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Cell Phone Movies

Make a Feature Film on Your Cell Phone

— June 16, 2006 — Tech
This is cool -- now anyone can make a feature film using only a cell phone.

It is increasingly common for video footage shot on cell phones to appear in the mainstream news media. This is largely due to the fact that camera phones are now ubiquitous, so when something happens, someone nearby can capture it on video.

But now, for the first, a camera phone has been used to shoot a feature-length documentary.

Italian filmmakers used a Nokia N90 to produce a 93-minute piece on love and relationships, entitled "New Love Meetings". The film consists of interviews with approximately 100 people the filmmakers met in bars, in markets and on the street.

No post-production manipulation was made to the footage. No professional lighting was used, but a pocket flashlight was occassionaly brought into service.

Given the technology's limitations, the film mainly features close-ups. But given that the film is a documentary about personal topics, the filmmakers say the use of a simple phone camera created a more personal atmosphere and allowed the interview subjects to open up more.

"To use a small instrument that belongs to people's daily routine allows you to establish an intimate dialogue, instead of using a regular camera," said co-director Barbara Seghezzi. "The interview becomes more like a chat."

The choice of technology also gave the filmmakers more flexibility and kept their costs at rock-bottom. The entire project cost only a few thousand dollars, including the filmmakers' hotel and accommodation costs.

The camera stored about 1 hour of footage. Footage was transferred to a computer once every two days.

"With the widespread availability of cell phones equipped with cameras, anybody could do this," documentary co-director Marcello Mencarini said in a telephone interview from Milan. "If you want to say something nowadays, thanks to the new media, you can."