This week we look at the possibilities and limits of attempting to do multimedia journalism using only mobile devices.

We sit down for a conversation with Missouri School of Journalism Assistant Professor Judd Slivka, who turned an entry-level multimedia course into a four-month experiment with mobile reporting tools. In our discussion, Slivka explains the tradeoffs involved and introduces several peripheral devices that help get the quality of iPhone and iPad audio and video closer to that of standard professional-level gear.

More information about specific gear:


  • BeastGrip: Adjustable lens adaptor and rig system designed to fit most camera phones.
  • iOgrapher Mobile Media Case: Snap-on case for iPad devices that includes side handles and mounts for lenses, lighting and audio gear.
  • iRig Pro: Pre-amp that improves audio quality and can connect traditional microphones to a mobile device.
  • mCam: Aluminum iPhone frame that makes the phone work and feel more like a traditional DSLR camera.
  • MXL pistol grip: Mobile phone mount that integrates a clamp for the phone, a shotgun microphone, a handle, and an additional mount for another accessory.


  • Camera Plus: Camera app for iPhone and iPad that includes exposure control, digital zoom, various shooting modes and other features.
  • Filmic Pro: App for controlling an iOS device’s video camera. Allows for variable video frame rates, audio metering, etc.
  • Pinnacle studio: Mobile video editing app that enables multiple audio tracks, text overlays, etc.
  • Snapseed: Photo editing app from Google that enables, among other features, selective adjustment of specific areas within a photo. Available for both Apple iOS and Android.
  • ThingLink: Mobile app that creates an interactive roll-over graphic treatment atop a photo. Available for both iOS and Android.
  • Ultrakam: App system that captures high-resolution video via mobile devices and can link multiple mobile devices at the scene.

For additional training:

Slivka will be part of a team leading a professional mobile video training Aug. 4-5 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.