Posts tagged mobile journalism
Earlier this month I was commissioned by CNET to write a couple of features on making high-def movies with a smartphone.
The first of those features, How to make HD movies on your iPhone 4 or 4S, went live yesterday and right now I’m working on an equivalent how to make movies feature for Android based on the Samsung Galaxy S3 – watch this space.
In my iPhone feature I mention recently launched service called Newsflare. As mobile journalism (‘MoJo’) is a particular interest of mine, I find the Newflare concept very interesting indeed. The Newsflare app lets you upload video footage from your iPhone, either on-spec or in response to an ‘assignment’, which Newsflare will then try to sell to a media outlet for you (obviously taking a cut of your cash for their troubles).
I haven’t submitted anything yet to Newsflare, but I’m certainly curious to give it a go. I’m not at all convinced that it poses a serious threat to professional video journalists and cameramen but I suspect it could lead to more of the ‘good enough’ shots of breaking new stories airing before professional news crews arrive to capture broadcast quality footage.
A shot in the arm for citizen journalism?
I simply must share this delightful video and post by mobile journalism practitioner and trainer Glen Mulcahy.
Filmed and edited entirely on iPhone and iPad this short video really shows off the high-quality output that is achievable from iPhone video with the right accessories and workflow.
Of course, while I tend to get excited about the technology and the tools here it’s very easy to forget the critical role of the film-maker. Hand over a top quality camera and software to somebody who doesn’t have a story to tell nor know how to tell it and the result will very likely be uninteresting, no matter how technically steady or clear the picture and sound are.
The message is that the technology itself ultimately should be transparent to the viewer; these tools are there only to help realise and deliver the story-teller’s vision.
That said Glen Mulcahy, a Production Development Manager and Trainer for RTÉ in Ireland, is very much an expert in story-telling too and the work he does within the Mobile Journalism community to develop and share new workflows and technologies is inspired.
If this field of work interests you I urge you to check out Glen’s Mulcahy’s blog for his video and mobile journalism technology news and thoughts.
The Royal Television Society‘s inaugural Update TV event took place on Saturday at the BBC White City in London, and of particular interest for me was what Simon Morice and David Willox had hidden in their bags for their ‘OB in your Briefcase’ mobile journalism session.
RTS Update TV
The day’s ambitious aim was to bring RTS members up to speed with the very latest developments in broadcast television technology and trends, and was particularly angled towards television professionals who have taken a break from the business, perhaps to bring up a family, who are now keen to jump back onboard but are mindful of how television has changed significantly even over a handful of years.
Some of the events were very practical – for example, hands-on training with the BBC’s newly approved HD camera, the Canon XF305; others were interactive – Mark Aldridge, Executive Producer at Princess Productions, workshopping new interaction and engagement ideas for an imaginary (at least, that’s what we were led to believe!) 2012 revival of The Generation Game during a session on using social media in television.
Mobile Journalism Workflow
Now, as some of you reading may know, I’ve been developing a mobile journalist (or ‘MoJo’ as the discipline is known) workflow over the last few months that I’ve been using to capture some great results when reporting from events. The principle around which this branch of mobile journalism is based is that a smartphone today integrates all of the technology required to research, script, shoot, edit (even brand, dub and grade), file and distribute a story. With the addition of a few pieces of hardware (e.g., microphone, tripod) and some downloaded apps, an iPhone in the right hands becomes a viable and vital news reporting tool capable of recording quality footage and getting it online in an incredibly quick time.
I was first introduced to the OWLE Bubo iPhone HD Video rig by journalist colleague Leila Makki when we both covered an event at Bletchley Park earlier this year. Manufactured from a single chunk of anodised aluminium the Bubo lends the iPhone much needed handles and heft to help stabilise handheld shots as well as a wide-angled lens, four tripod mount points, a cold-shoe adapter and a simple external microphone. After helping to film Leila’s report that afternoon on the Bubo, I was hooked: the package that I subsequently picked up also included a Rotolight RL48-A LED ring light which handily includes its own ND, diffusion and colour correction filters. To this rig I tend to add a 3.5mm jack to XLR adapter and a professional Beyerdynamic M58 reporter’s microphone for far better quality sound, and either a tripod or monopod depending upon the job.
So I felt incredibly reassured in the ‘OB in your Briefcase’ session when Simon Morice, whose career began at the BBC in the 1970s, demonstrated an almost identical Bubo-based kit list to mine and extolled the virtues of the technology, workflow and benefits with similar rapture. He has also taken the rig on the road to produce reports and in the session played a story filed from IBC earlier this year featuring Kate Russell from BBC’s Click. His software workflow does differ somewhat from what I currently use but I’ve downloaded the Vericorder editing app to give it a try.
Content is Still King
While chatting with Simon afterwards he was quick to point out that whilst these new technology and workflow innovations themselves are terrific enablers, the overall success of a report still stands on its content. I couldn’t agree more: the real skill of the journalist is in telling a story, through whichever medium, and Simon touched on what were some equally exciting and innovative story-telling principles and philosophies that I hope I get a chance to explore further.
Other personal highlights of the day included sessions featuring Suzie Marsh (currently series editor for Live with Gabby on Channel 5); Amy Walker, a factual producer who now runs Media Parents to promote flexible working in television; and the vastly experienced Shu Richmond who recently set up TV blog, ‘So You Want to Work in Television‘.
The Royal Television Society are planning on running further similar events next year – if you’re interested in finding out more do take a look at the RTS website.
Find out more about mobile journalism at Glen Mulcahy’s Video Journalism Blog, frequently updated with great MoJo stories and technology.