Get Creative – Use your MoJo

In preparation for the second half of the Multimedia module on the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, Stephen Quinn, showed us how to produce great quality videos using nothing more than an iphone and / or ipad. Welcome to the world of Mobile Journalism (MoJo for short).

Think about it.  This is powerful stuff.  Publishing your own blog is becoming more commonplace, but good quality video – using equipment that many people already own, or can acquire for less than £700?

If like me you’re passionate about engaging with people to help them share and learn about a particular topic (in my case local transport), this is like fairy dust right in your hand.

‘The one person production house’ is how Stephen described it.  Using his trip to Birmingham as a case in point example, his 1 minute 3 second coverage of a local protest he happened upon shortly after his arrival gave great inspiration for what’s possible.  ‘It took only 10 minutes to shoot, and about 20 minutes to edit’, says Stephen, ‘so with a mobile wi-fi connection, you can publish your video to the web very quickly’.

A fun challenge

Learning how to tell a story using video is a big challenge for someone who’s never done it before.  Yet knowing that your ability to learn is the only thing stopping you from embracing your own creativity is very empowering.

Apart from the cost and size advantages to using smartphones for video, there are other benefits too; it helps your audience feel more natural.  ‘Put a big camera in front of someone, and they’ll perform’, says Stephen. Because iphones / ipads are so commonplace and unobtrusive, people feel more comfortable around them and will come across in a more natural way.

Source: Travis Swicegood via Flickr

Of course there are the legal and ethical issues of when and where to film, but this responsibility extends to publishing any medium to the web, be it text, audio or video.

So really, what’s stopping anyone doing this?  Stephen’s experience teaching both professional and student journalists how to use smartphones to do Mobile Journalism means he’s developed a practical and simple approach for how to get started (and Glen Mulchay’s Blog is a good source of practical advice and reviews on the equipment).

Kit of choice?

Yes, it is possible to do mobile journalism using android or other smartphones, but as the magic is the editing, it is the Apple gear that wins Stephen’s heart.  The iMovie app (not the same as the iMovie software on a mac) costs £3 and provides a great combination of tools and an intuitive user interface.

In addition to an ipod / ipad (the latter is much better for editing due to longer battery life), to get you started, you need:

– a beefy charger (10,000 milliamps is good) to keep everything topped up with juice

–  mobile wi-fi to keep you connected wherever you are

– a microphone, and a tripod

The verdict?

Given I already have most of the essential kit, Stephen’s demonstration has given me great inspiration to get creative with video to engage and share knowledge for local transport.  Watch this space….!

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