Posts tagged Video
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?
Question: What do you get if you cross a Microsoft Kinect controller, some 3D glasses and an augmented reality platform with an Enterprise SAP HANA in-memory real-time big data-ready database?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for Computer Weekly in which I questioned whether Augmented Reality really is ready for the masses, concluding that while the technology and platforms themselves are getting close, a lack of real purpose and compelling content may be AR’s Achilles’ Heel.
Augmented Reality for the Enterprise
But then last week, while filming an item for the SAP Innovation Show at an event in London, I saw perhaps the most innovative application yet of AR for business.
As part of my original story I interviewed Matt Mills, Head of Innovation at Aurasma, part of Cambridge-based/HP-owned firm Autonomy and one of the main software houses developing commercial augmented reality platforms and applications.
While the offerings from the likes of Aurasma and Blippar are primarily consumer-focused (typically around marketing campaigns) Matt was also able to share with me some tantalising and genuinely useful applications of augmented reality in education and business, as in this example of using AR to install HP networking equipment.
But then last week at an event I had naively considered an unlikely candidate for showcasing gadgety innovation, I stumbled across what can truly be described as Augmented Reality for the Enterprise.
Spatial Operating Environment
CEO Vision combines an Augmented Reality platform with Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect controller to deliver a distinctly futuristic-looking data visualisation tool.
Aimed at non-technical executives, CEO Vision sources its data from an SAP HANA in-memory database and using an assortment of 3D eyewear, motion control and display technologies presents what Keytree calls its “Spatial Operating Environment”.
Viewers wearing the headset can peruse and interact with rich, animated datasets retrieved in real-time from the back-end database.
(and if you have some red/cyan specs handy there’s a 3D version of the video just for you)
Parallels will inevitably be drawn with Google Glass which last week also released a sneak peek of some footage filmed using its AR goggles, although CEO Vision perhaps scoops top marks inasmuch as anybody can try it for themselves right now.
Big Data means Big Glasses?
Personally I believe that technologies such as these from Keytree and Google will be essential tools as we attempt to visualise, digest and capitalise on ever-growing volumes of both business and personal big data.
But wearing my actual reality glasses for just a moment I don’t see that the technology is mature enough quite yet. The CEO Vision user interface boldly aims for Minority Report but credibly lands somewhat closer to Lawnmower Man.
Nevertheless it’s still impressive to see it in action at all and, as with Google’s intentions when announcing Glass, I suspect it acts as more of a signpost to the near future than a genuine stake in the ground for now.
Note: A version of this post also appears in Computer Weekly.
I’m really proud of our work at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year: a handful of quick-turnaround short films for Samsung showcasing everything from its new brand new phones and tablets to its exciting events throughout downtown Barcelona.
What’s more, our official ‘first hands-on’ video for the Samsung GALAXY Beam ‘projector phone’ notched-up over 100,000 views on YouTube in the first couple of days.
Here’s another film of ours about the army of artists deployed all across Barcelona capturing caricatures on their Samsung GALAXY Note tablet of anyone who would sit and pose, all conceived, shot and edited in 24 hours.
A huge thanks to Will Head from Fixation Video.
Described as the Cannes Film Festival of the mobile phone world, MWC is packed with brand new handsets and tablets.
Among the dozens of new smartphones being unveiled here this year is the Samsung GALAXY Beam, and we produced the official MWC hands-on video for Samsung featuring the Beam’s Product Manager, Will Bin.
Not only is the GALAXY Beam a fully-featured Android smartphone running Gingerbread 2.3 (with an Ice Cream Sandwich update promised for later this year) but Samsung has managed to squeeze in a projector. Yes, that’s right, an actual projector. With an LED bulb clocking in at 15 lumens it is bright, colourful and can project an image of up to 50 inches. The projector is fully integrated with the handset so it can project photos, videos and apps, mirroring whatever is being displayed on the phone’s screen, even when the phone is in its camera mode.
So, sit back and take a look at the official Samsung MWC GALAXY Beam hands-on video that we came up with – at the time of posting it has racked-up over 110,000 views:
Stay-tuned – I’ll be posting some more of our videos from Mobile World Congress 2012 very soon.
A few weeks ago I was invited to give a talk to the good people at Reed Business Information, publishers of titles including New Scientist, about how to turn challenging material and ‘dull data’ into interesting online video. It’s a great topic to talk about and there’s no shortage of examples, both good and bad, all over the web. I’ve posted my presentation (minus one or two RBI internal videos) here:
NB – Unfortunately, the SlideShare embed code here hides the presentation’s speaker notes which is where there the real good stuff for this presentation is (I try not to crowd my slides). If you’re curious, do click on this link to my presentation on the SlideShare site and then on the ‘Notes on Slide’ tab to see the more interesting presentation content. And if anybody knows of a better way to embed a presentation and its speaker notes, please do let me know.
The talk was the opening event of a launch day for ‘RBI Visual’, marking a significant investment by RBI in terms of personnel and facilities, ensuring that this global publisher is capable of providing top quality video output in-house. Other speakers on the day included Adrian Mills, Scot McKee and Pasa Mustafa. RBI’s titles are largely aimed at the business market and, as such, are perceived as featuring ‘dry’ content. What’s more, some of its publications are data-heavy and, whilst providing trusted facts and figures that industries have come to rely upon, they don’t automatically lend themselves to an engaging video experience for their audience. This is where talks from me and my fellow presenters on the day were positioned, encouraging the staff at RBI to:
- understand their content (how they wanted their audience to act upon it, data > information + intelligence > knowledge > action and decision)
- understand their audience (personas > viewing habits > attitude to content)
- understand the medium (online video, types of viewing device, modes of viewing, attention span, technologies and corresponding challenges)
before investigating some techniques that we can use to address and enliven so-called ‘challenging content’. Finally,my presentation briefly touched on distribution and analytics (analyse > refine > repeat).
While preparing my talk I was particularly excited by some intelligent and creative examples of YouTube’s annotations feature to create an in-video navigation, and wonder why I don’t see more of it out in the wild online yet. There are some interesting case study videos in the presentation that suggest emerging patterns for how content producers (or the creatives they employ) are choosing to approach getting their information-rich content and message across in with online.
The good news is that many of the techniques we discussed throughout the day don’t require big-budget motion graphics, just a clear understanding of content, message, audience and medium – plus a little imagination.
Spoiler alert – here’s how the presentation ends:
“A picture is worth 1,000 words. How much is a video worth?”
“A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words” Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research (Forrester, January 2009)
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.