New #Filmmaking Freebies!!

I just added a new Film Making page under the ‘freebies’ tab above. They are typical of the kinds of resources that I produce for all of my classes and workshops.

Mobile Journalism (#MoJo) is at the forefront of democratised media and content production. And with video consumption going through the roof and consumer mobile devices being amongst the best available for point-and-shoot photography and video, then there’s never been a better time to find out what they’re capable of.

If you are interested in learning about more for your business, organisation or club then please get in touch. Clients so far include, Children and Young Person’s Commissioner Scotland, NESTA, Dundee City Council Leisure and Communities, Perth Council, Fife Council, Fife Youth Arts, The Young Foundation.



All By Myself

Alone? Nothing to do? With an iPhone?

There are endless possibilities…
This man is my hero:

UPDATE: Celine Dion (who sang the version of the song he used) has seen the video and released a response!

Muvi X-Lapse for time lapse panoramics

muvi x-lapse pic 3

I really didn’t have to think too long about this purchase.

I love making time-lapse films and iMotionHD is one of my most used apps on both the iPhone and iPad.

Time lapse is a fascinating filming technique. It’s the perfect tool for:

  • Establishing shots (how else could you make a conference-room filling up with people look remotely interesting?)
  • Creative openings (the day’s sunrise)
  • Illustrating the passing of time (clouds rushing by, sun-down, etc)

The possibilities go on and on…

muvi x-lapseWhat Muvi brings to this is X-Lapse, a clockwork turntable which turns 360 degrees over an hour (manually adjustable to anything between one and sixty minutes).

The movie below was capture over a couple of days on the west coast of Scotland at a place called Ratagan (Glenshiel, Ross-shire) and includes a shot of the nearby Skye Bridge (toll free bridge to the Isle of Skye) and the ferry terminal at Sconser, Isle of Skye.

muvi x-lapse pic 1X-Lapse has standard tripod screw (¼” screw thread – male on top for mounting a camera; female on the bottom to mount X-Lapse to a tripod); it’s a great companion piece to my Joby Gorilla Pod. It also comes supplied with a ‘shoe’ to hold your iPhone (illustrated above) but again, I use my Joby Griptight for added security (left).

So let me know what you think of the film. For about £15 (from Firebox) I recommend X-Lapse as a solid purchase! I also recommend you check out iMotionHD here.


Skye Bridge from Kyleakin

skye bridge

X-Men take on Instagram

Regardless of what some might say about Instagram, Facebook were sufficiently interested to pay $1Billion for an 18 month old company that had no financial revenue – it didn’t even have a financial model (free to download, free to post, no ads)!

FaceBook Vs Instagram

While it was clear that Facebook was paying for the ‘engaged’ community, it was also likely that they would change the platform somehow (see my reaction from the time above, “Instagram: Before and after Facebook” – visualised in Lego).

The introduction of video sharing in June 2013 was a popular addition to the app, and though a maximum of only 15 seconds can be uploaded per post, the opportunities appeared huge in comparison to Vine’s 6 second loops.

So, a couple of videos caught my eye in the last week that have adopted the platforms video capabilities beautifully.

The BBC – Despite a hokey title, InstaFax from the BBC is an reasonable attempt to engage a younger audience with the news. 15 second sound and video bites with large subtitle-style overlaid text act as tasters to headline news stories. I like it, but will it impress the target audience?

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the latest in the rebooted and now mashed-up movie franchise. On Thursday last week (23 January 2013) the Official X-Men Instagram account released a lightening 15 second mini-trailer – perfect for sharing and watching across mobile networks – especially for those of their younger (but essential) demographic for whom data-rates are still a concern.

x-men on instagram

A closer look at the account reveals that back in October an Instagram video was used to tease the imminent trailer release. Another masterful use of what Instagram can offer.

So why is no-one making more of this opportunity?

I’m sure there are others that I haven’t seen – so tell me, who is exploiting Instagram in the most creative or opportunistic way?
Who is making the most of its 15 seconds of fame?

Visual Storytelling Made Simple: Storehouse for iPad


Did you know that the very first version of Instagram (Burbn) was intended as a ‘Swiss army knife’ of an app… kitchen sink included. As development progressed went on, Kevin Systrom and his team stripped out feature after feature to arrive at the simple (but effective) photo sharing app that subsequently sold to Facebook for 1 Billion Dollars only 18 months after launch.

Storehouse is a new digital visual storytelling application for iPad and shares something of the simplicity of Instagram.

Positioned somewhere between Storify and photo book production, Storehouse maximises the intuitive interface potential of the iPad. Bring in pictures and video from your iPad’s photo albums, Flickr, Dropbox and Instagram to create (very quickly) a polished ‘story’ that can be annotated with text (again, limited to ‘header’, ‘quote’ or ‘regular’) and published on the web to the Storehouse community and to the world.


Experienced desktop publishers might see the application as limited. As a long-time Adobe InDesign user the power of Storehouse, to me, is in its simplicity. Within 30 mins of downloading the app for the first time I had browsed some great stories (links below) and had one of my own ready to publish.

Sharing is simple too – Facebook, Tweet or email a link to stories. Click ‘recommend‘ to bookmark stories you might like to return to. I expected ‘recommend‘ to be a ‘like’ but I can’t see that Storehouse display numbers of ‘recommendations’, only ‘views’.


Translation to bigger screens via your web browser is excellent, no need for ‘mum’ to download any pesky desktop apps to see your story. As yet embedding is not an option, but I wonder if that’s an intentional choice for now… YouTube videos can turn up in all sorts of places – Storehouse stories can only be seen on their site.

Developed by a team that includes an ex-Apple employee, the presentation is very cool – limited, but unfussy. As with Storify, the inability to ‘save a version’ of my work is a little disconcerting. I once experienced hours of work on Storify disappear due to a server problem. Once was enough.

Although a PDF would be appreciated, I have to say that much of the functionality and beauty of the ‘story’ would be lost. The Storehouse versions flow and bounce and twist (to close) in the fluid way we have grown accustomed to in well executed iPad apps. And while images can be cropped in the ‘story’, a single tap has the image appear full screen and uncropped.

storehouse application image

While less than a week old the Storehouse community is growing and, like me, they see a lot of potential and room to grow.

I think Storehouse would be great learning tool for schools. My daughter loves creating Keynote (Powerpoint) slides about her favourite subjects. On an iPad I could see the simplicity and intuitive nature of Storehouse being really popular with children creating home or class projects – but for that to happen I would want the ability to create private accounts, maybe even private groups where stories could be shared with the class, youth club, etc.


I can also see me using Storehouse as a presentation tool – particularly for image heavy and Pecha Kucha style slides; particularly for the cropped images that then appear full screen.

But, I’ve kept you for far too long – you should try it out for yourself.

Have a browse through the stories I’ve linked below, including my own ‘SuperFly’ exhibition retrospective… (read more about SuperFly here)

Remember where you heard about Storehouse first – if it was here then come back and tell me what you think. If you make a ‘story’ (or you already have one) link to them in the comments below or Tweet me @OnTheSuperFly


Capture. Edit. Share: Film Making on iPad

Over the last few years I’ve been running workshops using iPads; video editing, audio (AudioBoo), animation, image manipulation and more. I can tailor them to young people from 7yrs and up; however I’ve found that there are also a number of adults who would like to know how to use their new devices more creatively. (If as an individual, or member of a group, would like training then drop me a message…)

Perth iMovie Feeback

So, it was great to be back in Perth this week working with ‘Living Communities‘.

I ran a film making workshop (one pupil’s feedback above) with the assistance of two dancers from Space, Dundee College’s Dance Academy. Obviously it’s useful having some form of content to capture, but having the dancers gave us something quite dynamic to film without having to worry about scripts, cues, or plot lines and so on.

The format of the day was that the dancers did a presentation in the main hall. They then came up with a shorter piece which they repeated throughout the morning and afternoon. The pupils suggested the locations, found their filming positions and took turns fulfilling the various roles required, filming, clapperboard, extras, etc…
They then had 45mins to edit what they’d captured down to between 60-90 seconds. Finally we had the Fast Film Festival where every group presented their film.

The video below is a summary of the workshop:

Each group was made up of between 2 and four pupils and one iPad. Collaboration and sharing was the team’s responsibility and though we had a very larger group they handled the challenges of filming together really well.

Coincidentally, I recently did some filming with SmallPetitKlein, dance studio in Dundee. This next video is one of the initial rough edits of a collaborative piece for the ‘Sense of Place’ exhibition at McManus. It proved very useful this week as an example of what the pupils in Perth could achieve. (The final outcome that resulted from this film is currently in the exhibition at The McManus, Dundee.)

Get a ‘Grip’ for Yourself!

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

Earlier this years I blogged about a Joby Gorilla tripod and how impressed I was with it.

Shortly after that I was directed towards the new range of tri-Pods by someone at Joby themselves. They very kindly sent me a couple of items to try out and having used them for a month or so this is what I think…

I’ve created a hybrid Gorilla tri-pod, for my iPhone 4S, consisting of ‘GorillaPod Video‘ and ‘Gorilla GripTight‘.

GorillaPod Video is designed for palm size video cameras and digital cameras. It has the standard screw mounted attachment with quick-release plate. It has several other features too but I’ll get to those in a second.

The GripTight comes with its own tripod (which for me is now surplus). Given the quality of the GorillaPod Video it would make sense to make the GripTight a stand alone product as I’m sure many users, like me, will want the best of both worlds. However…

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

GripTight, as you would expect, grips your phone – but it is also extendable. It extends to widths between 54 and 72mm. Of course this future proofs your purchase to a degree – no worries about iPhone changing size in the future or converting to another device altogether!

So, GripTight does just that. There is only friction keeping your device in place, so exercise caution, but it’s surprisingly strong and i’m always confident that my iPhone is genuinely secure!

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

So far, so ‘really’ good.

Back to the GorillaPod Video pod then.

Apart from the trade-mark Gorilla grip legs – that wrap around just about anything – this tri-pod, quite literally, has improvements from the top down!

Starting at the top we have the pan and tilt arm. Again, you can feel the quality in the build and it provides a very smooth pan. If the tripod is free-standing then it will need secured by your freehand while using the pan arm as there is a reasonable amount of resistance – but such is the quality.
There is a handy button that, while depressed, allows the tilt arm to move freely – once a suitable position is chosen then release the button and the arm remains locked in place.

At the neck of the tripod, just below the arm is an additional ball joint not found on other GorillaPods in this range and it allows for greater flexibility in positioning. (see below).

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

See the video captured here, below.

Finally, probably the most surprising feature – surprising because they work so effectively!
The feet on the Video tri-pod are magnetic. I honestly didn’t think I would trust my iPhone to three small magnetic feet. However, they are very, very strong. (Over 7lbs of pulling force – if that means anything to you?!) I would happily attach the tri-pod to something metal, 90 degrees to the ground, and be happy that my phone was secure. Even stood upright on a metal surface provides extra peace of mind that the device won’t be blown over. (Been there with a iPad :\)

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

So here (above) I put the magnetic feet to the ultimate test by dangling the camera upside-down from the metal housing of a projector screen. I filmed a time-lapse over 15-20mins, and, just in case, prepared a soft landing below. However, there was no need! The tripod stayed in place happily until I removed it!

So, while Joby Gorilla pods don’t come cheap I would suggest, given the value of the device you’re likely to be putting in it’s ‘grip’, the investment is valid and reasonable. This is a great portable product that I carry constantly with me. I found plenty of uses for the older model, (see the review) and I’m finding dozens more for this one, simply because it’s so versatile.

For ‘mobile’ film-makers then this is an essential tool! I say go for it – get a ‘grip’!

With Joby you’re literally in a good ‘hand’!