Unfortunately quite a few international speakers and journalists have been unable to attend but it's far from an all Italian affair.
Ande Gregson has been furiously re-working the Media140 programme of the Festival after roaring into Perugia on his Yamaha R1 earlier in the week. Lisa Zilberpriver also managed to navigated her way here from Sydney and is covering sessions for the blog.
And for the Media140 speakers stuck in the UK I have my fingers crossed that all goes well for streaming their video presentations to Perugia. Judging from the tweets and Audioboos it sounds like producing their live video show in a bunker is going to be an interesting experience.
I was due to talk about recording and streaming video with a mobile phone, but with a slightly longer spot to fill, I may cast it a little wider and discuss mobile journalism and how you can use a mobile phone as a reporting tool.
So, using the example of a recent trip to Turkey and northern Iraq, here's a brief overview of how I'm making use of a mobile phone when I'm on the road.
It was not a news driven trip. The goal was to shoot a documentary and produce a couple of good feature stories. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, the mobile phone has become a tool that is well and truly integrated into my workflow. How I used it on this trip might offer you a few more practical ideas of using a mobile phone when reporting other than the usual phone, text message, web/email and photos.
The basic mojo kit + accessories
- iPhone 3GS (unlocked)
- Nokia N82
- Sennheiser ME 64 microphone
- Novatel Mifi 2352 wireless hotspot
- Polaroid Pogo portable photo printer
I'm using the iPhone more and more as a sort of digital notebook, often taking photos as a sort of quick digital scanner or to quickly document a scene that I can use to describe in better detail later.
I used two audio apps depending on what I wanted to to do. Audioboo is great for a short interview or to record your impressions and share that via social media. I also used the FiRe field recorder app with an external microphone to record audio materials for a short radio feature.
Photo printerIn combination with a mobile phone (or compact camera via USB) the Polaroid Pogo is an inexpensive pocket-sized crowd pleaser. It really makes a difference if you're working in a visual medium to be able to offer someone a photo on the spot. I can take photos with the Nokia, send the data file by bluetooth and in about a minute out pops a small business card size photo. Result? Smiles. But c'mon Apple, why cripple the bluetooth on the iPhone? It would be brilliant to use some iPhone photo editing apps such as PS Mobile in tandem with the Pogo.
Bluetooth file sharerBy chance I met the deminer Faris Zubair Ali in Dohuk and was spellbound by the story he told me of a night time demining rescue mission. Faris actually had with him mobile video footage shot during the rescue and shared it with me immediately by bluetooth. Journalists need a phone with bluetooth, and you need to know how to use it.
Micro-blogging and social mediaHeard of that thing called Twitter? Yeah? Along along with tweeting the trip, Twitter was also useful to monitor Kurdish issues with #hashtag keywords. I mainly used Tweetdeck on the iPhone and Dabr on the Nokia.
Audio playback for interview translationsOften you need to go back over translations to clean them up and that takes time. I exported audio from video files and uploaded them to the Nokia and/or iPhone. This was useful to playback and work on translations, virtually anywhere, when the laptop and/or tapes were back in the hotel.
Video camera and video streaming
On this trip I used the iPhone a lot to record my impressions - again as a sort of digital notebook with a view to video-blogging or maybe using this content to complement HD video and photographs for a web-documentary. I also uploaded video to the net to share. For instance during in a lighter moment while filming our doco in Dohuk, I uploaded a quick 12seconds video of playing cricket with Bangladeshi street cleaners. Short and easy to upload on network.
In previous posts I've mentioned using Qik and Bambuser for live streaming video. There several apps available. Of late I've also been using USTREAM. All of these apps are regularly upgraded with new or improved features and I move between them depending on which phone I'm using.
Using a combination of the Fring application on either phone, and logging on via the 3G network made Skype quite straightforward to use.
JoikuSpot app lets you turn your phone into a wifi hotspot. Whenever the Mifi batteries were flat, JoikuSpot was a useful to bridge the gaps between charges.
Mifi - the other gadget
This was really my first trip using the Mifi and it worked well. Despite the erratic speeds on the 3G network it turned wherever I was into an instant internet cafe and saved us plenty of time.
So, what was the bottom line of being connected in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey? Around USD$100, and that included regularly having 3 devices connected to the Mifi and surfing the net and over the 3G network.
Here's the short video on live streaming video I presented at media140:
Short video clip to help explain the basics of live streaming video - presented at Media140 Perugia, April 2010.
Music: Sputnik Booster, 'Type your Text'