I’ve been delivering workshops over the last few months on capturing and editing digital content on mobile devices. Digital video and photography is nothing new of course, but, in recent years, colour correcting and editing content on the same device has become more than just a domestic option… many devices available to purchase on a modest budget, combined with software costing no more than your lunch money, can be your camera, your editing suite and your means of uploading to the web. In reality you can make an HD quality short movie and upload within minutes of completing the edit.
For the digital journalist, the ability to do this offers obvious benefits and potential – but is this tech limited to nothing more than online content..?
Well, based on my experience with the media, available apps and subsequent results, I was poised to write about where I saw the potential this method of filmaking offers beyond YouTube, Vlogging or school projects.
Last summer I was commissioned by The Young Foundation to make a series of short films for a social innovation project. Initially I was a little shy about revealing my filmaking kit – an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop. However, I felt convinced that, given the sensitive nature of what I was to film (homeless hostels), smaller and less-intrusive kit would offer me a greater advantage over larger, very intimidating, HD broadcast quality digital cameras.
During this time I was reminded of a film released almost 10 years earlier – Tarnation (2003) was a documentary gathered from 20 years of ‘Super 8’ film and analogue video footage. The ‘first time’ film maker gathered his content, digitised it and edited together in Apple’s iMovie, the freebie digital movie editor bundled free on all Macs. At the time the iMovie application was ‘Final Cut Express-lite’ – ‘Final Cut Express‘ being ‘Final Cut-lite’. But this new documentary maker, 1) Didn’t know the difference and 2) didn’t have the money to use anything else – even the kit he had was loaned.
Within a few years of release Tarnation had garnered 8 film festival awards and several other nominations.
So, ten years back to the present, just as I’m about to write about where iPhone movie-making could be taking us in years to come, I find this on CNN – “$1.99 iPhone app saved Oscars film”
I recommend you watch the clip but, essentially, within a few hours of me publishing this post, Searching for Sugarman (2012) may well be an Oscar winner, due (in a small but essential way), to a few essential ‘iPhone-captured’ shots!
The possibility of ever seeing a feature film made on an iPhone is highly unlikely. However, there are plenty of good reasons why we might see an Oscar/BFI/Cannes/etc… nominated documentary, (or even a short film) that was captured, edited and published on an ‘iDevice’.
The downside of course is that there may well be an awful lot more rubbish to wade through – however, a true creative spirit will always find a way… and so maybe, just maybe, one of next years golden statute winners is already walking around with a golden opportunity in their pocket.
UPDATE: Maybe you already know the story, but Searching For Sugarman won the Oscar for Best Documentary 2013 – congratulations to al involved!