MOJO – What is it?

If you search the term ‘Mojo’, you’ll find it described as a talisman, Austin Powers’ most notable trait and a programme for men-at-risk of suicide in Ireland. However, at MojoCon, it represented mobile journalism and this week, brought together hundreds of people with an aim to disrupt and enhance traditional media, simply by using their phone.

Mobile journalism makes sense. In comparison to professional cameras, lighting rigs and sound equipment, it’s inexpensive. It offers multiple opportunities to make journalism much more democratic and hopefully, diverse. Can you imagine the impact it might have in a classroom or within a community whose voices are traditionally silenced? Mojo also offers an intimacy and a unique vantage point that isn’t permitted, even with a DSLR camera. Most importantly for me, it’s light-weight.

iOS & Android

Surprisingly, only a minority of attendees at the conference were Android users but regardless of your device, apps are key to Mojo. Most importantly, you should not record footage using your phone’s traditional camera as it will automatically refocus and adjust the white balance throughout your video. Instead, Apple consumers should use Replay; a simple app that imports selected images and videos from your Camera Roll and transforms them into an aesthetically pleasing piece of content that you can share on social media or broadcast as a package on traditional media. It costs €14.99 but can download a free edition but all videos will be published with a Replay watermark. This is a pretty good example of what it can do!

Unfortunately, Android customers are still waiting for Replay to land on the Google Play Store but they do have the advantage of being able to install alternate operating systems. For shooting, Bernhard Lill recommends FilmIc Pro or Cinema FV-5. FilmIc Pro has the advantage of being able to adjust audio levels prior to recording but you are charged on a subscription basis. Cinema FV-5 is what I practiced with during the conference – it’s intuitive and currently only €2 on the Google Play Store.

Tips for Shooting

  1. Turn on Airplane Mode. You don’t want to find yourself recording beautiful footage to have it suddenly be disturbed by an unnecessary phone call.
  2. Where possible, shoot in natural light.
  3. Respect the line of action.
  4. Obey the rule of thirds.
  5. Use a tripod. (The GorillaPod is recommended but Primark sell an alternate version for €5.)
  6. Don’t zoom, get close to the subject or action instead.

 Audio

The quality of sound is the greatest hindrance to effective mobile journalism. The standard microphone on your device does not have the capability to record crisp sound for interviews or pieces to camera but may be able to adequately record environmental sounds. This is possibly the most expensive element of mojo with many at the conference using this smartLav+ lapel mic. It’s discrete and records great quality sound but you need to stay close to your subject. If you already have a good quality microphone, a cheaper solution is to purchase a jack that allows you connect an XLR input to your phone’s TRRS connector. It will be very visible in your footage but if like me you’re just starting to explore mojo, it might be a more affordable solution.

Who to Follow

Snoop through #Mojocon but for an Irish perspective, I’d recommend following Glen Mulcahy and Philip Bromwell. Germany’s Björn Staschen is an avid ‘disruptor’ too!

Why Mojo?

Irish people are the biggest users of mobile internet in the world. Whether you are an educator, a journalist, a press officer or an entrepreneur, it’s logical to employ the skillset and technology that you have quite literally, at your fingertips. Content will be more attractive and its availability will hopefully amplify a more diverse voice and encourage those to speak who are often spoken for.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links within the article and entry to the conference was complimentary.

Written by

Sinéad Burke is an academic and a writer with an obsessive interest in fashion, education and 'Extraordinary Women'. She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Women's Council of Ireland.

One thought on “MOJO – What is it?

Leave a Reply