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  • iOS 12: Plenty of potential for mobile journalists, but it may take time

    Marc Settle

    specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC Academy

    iOS 12 is keenly awaited by journalists who rely on Apple’s operating system in their day-to-day work. We asked the Academy’s mobile journalism expert Marc Settle for his analysis of what’s changed and the implications for journalists and others:

    Regular readers will know that it’s that time of year again - a review of the new version of iOS, the operating system that powers iPhones and iPads. Not every aspect of iOS 12 will be covered here, just the new features which will be of most use to journalists in general and especially mobile journalists - “mojos”, the growing number of reporters and producers creating content with a smartphone.

    It’s surprising to note that many journalists continue to use their smartphones simply as phones - which isn’t very smart, given the power of the device they carry with them all the time. It’s also surprising that iOS 12 will run on every device that currently runs iOS 11. This will therefore include iPhone 5s from way back in 2013 – now something…

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  • My Mojo Diet: Two years on

    Dougal Shaw

    Senior video journalist, Digital Current Affairs

    Two years ago video journalist Dougal Shaw went on a ‘mojo diet’ (mojo stands for mobile journalism). The diet involved ditching his normal, broadcast camera. Instead he used just his smartphone to film his online and TV features for BBC News. Now he’s taken his diet one step further:

    My ‘mojo diet’ was so good I’ve stuck to it ever since. It’s made my journalism leaner and more practical.

    Gone are the days of lugging around huge bags containing my camera kit and tripod. This is a big deal when you’re working on your own. Everything I need can be easily fitted into a small rucksack when I’m filming with my smartphone. I’m as nimble as a radio journalist.

    But recently I decided to shed a few more pounds. I ditched my tripod, even though it’s light, it took up a lot of space in my bag. And I also decided to abandon my battery-powered LED light, which is about the size of my smartphone - and slightly heavier.

    New rig: Includes iPhone 8 Plus, iOgrapher rig and Rode adaptor for microphone

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  • Progress in VR: when the content is more interesting than the technology

    Charles Miller

    edits this blog. Twitter: @chblm

    If you want to make virtual reality more real, it helps if you can mix it with a bit of real reality. That’s what happened when the BBC took its new VR project to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

    Setting up their tent a few yards from a runway on which planes were taking off and landing in front of thousands of spectators, the BBC team offered a chance to escape from all that – into a Lancaster bomber on a raid over Berlin during the Second World War.

    The combination of sights and sounds through the VR headset with the wind blowing through the tent and the background noise of planes made for a powerful visceral experience. One woman took off the headset and said the VR had been so immersive that she could even smell the aviation fuel in the Lancaster bomber.

    Here are some other reactions, together with an explanation of the project from BBC VR Hub producer Dinah Lammiman and VR specialist Chris Long:

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  • Learning through technology, with the help of old-fashioned human contact

    Charles Miller

    edits this blog. Twitter: @chblm

    First impressions of the Connected Learning Summit in Boston: it’s bigger, smarter and has better coffee and snacks – zucchini muffins! – than the equivalent gatherings in the UK.  

    Three days of talks and demos are promised in the plush surroundings of the MIT Media Lab. Before the first session I chat to a media consultant from Tokyo, a woman running a community learning organisation in Chicago…

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  • Secret of the impossible drone shot revealed

    Marc Settle

    specialises in smartphone reporting for the BBC Academy

    Scroll to the bottom of this blog post for Conor McNamara's video about how he filmed some amazing shots at the World Cup. Better still, read Marc Settle's account of what's so impressive about Conor's work and especially what he's been sending back from Russia before you watch how Conor did it. 

    I’ve trained hundreds of BBC staff on how to use smartphones for news or social media but I can’t keep tabs on everything they do with the training unless I catch their output by chance or they let me know.

    BBC Sport’s Conor McNamara is high-profile enough for me to see his work on the BBC News…

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  • New York City: Still spreading the news

    Damian Radcliffe

    is professor of journalism, Univ of Oregon @damianradcliffe

    Each year, my colleague Lisa Heyamoto and I take a group of students to visit news and media organisations in New York City, diving headlong into the hottest issues being debated across the industry.

    University of Oregon students in Times Square

    After 18 meetings in a busy week, here are three key themes that emerged from our recent trip:

    1.     Traditional players are shaking things up

    “Fortune favours the brave” may sound like an MBA…

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  • Triumph from tragedy: The making of a feature documentary

    Charles Miller

    edits this blog. Twitter: @chblm

    The premiere of a feature-length documentary in London last week was a triumph for first-time film-makers Jimmy Edmonds and Jane Harris.

    The BBC Academy has followed the making of their film, A Love that Never Dies, which centres on the tragic death of Jane and Jimmy’s son Josh in a road accident in Vietnam in 2011. After their bereavement, the couple undertook a road trip across the States, filming and interviewing other bereaved parents.

    Publicity: the final step in making a film

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  • Celebrating the new sound revolution

    Charles Miller

    edits this blog. Twitter: @chblm

    Nobody ever admits that the media rivalry between sound and vision is serious but it’s been a talking point ever since radio challenged the primacy of newspapers. Then in the television age, radio people denied that they were the poor relations of film and TV types. They joked that radio had “the best pictures” - those it created in the listener’s mind.

    The BBC’s Sounds Amazing conference showed that audio is now full of genuine confidence - if not gaining the upper hand on pictures, then certainly giving them a run for their money.

    Matthew Postgate, chief technology and product officer for…

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  • How we made a 360 video documentary in Africa

    Phil Harper

    Producer and director, BBC VR Hub

    The BBC’s VR Hub is a small team at New Broadcasting House in London, working to demonstrate how virtual reality could become a valid part of the BBC’s output. To do that we’ll be creating a number of ambitious VR projects over the next twelve months.

    In February, we finished our first 360 video documentary, Damming the Nile. The project uses a ‘headset first’ philosophy. By that we mean that it…

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  • With the law on your side, it still takes determination to get the story

    Najiba Feroz

    Journalist, BBC News Channel

    Journalists on a UNESCO training course in South Sudan. Photo: Frederique Cifuentes/UNESCO

    Access to information is one of the most important aspects of media freedom, enabling journalists to produce accurate work. A recent report by UNESCO says that 112 countries currently have freedom of information laws or similar legislation.

    Marius Lukosiunas from the Freedom of Expression and Media Development Centre at UNESCO calls the adoption of these laws a key to transparency within…

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