Mobile Video Storytelling (MVS) is inspired by a relatively new but growing movement dubbed mobile journalism, or MoJo. Another label is VJ or Video Journalism. The latter is promoted by Michael Rosenblum, a 30-year veteran of television news production. Though not coined by - I don’t think - Glen Mulcahy and the Irish National Television and radio broadcaster, RTÉ, the term MoJo figures prominently in an annual conference they have put on for the past three years in Ireland: MoJo Con. The conference is attended by participants from all over the world.
The basic concept of mobile or video journalism is that journalists today can pretty much work as a one-man(woman)-band from anywhere simply by using a modern smartphone with an excellent camera - iPhones seem to dominate because of the quality of the camera and all the varied accessories available for them. From different kinds of holders that will also accommodate a microphone and light to stands and tripods built specifically for those practicing mobile journalism, the iPhone ecosystem for content creation is quite robust. There is no longer always the need for a multi-member crew to go out to cover a news event. The broadcast van can stay back at the station as it is getting easier and easier to connect remotely for live broadcast feeds or uploading of stories to an in-station editor.
Since the essence of journalistic reporting is storytelling, it follows that one can easily adopt all that makes mobile journalism (MoJo) or video journalism (VJ) work and be popular and become a Mobile Video Storyteller or MVS! Though the goal may be the same, that is, to have one’s story broadcast, I look at it simply as a workflow that allows one to set one’s stories to video. This includes adults with their own stories to tell or stories of others to share. Students are always looking for a creative way to submit that end-of-term report. Many travelers want to create short videos of their recent adventures to share with family and friends instead of boring them with hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Non-profit organizers are on the lookout for ways to promote their organizations and solicit help from the public. Poignant stories told through video might just be the key.
There are countless stories to tell and there are millions, no billions, of people with smartphones to tell them. However, most of those people don’t know the first thing about structuring a story to grab an audience and keep the audience’s attention. They don’t know how to capture video in a way that will bring impact to their stories. They don’t realize that less really is more. I have been educating myself on those very skills!
The equipment resources needed to get started are minimal, in fact, if you have a small point and shoot camera or a fairly recent smartphone, you’re ready to go! However, I encourage anyone to consider putting together the following as a minimal kit: (1) recent smartphone with good camera; (2) a smartphone holder that has 1/4-20 screw mounts and a cold shoe or two; (3) an external microphone that will work with the smartphone; (4) a small LED light; and (5) a way to easily save video clips from the phone to one’s computer or tablet (for IOS, the SanDisk iXpand drive is excellent). Check out a video on my kit: https://youtu.be/n7qfZDuvO9U.
I’m only at the beginning of my mobile video storytelling journey, but I am looking forward to refining my storytelling skills as well as my video recording for storytelling expertise!