merited further exploration..and so began my mojo project.

Within 6 months I had tested thousands of Apps- seriously! But the end game was I had assembled a selection of Apps which allowed you to improve the quality of the video above the standard iOS Camera and also allowed basic editing on the device. I had been training video journalists in RTE for a number of years at this stage and I was also sent annually to assist with the Circom Regional VJ training course. It was on this course in 2011 that I showed the gear and Apps to the trainers: Karol Cioma, Tony O’Shaughnessy and Darko Flajpan on the VJ course.

While in Budapest I shot a short tutorial video on the iPhone and edited in my iPad then sent the finished edit back via FTP. I subsequently posted the video online (9/10/2011) and its been viewed well over 5,000 times:

After sharing this proof of concept I was asked to present the project at the next Circom Conference which was held in Malmo Sweden in May 2012. The one hour presentation was well attended and the response was overwhelmingly positive. With the result that the Circom executive asked me to develop a mobile journalism course for them. That November (2012) I led the first of the RTE mojo courses for Circom and I was joined by John Inge Johansen from NRK, and Karol Cioma who had championed the idea and Darko Flajpan whom I had worked with previously for VJ training.

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Since then I’ve led three Mojo courses for Circom and I’ve blogged about them here and here but Mojo training has taken me beyond Circom to working with AlJazeera and elsewhere.

Its odd to look back now after just four years of development but at the same time its been a very interesting journey. Watching what BBC, NRK, Aljazeera, Skynews, and other are doing in the space is really exciting.

This May I missed the Circom Mojo course which was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia but Philip Bromwell, a colleague from RTE and someone I admire hugely as a storyteller, took my place.

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Interestingly on the course a lot of energy was spent testing Microsoft Lumia devices versus the iPhone. I’ve had a Lumia 1020 on loan from Microsoft for months now and I do think it has an absolutely exceptional camera: 41Mpx! which puts the 8Mpx iPhone camera in the shade. However the current weakness for the Windows Phone/Lumia range is not hardware but software, there simply aren’t as many pro grade production Apps as there are for iOS. What is interesting about the Windows Phone/Lumia is that, like Apple, Microsoft have a limited range of phones but they now control the Nokia hardware so they can, unlike Google’s Android platform, guarantee performance on their devices, this will, in time, give Microsoft a genuine advantage and hopefully secure market share for them where, for example, they currently hold just 3% of the US Smartphone Market Share.

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Source: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphone-milestone-half-of-americans-ages-55-own-smartphones.html

As of writing a new Circom Mobile journalism course is in the planning with an associated competition called the “Mojo Challenge” which will take place in October. The project is being led by Karol Cioma.

I’ve chosen to not be involved as I have invested a huge amount of time in developing the iOS training programme and though I am interested in both the development of both Windows Phone and Android I still believe that iOS offers the best, most diverse and powerful solution for mobile journalism at this point in time. Windows Phone is not mature enough yet, it needs more Apps and greater penetration and the recent announcement by Microsoft that they would be shedding 18,000 jobs from their global workforce, 2/3 of which will be from their newly acquired Nokia division shows that Microsoft are going through a refocusing period where lots of things can, and will, change.

Meanwhile it is widely rumoured that Apple will release their next iPhone model(s) in September which may see a new bigger class of iPhone 6. This I think could be revolutionary for Mojo- an iOS Phablet may very well be the ultimate mojo solution. Small enough to still be discreet and portable, yet big enough to allow proper video editing and processing. The Apps are already mature and the workflows proven.

In fact today I decided to pull together the stories that my colleagues and alumni of the RTE Mojo courses have produced and I think it pretty impressive – but I would say that wouldn’t I. I have to give credit to Philip Bromwell also as he and I are now training staff together and the combination of our skills, his storytelling and journalism, my technology and workflows is proving very effective.

For me, the emphasis now shifts to what next…I’m trying to secure funding to organise the first (to the best of my knowledge) dedicated Mobile Journalism Conference. The idea behind @MojoConIRL is to bring together the global community of mojo trainers, practitioners, evangelists and storytellers so we can share our knowledge and bounce or other like minded creatives. The problem is I had planned to do this at the end of October 2014 and that is looking more and more unlikely as time passes. Securing funding to book the venue, marketing, flights and accommodation for the speakers and panelists is proving to be far more difficult that I anticipated.

Sure, I’ve been asked can I not just  launch the tickets and use the ticket revenue to cover the costs-if they sell fast enough but thats not viable for such a niche event. I will know by the end of this week if I can pull off MojoConIRL or if I will have to defer it to early 2015. The thing that disappoints me most is that so many incredibly talented people offered their support and participation and I was getting really excited at the prospect of bringing these people together in Dublin to interact and share.

Meanwhile, I have enquiries for me to join sessions at a number of pretty high profile conference engagements over the next few months including the World Economic Forum Global Shapers conference in August, the European Broadcasting Union News conference in Paris in September, the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam in September and the EBU Training Academy conference in October. I will post updates (if/) as these events are confirmed.

In the meantime if you want to learn about Mojo then here are links to resources I’ve posted on the blog over the last few months all distilled into one list:

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Mojo Hardware options: here and here
Original Post: Mobile Journalist Gear: Mojo Tripods | Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Tripod/Monopod combo

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Mojo Applist: here
Original Post: Interactive Mojo App list for iOS via Thinglink

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Mojo Sequences deconstructed: here
Original Post: The Ultimate Mojo CheatSheet! Sequences Deconstructed, examples, apps – everything you need (except the gear)

Cheatsheets for:

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

FilMicPro : here
Original post: FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

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Hokusai DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE   DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO  DOWNLOAD PAGE THREE
Original post: Hokusai – An advanced Multi Track Audio Editor for iOS (iPhone & iPad) FREE CheatSheets HT @wooji

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iMovie   Page1 Page2 Page3
Original post:New: iMovie CheatSheet PAGE3 – Advanced features. Free download for all #mojo

 

 

 

Experiments in Storytelling with the iPhone using @FilMicPro @storehousehq @steller and iMovie featuring @fotopunctuation

I’m just back from the “RoosDagen” conference in The Netherlands where I held workshops on Mobile Journalism and also spoke as part of a Plenary session on the subject. While there I showed the most recent iPhone story I’ve shot: “Brendan O Se- iPhoneographer” which I filmed last week in Cork. As always I used FilMicPro as my camera App but I decided to experiment with the new version of iMovie (iOS7) on iPhone to see how far I could push it…

I’m actually very impressed with the new features which included Video Overlay, Detach Audio, Audio Fade in Fade out, PiP, Split screen and new title graphics etc.

Yesterday was an interesting day because it saw the launch of Steller a new Visual Storytelling App for iPhone. I’ve been a big fan of Storehouse for creating immersive multi media/visual stories since its launch but it is iPad only. However both are free and I would encourage you to try them both out if you can.

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Heres a link to a Steller version of Brendans Story (note max file size is 10Mb so I had to drop about 8 pages with videos to make it fit the size limit!)

https://steller.co/stories/205553277939484098

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Note: Best viewed using the App on your iOS device (as with Storehouse)

And I’ve just published a Storehouse version also. Download the App to view the full parallax scrolling/ immersive version

https://www.storehouse.co/stories/k113-brendan-o-se

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Making news with an iPhone – the Quality debate

I’ve been researching and developing mobile journalism training for nearly three years in RTE. Most recently I’ve trained over 100 staff to shoot and edit and a few exceptional staff members have taken the challenge and created an entire news story – for broadcast. I have to point out this is not the norm, or even an everyday occurrence. But it is part of a pilot programme to examine and investigate the potential of mobiles and content creation / news gathering devices.

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Last Friday, Philip Bromwell, one of RTEs Full time staff Video Journalists, decided to use the iPhone 5S to shoot a complete story for broadcast. As usual Philip used the Mojo Grab bag I put together for his shoot.

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He shot in 1080p HD on the iPhone and then imported the footage into a MacBookPro to edit it in Avid Media Composer. At the end of this process he transcoded (downsized) the edit from full HD 1920x1080p to 720×576 SD and also converted the progressive scan to interlaced for our broadcast system.

On Friday night we agreed we would publish the SD version of the story on YouTube:

Then on Monday we published the full HD 1080p version to Vimeo

I would like you to have a look at both versions to see the difference in resolution from the TV version and the online HD version. This is one of the reasons that shooting with the iPhone (or smartphones in general) is ideal for online but somewhat problematic for TV broadcast. If you add into the mix the fact that the iPhone natively shoots at 30fps but in Europe (PAL) we transmit in 25fps then you uncover the second technical challenge for smartphone usage in broadcast. Professional Apps like FilMicPro and Voddio allow you to shoot in 25fps or in the case of Voddio render out in 25fps but Apple Apps like iMovie render out in 30fps. In order to convert the 30fps to 25fps you have to drop 5 frames every second, this leads to non fluid motion artefacts. This may seem like technical jargon to you and to a certain extent I agree with that – what most viewers watch is the Story, not the frame rate etc etc, so Philips story above is proof that in the hands on a professional storyteller – the device is almost irrelevant. THE STORY IS EVERYTHING!

Editing Video on Android – whats out there? Try TrakAx an Irish company with vision

In November last year I noticed a new follower on Twitter: @trakAx and after a little further research I discovered an Irish company who may well have addressed one of the biggest challenges for Mobile Journalism on the Android Platform: editing.

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With iOS/OSX Ive been using FilMicPro to shoot and iMovie to edit on the iPhone,  Pinnacle Studio to edit on the iPad and Final Cut Pro X on the Mac. The workflow is extremely easy no matter which combination you choose. With the iPhone you export from FilMicPro to the camera roll and iMovie sees the video immediately. With the iPad you transfer the video from iPhone either via the camera connection kit (as shown below) or via an App like Photo Transfer or indeed shoot on the iPad using FilMicPro.

It might be time to update this video with an iPhone5s, lightning Camera Connection Kit and iOS7!!!

With OSX you can connect the iPhone via USB and copy the files directly from the FilMicPro Library (no export to camera roll necessary) via App Sharing in iTunes of you can use iPhoto on the Mac to copy from the camera roll.

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The quality of the editing tools and the ease of the workflow is one of the fundamental reasons I teach iOS Mojo. However I have often publicly said I would love to have a comparable workflow for Android or even Windows Mobile.

In the case of Android, smartphones like the Galaxy S3 and the Note III have awesome cameras, which in the case of the Note III can shoot at a stunning 4K resolution. But right now (to the best of my knowledge) there is no Video Editing App that can deliver in-phone editing to the same standard as iMovie (or Voddio) can on the iPhone.

So when I saw this promo for TrakAx I got excited…

So here are my initial impressions:

1. There is a lot of potential in the App, it has a substantial advantage in the Google Play store right now as there is really very little to compete with the it.

2. The fundamental functions of editing are all within the App, Insert, trim, mix, audio fade etc.

3. The App leverages the power of the smartphone so as long as it packs a snapdragon 600 chipset or higher it will give great results*

4. The App accesses the photos App on Android so no exporting from other Apps – mind you, if FilMicPro had an Android version that would potentially be a great workflow.

5. I have reservations about the proprietary CHANNEL editing process which is currently limited to six channels, though each channel can support video or a stack of photos.

6. The live Mix solution before output is a novel approach to creating the final story, its more like taking 6 sources into a vision mixer and mixing it live that traditional non-linear timeline based editing. My concern here is that there is no way to pre-programme frame accurate cuts. You have to cut between channels as part of the final mix, the App records a macro of your mix cues, fades, audio mix etc and then at the final stage it conforms and compiles the final rendered story.

Overall I think it is a powerful App and its pitched at exactly the same price point as iMovie on iOS

€4.50, there is a free version too which the developers suggest is a good way to pre-test your hardware’s ability to run the App. Thats a very clever solution to one of the fundamental weaknesses of the Android platform: Market Fragmentation. So many manufacturers, devices, chipsets, cameras, specification variations and custom flavours of Android.

Anyway of you have a powerful Android Smartphone and want to experiment with video editing without having to dump it off to the cloud or to a PC/MAC then TrakAx Movie Express is definitely worth a look.

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iMovie for iOS7 is good enough to edit a TV news story! Here’s My Free Gestures Cheat Sheet #mojo

iMovie for iOS7 is good enough to edit a TV news story! Here's My Free Gestures Cheat Sheet #mojo

As promised here is a downloadable CheatSheet to remind you of the gestures and new features in iMovie for iOS7. There are a number of really nice features in the latest version. 1 you can easily detach the audio from the video and edit it independently. 2. You can now zoom in on video when selected as a clip in the timeline. With the split audio feature it will now be possible to edit a news story entirely on your iPhone with iMovie!

To download the 1st page as a high-resolution pdf click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7eryslt6u6zl863/iMovie-iOS7-Gestures-CheatSheet-p1%20copy.pdf
To download the 2nd page as a high-resolution pdf click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hbklxarebf95sa2/iMovie-iOS7-Gestures-CheatSheet-p2%20copy.pdf

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture Cheat-Sheet on one page #mojo

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture Cheat-Sheet on one page #mojo

iMovie for iOS6 Hand Gesture CheatSheet. I’ve been promising to do this for ages! Now its out of date because of iMovie for iOS7. As soon as I upgrade to the iPHone 5s and iOS7 I’ll post a revised one…Promise 🙂 Download the full resolution image here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wyin75s56w2xmmw/iMovie-Gestures-CheatSheet.jpg

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.

UPDATE: Ive discovered a second way to perform Split audio editing on iPad for use in iMovie!

Old Irish saying – “it never rains but it pours” Only a week after I discovered a way to separate audio from Video on iPad and import into iMovie and a second method has turned up. The last one used email as the “bridge” This one allows you to use email (zip file), FTP, Google Docs, WiFi (shared network) and Dropbox. Ive tested all of the methods and settled on Dropbox as its so easy to use. As before if you want to view the video drop me an email [imobilejourno AT gmail DOT com]  or tweet me to get the password. Happy days 🙂

Ive lined up another iPhone shoot, this time (unlike Edible at the science gallery which was all shot on iPhone but edited on Media Composer v5.5 on MAC) I will be both shooting the entire video on iPhone and editing the entire movie using the workflow above / iMovie on iPad (and maybe Avid Studio). Result will be online next week. Hopefully this will illustrate that the iPhone is capable of so much more than just handheld random “breaking news” shots that are so often associated with mobile.

Vodpod videos no longer available.