BBC’s Grand Experiment at MWC

BBC Click at MWC

Okay, one last story from Mobile World Congress…

I’m a regular viewer of BBC’s Click, the British broadcaster’s weekly tech show that you  can watch if you have BBC Canada in your cable package, or know where to look for it elsewhere online.

At this year’s MWC the team set out to conduct a rather grand experiment: to produce an episode entirely on mobile devices. Here’s how that went:

The Good News

Cameras on most modern smartphones are pretty decent, so capturing HD video wasn’t really a problem. Some “pro” apps were used for necessary functions like locking exposure and manual focus—Cinema FV-5 for Android and FiLMiC Pro for iOS were specifically cited in the episode. A handheld gimbal from LanParte kept shots steady.

The Okay News

Capturing high-quality sound with said HD video in the busy and noisy environment of your typical trade show was a bit more of a challenge. The easiest and most effective solution proved to be an XLR adapter from ProJive, to interface with the BBC’s existing pro audio gear. This particular cable features an extra mini plug so that you can monitor audio while you’re recording, but for some reason Android doesn’t support this feature.

The Bad News

Where everything almost fell apart was when it came time to edit.

The Click definition of “mobile” for this experiment was expanded to include tablets, but using iMovie on an iPad was abandoned almost immediately. Pinnacle Studio for iPad worked a lot better, until it came to editing footage not captured on an iOS device. It was decided to move all post-production to Microsoft Surface Pro tablets running Adobe Premiere Pro. With the limitations of RAM, storage and USB transfer speeds, even that was a struggle.

But somehow, the team prevailed, and the landmark episode made it to air. I wish I could provide you with a link to watch it; unfortunately the best I can do is a link to a “making of” post on BBC, and an MWC interview with Click presenter Spencer Kelly: