“What we in the news business can never forget is that we are only as good as the stories we tell.” – Up Close and Personal
It was the day after. Guards were scattered everywhere scanning the crowd, looking for anything that might seem suspicious. Guns positioned, ready to fire if need be. Reporters lined the square, aiming to show that, despite the terror that occurred the previous day, tourists were still flocking to Notre Dame. It was June 7, the day after a man attacked police with a hammer sending the crowd into mass hysteria.
The day after was calm, back to normal except the reporters and extra guards. My husband and I were cautious, but still wanted to see the famed cathedral. As we approached the entrance, the producer in me noticed the camera equipment and television trucks in the area, and would have loved to join any of camera crews. However, one solo journalist stole my attention. Every other crew had multiple people setting up the shot, communicating with the control room, and keeping everyone on track, but he was a one man show. Journalist, tripod, iphone camera, microphone, and a pair of headphones = MOJO.
What is MOJO? It’s an acronym for MObile JOurnalism. The idea that a reporter can set up their shot, speak with producers and record live shots on their own helps dwindling television budgets. Upon returning home from Paris, I started researching the technical side of MOJO. Mobile journalism opens up so many opportunities to capture footage that traditional cameras would struggle to get. With ever changing technology mobile phones continue to get better from creating a three camera live interview to using drones and filming in 4k. There are so many opportunities in the film world and I look forward to trying these out soon.
Thomas Pernette, the solo journalist, had a simple set-up compared to the traditional camera crews. He had a tripod attached to a shoulderpod, (one of the newest gadgets in the MOJO world) with an Alesis Core 1 that enables you to record high quality audio. The Core 1 was connected to his iPhone by what looked like an Apple lightning camera adapter. BFM, the network Thomas works for, uses mobile journalism technology a lot in their news reports. Coming from a production background at ESPN in the United States, I can see mobile journalism taking off as budgets cuts continue and content remains king.
Tips for MOJO:
- Use a phone camera with at least 12 mega-pixels.
- Investing in a wide angle lens will enable you to have better shots even in unstable conditions.
- Pay attention to lightning. You can have a great shot, but ruin it with the lightning.
- Put your phone in airplane mode. This enable you to focus on the recording without phone disruptions.
- Remember to film b-roll or fill in footage that ties to your story.
- There are many editing apps that you can use to piece together your story right from your phone. iPhones have iMovie and while Kinemaster works across both platforms.
- You can have shaky video, but audio is really important. Invest in good audio recording devices.