Research

Max Schleser

Mobile-mentary (mobile documentary) 2.0

Mobile filmmaking entered the mediascape from 2004 onwards and not only introduced a new aesthetic but also established prospects for cultural innovation. The paper will point at the development in mobile video towards the sociability (de Souza e Silva 2006) and ‘connectivity’ of mobile filmmaking. The transformation of audience in creating these new documentary practices as an alternative cultural practice (Schleser 2009) is an indicator for not only a transforming art and design environment but also the emergence of a new understanding of creative processes. In the recent study Documentary and New Digital Platforms – an ecosystem in transition, one of the key elements outlined in the report by the Documentary Network is the dynamic new relationship with audiences. The current work-in-progress 24 Frames 24 Hours investigates the new forms of  “cultural mediation” (Houle 2011).  24 Frames 24 Hours is an international collaborative mobile documentary capturing the life in 24 hours in 24 different cities. The project kick started with an international collaborative mobile film-making workshop in Paderborn (Germany) and Wellington (New Zealand) and one in New York City (USA). The project examines collaborative practices and applies Cinéma vérité and Kino-Pravda practices in the digital realm. The study draws upon new paradigms of participation and simultaneously analyses creative processes. Besides the aesthetic refinement, the research project functions as a prototype for community involvement through creative practices.  The paper will review contemporary crowd-sourcing film projects and will analyse the emerging distinction between collaborative and co-creative practices.  Moreover the paper points at the industry presideces and will argue that process driven and participatory approaches require new frameworks to evaluate these media text. The paper will relate these developments to the bigger picture of innovation through a user-based interpretation of technology (Edgerton 2007) and will examine collaboration as a creative process (Gauntlett 2011).

Dr. Max Schleser is a filmmaker who explores mobile devices as creative and educational tools. Max is Subject Director Digital Media at Massey University and co-founder of FILMOBILE (www.filmobile.net) and MINA (www.mina.pro), Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa.

Research

Andrew Quitmeyer

Semi-Automatic Filmmaking with Mobile Devices

Digital filmmaking has significantly impacted documentary films by decreasing the costs of production, editing, and distribution. Few digital affordances, however, have been applied to improve the actual filmmaking process; most documentary productions continue to abide by the legacy practices. First, documentarians gather massive amounts of subject information from archival footage, recorded interviews, and text. Next, the documentarians are forced to re-sort through the collected data and derive a structure for the eventual audio-video narrative. While this structural synthesis period distinguishes documentary from other film formats, as a stand-alone process it can be quite arduous.

Some video logging systems attempt to ameliorate the problem of sorting through droves of audio and video. These systems, however, are typically only used in large commercial or theatrical filmmaking as they rely on pre-established concrete master structures (such as shot lists). On the other side, database film projects fully automate the structuring of video into dynamically ordered segments or presenting spatialized, interactive clips. To form any sort of distinct narrative with these systems still requires the intense sorting and editing process of traditional filmmaking.

Documatic aims to simplify the arduous structural synthesis process by combining it with more the exploratory, spontaneous “information gathering” segment. Via an Android application and digital video source, mobile filmmaker pairs can add real-time annotations to recorded footage. As the amassed data is downloaded to a computer, Documatic combines the semantic and video data to create “pre-edited” rough-cut, video sequences for Adobe Premiere. The end product will be more or less indistinguishable from a traditional, linear documentary film, but the new formative process will hopefully be simpler, more efficient, educational, and fun.

Andrew Quitmeyer is a polymath adventurer interested in discovering new means of exploring and sharing our world.
Digital Media PhD Student/Researcher, Georgia Institute of Technology
www.andrewquitmeyer.com

Research

Gavin Wilson

The Body as Physical Conduit for Experience in a Phenomenology of Cell Cinema

The screening of films made on mobile phones to one or more spectators, either on a mobile phone or projected before an audience, significantly changes the material instrumentality of the phone film with profound consequences for its reception. In this process, the phone film transitions from a particularised kind of audio-visual artefact recording a filmmaker’s personal experience, to become the material component of a potentially innovative discourse, sharing characteristics of cinematic form whilst foregrounding other features specific to it.
The term I favour for this mode of audience engagement, cell cinema, describes an innovative mode of media discourse in two significant ways: The first links the filmmaker and spectator in a more direct relationship of individualised communication, foregrounding its cellular interaction in a physical, biological or, as Deleuze says, a rhizomatic sense. The second involves them in a physically co-present form of participatory engagement within film festivals. This paper and selected film examples investigates the centrality of the human body in phone film engagement, of an enhanced encounter with the sensual, challenging the physical distancing of theatrical projection. The writing of Maurice Merleau-Ponty brings us back to phenomenological experience, revealing the act of seeing as contingent on objective thought about the world. Additionally, I look at how the earlier writing of Henri Bergson offers a physiological conception of the body’s function in human perception. The mobile phone and the human gaze forge a bridging link between people, connecting through vision, appealing to an immediate if mediated sensory experience. As Merleau-Ponty says, ‘to look at the object is to plunge oneself into it’.

Prior to undertaking my current academic research project under a Studentship awarded by York St John University, I worked as a Sector Manager for Screen Yorkshire, one of the UK’s development agencies for screen media.
During most of my earlier freelance career I worked as a cameraman on film and TV dramas, commercials and music promos for UK-based and international production companies, and continue to write narrative fiction screenplays.
Interspersed with my freelance production work, I have also taught media and visual communications studies at a number of UK colleges.
The subject matter for this paper expresses a particular line of enquiry expounded in my doctoral thesis, due for completion in 2013.

Research

Daniel Wagner

Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen (ELVSS)

The ELVSS project challenged film students to adapt the traditional storytelling conventions they’re learning to emerging creation and delivery platforms.

25 Students in the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland were lent iPhones to shoot and iPads to edit material, and created an interweaving series of very short films, for optimum delivery on mobiles.

Called to question in the teaching are new considerations for creating and packaging narrative. How might story structure be adapted to best suit the realities of the new delivery media? What effect do video compression and smaller screens have on our choices related to Shot Size, Framing, Camera and Actor Movement, Editing, etc? What are the sonic possibilities and how can we further them to create richer environments? What are the potentials for interactivity (such as QR codes and user-enabled hotspots)?

By the end of the 11-week course, they produced five mobisodes, each of which connect to one another at one or two points. Along the way, they’ve been guided to grapple with creating their own macro and micro working and learning structures and have learned to negotiate between creative teams. The learning that occurs is not data transferred from a lecturer’s head to the students’, but is an experiential journey in an unfolding idiom where the outcome is both unfixed and unknown at the beginning of the process. It is the use and recognition of the potentials of the tools that become the learning content itself.

Students in a contemporary best-practice film school, forging a new pathway, are being challenged to apply traditional cinematic methods and sensibilities to newly-developing concepts and new media tools.

Dan has been working in various aspects of the entertainment industry for quite awhile now. In the mid 70’s, he was part of an experiment in social-change-focussed television in Los Angeles, serving on the programming staff and also on the camera crew in their live-TV studio. Moving to San Francisco in 1980, Dan became a segment producer for a local TV programme, also directing music videos for some influential left-field bands of the day. Since 2005, he’s been a Lecturer at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. He teaches both Cinematography and Emerging Technologies and is the E-Learning Community Coordinator for the Department of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec.

Research

Daniel Mauro

Speaking without Listening: Limitations of the Online Distribution and Accessibility of Amateur Video

While mobile and amateur videos capture details and moments often unseen in
commercial media, very few of these videos reach large numbers of viewers.
Production is plentiful, yet distribution and consumption pose challenges to any political
potential they may have. Such potential is too often assumed to be a part of the
technology, itself, perceived under shortsighted prospects that a technology such as a
mobile camera-phone inherently enables an effective, meaningful form of
communication. Much of the discourse of mobile and amateur video is surrounded by
its assumed democratizing qualities, yet this conception of democratic media neglects
the roles of distribution and access in yielding greater political potential. YouTube and
other video sharing sites offer potential in enabling a multivocal collection of content, but
whether or not those voices are actually heard is a much more complicated matter.
Producing and uploading a video online does not mean it will necessarily be received by
another viewer. Much of the disconnect between producer and viewer occurs because
the organization of such content online does not necessarily offer easy access to the
uploaded videos. The accessibility of mobile and amateur video online points to some
of the broader constraints and limitations in the realization of their political potential.
This paper asserts that accessibility is a key function in the online distribution and
political potential of these videos. Limitations of accessibility will be explored in an
examination of online video distribution networks, a study of the organization of
searches and content at popular video sharing sites, and a case study of an amateur
videographer uploading footage from the Libyan Revolution.

Daniel Mauro is a doctoral student in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the
University of Texas at Austin. His current research focuses on histories of the
dissemination of amateur motion picture technologies. When not researching, he
makes his own films and videos with these technologies.

Research

Dean Keep

The Mobile Aesthetic: Exploiting the possibilities for Creative Practice

Mobile phones are intimate personal devices that are ideal for capturing ephemeral sights, sounds and experiences of the everyday. Their use has become second nature and they are an integral part of a postmodern habitus. We use them to communicate with others, for entertainment, to find our way through city streets, to meet people and to capture and share moments of personal significance.
Camera-phones enable visual artists and filmmakers to extend their creative practice whilst challenging perceptions and conventions surrounding the production and screening of digital video projects. Images and video captured on the mobile phone are generally not afforded the same status or prestige so often attributed to visual mediums such as photography and cinema, but this may also be viewed as an advantage, as it frees both the artist and the viewer from the intellectual baggage associated with more traditional visual media forms.
In this paper, with particular reference to art works produced by the authors, we examine the mobile aesthetic; looking at how camera-phones may be adopted as tools for the creation of video works that exploit the unique image quality of the camera-phone. The portability and technical capabilities of mobile technologies significantly alters relationships with media and creative practice, presenting new opportunities and strategies for artists to interrogate and interpret the ephemera of everyday experiences.

Dean Keep
Dean is a Visual Artist and Lecturer in Digital Media at Swinburne University, Melbourne. He has been active in mobile art movement since 2004 and has exhibited work in national and international forums. The focus of his research is mobile media, emerging digital technologies and memory studies.
The 2 works below are both example of single channel mobile phone video installations.

Marsha Berry

Marsha’s research trajectory started in humanities with a focus on ethnography, ethnomethodology, language and performance studies. She has applied and extended her background in ethnography and post-structural critical discourse analysis to the emerging field of digital media.
Her creative practice includes photography, video art and poetry. Since 2007, she has explored the connections between technology, memory, place and displacement in her practice. She has exhibited her video art and images nationally and internationally. Her poetry has been published in Indian and American literary journals. Her current research projects investigate mobile social media, shifts in Vietnam and cultural memory studies.

Research

Lynne Ciochetto

Cellphones: and social services and for the ‘bottom billion’

Cellphone technology has become much more commonplace in western industrialized nations and amongst the middle and upper classes of emerging nations.  With the introduction of most technologies there are unexpected costs and benefits. One of the unexpected effects of cellphone technology has been the social benefits in emerging nations. Cellphones are an example how countries can leapfrog stages in technology. Poorer people in emerging economies, especially India and China have been able to bypass the stage of purchasing computers and can now access the internet through their cellphones. This possibility has brought unanticipated social benefits and potentially has major implications for improving the lives of millions of people. This presentation explores some emerging trends and pioneer work being conducted by companies such as Nokia in providing agricultural information to poor rural farmers in India and the access to microcredit and online banking in Bangladesh.


Lynne is an Associate Professor in the College of Creative Arts at Massey University. With degrees in sociology and anthropology, a masters in sociology, a post-graduate diploma in development studies and three years post-graduate study in graphic design at the Basel School of Design her approach is interdisciplinary.

 

Research

Laurent Antonczak

Mobile Devices and Art Museum, a new learning experience.

The commonplace mobile devices that visitors carry in their pockets are increasingly being used by art museums as educational resources that extend the visitor’s learning experience. By offering visitors platform-specific applications that deliver rich, dynamic content, museums are able to engage and educate visitors in new and exciting ways.

Within this context, Laurent Antonczak is currently leading a team of 10 researchers, based in Strasbourg (France), who are investigating the use of mobile technology to engage museums visitors in learning about a masterpiece, its author and about the social and political context of the creative work. This project aims to provide mobile users with a positive experience with the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg (http://www.musees.strasbourg.eu/index.php?page=mamcshttp://www.musees.strasbourg.eu/index.php?page=mamcs ).

During his session, Laurent will give a quick overview of this specific project and will define some key elements of this project in relation to mobile phone, collaborative practice and user experience.

Laurent has more than 10 years experience in digital strategies (branding, marketing, visual communication, social media, and emerging technologies for web and mobile phones). Laurent is co-founder of MINA.

Research

Camille Baker

MINDtouch: Mobile Media Performance

The mobile media performance project, MINDtouch: Ephemeral Transference, a PhD art research work completed in 2010 and published in 2011. It proposed that the mobile videophone become a new way to communicate non-verbally, in real time, across different physical and technological environments and locations. Users ‘VJ-ed’ or mixed video from a database live, and using their body data with wireless sensors they had abstract visual conversations with other mobile users, creating a collaborative, telematic collage of externalised body sensations. The goal was to expand and explore more embodied and meaningful exchanges between remote groups of people.

MINDtouch critically investigated, challenged, and extended the potential of performance practice through its live approach, using mobile and online networks. It was about the transmitting the sense of liveness and presence, through visual manifestations of embodied experiences through the mobile network.

It is my contention that lo-fi aesthetics of pixelated images add to the intimacy, authenticity and ‘realness’ of the mobile video medium, as well as making it more accessible to the users. Delays in the transmission render the work more ‘everyman’ in its nature and easier to relate to, while professional quality work creates a distance or disconnect from the common person and their everyday experience or ability. I will discuss these issues and the MINDtouch project in more depth in this paper, as well as new directions in non-verbal mobile expression and performance in my new work.

Dr. Camille Baker is a lecturer and artist-performer/researcher/curator within various art forms: interactive and performance installation, music composition and performance, video art, web animation, and experience design.

News

Mobile Video – New Trends and Directions

On the 16th June, Te Papa hosted a one-off screening of a selection of creative works made for mobile phones, using mobile phones by Laurent Antonczak and Max Schleser.

Laurent presented music videos designed for small screens, including New Day Interactive, a kinetic music video that responds to user’s mobile phone movements, and Hamster Squaredance, an interactive music video that uses embedded QR codes (Quick Response barcodes that can be read by mobile phones).

Max showed two mobile-mentaries (mobile documentaries) made using mobile phones; Max with a Keitai, a film shot entirely on two mobile phones in Japan in 2006, and Ekaterinburg, a short mobile-mentary about the Heartbeat Festival in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg.

Both Laurent and Max were present at the screenings to discuss their work, and also ran a digital media workshop focusing on mobile film production at Massey University during the weekend following the Te Papa event, (June 17th to 19th 2011) .