Zoo experience

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As we have mentioned in the last post, mobile journalism is already quite advanced in terms of its technical merits, but certain inadequacies of MoJo equipment prevent you from telling specific stories in the best way possible.

This week we shot a story about a group of Erasmus students filming their first TV package ever as part of their class at the University of Zagreb – Journalism Department. They were shooting a story about a Dutch intern working on the reconstruction of Zagreb City ZOO (Maksimir ZOO) using a television camera. They couldn’t have chosen a better topic for their first story since the ZOO provides an amazing amount of visual possibilities – the reconstruction work in process, the nature and, of course, a wide variety of animals an their habitats.

Shooting them doing their story provided us with some insight as well. We became aware that in this moment we could not have made that kind of story the way the Erasmus students did it. And why is it so? One word. Zoom. Why zoom? Simple. The iPhone (or any other smartphone) still doesn’t really have a great zoom ability – if you try it, you will soon see that the picture becomes grainy even at the slightest zoom.

That is why an iPhone really wouldn’t be that useful in telling this story since it would have to include shooting the animals at least a bit closer than it is possible to shoot with a smartphone. As you will see in the video, the animal habitats are, naturally, placed further from the fence which prevents us from shooting any details which is exceptionally important in a visual story like this one.

But what’s really important for the story we shot is that the smartphone enabled us to follow the Erasmus students more closely and less intrusively than it could have been with a bigger camera and more complicated equipment. This resulted in the students being more relaxed and ready to express themselves on film.

As expected – using a smartphone proved to work exceptionally well when working on a story which requires you to be less noticeable so you can film “life as it is”. Also, working on the field always makes you more inventive when problems arise – this time we found out that basically anything can be used as a windshield.

Now, you can watch the finished package about the Dutch ZOO intern filmed by the Erasmus students from Lithuania…


… and then the story we shot – a behind the scenes look of the latter story.


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