Welcome to VIJ2101 Videojournalistikk for 2019, which I simplify as Video1. This course focuses on your learning to be a mobile journalist, or mojo. A trained mojo is able to make a broadcast-quality video with only a smartphone, some inexpensive apps and a good microphone. Often they can do it in less than a day.
Mobile phone advancements make skills like mojo possible. These technologies are developing quickly (5G will be available in parts of Europe by 2020) so we’re entering a tantalising phase of human potential. Welcome to the start of your future.
Students might like to consider entering any videos they make in one of the many mobile phone movie contests around the world. Details here.
MoJo @ Kristiania/Westerdals in 2019
Lesson 1: Overview (Aug xx)
Lesson 2: Mojo equipment and story planning (Aug xx)
Lesson 3: Composing visual proof / creative filming (Aug xx)
Lesson 4: Interviewing (Sep x)
Lesson 5: Editing on the smartphone (Sep x)
Lesson 6: Audio, music, sound effects and narration (Sep x)
Lesson 7: Review and social video (Sep xx)
Lesson 8: Scripting (Sep xx)
Lesson 9: Performance (Sep xx)
Lesson 10: Headlines, name supers, subtitles and file management (Sep xx)
Lesson 11: The future (Sep xx)
Burum, Ivo and Quinn, Stephen. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boston. The book comes with a companion web site and 13 videos (310 pages).
Useful web sites
Dr Ivo Burum’s Smartmojo site offers a range of excellent mojo resources. If you read nothing else in this course, please read these two articles by Ivo: The first talks about mojo storytelling and the second covers editing.
Mojo trainer Glen Mulcahy describes a mojo.
BBC mojo Nick Garnett has shot news videos from around the world using only an iPhone. These news stories were not possible using traditional equipment.
Dougal Shaw, a senior video journalist with the BBC, reflects on two years of only using an iPhone for filming.
The course Facebook group.
The Mojofest Facebook group is where more than 5,000 mojos discuss issues and share insights. A great place to learn about new developments.
Mojo trainer Mark Egan has a useful Facebook page.
Philip Bromwell at Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE is one of the best mojos in Europe. Here is a 3-minute time lapse video of the 3 hours he spent filming a mojo story.
A trio of Indian journalists have gathered their ideas in this Google doc about mojo.
The Mobile Journalism Manual produced by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation offers a basic introduction to mojo, and it’s free.
Students will make three news videos during this course. Each news video must be between 80 and 100 seconds. The first video must be completed by midnight of Tuesday September x. This will be your pre-exam video (see below). Deadline for the second is midnight of Tuesday September xx, and the third by by 9am on Friday September xx (the third must be submitted via WISEflow). You can choose Norwegian or English as the language for voice-over, interviews or subtitles. If you choose Norwegian you must include a 100 to 120-word summary in English of what the video is about, including the news angle. Set up a YouTube or Vimeo account and load all your videos onto that site. At the end of the course you will choose your one best video and submit that for assessment, via a link to the examination site. Students must also submit a link to the examination site of their YouTube or Vimeo site where they store all their videos. This part of the assessment is worth 70 per cent.
The other 30 per cent is for a fourth video students will make in which they reflect on their learning during this course. This is also due by 9am on Friday September xx. It will be a piece to camera in which they talk about, in English, the things they learned. This could include problems encountered, ethical issues faced while making news videos, thoughts on being a mojo, or anything else they believe relevant to this course. This is the reflective part of the assessment. Please do not simply regurgitate what the teacher has said. Again, students should upload the video to their YouTube or Vimeo site and submit a link to the examination site. This video should be between 90 and 120 seconds.
Here is an example of a student reflection from 2017 that got an A.
Students will do a pre-exam prior to submitting their video for their final exam. They will follow similar procedures as for the final exam. The deadline is midnight of Tuesday September x. The test exam will be marked on a pass-fail basis. Students who fail will be given 24 hours to resubmit, and again the re-submission will be assessed as pass-fail.
Here is the procedure: Put your video online and email a link to your teacher at sraquinn (at) gmail (dot) com by midnight of Tuesday September x. Make sure your video is public, and not private! If you do not deliver on time, you fail. I will email you a result for your video, with feedback, within one day of the deadline. It will be assessed as pass or fail (no other grades are supplied for pre-exams). If your video fails, you can re-submit your original video based on the feedback provided. The re-submit deadline is noon on Thursday September 6. The procedure the same: email me a link to your re-submitted video. You will receive a result almost immediately. FYI, last year everyone who submitted on time for the pre-exam passed.
Grade criteria for final exam
Students in VIJ2101 Videojournalistikk should answer all of the questions in the grade criteria when they create their videos. Details of grade criteria will be provided by the Eksamen department at the start of the course. All questions must be answered by yes for the video to get a C. If some of the criteria are met, student will receive a D or E. If the video ignores most of the grade criteria it will receive an F.
Assessors will use their news judgment when choosing to give grades higher than a C (note that this course involves an external industry assessor). Only the very best videos will receive an A. This system reflects the skill involved in creating quality news videos.
Equipment for course
Video1 focuses on using smartphones to make high-quality videos. At the moment iOS devices are the best for making videos, but you can use any smartphone you choose.
If you use an iOS device (iPhone or iPad or iPad Mini or iTouch) please make sure you use the latest version of the operating system (OS). As of August 2018 it is 11.4. Students with an iOS device should use the latest version of the free iMovie app. As of August 2018 the app’s latest version is 2.2.5. The icon is a white star on purple background.
If students have a smartphone with the Android operating system it is recommended they use the KineMaster Pro Video Editor. The problem with Android OS is the wide range of phones and variations of the operating system. The KineMaster app does not allow you to save videos in 1080p (HD) and it forces people to pay to export videos without a watermark. If students want to use KineMaster, watch this video about the app: https://primalvideo.com/editing-video-android-editing-kinemaster-android/ Note that this video does exist but you might need to copy and paste into a browser to see it.
Why I recommend the iPhone
Journalism is about selection and compression. Selection is as much about what you leave out as what you include. This course shows you how to produce quality news video for online and broadcast. To make quality video you must edit your raw footage professionally. At the moment iOS devices offer excellent apps that give two tracks for video editing. It is not possible to make quality video with only one editing track.
The quality and the magic happen in the editing process, and it is generally quicker and easier via a touchscreen than a keyboard. This is why I recommend an iPhone rather than a laptop/desktop for editing, though you are free to use these tools.
I am not wedded to the iPhone, nor do I have shares in Apple. But at the moment iOS devices are the best for mojo. They allow you to save files in full high definition (1080p HD or super HD, 4K). Many other smartphones have better cameras, but you cannot edit properly with those apps and/or save the files in HD for uploading and distribution without watermarks.
Every minute of every day more than 600 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Facebook claims to screen 100 million hours of video each day, while Snapchat and Instagram also screen lots of video. Probably 98 per cent of all this is rubbish. If you want your video to stand out you must make a quality product. To do that you need to be able to edit and shoot in a professional way, using the best available tools.
Vertical or horizontal filming?: Personally I choose to shoot in landscape (horizontal) mode because the output of the editing apps I use looks better that way. But you should shoot for your intended audience. If you plan for your videos to appear on Instagram, then you need to shoot in portrait (horizontal) mode. Regardless of mode, your camera needs to be steady. Wobbly video is not acceptable. Here is a video about the best tools for shooting in vertical mode. The LumaFusion app allows you to edit in both modes. It is very sophisticated and takes a while to learn. Their web site has a range of tutorials.
For this course we will focus on simpler editing apps: iMovie for iOS devices and KineMaster for Android. For filming you have a choice of three apps. We will focus on the Camera app that comes with your smartphone. It is limited to filming at 30 or 60 fps. The other filming apps I recommend are Filmic Pro and Mavis. Filmic Pro works with both iOS and Android devices. Mavis is iOS only. Both allow you to select frame speed.
Bio of your teacher: Stephen Quinn runs MOJO Media Insights, based in Brighton in the UK. He teaches journalists how to make broadcast-quality videos with only iOS devices, and shows media companies how to recycle content to make money via iBooks. From 1975-95 Dr Quinn was a journalist in five countries with some of the world’s best-known media companies, before becoming a journalism educator. He returned to journalism full time in 2011 and makes mojo videos when he’s not teaching and writing. Dr Quinn has written 26 print books and four digital books. In the past decade he has given almost 200 presentations on the future of journalism in 38 countries, and since 2010 he has taught mojo skills to journalists in 19 countries. He writes a weekly wine column. More about him can be found at his web site.
Lesson 1: Overview
Stephen will give you an overview of the mojo process and talk about essential issues like assessment, grade criteria and the pre-exam.
My web site is https://sraquinn.org/ I have not made it a link so you can see the URL.
Student details: Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Linkedin? Snapchat? Other?
Grade criteria will be put on the (closed) Video1 Facebook group.
Discussion: Watch this video by Michael Rosenblum of TheVJ.com that tries to define mojo. What do you think about what he says? We will discuss this in class.
Links to short chats with NRK’s Gunnar Gronlund:
- The skills that journalism students need.
- Are we returning to silent movies?
- Video for different time of the day.
- Importance of editing.
Dr Ivo Burum offers his definition of mojo and suggests that the story determines the gear we use.
The Shoulderpod company offers a nice introduction to mojo.
Here CBC’s Jeff Semple in London shows how he shot and edited a news story with only an iPhone (runs 5:09).
Show The Fixer (2012), which was filmed with an iPhone. It has won many awards at film competitions. Runs 7:15 at http://www.thesmalls.com/film/fixer What was the total budget? Answer: $US 400.
The Fixer shows that mojo has the potential to be used for more than news. Other uses include feature films, TV advertisements, NGO briefings, PR brochures and documentaries. More about Conrad Mess and Hollywood can be found here.
Students are required to produce news stories, because this is a journalism course. In this video Yusuf Omar tells you what makes news. And here he talks about what he calls solution-based storytelling. In this video he offers tools for finding story ideas, and touches on the key issue of copyright.
Dr Claire Wardle offers advice on fact-checking news events. The video runs for 4 minutes. At about 30 seconds she provides a useful checklist. The FirstDraft website has several tips for fact checking. I recommend you take the fact-checking course offered online to journalism students.
- Establish your own YouTube / Vimeo / other account if you do not have one
- Join and read earlier content in the course Facebook group, which can found using the search term “Video1 Kristiania University”
- Email a 100-word bio to the teacher, or provide a link to an existing online bio. Stephen’s email is sraquinn (at) gmail (dot) com
Lesson 2: Equipment and story planning
Discussion: Mojo equipment
Read Chapter 4 (Tools of the Mojo Trade, pages 62-97) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Keynote: Mojo kit
Set up the camera app on your iOS device: Settings / Camera / Record Video. Choose 1080p HD at 30 fps or 60 fps. With these settings one minute of video will take about 60MB of data at 30 fps and 90MB at 60 fps. If you are short of memory on your device, choose 720p HD at 30 fps (this is only about 40MB).
Avoid 4K because that format hogs data. Settings tells us that recording in 4K at 60 fps takes up about 400MB of storage for every minute of video.
Simon Horrocks has produced an excellent site with details of a range of apps and tools for making mojo movies (abbreviated as MoMo). He focuses on movie-making but much of the advice is relevant to mojo. The MoMo Academy site is also very useful.
Preparation and story planning
Overview: This part of the lesson covers how to prepare a story. What is news? How to research a video news story. What is your story?
Read chapter 7 (SCRAP: The Elements of Mojo Storytelling, pages 150-175) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Some good tips on preparing your story from the Pulitzer Center in the US.
- In your own time watch this video about storyboarding. Start at 1:13 to avoid the waffle at the start. Here is another (shorter) video about storyboarding.
- Practise with your smartphone, and ideally have a story idea rouged out on a piece of paper (storyboard) to show at the next class.
- Watch this Facebook Live with Glen Mulcahy, who describes a range of equipment: https://www.facebook.com/thomsonfoundation/videos/1736283396406851/
Lesson 3: Composing visual proof / creative filming
Learnings from previous class?
Overview today: It’s vital to get quality images for your videos. Remember to shoot both stills and video.
Read Chapter 5 (Composing Visual Proof, pages 98-125) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Read this excellent interview with Christian Payne about how to be creative when shooting video.
Yusuf Omar offers 9 tips for creative mojo shooting.
Transitions: Caroline Scott from Journalism.co.uk shows five clever transitions you can use in your videos.
Exercise in class: We will learn to do a stand-up, also known as a piece to camera.
Visual metaphors: These help people understand abstract concepts. Some examples: depression as the ocean (put your smartphone in a plastic bag and let an incoming tide wash over it); memory in dementia patients (show a smeared and smooshed painting); or gender identity represented as handed-ness (how many people are left-handed?).
If you use the Filmic Pro app, here is a good training video (though it is quite long at 15:39 minutes):
- Always put your smartphone in flight (or similar) mode before you shoot or edit.
- Turn on Grid for your iOS device if you would like help when framing images on your camera. Do this via Settings / Camera / Grid
- Select your shooting frame rate. With an iOS device do this via Settings / Camera / Record Video. Note the various standards: 30 or 60 fps for online and NTSC (Japan and North America); 25 of 50 fps for PAL broadcast; 24 fps for film. Most Androids and all iPhones default to 30fps / 60fps. You do not need to change your settings if you plan to submit videos online.
A bit of history: NTSC is named after America’s National Television System Committee and PAL stands for Phase Alternating Line. Both are analog forms of broadcasting, and have been replaced by digital television in much of the world. Standard-definition television (SDTV or SD) is a television system which uses a resolution that is not considered to be either high or enhanced definition. SDTV has a 4:3 aspect ratio (compared with 16:9 for HD). SDTV uses the frame rate and number of lines of resolution as PAL and NTSC. If you’re working in a country that still uses SDTV, you need an app that allows you to select 25 fps / 50 fps (Filmic Pro or Mavis). This part of Settings in an iOS device also describes file size per second at various fps.
Homework: Practise shooting quality video with your smartphone. Come to class with one minute of unusual footage. Also practise doing a piece to camera, and come to class with one to show your colleagues.
Lesson 4: Interviewing
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: Mojo interviews involve some new skills, relative to traditional interviewing styles. We consider the main differences between interviewing with a mobile phone versus interviewing with a large video camera.
Read Chapter 8 (Mojo Interviewing, pages 176-197) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
The MoMo site offers a solid guide to interviewing with a smartphone here.
Interviewing tips: Watch this BBC training video on how to do an interview (runs 10:06).
In this video Drew Keller talks about the importance of good research (runs 6:50).
CBS’s Katie Couric gives her tips on what makes a good interview (runs 5:07).
Possible guest speaker this session.
Homework: Interview someone. Then shoot some background footage (make it interesting) and make a 60-second video, using iMovie as the editing tool. Also include a piece to camera at the start to introduce the person you interviewed. Practise with the app in your own time so you are familiar with your equipment.
Lesson 5: Editing
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Show examples of good student interviews done as homework.
Overview: In this class we look at the editing process.
Read Chapter 9 (Editing on a Smartphone, pages 198-221) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Watch: CBC’s Jeff Semple shows you how to edit with iMovie on an iOS device (runs 14:43; note it’s a bit old, given it was made in 2016).
Watch Ivo Burum’s video on editing with iMovie from the textbook (it runs 8:41) or via YouTube.
Read Ivo’s wonderful summary of the mojo process. This is one of the best single articles on how to do mojo.
Justin Brown offers a video on how to edit using KineMaster on both iOS and Android. It runs 17 minutes. This shorter video (12 minutes) focuses only on Android. Brown also has a video about editing with LumaFusion for iOS here.
Homework: Re-edit the interview you did as homework from lesson 4, or do another interview and find more background footage, and make a news video (maximum 100 seconds) and place it on your YouTube or Vimeo site. This could be your first piece of assessment or your pre-exam video.
Reminder: Students need to complete their first assessment video by midnight of xxxxxxxxx.
Lesson 6: Audio, music, sound effects and narration
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: This lesson covers aspects of sound related to mojo work.
Watch any student work offered, to give feedback.
Ivo Burum offers an excellent article on recording audio with a smartphone.
How to use duct tape to secure a microphone to clothing.
The Mobile Journalism Manual has a section on audio in the equipment chapter.
Example of an amazing video by Anders Ernest, a Danish print journalist who learned how to become a mojo.
The BBC has made its sound effects library available for free. About 16,000 sounds are available for “personal, educational or research purposes”.
Watch this BBC CoJo video about recording good audio with an iPhone (4 minutes).
Read Chapter 6 (Recording Location Sound, pages 126-149) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
The audio section in the Mobile Journalism Manual has some tips when filming.
Lindsay Kalter offers an article about recording clear audio with a mobile phone.
Music: The web contains many sites that offer copyright or royalty free music. It is vital if you use music that the music is free of copyright. Here are three free sites:
Free Music Archive
The CCMixster site
YouTube’s audio library
Another option is to subscribe to Epidemic Sound for access to their music library.
Sound effects: The Videomaker app offers free sound effects.
Homework: Go to one of the free music sites and store some music in your smartphone’s camera roll or audio app for use in your next video. Practise using the free audio recorder on your smartphone to record an interview (90-120 seconds), then insert the audio into your preferred video editing app. With an iOS device the audio app is called Voice Memos.
Lesson 7: Review
In this lesson we will review progress so far, discuss making videos for social platforms, investigate going live and consider some cool apps. It would be sensible here to review the information at the start of this document about appropriate apps for filming and editing, and fps (frames per second) for your video.
The BBC’s smartphone trainer Marc Settle details his favourite mojo apps.
Watch Yusuf Omar talk about his favourite mojo apps.
Facebook course on going live.
Reading from Mojo Manual on going live.
Watch Kate Rushworth talk about using social media to publicise videos and reach audiences.
This MondayNote article shows the power of Instagram.
Resources: Facebook has excellent courses for journalists. Enrol here for the Facebook Journalism Project and find out more about Blueprint, the training program Facebook established. Google also have a site for training journalists.
Read Chapter 11 (Mojo, Social Networks and Social Media, pages 236-251) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Lesson 8: Scripting
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: Voice-over and narration are still important and can be learned. But as BBC correspondent Allan Little notes, you must have something to say.
Resource: Quinn’s book published July 2018: CLARITY: A guide to clear writing. Second edition. Free copies are available from the author.
Keynotes: Scripting and Language
This excellent BBC CoJo video shows you how to write for video.
Exercise: Write a 60-second script (you choose the language) and record it with the Voice Memos app on your smartphone. Limitation: You can only use words of one syllable apart from Proper nouns (the names of people and places). Be prepared to play your recoding to the class at the next lesson.
Reminder about assessment: Students need to submit their second video by midnight of xxxxxxxxx.
Lesson 9: Performance
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Play homework recordings from previous lesson.
Overview: Once you have written your script, you must be ready to do the narration for your video. You must learn to get relaxed quickly. You also need to know how your brain works under stress.
Keynote: Brain tips
Read pages 226-228 of Chapter 10 of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Exercise: Tell me a joke or a sad story as a piece to camera. Maximum duration: 60 seconds.
Homework: Watch this video about voice skills and practise doing narration for next class.
Lesson 10: Headlines and file management
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: We have almost completed the process for creating mojo videos. We need to finish our videos by adding headlines, name supers, subtitles (if necessary) and credits. And we need to consider ethical and legal factors associated with being a mojo.
Read page 228 (name supers) 10 of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Discussion: Legal factors when reporting as a mojo, given the nature of mojo work.
Demonstration: The potential of secret recording apps. Demonstrate using iPhone and digital TV. Discussion: Ethical issues related to secret recording.
Read Chapter 13 (Ethical and Legal Aspects of Mojo, pages 264-283) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Homework: Students will each make a mojo video (maximum 100 seconds) in which they review something. It can be anything: a book, a film, the university cafeteria or the music of a busker. You choose the subject. You might be able to find a news angle to be able to turn this into one of your assessments.
Uploading, file management and social media
Overview: The final stage in the mojo process is uploading your video. This can take time, and can be done via wifi or 4G. You need to know where to find wifi when reporting in the field.
Read Chapter 12 (File Delivery and Phone Management, pages 252-263) of Burum, I. and Quinn, S. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press (Taylor and Francis Group), Boston.
Discuss file storage methods, especially SanDisk. This is a link to the company’s web site.
WhatsApp is great for quick transfer of video. But the app compresses video a lot, so that one minute of video that starts at about 114Mb gets shrunk to about 12Mb and looks awful when you play it. It is useful if you’re in a hurry to upload but you sacrifice quality for speed.
Homework: Come to class with details of at least three places where the teacher could find good wifi in your city, apart from Kristiania University/Westerdals.
Lesson 11: Drones, underwater cameras and the future
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: New tools are always being invented to help journalists. Drones, both aerial and underwater, offer great possibilities.
Demonstration: The teacher will fly his drone.
This link shows the rules relating to drones in Norway.
This blog post by Glen Mulcahy on underwater drones is dated 2016 but still relevant.
Homework: No homework. Focus on finishing your third piece of assessment.
Reminder about assessment: Students need to submit their third video by 9am of xxxxxxxxxxxx.
End of lessons.
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