Mobile filmmaking is taking off in a big way around the world, with more and more showcase events, festivals and groups emerging that are dedicated to the humble phone camera. One group gaining momentum is MINA, the Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa. Founded in New Zealand, MINA is a global network set up to explore the emerging possibilities in mobile media and filmmaking.
Max Schleser, co-founder of MINA, is a seasoned mobile filmmaker, having made a number of experimental and documentary works – or as he has tagged them, mobile-mentaries. Max is currently preparing for MINA’s upcoming Mobile Creativity and Mobile Innovation Symposium, the second annual event which kicks off in Wellington in a few weeks time. The symposium is an event at which filmmakers, video artists, amateur enthusiasts, researchers and industry members will come together to share the mobile filmmaking love. The two-day event will explore how technological developments in the wireless and mobile arena are transforming the art and craft of media making.
As part of the symposium, there will also be an International Mobile Innovation Screening, which includes mobile films and mobile-mentaries from Brazil, USA, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, Colombia, Russia, Greece, Germany and Japan. I asked Max for his all-time favourite mobile-mentary, and he very diplomatically said all of the MINA projects are his favourites. Take a glimpse at them in this year’s showreel:
Some of the projects screening include 5#Calls which screened at Cannes, the three winning projects of the Los Angeles based iPhone Film Festival, an experimental mobile film, a mobile stop-frame animation and a music video. For those of you in NZ, the symposium and screenings are on the 24th and 25th November, details and tickets here.
If Wellington is a little far to travel, you could always try creating your own mobile-mentary. I asked Max for his top three tips for budding mobile-mentarists, and he outlined the following:
1) Think about what makes mobile-mentaries different from traditional docs – your mobile can go anywhere (and can be attached to wheels, weather-balloons or wherever you like to go)
2) Consider visual storytelling and abstraction.
3) Have fun and do a project that you are passionate about or relates to you. Mobile video can be a very personal format.
So if you’re tempted to pick up a phone camera, start with these tips and get shooting. More festivals are incorporating mobile filmmaking categories so there are increasing opportunities to screen work (although oddly, Tropfest seems to have ditched their mobile category this time around in favour of a DSLR category. I say oddly, as I’m sure a fair amount of entrants in the main category will be shot on DSLRs anyway). Also of course, there’s always online distribution, which seems a perfect fit for mobile work.
I saw a presentation by Max last year in New Zealand at which he showed mobile films made from footage shot while holding the camera in portrait mode, rather than the traditional landscape. Non-traditional screens can allow you to ditch the rule-book when it comes to technical presentation. This portrait method has the added bonus of allowing a split screen approach where two clips can be stitched together side by side to fit on a regular-shaped screen. So many possibilities with a tool in just about everyone’s pocket.
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