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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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 😉

#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.

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)

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MoJoCon Update and Competition announcements

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted – things have been extremely busy since the launch of the http://mojocon.rte.ie website in mid December. Ticket sales are going well. I’ll be offering a limited number of discount codes here on the blog next week so check back for that. The speaker list is nearly complete but I have a little “rabbit in the hat” that I may/may not be revealing closer to the date (sponsorship depending) more on that in the coming weeks.

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Speaking of sponsorship I would like to give a big shout out to Vodafone Ireland who have come on board as event partners. Their support has been incredible and given that we will be talking a lot about mobile productivity I think this is a match made in heaven. 4G is the backbone of mobile journalism Live Streaming which is a big topic for the conference. I’m still looking for other sponsors for the event but I’m glad to say the exhibition hall is now sold out.

Keep an eye on the @mojoconirl twitter account for daily updates as I’ll be revealing a few more big sponsors soon.

The underlying ethos of MojoCon is to give our delegates a holistic view of the potential of mobile journalism. The plenary sessions will offer talks from some of the most innovative and pioneering practitioners of mobile journalism, mobile filmmaking, mobile photography and digital/multimedia storytelling. I will do a separate post on each of the sessions, outlining each of the speakers and their background (which of course is available on the mojocon site also)

The exhibition is designed to give the delegates a chance to explore a comprehensive selection of Apps and Accessories which allow you to bring the quality of the content you produce with your smartphone to the next level. Plus it offers some of the makers, creators and manufacturers who are traditionally online only vendors a chance to meet and network with the mojo community.

Day two is all about learning and skills. I’m still working on the lineup of courses for the day but LOTS of the speakers have volunteered to give workshops so I’m now considering more workshops but smaller and more intimate – allocated on a first come first served basis. I will be sending our delegate surveys to those of you who have already purchased tickets very soon so you’ll get first pick 🙂

I’m keen to hear what you think, do you like the approach, line-up, venue, dates, location etc – please me know. If you have ideas for sponsors or if you make a product that fits within the scope of the conference then please do get in touch. I’ve had three emails from students telling me how great the conference is but complaining that the ticket prices are too expensive for them so we have a third level/student group discount code to get 25% off or buy 4 get one free for groups to make the event more accessible to that audience. Get in touch if you/your college/university are interested in this.

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I’m also thrilled to announce that the Thomson Foundation, one of the longest running international media development organisations are supporting the conference by sponsoring a competition with a brilliant prize. Last week we we began inviting entries for the MojoCon/Thomson Foundation Mobile Journalism Award.

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The Prize will be Flights, Accommodation and 2 VIP Tickets to MoJoCon PLUS a full MoJo Kit (including phone) like those in use in RTE with a total approximate value of €3000 – thats a serious prize!
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If you are a student journalist who wants to come to the conference then this competition in association with Thomson Foundation could be your free ticket. Some Competition T&C’s apply. Full details are available on the Mojocon Website

Several sponsors have been unable to commit to the journey to Dublin to take part in the exhibition but have been nonetheless kind enough to sponsor some prizes. So myself and Christian Payne (@Documentally) have cooked up a neat little Twitter/Instagram competition to give way these goodies. Entitled the MoJoCon “Every Day Carry” Competiton all you need to do to take part is take a photo of your mojokit and tweet and post it to Instagram using the #mojoconedc. We will be using a cool widget from Irish company Tapastreet to collate the entries into a gallery on the mojocon website. Here are some examples…

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Prizes will be selected randomly from our sponsorship goodie bag and winners will be announced via Twitter and our Facebook page. Some Competition T&C’s apply.

Finally I was asked by the lovely people at Its All Journalism to join their podcast interview with Neal Augenstein (who will be speaking at Mojocon) Here’s the link if you are interested: http://itsalljournalism.com/128-mobile-journalism-gets-mojo/

I was also approached by Javier Cabrera and Oscar Oncina from ElTallerAudiovisual to do an email interview and they have published the first two parts here and here .

A few weeks on the road and I’m relieved to say, Mojo is moving into the mainstream media-finally!

I’m just back home from an intense three weeks which have left me feeling both excited and exhausted at the same time. If you are reading this I’m going to assume you have read at least one previous article on the blog and know roughly the sort of mobile journalism and UAV projects I’m involved in.

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The first part of my trip was in London contributing as a trainer to the Thomson Foundation Summer Convergence course with 10 journalists drawn from Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, USA, Oman and Ghana. The course covered everything from the core principles of journalism and balanced reporting through social media, multi-media, radio packaging, reporting for tv and mobile journalism. I was blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of the group and I was also very impressed with the results, particularly of the journalists who chose to use Mojo to produce their TV report.

It was a pleasure to work again with Dan Mason who is an absolute fountain of knowledge about social media and online/video journalism, but also one of the best trainers I’ve worked with.

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After London, I went to Paris to join Mark Egan, VJ & Mojo Trainer PurpleBridgemedia, to co-present a session on Mojo at the EBU News Technology Conference. Mark compiled a great showreel looking at all the diverse use cases for Mojo across the active users in Broadcast News.

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Mark was one of the very first Video Journalists in BBC and spent a substantial period training VJs as part of Michael Rosenblums courses. Our many chats made it clear that he and I are 100% on the same wavelength and have a shared vision for the future of mobile news gathering. After the presentation we took our “gadget bags” out to the atrium to give the attendees some hands on time. The feedback was really positive with lots of queries about how other news orgs could get started in Mojo.

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After a few hectics days in Paris I then headed to Amsterdam to join an IBC panel discussion on “Mobile and Social Innovations (in News). Moving from the marginal to the mainstream” With me on the panel were Bogdan Frusina, CTO of Dejero, Ronen Artman, VP Marketing, LiveU and Sergei Lupashin, Founder Fotokite. The session was chaired by David Lowen, Director, International TV and Media Consulting Ltd and produced by Steve Bennedik, Head of Technology, SkyNews.

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Then to wrap the week up the legend that is: Dan Chung of NewsShooter.com invited me on to his IBCLive talkshow with Elliot Smith to discuss Mobile Newsgathering and the Future of TV News.

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The common thread throughout these events is that News organisations, (tv, radio, online and print) are now starting to take mobile news gathering seriously.

I had some great (heated) debates about the future of linear TV news, what should new journalists do to kick off their career and how much more potential does Mojo really have. All I can say is, even though I was disappointed by the 8Mp Camera in the iPhone6/6+ the advent of greater manual camera control, “dslr like” optical focus and stabilisation and “Extensions” in iOS8 Mojo mean iOS Mojo has just taken another leap forward. Speaking of leaping, I’m still amazed when I meet someone at a senior management level in news who greet my Mojo presentation with gasps of “I had no idea you could do so much with mobile” makes me wonder if the metaphor about the BOILING FROG is alive and well. If so the temperature has just been turned up a notch.

 

PS: I will detail the gadgets and gear that caught my eye at IBC in a separate post a little later.

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:

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 18.23.07

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

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 18.09.40

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

Mojo-CSA4

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

hokusai-promo

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

cheatsheet-3up

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.
Screenshot 2014-07-22 00.03.59

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.

FilMicPro-CheatSheetA4

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.

 

 

The Ultimate Mojo CheatSheet! Sequences Deconstructed, examples, apps – everything you need (except the gear)

Mojo-CSA4
Tomorrow Philip Bromwell and myself begin a new Mojo Masterclass in RTE. We met today to fine tune the curriculum and the topic of a Sequences Cheat Sheet came up. We put our heads together and voila! We’ve pieced together The Ultimate RTE Mojo CheatSheet. I designed it as an A3 image so you can download it at full A3 res or squeeze it to A4 and its still perfectly readable/useable.
Let us know what you think- Twitter: @glenbmulcahy @philipbromwell . Enjoy!