Technology is moving fast, so fast that a French company has built a complete 'shoot, edit and send' newsgathering app for the iPhone. Send the finished story from location, or send the bits back to base to open up in FCPX for finishing.
I've been in broadcast television for longer than I really want to admit. I've seen kit come and go and been promised that I cannot possibly work without the latest hardware or software. More often than not, the bigger the promise, the bigger the letdown.
I've also been on the bleeding edge of some amazing technology changes. The moment of your first preread edit, using fileservers as sources and even accessing recording files in an NLE. Just recently, Dejero has dramatically changed how I edit live events.
So when something new comes along, I'm quite sceptical, but I can also see great potential in new products. (FCP classic was just one example)
I recently had the pleasure of an online demonstration of the MoJo (Mobile Journalism) app for the iPhone called City Producer.
Phillippe Baudet and Bertrand Samimi explained that City Producer was an internally developed tool within Bertrand's TV station that allowed journalists to shoot, edit and send back a complete news report ready for broadcast.
Why does this feature in a report posted on an FCPX site? The built in editor will be familiar with anybody who can edit on FCPX. Also, rather than just send the flat file back to base, the footage and the FCPX XML can be transferred from the phone. This means that an editor back at the station can finesse or version the story. Very clever.
Back to the app and the MoJo all starts with shooting. The app has all the normal range of camera controls as you would expect, white balance, ISO, frame rate, zebra etc. It also includes a live built-in waveform display!
After shooting in landscape, when the phone is rotated, it turns in to a two track NLE!
As you can see from the tabs, there are pages for sound mixing, adding a voice over (it automatically ducks the fx and music for voice or interviews) and a page for adding graphics which can be predesigned using a template. You can also add footage from other stories or from preloaded elements in the phones library such as graphic stings.
Having completed your report, there is the option to send a flat file, publish to social media or send the project XML and associated media back to open up in Final Cut Pro X.
This won't replace every location news report, but Bertrand told me that 80% of the news stories on his TV station are now made out in the field on City Producer. Pretty impressive.
Two caveats here. First of all the app needs to run on an iPhone 6 or 7 plus due to the real estate needed to edit. Secondly, you can't buy the app on the Apple Store yet, they are concentrating on B2B customers first before offering it to a wider market. Although a licence sounds expensive at €690 per year, it works out at about €2 a day, which is a lot cheaper than a cameraman with camera. (No whinging either)
Should you think your newsgathering organisation could benefit from going MoJo with City Producer, you can get in contact with Phillippe here. There is an evaluation copy available to qualifying users.
We hope to bring you a video of the live presentation of City Producer from NAB, in the meantime we found Bertrand presenting the app at a recent exhibition. It is in French, but shows City producer in action. The FCPX magic happens at about 14 minutes in.
Peter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.