Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Commercial: Mobile film

From the Guardian's arts blog last week, a post regarding the danger of the Sundance Film Festival getting into bed with the GSM Association prompted the two responses below.

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Imagine - Paris, the late 1890s:

"Messrs Lumiere, why how simply frightful of you both to invite me, one of the nation's most famous and respected director of the theatrical arts, to even participate in one of your 'cinematreical' experiments. It is outrageous! People will never wish to see mere simulcra of the real flesh and blood actors! They want to see the breath of the performace, the sweat, the tears of passion... (continue ad infinitum)"

Seriously: it's a new medium. Why not mess about in it? Play, see what happens. Sure we might not - and might not want to - call it film, but what's the harm in trying? Through experimentation, all arts progress. Including film.

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Actually, the more I think of it, the more I think the prospect of short films on mobiles has a great potential. At the moment, most content available for mobiles is generally not repurposed from its original source (film, TV, music video etc), so it's not fit for viewing on the mobile device or whatever. Add to that the fact that you do generally have to go through a portal run by a mobile operator to get access to content which is not good value for money, not great picture quality, and then yes, sure it's not a great sell.

Now the positive flip side: film-makers experimenting and actually making films that take advantage of the device and its affordances (lower-res camera/lens, less memory so shorter scenes?) to create new types of short films, scenes etc. With a Wi-Fi enabled device you could distribute via YouTube, or indeed a version targeted at mobile users (MobTube?), as well as send on directly to people via Bluetooth or more traditional MMS. Or even, distribute on SD cards which could be popped into phones the same way a DVD is now.

Does it mean staring at small bits of plastic? Yes. But seriously: are people saying we should stop watching DVDs because I tend to watch these on my own, or with my girlfriend, rather than inviting North London round to my gaff?

It might even stop short films being viewed as the cinderlla medium that they sometimes are.

Hell, I've made myself excited. If someone wants to start a mobile short film production and distribution company, gimme a call...


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