Welcome to VIJ2101 Videojournalistikk for 2021, which I simplify as Video1. This course focuses on your learning to be a mobile journalist, or mojo. A trained mojo can make a broadcast-quality video with only a smartphone, some inexpensive apps and a good microphone in less than a day. The key word here is trained.
Notes updated 11 September 2021.
Smartphones get better every year. Networks are also developing quickly (5G became available in many parts of Europe this year). These improvements help make mojo possible. But the key to mojo is not technology. It is about the brain behind each journalist’s hands. Mojo is about storytelling more than technology. A way to unleash your creativity.
Covid-19 has accelerated the change to more digital forms of journalism. Newsroom budgets are likely to shrink because of reduced advertising revenues. This makes people with mojo skills more attractive to newsroom managers — the people who will hire you — because mojos usually work alone. Thus one salary, one flight and lower expenses if you travel for a story instead of two or three salaries and related costs for a film crew.
Students should consider entering any videos they make in some of the many smartphone movie contests around the world. You need to develop a showreel, and competition awards improve your employment prospects.
Welcome to Video1, the start of your future. Classes will be held face to face on campus. Classes usually start at 1115 or 1515 Norwegian time, but do check your timetable because the occasional class will start at 1415 or 1215. If we use Zoom the link is https://kristiania.zoom.us/j/3328773657
MoJo @ Kristiania2021
Lesson 1: Overview and introductions (Aug 23)
Lesson 2: Mojo equipment and story planning (Aug 24)
Lesson 3: Composing visual proof / creative filming (Sep 2)
Lesson 4: Interviewing (Sep 6)
Lesson 5: Editing on the smartphone (Sep 3 and 6) + Guest speaker Loes Witschge (pronounced “Loos Visker”) from the Google News Lab on Sep 3 (https://meet.google.com/agi-cknn-eet)
Lesson 6: Audio, music, sound effects and narration (Sep 13)
Lesson 7: Storytelling in more detail, review and social video (Sep 8)
Lesson 8: Scripting (Sep 7) + review (Sep 13) + guest speaker from NRK (Sep 14)
Lesson 9: Performance (Sep 8)
Lesson 10: Headlines, name supers, subtitles and file management (Sep 20)
Lesson 11: The future (Sep 20) with Sep 21 to prepare for exam
Recommended reading Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Burum, Ivo and Quinn, Stephen. (2015). MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York. The book comes with a companion web site and 13 videos (310 pages).
Useful readings / web sites My friend Dr Ivo Burum is a mojo master. If you read nothing else in this course, please read these two articles by him: The first talks about mojo storytelling and the second covers editing.
The Mobile Journalism Manual produced by the Asia office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation offers a good introduction to mojo. It’s free.
Sheppard, Neil (2019). The Smartphone Filmmaking Handbook: Revealing the secrets of smartphone movie making. Available on Kindle and Amazon.
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. Any of his stories for RTE will inspire you. Find many of them here. Listen to him talk about mojo here at the Mobile Creator’s Summit. His section runs from 4:05:00 to 4:30:10.
In Norway, John Inge Johansen is a one-man band at NRK working in the sub-Arctic. Listen to him talk about being a single operator here, starting at 5:03:45 and ending at 5:29:25. He edits and uploads from the field because travel time in his huge region is always an issue.
The Video1 (closed) Facebook group is intended for this course as a way to share resources.
The Mojofest Facebook group has about 6,500 mojo members who discuss issues and share insights. It is a great place to learn about new developments.
Cielo de la Paz has an excellent YouTube site where she teaches iPhone filmmaking.
If you learn best by watching videos, subscribe to these EPIC Tutorial training videos by Eliot Fitzroy.
Mojo Yusuf Omar gives a great overview of mojo work.
Listen to this talk about the advantages of mojo with Michael Rosenblum and Kartini Arrifin. Rosenblum’s TheVJ.com is a combination of web site and YouTube channel. The former requires a subscription and the latter (free) has useful training videos.
Mojo trainer Mark Egan has a useful Facebook page.
The Society of Professional Journalists in America offers an excellent set of MoJo tools.
Mojo Bernard Lill offers his version of how to get started as a mojo.
Assessment Students will make three news videos during this course. Each news video must be between 80 and 100 seconds. You can choose Norwegian or English as the language for voice-over / interviews / subtitles. If you choose Norwegian you must include subtitles in English and include a summary of the story in English when you submit your trial videos and your final exam.
Set up a YouTube or Vimeo site 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 the 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 in which students reflect on their learning during this course. The reflection video and news video are due by 9am on the Monday of the last week of the module (27 September 2021). The reflection video will be a piece to camera in which students talk about, in English, the things they experienced. This might include problems encountered, ethical issues faced, thoughts on being a mojo, or anything else they believe relevant to their learning.
This is the reflective part of the assessment. Do not simply repeat 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.
Examples of student reflections that received an A will be provided later. Examples of good work by former students will be shown during this course.
Grade criteria for final exam Students should aim to satisfy all of the questions in the grade criteria when they create their videos. Details of grade criteria will be provided by the Eksamen department and I will also talk about it in the August 23 class. 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 often involves an external industry assessor). Only the very best videos will receive an A. This grading system reflects the skill involved in creating quality mojo news videos.
Equipment: Video1 focuses on using smartphones to make high-quality videos. You can use any smartphone you choose. But you should ensure your smartphone has the most recent version of the operating system installed.
Filming apps: Along with the camera app that comes with your smartphone, the four best apps for recording video are FiLMic Pro, Moment, REC and Mavis. The first three work on both iOS and Android devices. Mavis only runs on iOS. This video compares eight filming apps.
FiLMic Pro is the most expensive at GBP 14.99. Moment and REC are both GBP 4.99. Mavis is free but has in-app purchases. If space is an issue on your smartphone’s memory, REC is probably best because of its small size (4.1 MB) compared with 64 MB for FiLMic Pro and 135.5 MB for Moment. I often use the camera app on my iPhone because it is a good app.
Here is a link to an article about the 10 best filming apps for iOS and Android.
Editing apps: Hundreds of editing apps are available, but only a handful are suitable for mojo (because the app must provide at least two video editing tracks). Four of the best editing apps are available on both iOS and Android: KineMaster, VN, Adobe Rush and PowerDirector. Another three excellent apps are only available on iOS: LumaFusion, CTpro and iMovie. All are described below, and additions will be included here as new apps appear.
Apple’s iOS dominates mojo because it is easier for developers to create an app for a consistent platform (iOS gets a major update about once a year) compared with the wide range of versions of Android. Some older Android smartphones struggle with editing apps.
Costs vary depending on the app’s business model. KineMaster requires a subscription to remove the watermark. It is GBP 3.49 a month or GBP 18.49 a year. If you are happy to see the watermark on your videos, then KineMaster is free. See later for details for free access to KineMaster during this course. KineMaster have scores of useful video tutorials at their YouTube site.
VN is free. This site by Simon Horrocks offers a good tutorial on how to use the app.
The price of Adobe Rush varies depending on whether it is purchased as part of a larger bundle or an individual licence. The cost varies from USD 9.99 to USD 29.99 a month. PowerDirector costs GBP 4.99 a month, GBP 9.99 a quarter or GBP 33.99 a year. Here is a detailed guide to editing with PowerDirector.
LumaFusion is very sophisticated. It could be likened to Final Cut Pro on a desktop and takes several days to learn fully. The web site of the parent company LumaTouch offers a range of tutorials. The app costs USD 19.99 which makes it a bargain compared with all other apps.
CTpro is another powerful app but it is the most expensive: GBP134.99 a year for a full licence, or GBP13.49 a month.
All of these apps cost little relative to the sophisticated results you can achieve with them. Of all the recommended apps, iMovie is the easiest to learn – you could be using it within an hour – and it is free with iPhones and iPads. KineMaster is also easy to learn and permits sophisticated editing. This course will focus on using iMovie and KineMaster.
Free access to KineMaster. Alex Grant, KineMaster’s general manager for North America, has provided free access to the full version of KineMaster for Video1 students for 60 days but you must take the offer before August 31. Ask your teacher for a promo code.
Before you begin, download the app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Just search for “KineMaster” on either store to bring it up. Here is the process:
First, visit the website (using a web browser) https://www.kinemaster.com/promo
1) Enter your email address and click Next (Note that your email address isn’t tracked or shared with anyone. If you have concerns about privacy, use a throwaway email for this purpose.)
2) Enter your name, create a password, and click Create Account
3) Enter the promo code and click Apply Code
Second, open the KineMaster app.
1) Tap Settings on the KineMaster main screen
2) Tap My Information
3) Tap Sign In
4) Enter the same email address used on the kinemaster website in step one
5) Enter the same password created on the kinemaster website in step one
KineMaster Premium will unlock. KineMaster Premium gives you the ability to download everything on the KineMaster Asset Store, removes the “Made with KineMaster” watermark, and unlocks all of the Blending Modes and Color Filter presets. It also allows you to export projects in HD or 4K.
KineMaster provides a website with tips and descriptions of all the tools available in KineMaster. You can find it here.
Why I recommend the iPhone Much research has been done on why journalists adopt or reject technology for newsgathering. It was the subject of my PhD. Ease of use is a significant factor. For me the iPhone remains the easiest of all smartphones for doing mojo work.
For Android user, probably the best editing app is KineMaster. The problem with Android OS is the wide range of phones and variations of the operating system. The free version of the KineMaster app does not allow you to save videos in 1080p (HD) and it forces you to pay to export videos without a watermark. If students want to use KineMaster, watch this video about the app.
I am not wedded to the iPhone, nor do I have shares in Apple. But at the moment iOS allows you to save files in full high definition (1080p HD or super HD, 4K) and editing is relatively intuitive. 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.
Regardless of which smartphone you use, please ensure you have the latest version of the operating system (OS) installed. As of August 2021 it is 14.7.1 for both the iPhone and iPad. The same advice about using the latest version applies to apps.
My definition of mojo: Everything to create a video is done on the smartphone. That is why I have provided information about editing apps earlier, as well as special effects apps later on.
A note about my mojo method: Video journalism (indeed, all forms of journalism) involves selection and compression of information. 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.
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 smartphones rather than a laptop/desktop for editing, though you are free to use these tools.
Hours of video: Every minute of every day about 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Facebook claims to screen 100 million hours of video a day, while Snapchat and TikTok also screen lots of video. In July 2021 Instagram announced it would focus on video rather than photos.
Vertical or horizontal filming?: Personally I choose to shoot in landscape (horizontal) mode because it looks better in the editing apps I use. But you should shoot for your intended audience. 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.
Probably 90 per cent of all this video content 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. We will also consider how creativity is part of mojo.
If you choose to shoot in vertical mode, this Apple video shows how to do it well.
Bio of your teacher: Professor Stephen Quinn runs MOJO Media Insights, and has been based in Brighton in the UK since 2013. He teaches journalists how to make broadcast-quality videos with only iOS devices and since 2010 has taught mojo skills to journalists in 20 countries. From 1975-95 Dr Quinn was a journalist in five countries with some of the world’s premier media companies (The Guardian, ABC, BBC, ITN, TVNZ). Between 1996 and 2011 he was a journalism educator in Australia, the UAE, the US and China. He returned to journalism full time from 2011-13 with the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, as digital development editor. He makes mojo videos and short films 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. He writes about wine as a hobby. More about him can be found at his web site.
Lesson 1: Overview Lesson 1 offers an overview of the mojo process and talks about the advantages and disadvantages of mojo. It provides essential information on things like assessment, the pre-exam and grade criteria. It also notes the importance of understanding the audience for whom you are producing videos.
Reading: Chapter 1 (pages 2-13) of Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Keynotes: Intro and Overview
My web site is https://sraquinn.org/ I have not made it a link so you can see the URL.
We will discuss students’ use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat and TikTok and how these are relevant for mojo.
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 Gunnar Gronlund, formerly a mojo trainer with NRK:
- 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 good overall introduction to mojo.
The company that makes the FiLMiC Pro app runs an annual competition for mojo movies. Here are the finalists from 2019.
The Mobile Creator Summit held over four weeks from April 2020 offers almost 24 hours of video about many aspects of mobile creativity. In Week 1 we meet Cielo de la Paz who takes us through her process for creating videos solely on an iPhone. Go to the Week 1 link below and start at 5:02:53 where Glen Mulcahy introduces Cielo through to the Q&A with her that ends at 5:30:20.
- Establish your own YouTube or Vimeo 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
- Experiment with the camera app and the audio recording app on your smartphone
- Make sure you have at least 5GB of available space on your smartphone.
- If you have plenty of space, set up your camera to shoot at 1080p. If using an iOS device go to Settings / Camera / Record Video. Choose 1080p HD at 60 fps. With these settings one minute of video will take about 90MB of data. If you are short of memory on your device, choose 720p HD at 30 fps (one minute will require about 40MB).
Avoid 4K because that format hogs data. Recording in 4K at 60 fps requires about 400MB of storage for every minute of video.
To repeat: Make sure you have at least 5GB of capacity on your smartphone before filming. With an iOS device you find out about capacity by going to Settings / General / About / Available.
One way to get extra memory is to make sure all your deleted photos/videos have actually been deleted. When you delete a photo it’s stored in the Deleted Photos album, and thus still uses the smartphone’s memory. To delete photos or videos:
- Open the Photos app and tap the Albums tab.
- Find the Recently Deleted album (it’s usually the last item) then tap Select.
- Chose the items you want to delete, or tap “Delete All”.
Lesson 2: Equipment and story planning
Keynote: Mojo equipment
Reading: 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.
Reading: Chapter 2 (pages 14-49) of Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Kim Slade’s web site has great information about mojo kit, with recommendations and prices.
Robb Montgomery offers a list of various mojo kits here. He includes videos on how to interview via social distancing. Robb says he only includes gear he has tested in the field.
The FiLMiC Pro web site offers its list of suggested equipment.
A recent academic paper suggests that mojos can lack credibility because of the small size of their equipment. I have interviewed TV reporters who say that politicians want a big camera when being interviewed (ego issues for the politicians?) One way mojos can look more professional is by using a tripod and microphone with their smartphone. Plus you could put a logo on your windsock. This video explains how to do that.
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?
Reading: Chapter 3 (pages 50-69) of Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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.
Ivo Burum, mojo master, offers his top tips for creating mojo stories.
Preparation: Watch this 2016 BBC College of Journalism (CoJo) training video about preparing your smartphone for doing mojo.
In this article the Journalism.co.uk site tells you how to set up your home studio with a smartphone.
- 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 have a story idea rouged out on a piece of paper or on your mobile (as a storyboard) to show / discuss at the next class.
- Watch this 2018 video of a Facebook Live with Glen Mulcahy, who describes a range of equipment. Do note that equipment changes, but storytelling remains the key element of mojo.
Lesson 3: Composing visual proof / creative filming
Learnings from previous class?
Overview: It’s vital to get quality images for your videos. Remember to shoot both stills and video. Review as soon as possible after filming, and delete the rubbish.
Reading: Chapter 4 (pages 70-97) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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.
Here is a link to a one-hour video talk I gave in 2021 that offers a range of ways to be creative when filming as a mojo.
Watch: CBC’s Jeff Semple on shooting with an iPhone (runs 5:09).
Mojo Andrew Robb shows the creative methods he used to make a mojo film.
Glen Mulcahy made this basic video with tips for shooting video in July 2020.
Read this 2017 interview with Christian Payne about how to be creative when shooting video.
Simon Horrocks from the Mobile Motion site offers part 1 of a series of posts about the variety of shots that film-makers use. This part 3 is about shooting close-ups. He also offers a comprehensive guide to mobile film-making.
The Mobile Motion site offers this excellent tutorial on how to create a film-like look while shooting with the FILMic Pro app. It also explains the use of ND filters.
Here is a range of helpful training videos for the FiLMic Pro filming app.
You might consider using a 360 camera which allows for 360 degree filming. The two best are the Insta360 ONE X and the GoPro Max. This article describes some of the benefits of using a 360 camera. In this video my friend DJ Clark used a GoPro Max to cover the 2019 protests in Hong Kong. The video won a Webby award earlier this year in the Immersive and Mixed Reality Video News category. Here DJ talks about all the gear he uses.
Facebook offers a course in how to create 360 videos and photos.
Watch The Fixer, filmed with an iPhone 4 in 2012 (runs 7:15). It has won many awards at mojo film competitions. What was the total budget? Answer: USD 400. More about director Conrad Mess can be found here. Note how the movie focuses on simplicity.
The Fixer shows that mojo has the potential for more than news. People now use mojo for feature films, TV advertisements, NGO briefings, PR brochures and documentaries (Jane Digby).
Exercise in class: We will learn to do a stand-up, also known as a piece to camera.
Visual metaphors help people understand abstract concepts. An example here shows how depression is represented by ocean waves. (Tip: Put your smartphone in a plastic bag and let an incoming tide wash over it). Or memory in dementia patients can be shown as a smeared and smooshed painting. What visual metaphors could you use in your videos?
- 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 (energy points discussed in class). Do this via iOS 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 or 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 broadcast 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, REC, Moment or Mavis). Settings in an iOS device will describe file size per second at various fps.
If you want to know more about video bit rate, read this article.
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 a stand-up (another name for it) to show your colleagues.
Lesson 4: Interviewing
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: Mojo interviews involve learning some new skills, relative to traditional interviewing methods. We consider the main differences between interviewing with a mobile phone versus interviewing with a large video camera.
Reading: Chapter 6 (pages 116-131) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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.
Interviewing tips: Watch this BBC training video on how to do an interview (runs 10:06). It is about radio interviewing but many of the tips are relevant.
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). This video is old (2009) but still relevant.
Tip: Make your body a tripod. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent as shock absorbers. Lock elbows into your sides and hold the smartphone in front of your face. Your body pans and tilts to move your smartphone.
Zoom interviews: You can interview people via Zoom but you need to manage the Zoom settings. You can also ask the interviewee to video themselves. If you do, ask the person to film themselves in 4K to be able to edit/crop sections of video frames without losing resolution.
To put an iPhone into 4K mode for filming go to Settings > Camera > Choose “4K at 30fps” in Record Video. Ensure they also put their smartphone in Do Not Disturb mode while filming. With an iPhone this is done via Settings > Do Not Disturb > select the first option you see.
You should also improve video settings in your and their Zoom. Go to Video in Settings and select “enable HD”. Also enable “touch up my appearance”.
Also tell them adjust audio settings in Zoom to get the best possible sound: Go to Audio in Settings and de-select “automatically adjust microphone settings”. Then go to Advanced Settings in Audio at the bottom right of the screen. (This is only possible on a laptop or desktop; not possible on mobile.) Disable “suppress persistent background noise” and also disable “suppress intermittent background noise”. Choose “auto” for echo cancellation.
Remember to do the same with your Zoom software. Audio and video files are saved in a folder with that day’s date on your computer.
Video alternative: Another way people can film themselves is via QuickTime but this only works if they have a Mac. Tell them to:
1. Open the QuickTime Player app on laptop/desktop
2. From the Film menu, choose “New movie recording”. They will see whatever their computer camera sees
3. Press the record button (red) and stop when finished
4. Save the video to the desktop, give it a name, then ask them to send it via WeTransfer.
Audio alternative (backup): You can also record a backup of a Zoom interview with your smartphone plus a microphone. With an iPhone use the Voice Memos app or download the free Voice Recorder Pro 7 app from the Apple store. With an Android device use the Voice Recorder app. The free version offers high-quality formats. The pro version (USD 3.99) can record phone calls
Clip the external (lavalier) mic on your smartphone to the screen close to the computer’s internal mic. After audio is recorded save in Photo Album and Airdrop to an iOS device. With some Android devices Fast Share lets you transfer photos, text, and other files to nearby devices via Bluetooth.
Skype interviewing: If you want to record an interview with someone via Skype you have a variety of options. If you interview on a laptop, best to use QuickTime. On an iPhone probably the simplest way is described here. Android people should read this article for a range of options.
For a bit of fun, here is a 4-minute video that Lucy Linger wrote, directed and edited via Zoom during lockdown in England.
Zoom has allowed creators to make films during lockdown. This article from the BBC talks about how actors and directors used Zoom to make a series called Isolation Stories.
Tips: The BBC’s Marc Settle suggests holding your phone against a wall (if possible) to get a steady surface for doing a piece to camera. Airpods work fine as wireless mics for interviews. Ask the talent to use their own Airpods, and link via Bluetooth to your iPhone. Mike Castellucci suggests putting your smartphone on a tripod and pulling gently with a rubber band for a subtle pan. Works even with extreme closeups of words on a book for example, he says.
The free Teleprompter app (red camera image on a white background) for iOS allows you to load and read a script while doing a piece to camera.
Homework: Interview someone. Then shoot some background footage (make it interesting) and produce a 60-second video. Use iMovie as the editing tool if you are new to editing. Also include a piece to camera at the start to introduce the person you interviewed. Practise is key with mojo.
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. The magic begins.
Reading: Chapter 8 )pages 152-175) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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.
Justin Brown provides a link to editing with his four favourite paid apps on an iPhone here. And here is his link for editing those apps with Android devices. He also offers a video about how to edit with a new app from the owners of TikTok called CapCut. And in this video he offers his approach to the LumaFusion editing app.
This Shutterstock tutorial describes 9 different editing techniques. Very useful.
Read Ivo’s wonderful summary of the mojo process. This is one of the best single articles on how to do mojo.
The LumaTouch company which makes the LumaFusion app offers excellent training videos which allow you to teach yourself how to use this app. Justin Brown has updated his LumaFusion training video. It runs 27 minutes.
Here is a comprehensive guide to editing with LumaFusion on an iPad Pro.
Mike Reilley offers a tutorial to help you learn VN.
Mark Egan offers great advice about hooking people in the first 8 seconds.
If you want to include special effects, the Alight Motion app is relatively easy to use. The company provides a training video here.
Watch The Fixer again. It was filmed with an iPhone 4 in 2012 (runs 7:15) and has won many awards at film competitions. Note the simplicity of the editing, yet how powerful the storytelling.
Homework: Re-edit the interview you did as homework from lesson 4, or do another interview and find more background footage, and make a video (maximum 100 seconds) and place it on your YouTube or Vimeo site. This could be your first piece of assessment.
Reminder: Students need to complete their first assessment video by xxxxx.
Lesson 6: Audio, music, sound effects and narration
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Overview: This lesson covers aspects of sound/audio related to mojo work.
Watch any student work offered, to give feedback.
How to use duct tape to secure and hide a mic to clothing.
Example of an amazing video by Anders Ernest, a Danish print journalist who learned how to become a mojo.
Reading: Chapter 5 (pages 96-115) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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.
Music: The web contains many sites that offer copyright or royalty free music. Here are two: http://freemusicarchive.org/ and http://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary. And here is another article on finding ways to provide music for your videos.
Another option is to subscribe to Epidemic Sound for access to their music library.
The Videomaker site offers free sound effects and stock video in the Downloads area.
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 one of the audio recorder apps to record an interview (90-120 seconds), then insert the audio into your preferred video editing app.
Lesson 7: Review and Storytelling In this lesson we will look into mojo storytelling in more depth. We will also review progress so far, discuss making videos for social platforms 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.
Stories possess a special power – a magic – for both the storyteller and for the audience. They take people on a journey – emotionally, intellectually, imaginatively. They let people lose and find themselves. But what is story and how do we capture that magic? That is what this lesson covers.
Reminder: From this week students need to start making news videos.
Read this chapter in the Mobile Journalism Manual about storytelling
The BBC’s smartphone trainer Marc Settle details his favourite mojo apps.
Watch Yusuf Omar talk about his favourite mojo apps.
This MondayNote article describes the power of Instagram and other social media.
Resources: Facebook has useful 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.
Useful apps for mojo work.
VideoScribe Anywhere: Lets you create animations. A junior and free version of the Doodly software.
Video Rotate: Useful if you shoot vertical video and need to insert it as a piece of landscape video in an editing app.
8mm: This app lets you make video look like it is old and shot on a b&w movie camera.
Snapseed: One of the best photo editing apps.
Voice Record Pro: A more powerful app than the voice recorder on your mobile. It’s free, and contains the option to get your recording transcribed.
Otter: This app will transcribe audio interviews for free.
Chartistic: Use this app to create charts to insert into your news videos.
Musemage: One of the best apps for creating video special effcts. Others include Vochi and Alight Motion.
My Sketch: Take a photograph and turn it into a sketch via a range of templates. Useful for creating an avatar of yourself.
Insight Timer: I use this to get a reminder every hour to take three deep breaths and relax.
Reading: Chapter 3 (pages 50-69) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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?
Resource: Quinn’s book published July 2018: CLARITY: A guide to clear writing. Second edition. Free copies are available from the author. Or pay for it on Amazon.
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.
Keynotes: Scripting and Language
Reading: Chapter 7 (pages 132-151) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
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.
Lesson 9: Performance
Learnings/questions from previous class?
Play homework recordings from previous lesson.
Overview: Once you have written your script, you need 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
Reading: 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.
If you want to go “live” on Facebook, Justin Brown offers a simple guide.
Exercise: Make a mojo video in which you tell me a joke or a sad story as a piece to camera. Maximum duration: 40 seconds.
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. Then we need to deliver our story. And we need to consider ethical and legal factors associated with being a mojo.
Reading: 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.
Reading: Chapter 13 (pages 268-283) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: Chapter 12 (pages 246-267) in Burum, Ivo (2021). The Mojo Handbook: Theory to Praxis Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Reading: 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. You choose. It can be anything: a book, a film, the university cafeteria or the music of a busker. 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. It happens via wifi or 4G (or possibly 5G this year). It is vital you know how to get your story back to your producer / office when reporting in the field.
Reading: 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.
Best to use the Telegram app to deliver files. Telegram lets you send uncompressed files up to about 1,500MB. Tap on the paper clip icon in a chat, select “File” and then choose the video in the Photos section of your mobile. Telegram is available for Android, iOS and Windows 10 mobiles and also has desktop apps for Windows and MacOS. Best to use wifi when sending because large files will eat into people’s data allowances.
Florian Reichart has written a comprehensive article about transferring files in iOS and Android.
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. So do camera spectacles and 360 degree cameras.
This link shows the rules relating to drones in Norway.
The UK-based company UAVHub offers free online drone training online. Details here.
Read this fascinating article about how drones are creating work for freelance mojos.
This blog post by Glen Mulcahy on underwater drones is dated 2016 but still relevant.
Watch this video where Yusuf Omar talks about the potential of the camera on his spectacles.
Keynote: The future and you
We will talk about the need to focus on “thin sliver niche” content for success. The Axios media trends web site (21 January 2020) wrote: “Media companies that lack true scale or dominance of a specific niche continue to face challenges. Most executives believe this trend will continue, leaving a small group of large publishers and high-quality niche sites.”
One option you have is to focus on niche content. The Drone and Phone site is a good example of a thin niche site.
Jessica Yellin is an example of a traditional (CNN) journalist who became a brand on Instagram.
Homework: No homework. Focus on finishing your third piece of assessment.
Reminder about assessment: Students need to submit their third news video and their reflection video at the same time. It is due September xx 2021.
Mojos to follow on Twitter
End of lessons.
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