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…

7reasons

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.

iphone7-iphone7

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.

lightning-duo

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.

 

 

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

boost1-d

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😉

#Mojocon. The case for boutique V behemoth conferences.

mjc-linkedin2

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.

Guest post: Oscar and Javier of Eltalleraudiovisual.com explore Switcher Studio for iPad with external cameras

I met the guys Javier and Oscar, behind Eltalleraudiovisual.com at Mojocon, they are two absolute gents. They also blog about mojo at http://yoscontenidos.com

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They shot this really great mojo teaser about Mojocon for which I am exceptionally grateful.

Based in Alicante, Spain they provide comprehensive mojo courses and production facilities. Their blog is a great source of information about Mojo, in Spanish and English. Earlier this year on the Mojocon Facebook group they posted a thread about using Switch Studio (aka RecoLive) with external devices, i.e. non-iOS devices. I asked would Oscar be interested in sharing his experiences via a guest post and he kindy agreed. A colleague of mine, Leola Lillis previously posted about Switcher Studio on this blog.

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How to make a mobile multi-camera production with iPads, iPhones, or any other video source.

How to add a video source to Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio

Recolive Multicam is an application developed to record multi-camera productions using a WiFi network connection that allows you to sync up to 4 different video sources running on iOS and/or Mac devices. The norm is to use the built-in camera of your iPad as one of the cameras, and as the live mixer of all other video signals.

01 portada-void

Switcher Studio is a mobile video app that performs the same functions as Recolive Multicam, but additionally allows you to stream LIVE video while recording, as wells as, to view it using an HDMI adaptor or via Airplay.

Check-out the following post to learn all about how I’ve managed to go further into the use of these apps by using an external video source that does not run on an iOS device.

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Recolive Multicam and Switcher Studio: multi-camera video apps. 

I have recorded many videos using an iPad4 and an iPhone 5S (https://www.youtube.com/user/cocinandoenvideo) with Recolive Multicam (http://eltalleraudiovisual.com/recolive-multicam-realizacion-multicamara-iphone-ipad/). This is without a doubt one of my favorite apps, because it allows me to have my own TV studio in the iPad. I can choose among the different video sources right there live; enhance the production with signs, tittles, headlines, overprinting or logos; use transitions; mix images Picture in Picture; or divide the screen; I may even select the device that will be the main provider of the audio signal.

Switcher Studio was developed after Recolive Multicam and widens its many functions allowing multi-camera streaming productions

From now on, thanks to apps like this one – with a very simple learning curve-, anyone, either a person or an institution will be able to record cultural or sports events, interviews, round tables, or simply create video courses. Let me give you an example to illustrate it, with a challenge that I have taken on recently.

02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam
02 Pantalla-Recolive-Multicam

Recording a Surgical video using Recolive Multicam

A few days ago, while teaching one of our recording with mobile devices in-house seminars –with our brand YOS Contenidos (http://www.yoscontenidos.com) -, I was asked about the possibility of a multi-camera production in an operating room mixing 3 different video signals as follows:

– One from an iPad recording a general shot of the room, showing the surgeons around the surgical table (the iPad would also act as the main mixer of all other video sources);

– A second one from an iPhone focusing on the patient area where the surgeon keeps his trocars (surgical instruments used to perform procedures without practicing open surgery)

– Finally, the third one would be the image provided by a trocar, or tube equipped with optical elements that sends images from the inside of the human body to a screen, guiding the surgeon during the procedure.

As you have probably guessed by now, the problem is that the laparocopy video is not an iOS or Mac device, therefore, incompatible for the Recolive Multicam recording (the use of which would make them save a lot of money).

The challenge: Full screen live preview using a video capture card

As I’ve mentioned before, Recolive Multicam can only mix video sources from iOS devices using the corresponding app, or running it from Mac computers that have the appropriate free software, Recolive Capture (http://recolive.com/en/blog/40-recolive-capture), to share the screen or to shoot with the laptop camera. That seemed to be the solution.

03 Recolive-Capture
03 Recolive-Capture

I thought that maybe connecting a MacBook to a capture card device showing the trocar signal would be enough…

I needed video capture software that would preview full screen, but, none of the software that I tried, including BlackMagic Media Express, did the trick. I asked my streaming expert friends about it, but they could only advise about purchasing hardware, not software; therefore, the costs were skyrocketing.

04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables
04 Blackmagic-Ultrastudio-cables

After several try-outs, and a lot of Internet searching, I found a video in a French site that explained how to use a MacBook screen to play with a Playstation using Blackmagic capture cards: full screen!!!  (https://youtu.be/M0usSD-4Q5Y)

We could make full screen live preview from the capture card, FullHD (depending on the latptop and the source), by using the free software capabilities of Pixel Conduit.

Solution: “Full screen live preview video from capture card”

Let me fully describe all the steps taken in the test I run, and that I hope to be using very soon in an operating room.

Equipment used:

  • 2 iPhones 5s with Recolive Multicam app
  • 1 iPad 4 with Recolive Multicam app
  • 1 MacBook with Recolive Capture software
  • A video capture BlackMagic UltraStudio Express card
  • 1 Canon HDV AX-H1 camera (video source used as the “trocar” for this test)
  • Free software from Pixel Conduit (http://pixelconduit.com )


05 Pixel-Conduit05 Pixel-Conduit

Process:

1. Preparing images, lowers, and logos; saving them into the iPad that will be used as the mixer.

2. Setting up the video input from the Mac through Blackmagic Media Express and the video capture Blackmagic card. In this case, PAL 1920×1080. I will turn off the software once I see the signal.

3. Setting up all video sources, 2 iPhones and the Mac screen, through Recolive Multicam.

4. Setting up Pixel Conduit to recognize the video source coming from the Blackmagic card and previewing it full screen. See video, isn’t it simple?

5. Selecting the transitions that I will be using, as well as the durations in the iPad; select the multiviews; fix the White balance, the exposure and the focus of the iPhone cameras

Silence in the set: 3, 2, 1… let’s shoot!

And this is the test result: https://youtu.be/7zYopY5PmkQ (In Spanish)

Conclusions

The option to use an external video source with Blackmagic capture card allows me to increase the options to shoot with several iPhone and iPad devices into any other video source.

Furthermore, if you would like to shoot with several microphones and you have a sound table, you may use it as a mixing console for the audio signal, connecting the output of the table to the iPad mixer through a digital interface such as iRigPro or Shure MVi, or an analogic interface such as iRigPre or a Tascam iXZ.

There is absolutely not a more affordable way to do up to 4 sources multi-camera productions.

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06 Maria-iPad-recolive-live-recipes-CookPad-full-size

Those were the pros, but I should mention the cons, there is a minor audio delay, around 0,1-0,2 seconds, from the external video source that does not come from Mac or iOS devices.  In this particular case, this will not be a problem for us, as the image from the laparoscopy does not have audio; although, if you would like to have someone speaking from that source, you will run into an unavoidable de-synchronization.

Finally, Recolive Capture only shares the screen of the MAC computer, but not the sound.

I hope that you will find this to be a useful post. I can’t wait to try this new option of multi-camera production in the operating room… Here is hoping that I will not faint while doing it….

I would like to thank Glen Mulcahy for his invitation to publish this translation in English of our article in his reference blog to all of us who record with our mobile devices.

Thank you also to Gabriele Mondada, CEO of Recolive Multicam to always respond so quickly and so gracefully to all my questions.

If you would like to read this post in Spanish, please visit our blog “el Taller Audiovisual” (http://eltalleraudiovisual.com/multicamara-con-ipad-iphone-y-cualquier-otra-fuente-de-video/ ), fully devoted to recording with mobile devices.

Xkuty Recording 02 Workshop PBC Coworking October 2015 Jovempa - Elda Major 10-30-15Xkuty Recording 03

Thank you!

DSLRPros Sp1 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal- Initial thoughts

Have you ever looked back at a video you shot handheld on your smartphone on a big screen and couldn’t believe how shaky, wobbly, jelly like the footage was?

Most smartphones are prone in varying degrees to this “jello effect” aka jitter and also to rolling shutter which makes vertical lines in the shot bend when you move above a particular speed. One way to avoid these issues is to put your smartphone on a tripod or a flat surface to KEEP IT STEADY! But there are alternatives if you really must shoot handheld with movement…I recently blogged about some of the current Smartphone and GoPro Gimbals that are available or are about to launch so I’m not going to repeat any of that just click the link above to read that original article. I’ve had my eye on two of the ones I mentioned and yesterday the first order arrived:

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The DSLR Pros Sp1 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal.

I avoided the usual unboxing video and decided to jump straight in. I put the 3S 11.1V Lipo battery on charge and then prepped to take the SP1 for a test.
Unusually I decided to use Google Glass to record the setup and test also so you can see what I see (through Glass) and what the iPhone 5s is shooting using the Gimbal as two separate recordings.

A few notes.

The SP1 is listed on the DSLRPros Website as $299 but, as I mentioned in the first video if you are in Ireland, theres a surprise in store when you go to checkout and select your shipping options:

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The CHEAPEST delivery option is $153.41 in addition to the $299! Maybe its just me but that seems like an incredibly expensive price for a small box. Perhaps the Lipo battery is seen as high risk and is partly responsible but even still I think those prices are WAY WAY WAY too expensive. So much so that I tweeted DSLRPros about it on 31st July but have still received no response from them!

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The other cost to bear in mind (in Ireland anyway) is the customs duty which in this case amounted to a further €70 bringing the grand total for this unit to a whopping $546.16 (€407) 

Anyway in spite of the cost this is the first of its kind that is already shipping and I’m already aware of how effective the DJI Zenmuse H33d gimbal is with the GoPro on my Phantom Quadcopter so I had to check this out.

Interestingly, Once you open the handle the battery is clearly labeled…
BeHolder 3S 1000mAh 11.1V
and as the SP1 only comes with one battery included I decided to google the BeHolder name to see if I could source spare batteries…

Thats when I discovered that the SP1 is re-branded by DSLRPros, it is in fact made by teamrebeldesign.com but it appears they don’t sell direct via the website. This would lead me to believe that the Ikan model in the post mentioned above may well be the exact same unit from Teamrebeldesign but I cannot confirm this.

UPDATE: @Lucas_Afrilive contacted me to say that in fact TeamRebelDesign DO sell direct- here is the link

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Anyway the point is..IS IT WORTH €400? Having played with it for several hours now I’m actually inclined to say YES – it would be much more tempting if it were cheaper though, but there is no doubt that it really does make motion VERY smooth and its much much easier to use than a manual steadicam like the Smoothie. One of the really nice features is you can “lead” it into turns by twisting you wrist and it gently follows the move. I’ll be playing with it more over the weekend and if i shoot anything half decent I’ll share it but as a closing note I do think this is a landmark in Mojo filmmaking and I’me really excited to see how these units develop over the coming months.

I found the manual on Slideshare in case you need it:

Or alternatively it can be viewed here

 

PS My only disappointment with the SP1 is that I can’t balance it with my MoonDogLabs Anamorphic Adapter which is such a shame as I would love to shoot some 2.40:1 Footage with it!😦

The Jello Effect in Mojo and options for stabilising your Smartphone or GoPro

If you are a regular follower of the blog you’ll know I talk about the iPhone as a mobile journalism solution a lot, but I also occasionally blog about one of my other interests: UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or “Drones” as some call them, though thats a title I loathe.

Anyway the two topics have a common thread and that thread is becoming quite a substantial crossover. UAVs like the DJI Phantom have the option of a Go Pro Stabiliser Gimbal called the ZenMuse H3-3D. What this device does is it corrects the position of the GoPro relative to the pitch/yaw/tilt of the UAV. Or in simple terms it keeps the GoPro steady while the UAV is moving and tilting around.


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Image via http://www.quadcopters.co.uk

The iPhone (particularly the older 4/4s) was extremely prone to rolling shutter and jitter-sometimes referred to as the “Jello Effect”. If you’ve tried walking behind a fast moving subject you may often notice the extreme shake in the picture and if you Pan (turn left or right) quickly all the vertical lines will bend very noticeably. During our Mojo courses I strongly recommend that trainees get into the habit of using either a tripod or monopod but thats not always practical. This is where the UAV Gimbal Stabiliser technology is now starting to have an impact on smartphones and GoPro.

A growing number of manufacturers are using the same Inertial Monitoring Unit Chip (IMUs) as those used in UAVS to create handheld brushless motor gimbals for Smartphones and GoPro. I’ve been trying to decide which one to buy for some time so I thought I’d share the ones I’ve been considering in case you are in the market for one also.

This is a THINGLINK image grab – If you click it you will be redirected to the Thinglink site where you can click on each image and go to the manufacturers website to get more information and pricing.

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Its probably worth mentioning that these handheld units are baby versions of the much bigger and more expensive Stabilisers like the pioneering  FreeFlyCinema Movi M5 | M10

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and many of the others who have subsequently created their own versions.

If you want to see what can be achieved with these handheld stabilisers then checkout this Playlist

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:

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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

 

 

 

FilMicPro “At a Glance” CheatSheet & Simple Tutorial

 

I just noticed that FilMicPro have redesigned their website. Looks very nice indeed. Also impressed that they have chosen to outline the new features expected in v4.0 – the new release due in Autumn.
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That means that I will probably have to re-do this CheatSheet in a few months but nonetheless I still think its a handy reference.

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Theres a High Resolution A3 version available to download here
Here too is a refresher tutorial for the slightly older version of FilMicPro – this will be updated for V4 upon release.

 

 

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.