Here is the second part of the interview to Glen Mulcahy, expert in MoJo (Mobile Journalism), revealing what you were looking forward to reading about: “What are the most interesting mobile devices, apps and accessories needed for a mobile journalist? “
Once again, we would like to thank Glen for his insight and, Pilar Oncina for the translation. If you prefer to read the interview in Spanish, just follow this link.
What are your goals with your blog tvvj.wordpress.com?
TVVJ blog was a spin off from my early days training journlists in RTÉ to shoot with small professional video cameras (VJ cameras) I used to manage a mailing list for the trainees of my courses so I could keep them up to date with new technology, inspiring stories etc. After a while managing the list became too tedious so I decided to start blogging and sharing instead. I was originally going to just post internally within RTÉ but our intranet system back then wasn’t terribly user friendly so on a whim I decided to try wordpress instead.
To be honest its been a labor of love, I’ve never had ads on the blog, its not sponsored in any way but it has become a really interesting space for people to connect, ask questions and get ideas based on the research and innovation work I do in RTÉ. Its been terribly satisfying to meet like minded people through the blog. Last year it was viewed over 110,000 times which still leaves me quite mind boggled. I’m not a journalist and my writing style is very informal and prone to bouts of swearing and meandering tangents – flow of consciousness stuff, there is no master-plan to monetise it etc, but hey, if people find it useful then great!
What is the basic equipment needed to practise mobile journalism?
A decent smart-phone with a decent camera, good storage and great Apps. Accessories help but you can achieve a hell of a lot with just the phone.
Now, that no one is listening… in order to video record, what do I chose? Android or iOS?
Oh what a loaded question! I’ve experimented with and tested Android, (Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and just recently Panasonic CM1) iOS (iPhone,3Gs,4,4S,5,5S and now 6 plus) and Windows Phone (Lumia 1020) and even though iOS has the lowest “quality” camera (8Mpx V up to 42Mpx) the variety of high end Apps and integrated workflow has meant I have developed all my training around iOS – based mainly on versatility and user experience. So in short – I’m an iOS user.
However, nothing in this business stays static for long. I’m excited by the Panasonic CM-1 – its a beautiful camera, Leica optics, 20mpx but the selection of camera Apps on Android which can push the camera beyond the stock application is still surprisingly limited. Cinema FV5 is one of the few notable Video Apps for Android and Kinemaster is one of the few serious editing Apps.
The Windows Lumia 1020 is an incredible camera. 42 Mpx and a gorgeous screen but in spite of fantastic hardware Microsoft hasn’t (so far) managed to lure enough developers to create the same volume of creativity apps to rival iOS. I know mojo is a space that Microsoft is interested in though and I wouldn’t underestimate their strategy. They have a huge global enterprise market and its enterprise who will adopt the high end phones and tablets. I think Windows 10 as a cross platform integrated offering could tip the scales in Microsoft’s favour somewhat. Either way it will be interesting to watch the evolution in the coming years.
Glen, tell us about your 3 favourite video apps.
Camera. In the very early days of my experimentation with the iPhone 4 I discovered FilMicPro and I was amazed by the versatility and professional level controls it featured. Multiple iterations later and it has remained a firm favourite. The latest version for iOS8 is mind blowing with manual control of Focus, Exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO, Volume – it really has turned the iPhone into a SERIOUS HD camera. Its got so many features now that I’m showing an intermediate and advanced version on different courses depending on user competence.
Glen Mulcahy’s video shoot with Filmic Pro and edited with iMovie
Editing. For editing I have 2 favourites (is that cheating?) iMovie is so easy and intuitive it is a favourite for training online journalists, if a journo need to edit on the phone for broadcast however you need the extra features that come with Pinnacle Studio. The two Apps are similar in their feature sets but a little bird told me that LumaTouch, makers of Pinnacle have a “game changing” new version due soon!
Grading. If you’ve shot and edited your story then the last step you might need is to grade the video – giving it a particular aesthetic. For grading, my go-to App is Video Grade. It can correct dodgy white balance, add vignettes and tweak exposure – a brilliant tool to have in the field though I should point out the new version of FilMicPro has grading built-in!
When we talk about accessories for mobile devices in this blog, we compare them to garden tools or handy work gear, something that you may purchase little by little. What are your favorite gadgets? Do you fancy anything in particular?
I’ve tested a lot of accessories for mobile, I mean A LOT!. I think it is important that you buy gear that addresses your needs, not just to horde gear. A mojo starting out really just needs a tripod, tripod mount, microphone, light, battery pack and bag. Each of these categories brings lots of choice now. When I was selecting the gear for RTÉ’s Mojo bags I tested everything that was on the market and tried to balance cost with quality.
If I were doing it again, (and I probably will be) I would swap out some pieces. I would replace the Smartphocus mount with the Shoulderpod. I would replace the Sennheiser MKE400 with the Rode iXY. I would swap the IKMultimedia iRig Pre for the iRig Pro. I would change the Fotopro tripod for something taller, more sturdy and easy to assemble. the rest would be the same and based on the iPhone 6plus 128Gb.
I’ve experimented with the Team rebel Design handheld gimbal which is pretty cool but unfortunately it can’t handle the iPhone 6plus. A lens system is desirable but not essential, if you are buying one get the best glass you can afford. The cheaper glass give chromatic aberration and distortion – the better ones like the new OlloClip, Moment and the best in class iPro Lens system from Schneider are the ones to buy.
Next Tuesday we will conclude this long and very interesting interview to Glen Mulcahy with the part dedicated to MoJoCon, the first International Mobile Journalism Conference that will take place in Dublin, next 27 and 28 March.
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